How to use a reel?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by HunterST, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I've been stringing a few months now and just bough my first couple of reels. When I used individual packages, I often ended up with a tangled mess of string. I hope to avoid that with the reel, as 660 feet of tangled string would be a nightmare.

    How do you handle the reel to prevent this?
     
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  2. bluegrass_stringer

    bluegrass_stringer Semi-Pro

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    Umm.......you just pull it out as you need it. It won't ALL tangle up when you open it. Now you have reels, keep track of how much string it takes to string your racquets. Then you can cut that exact amount from the reel. One of the advantages of reels.
     
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  3. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Depends on the string and reel but most of the time you would not have that problem. I lay the reel flat on the floor and unwind as I'm counting racket lengths. You could put the reel in a box and let it unwind with no kinking. Some stringer have a peg used for mounting reels. You could put the reel on a dowel in a board and unwind it to the side. Just like leaving your lover. P Simon says "There's 50 ways to leave your lover."

    EDIT: Because reels are wound in larger loops and not tied for the most part there is much less memory in reels than sets.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
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  4. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    This is a feature I really like about reels -- until I get to the very end when there is actually a bit more coil memory than sets (only noticeable with poly). But is a net benefit IMO.
     
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  5. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    One thing I may add. There are usually small holes at the edge of a reel. Make sure when you're done to take the tip and run it through one or two of those holes so you know where the end is and it does not get tangled under one or more of the other coils of string inside the reel.

    EDIT: Don't left the reels get beat up and cracked. It is hard to uncoiled the string from a cracked reek. Try to keep a few extra empty reels just in case you get a broken one then you can transfer the string. I hate it when I get a new reel and it is craked in shipping.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2014
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  6. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Same, I end up cutting off the cracked material into angled edges so they don't catch. It's not pretty, and the string can attract a little extra dust, but it works OK.

    Also: don't be afraid to create string-end-hold holes with an awl, etc. Be gentle, though, the thin plastic will/can definitely crack.

    The only thing you have to worry about is losing the end, and then finding it UNDER a loop of string... you'll definitely get a nasty "tangle" down the road.

    Edit: When I can't find the end of the string I tend to shake the reel a bit until it comes out easily.
     
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  7. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the help, guys, but I think I'm too clueless to put it to use. :oops:

    I mean, I just opened the shipping box, look at the reels in their original packaging, and have no idea what to do with them, haha.

    Should I remove the plastic that surrounds the reels? Or, should I leave them in there? Both reels have an end sticking out of a hole in the packaging am I supposed to pull that?

    Sorry, I know this sounds ridiculous.
     
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  8. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    Yes, you can pull the needed string out of the packaging by pulling on the end sticking out. After you are done measuring the string, cut, and put the cut end in thru a new hole or scotch tape it to the package so you do not lose the end. OTW, you will have a lot of fun finding the end the next time you need to pull string from the reel.
     
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  9. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    it unrolls off of the reel kinda like a big Yo Yo. That is, it comes out/off the reel through the slot between the sides/halves of it.
     
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  10. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    NO!

    that hole is just to keep the end from getting lost, you take the string out of that hole and then pull it, when you cut the string you again stick the end through one of the holes so you don't lose it.
     
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  11. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    You can't pull string out of a reel it must be uncoiled.
     
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  12. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    i do. i pull my string out of the reel.

    but mine hang on a hook/axle so they spin freely.
     
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  13. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    Not ridiculous at all--we all started somewhere. As others have said, put the reel on the floor and unwind (don't pull) the string. For most rackets (ie 98s and 100s) I pull three "wing span" (ie holding both my arms horizontally) lengths, then go almost to the floor and cut, if I'm doing a two piece job. The crosses would require a bit less. I'm 6'1", so of course "wing span" would be variable. Others may have different ways to measure, and you'll figure out what's best for you.

    I have to second (or third, or fourth) the tips to insert the end of the string back through the little hole at the edge of the reel, and to avoid cracking the reel. Small but invaluable tips.
     
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  14. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    The string goes through the hole when you are not using it. You pull it out of the hole and unwind when you are using it, then poke it back through the nearest hole again.
     
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  15. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    ^^^ yeah, measure your wingspan and extrapolate from there.

    don't be stingy at first or you'll just waste NEARLY a half set (if stringing 2 piece) then you'll learn what you need as you go.

    keep a log book and the info will help down the road.

    if stringing from sets, it's much less hassle and some will buy sets for this reason alone, if costs are close enough to reels which does happen sometimes.
     
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  16. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    I have a scrap string cut to 20 feet. I put it and the end of the reel in a starting clamp that is held down under a heavy object to keep it in place. I then unwind the string to the length I need using the scrap as a guideline.
     
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  17. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Exactly what I'm saying the reel must spin or uncoiled from the side. You can pull string out of the reel so the string spins around inside the reel. Maybe poor choose of words on my part.
     
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  18. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    You guys are no fun. I prefer to tear the reel open and make a poly nest in the corner of the spare room.
     
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  19. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    At OP:

    I recommend in the realm of stringing to be fearless and don't hesitate to make some mistakes. It's sort of like the first few times you string -- Where do you start the first loop of string? At the tip or at the throat?!

    You can spend hours or days discussing it with people where it becomes marginally clearer, but when you really absorb and come to "own" your own knowledge is when you: just try it.

    (I recommend coming back to this thread in a year or two and asking yourself: "wait, did I seriously ask that question?")

    I should mention: This is intended to be encouraging, not the other way around. Whenever I talk process or teach stringing to other people, I advocate understanding the motivations behind the actions you do on a stringer. Anyone can be instructed step by step how to do something, but once you understand WHY you do things, you begin to really understand how to flex your stringing muscles.

    What happens when people need to measure from the set? They just cut straight down the middle? I'd argue that it's exactly the same thing set or reel if you're going to be precise about it. You only have to make the mistake once to realize that cutting a set in half isn't ALWAYS the best route (see: 18x20 oversized frames). To be fair, though, you can get away with a down-the-middle split on 95%+ frames out there, so maybe that's a relatively safe assumption to operate under...

    I think measuring from arm span or other expedited methods is much better than trying to split a set in half. It's a huge amount (over time) of wasted time. My 2 cents.
     
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  20. alexmcnab

    alexmcnab Rookie

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    My brother-in-law made me this handy string dispenser. The reels spin when you pull on the string.
    [​IMG]
     
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  21. sovertennis

    sovertennis Semi-Pro

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    ^^^^^
    I want one. Looks very handy, neat and efficient.
     
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  22. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I pulled a second half set form a poly reel yesterday for a hybrid set up. After cutting the required amount, the string from the reel slipped from my grip and retracted itself back into the reel. :shock:

    I took a breath and carefully pulled out the first 2 or 3 outside strings off the reel and luckily one of them was the tip.

    At one time I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but I recently had a reel tangle on me and it turned into a 2 hour nightmare that didn't end well.
     
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  23. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Those string reels look... out-standing. Your BIL seems like a reel nice guy.
     
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  24. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    Hmmm, I've never had a bird's nest and I just let go of the end. I also don't have poly in reels, so that likely helps my odds.
     
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  25. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    Is that on a spinning base or the reels just spin about the rod?

    Very cool!
     
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  26. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Just wait... it'll be a great experience ;) I find this happens most often when the other end gets loose from wherever the manufacturer fixes it down to start the reel, or when the reel is loosely packed down, and a user pulls the loose end too hard (compacting the several feet closest to the loose end down, while the rest isn't hard packed down). If you happen to get the loose end down into the reel and pull it up THROUGH another length of string (this could be several, several windings)... yeah, it gets to be a nightmare. I've seen this happen a few times (I work with a handful of guys on a regular basis). There's generally cursing involved. :twisted:
     
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  27. alexmcnab

    alexmcnab Rookie

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    It is isn't it! The reels just just spin around the rod. The base is heavy enough to remain static. The base was made from an old stool seat.
     
    #27
  28. lwto

    lwto Professional

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    I like, I use a similar setup but vertical.

    [​IMG]

    Actually after I had built this, I found out that if I measure two slats correctly and screw them in across the verticle beams, front and back, I could forego even having a center rod through the reels. The added value is that a lot of times when you have these reels spinning, they have a tendency to free spin and you got string going wild on ya. This way, the friction from the plastic casing would prevent that and you can just pop in a new reel when you need too.

    You see that little strip there on the table, it's cut pieces of grip with velcro inside, I slip the strings through it and it guides the strings nicely and also it allows me to get a accurate measurement if needed, I don't have a auto string length counter on my machine.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
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  29. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^

    Very nice set up.
     
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  30. illzoni

    illzoni Rookie

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    Depends on your process. I like to prestetch my strings. I do so by running it around a post in my stairway handrail. After I've stretched it, I walk back up the string to the post and cut it at the halfway point behind the post.

    If I weren't prestretching, it would be a waste to hunt for the middle.
     
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  31. lwto

    lwto Professional

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    [​IMG]


    For easy access to reel strings.
    Reels sits on 2 rods, with a top rod stabilizer.
    Strings come fron under, through velcro to allow easy measurement and maintenance.

    I'm going to see how it works out and if it has any sustainability.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
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  32. lwto

    lwto Professional

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    Well this method works really really well, I must say.

    THough I do admit, not as planned.

    Ended up, taking the top bar off, and just using it as a holder for reels.

    When I need a reel, I simply take one out that I need and slip it on the extended bottom rod, which has screwing and fits (5/16" diameter) the reel hole like a tee and since the rod has screwing, the reel stays in place.
    from there to the end of the table is 4 feet, easy to measure off, cut and all is well.

    I think I will make a niceer version of it later.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
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  33. Geoff

    Geoff Professional

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    My method that I was taught back in the Flintstone age was to measure from the racquet when the racquet is mounted on the stringing machine. Most racquets are 27". If I want 36', I measure 16 racquet lengths (27" x 16 = 432" / 12 = 36'). For the short side on most racquets I do 4 racquet lengths. This varies on the racquet and string pattern. For racquets I string often I have noted the exact amount of string needed for short side, 2 piece, etc. in the hopes of squeezing an extra set out of a reel. For example, I know that I can string a Pro Staff 90 with 14 racquet lengths (31.5'). I also write on the reel or the bag (that most reels come in) how much string I used for inventory/reordering purposes. Some machines have a built in string measurer as well and a rod to store reels. My Gamma 5800 has both of these features, but I never use them! An interesting/nerdy side note that all of the dimensions of a tennis court not including the net are multiples of 27".
     
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