How do pros get their racquet's heavier?

Discussion in 'Pros' Racquets and Gear' started by babolatboi+, Jul 14, 2008.

  1. babolatboi+

    babolatboi+ Guest

    Do they use lead tape or does the company that makes the racquet just make it to their specific weight?
     
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  2. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

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    both ways are used. a big name like fed can have wilson do whatever he wants them to for his racquets. someone who isn't as popular might go the cheaper route and just use lead.
     
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  3. s7evin

    s7evin Rookie

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    Why do You want to know?
     
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  4. ThA_Azn_DeViL

    ThA_Azn_DeViL Semi-Pro

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    you never know... he might be the next world #1... respect him! lol
     
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  5. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    The factory does what they can after consulting their racquet guys. Then their racquet guy takes the racquet and fine tunes it (balances them, custom grip molds) and finally, adds lead tape where the player wants it. When the player is happy, they finalize it, keep the measurements on file, and either hide the lead tape or have it visible.

    They asked Roman to put Roddick's lead tape somewhere else because it looked bad on TV but Babolat could only make a white strip on the sides so it doesn't look as bad.

    Once all is done, all the racquets are within .5 grams of each other.

    N.B. There will be slight modifications from most of the pros that can't be replicated; eg. Federer does use the K61 90 but the graphite is made in such a way it is softer just for him. That can't be replicated.
     
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  6. topspinalex

    topspinalex New User

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    isn't lead tape often times too little weight? cuz i was reading that stuff..and u gotta put ALOT just for like one ounce
     
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  7. Hot Sauce

    Hot Sauce Hall of Fame

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    Why not?

    _______________
     
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  8. s7evin

    s7evin Rookie

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    What difference does it make?
    If i told him that one pro pours 5 kilos of concrete on his racquet head to make it head heavy would he do it?




    (joking ofcourse from the first post)
     
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  9. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    They soak them in water whenever they arent playing with them.
     
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  10. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    With or without the strings on?
     
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  11. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    As some posters said, both methods are used, depending on the player or racquet. Some companies are well known for having pro rooms where they customize frames (e.g. Head and Wilson). Other companies don't have pro rooms and more of their pros use lead and other after-market methods (e.g. Babolat).
     
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  12. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    They often use lead tape in layers, placing multiple strips on top of each other. Also, if the weight is to be added in the handle rather than the hoop, other materials can be used, such as lead shot and fillers.
     
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  13. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Thanks Eph, very informative.
    I can understand that they specially make rackets for the Head pros as they appear to have a separate factory in Austria that does this. But for Babolats and Wilsons, do they actually have a separate factory in China which make rackets for the pros, and another factory that make commercial frames (for the rest of us)?
     
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  14. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    I'm not sure. My guess would be it is made in another room in the same factory in Asia (just so they aren't mixed) to save money, and then all modifications that can be done outside of the factory are done by Priority 1 (I believe that is who customizes his racquets).

    Good question, but that seems to be the most practical/economical.
     
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  15. Supernatural_Serve

    Supernatural_Serve Professional

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    They rest their racquets in front of large speakers, set the volume to 11, and turn on the death metal music.
     
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  16. aceforprez

    aceforprez New User

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    the factory would do some of it but i bet they sometimes use led tape
     
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  17. aceforprez

    aceforprez New User

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    the factory would do some of it but i bet they sometimes use led tape
     
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  18. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    That is one part of customizing racquets, yes.
     
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  19. Booyah

    Booyah Semi-Pro

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    Besides the factory, don't the pros also use some company to string their rackets to make sure they all weigh the same and are perfect?
     
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  20. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    can't be true. otherwise i'd be number 1 in the world.
     
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  21. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    As I mentioned above (in post #11), Wilson has a separate facility where they do custom work for their contract pros. It's referred to as the "Pro Room". Babolat doesn't have such a separate facility, and their top endorsers do most of their customization with "aftermarket" methods, usually through outside customizers (such as Roman Prokes for Andy Roddick's frames, among others).

    Something to know is that whether or not there is a separate factory is less important than whether they do separate production runs with different specs and tolerances for their pros. All of the factories are capable of doing special runs with different layups and tighter tolerances, but most aren't contracted to do this type of work. So which factory your frame comes from matters less than what materials and specs they use for the frame in question.
     
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  22. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Yes, thanks. The bold and underlined bit is important. I think it would seem reasonable that pros do get a special "run" different from the rest which are sold to the public. Does dispel quite a lot of myths re pro's frames, thanks.
     
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  23. Racquet Man

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    LPShanet, your post was informative and spot on. I found an article in Racquet Sport Industry dating back to 2004 that is on point. What about Dunlop? Do they produce Blake and Haas's racquets? Do they come from a "pro room"?

    From Racquet Sports Industry (2004):

    Wilson Pro Room
    If you're good enough, the folks in the Wilson Pro Room can help you become better.

    Off-the-shelf racquets may be fine for the majority of tennis players, but touring pros want equipment that is fine-tuned to make the racquet feel like an extension of the arm. There are a number of racquet tuners who cater to the pros and near-pros, but Wilson has taken racquet customization into another dimension with its "Pro Room."

    First opened in 1983 by Bill Severa, who was recently named director of technology for the newly formed Wilson Racquet Sports Innovations & Design Group, the Pro Room is part of Wilson's player services group, which is run by Michael Wallace, Wilson's global director of the tour.

    The Wilson Pro Room stands ready to serve tour players from around the world at any time. The company dedicates customer service experts, lab technicians, and its premier lab facilities to servicing its pros 365 days a year. The Wilson player services group even travels to each of the majors and to the NASDAQ-100 in Miami, to ensure its pros are playing with the right equipment.

    The hands-on work is performed by Global Tour Equipment Manager and Principal Racquet Designer Ron Rocchi, a USRSA Master Racquet Technician, along with Designer and Prototype Manager Klara Nowak, and lab technician Dawn Cacioppo, a USRSA Certified Stringer. Although Wilson has been providing players services for years, only in the last seven years has this service been given the official term "Pro Room," and been made available to more players. In 2003, the Pro Room shipped more than 2,500 racquets to its pros.

    For the most part, the best on the tour will receive hand-crafted racquets from Wilson. This includes racquets that match in weight, balance, or swingweight, depending on what the player chooses. Players can request different string patterns (such as an 18×20 string pattern for a racquet that normally comes with a 16×18 pattern), custom handle shapes, and matching of weight, balance, and swingweight on all frames. Rocchi does all the tuning himself by hand, sometimes spending hours on a single racquet.

    A top touring pro, such as world No. 1 Roger Federer, has all available technology, means, and services of the Pro Room at his disposal. Top pros can even request a unique frame because Wilson is able to create the perfect racquet for them with custom string patterns, and custom grip. It takes hours on court with the player and more hours back in the Pro Room tweaking the racquets to get everything just right.

    Wilson also acknowledges those who will be the next Pete Sampras, and offers basic racquet tuning to 200 juniors, including nationally-ranked U.S. juniors as well as ITF-ranked juniors, providing them with services such as frame matching and tuning.

    One of the benefits to Wilson from its Pro Room program is the input and feedback from top professional players. The Pro Room worked for years with Federer, who had been using the Pro Staff 6.0, but wanted something a little different, yet familiar. The result is the Wilson Pro Staff Tour 90, which is now available to all consumers.

    Success stories such as this are, according to Rocchi, what separate Wilson from the pack. While there are several places where a top-level player can obtain customization services, says Rocchi, "Frame geometry is always going to be the major determinant in the way the racquet plays, and we can even customize that."

    Even though the focus of the Pro Room seems to be on the technical side, one of the main goals is to build relationships with players, including convincing players to use Wilson racquets. Rocchi's emphasis is on tour players, while European Tour Manager Massimo Calvelli focuses on players outside the U.S. Each travels extensively to see players when not at one of the majors. In addition to delivering racquets, Rocchi and Calvelli are on court play-testing frames with players in order to get each customization exactly right.

    The personal touch is important in Pro Room tuning. According to Rocchi, different players will key in on different aspects of racquet performance. Some may not be as sensitive about swingweight, but the balance has to be exact on each frame. Others may need the swingweight to be the same on each frame, but matching the overall weight isn't as important. There are even some players who want each frame to look exactly like the others, despite the fact that each frame needs a different amount of external lead tape. "That's where foil tape comes in," says Rocchi.

    From foil tape to unique racquets, the Wilson Pro Room has the capability to go where no customizer has gone before.
     
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  24. Racquet Man

    Racquet Man Rookie

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    As an point of interest: Greg Raven who is a poster on this board wrote the article on the Wilson Pro Room for RSI in 2004. I'm sure Greg has a wealth of information on this subject and other pro rooms he can share with the rest of us to answer all our questions.
     
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  25. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    Yes. wordlimit
     
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  26. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    Kilpsch or Dennon?
     
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  27. Rorsach

    Rorsach Hall of Fame

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    Hey, an attempt at a real answer instead of that idiotic pre-teen rant you've used to spam the other threads with.
     
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  28. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    Glad it was helpful. While I personally have dealt with the pro rooms at Wilson and Head, and am also familiar with Babolat's pro program in a first hand way, I don't have any personal connection with Dunlop. However, my understanding from sources who do have first hand knowledge is that the racquets Blake and Haas (and Berdych, too) use are produced separately from the main Dunlop production run. All three have their racquets based on the same old mold as each other, which was created many years ago. All of the various paint jobs each has played under for many years (including Blake's so-called "Prince" experimental frame) have all been the same racquet painted to reflect some current model or other. It isn't the same as any current Dunlop frame, and the layups are specific to each player. I don't know which particular facility produces the frames, though, or whether that facility also produces any of Dunlop's production frames currently. Not sure it matters much. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2008
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  29. Racquet Man

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    Thanks for this great info. It's always refreshing to get insight from the people who have had first hand experience and can shed real, and useful information on these subject rather than alot of the drivel. Thanks again.:)
     
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  30. roundiesee

    roundiesee Hall of Fame

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    Thanks LP. Some posters have said that Blake plays with a Tyger frame. Is it possible that Haas and the rest of the Dunlop pros also play with this frame? Would certainly be interesting to know. Also how did Blake manage to get Prince to agree to use his old "Dunlop" frames with just a Prince paintjob and stencil (and Dunlop did not have any say in this?)
     
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  31. LPShanet

    LPShanet Banned

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    I have heard that rumour, but don't have any way of verifying its veracity, nor do I know the origin of that assertion. It may be true, but I'm not sure why it would be the case, as he was never associated with the company, nor did he play with those frames as a junior, so it seems unlikely. It makes more sense that he'd stick with some version of something that worked for him in the past. I think the industry opinion these days is that Blake uses a frame that Dunlop custom made for him using an open mold that they didn't use for any of their production racquets. While the mold may even be the same one as Tyger or Tecnifibre/Major used, the finished racquets would be quite different, as each one used a different layup (the way materials are combined to create the frame). Many molds are not proprietary to the companies that use them, and are available for any company's use at the OEM. Since Blake's frames are/were undoubtedly highly customized, there's no reason he would get them from Tyger. Most likely is that Dunlop had them made to his specs using this open (read: public domain) mold that many other companies have also used.

    There are a few people on the boards who probably have better insight to this particular question (specifically Paul from Vantage..a.k.a. Racketdesign, who used to work at the upper levels at Dunlop, and also Jura, who has strung for many pros and has had the chance to handle many such frames. He also has great expertise in identifying frames under paint, via mold, string pattern, etc.). If we're lucky, one of those guys will chime in. However, that may not be necessary, as there are some existing threads that discuss the issue quite a bit. One is http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=79887&highlight=Tyger Try to ignore the people who don't have any factual info to back up their assertions. I think Jura weighs in quite intelligently on that one. I don't have a lot of background on Tyger's frames in particular, but it seems odd that Blake would use it. After all, how would he have come by it in the first place? More likely is that his mold is similar in shape in the same way that some of the old Major frames are (now sold as Tecnifibre), but not actually the same thing. It's even more unlikely that all the Dunlop pros use the exact same frame, since they too probably get customized layups. So the chances of ALL of them finding and loving an obscure Tyger frame are slim, unless Dunlop has/had some association with Tyger (which they don't as far as I know). But again, I'm not certain. Anyone with a logical case rather than just heresay would be welcomed.

    As for Blake and Prince, I do have that story. When he first signed his deal with Prince, they attempted to make a frame for him with the same playing characteristics as his previous stick (whatever model it may actually have been). This is fairly common, as most tour pros try to switch frames as rarely as possible, unless there's something they're unhappy with. More often, they prefer what's familiar, thus the preponderance of paintjobs. After a number of failed prototypes, he simply started using his old reliable frames again, but since he was under contract for the duration of a year, he had them blacked out and painted with sketchy Prince Experimental graphics. The frames weren't believable as any in-production Prince model, so a standard paintjob was not feasible. So Prince didn't outright suggest/agree to do this...it was a stopgap measure they employed while they tried to come up with another frame for him and give him something to use while the contract was still in force. Dunlop had no grounds to say anything at the time, since he wasn't under contract to them, although it seems they were making efforts behind the scenes to woo him back (as evidenced by his quick re-signing with them at the next opportunity).

    Cheers,
    L
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
    #31
  32. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I hope this answers your question as to what Dunlop racquet Blake is using.
    [​IMG]
     
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  33. superstition

    superstition Hall of Fame

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    Actually...

    They store them at a low altitude.
     
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  34. EasternRocks

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    I think they have lead tape under the gromets or somewhere?
     
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  35. pfchang

    pfchang Professional

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    **** fixes em up real nice no?
     
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  36. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    Yes, just left there actually. He's very busy with the US Open and lots of racquets everywhere. But always takes time to talk to his clients. : )
     
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  37. ag200boy

    ag200boy Hall of Fame

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    why would the factory only do some of it?

    if they're going to take the time and effort i think they could completely customize it
     
    #37
  38. Racquet Man

    Racquet Man Rookie

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    Eph, you may know the answer to my question since you seem to spend time at ****. If Eph doesn't know, perhaps some of the other people in "the know” can chime in too.

    Does **** mainly service racquets of women players on tour? If that is not correct, what current ATP players does **** have under contract other than Roddick? (I know **** use to also do Agassi before he retired).

    Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the players racquets would be **** servicing in running the stringing room in their partnership with Wilson but rather the players they service under gold contract.

    Thanks in advance for the reply.:)
     
    #38
  39. Greg

    Greg Rookie

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    You might want to try putting a Gravity Bulb in the butt cap of your racket.
     
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  40. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    He does a lot of women's racquets; there's 30+ boxes there, don't really look at them unless he points something out or I ask about something and he explains it by pulling out a racquet.

    He is a good friend of Agassi, and is Roddick's sole supplier. Not sure who else he does on the men's side in the top 10 exclusively - but he is the head stringer for the US Open.

    Agassi still goes to Roman and has at least ten racquets there. John McEnroe does, as well. He does others, just can't recall names. I'm going there tomorrow morning; anybody specific you want me to ask about?
     
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  41. Racquet Man

    Racquet Man Rookie

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    Thanks Eph. I was just curios. If you're going to **** tomorrow, take a look and just post current ATP guy's (other than Roddick) rackets you see in the boxes. Much Thanks:)
     
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  42. Eph

    Eph Professional

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    I really don't know who is who; I'll just ask which guys that are doing well that he takes care of.
     
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  43. stalako

    stalako New User

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    silicone +lead tape

    most of the time for pro french player they inject silicone inside the handle and place lead tape under the grommets
     
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  44. Racquet Man

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    Very interesting. How much can silicone add to weight in the handle?

    My understanding was that a meaningful weight increase could only be achieved by using lead tape, the fishing sinker method (described by TW) or inserting of a lead bar.

    Has anyone else ever seen or tried increasing handle weight by adding silicone into the handle?
     
    #44
  45. stalako

    stalako New User

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    30 grams

    you can add 35 grams of silicone in the handl but it will change drasticly the balance point of your raquet. For exemple if the balance point is 32 cm with silicone in the handl the new balance point will be 28 cm(which is very head light).that's why when you add silicone you have to putt lead tape under the grommets to make the racquet still playable;

    i add 20 grams of silicone + 15 grams of lead
     
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  46. Racquet Man

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    Stalako, very interesting!!.....thanks for that info. I certainly learned something new.:)
     
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  47. stalako

    stalako New User

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    silicone:vibration killer

    silicone in the handl kill also the vibration of the racquet
     
    #47
  48. 2nd_Serve

    2nd_Serve Professional

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    The big names get their racket companies to do whatever they want. Other small name players get lead tape.
     
    #48
  49. Racquet Man

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    Found this in the 2005 RSI. It was submitted by R. Casey Maus, Cathedral City, CA

    Silicone handle weighting

    I have customers who like the racquet they already have, but need more mass to help them hit bigger shots. Even though I'm adding mass, I often have to keep the balance the same, which means some of the additional mass has to go in the handle region. Rather than start out with fishing weights inside the handle, I fill the handle with silicone, using lead tape for fine tuning.

    There are a couple of things to keep in mind when using silicone to increase racquet mass. First, if you are doing more than one racquet, you have to be able to measure how much silicone you are injecting, so you aren't making work for yourself later on when you try to match the racquets for weight, balance, and swingweight. I use large disposable calibrated syringes, but whatever method you use, you will probably need to experiment a bit before you know how much silicone to add for any given weight increase.

    Second, racquets with hollow handles are also going to be hollow all the way up the shaft, throat, and even into the hoop. If you just pop off the butt cap and inject the silicone, there's nothing to stop it from running down into the racquet, where you don't want it. To prevent this, inject the pre-measured amount of silicone from the butt end of the racquet (after taking off the trap door or removing the butt cap itself), and then tape the end of the handle and stand the racquet upright. The silicone will run to the bottom of the racquet, where you want it, and form a smooth, professional-looking insert. After curing, you can remove the tape and replace the trap door or butt cap.

    I then re-measure the weight, balance, and swingweight of the racquet, and calculate where on the hoop to place the lead tape to counter-weight the new mass of the silicone.

    Aside from the obvious benefit of playing with a heavier racquet, racquets modified this way have nothing inside the handle to come loose and start rattling. Also, my clients tell me that the racquets play and feel better because of the vibration dampening properties of the silicone.

    5 sets of Ashaway MonoGut 16L to:

    R. Casey Maus, Star Stringing, Cathedral City, CA



    Editor's note: If you can't find or don't want to use a syringe, you can insert cotton balls into the handle to the maximum depth you want, and then add the silicone by weight, using a scale to monitor your progress. If you've stripped the racquet before injecting the silicone, you'll have to make the appropriate adjustments to get the total weight where you want it.

    From the July 2005 issue
     
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  50. Mansewerz

    Mansewerz Legend

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    silicone, i'm interested!
     
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