Rare VS Babolat Tool Set and Starting Clamp (photos included)

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by drakulie, May 8, 2009.

  1. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    I just purchased the 12-piece tool set pictured here. As you could see, it is an older set, but nearly in perfect condition. The original owner only used them a few times, and states he paid about $350 for them. Not sure what year it's from, so I'm hoping someone will chime in and give a bit of history about these beautiful tools. vsBabolat (the all knowing), from the boards emailed me and was kind enough to inform me he seems to think they are from the early 80's, maybe early 90's.

    The tool set includes 6 awls, parallel pliers, cam action pliers, starting clamp, needle nose, and bent nose pliers, and a wooden awl that has no shaft on it. It looks to be some sort of tool, where one inserts a shaft or blade????, and then turns the knob to tighten the piece in place.

    can anyone out there give me a history of these tools?? or what the wooden tool is for???

    Thanks in advance.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #1
  2. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Photos of the pliers:

    [​IMG]

    Awls:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #2
  3. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Here is one of the more interesting pieces from the set; the starting clamp (pictured on the left). In the middle is the famous Red Starting Clamp regarded as the very best in the business, and on the right is the new version, the Blue Starting Clamp.
    [​IMG]
    In this photo, you could see the difference between the starting clamp in the tool set and the famous red starting clamp. The tool set version states “Made In France” above the “VS” logo, and does not have eyelets (holes where one puts the string thru to use as a jumper). Additionally, has a wider jaw space, like the latest incarnation from Babolat (the blue version).
    [​IMG]
    In this photo, you could see the difference in jaw space. The tool set version, like the famous red starting clamp lays flat. However, the blue version has a tiny bit of space at the end of the jaws. Many stringers state this is their only issue with this version, because if you lay the string in there it tends to slip.
    [​IMG]


    Hope everyone has enjoyed this thread. Also, again am hoping Yulitle, Jim E, vsBabolat, Steve huff, etc chime in and anyone else out there are able to give me more history on these tools.
    Thanks!
     
    #3
  4. zidane339

    zidane339 Hall of Fame

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    Wow, that tool set is a stringer's dream! How much did you get it for Drak?
     
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  5. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks!! yes, the tool set is amazing, and is practically new. The parallel, cam action, and starting clamp look as if they have never been used. Many of the awls are the same. The gentleman I purcahsed it from thought they were for working on upholstery like leather, and when he received them, realized they weren't suited, so he put them away. Lucky for me, he got tired of having them laying around and sold them to me.

    As for the price, would rather not say, as people may think I'm a thief! :)
     
    #5
  6. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    Drakulie,

    Might amount to nothing but..... in a number of the hard shell camera cases we have, the manufacturers have stamped the date on the inside. Might be worth taking up the foam and checking to see if there's anything there.
     
    #6
  7. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Very nice find there! :)
     
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  8. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Outstanding find. Thanks for sharing.
     
    #8
  9. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    Wow! I just realized you have a awl with the old Babolat Maillot Witt Logo. It is the on the bottom of the photo. I would guess mid to late 80's when they changed the name and logo to BabolatVS.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2009
    #9
  10. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks, I didn't even think of that. Anyway, looked, but alas>>> nothing there. :(



    Thanks guys. Glad you liked the photos.
     
    #10
  11. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hey! Thanks for chiming in. I kept wondering what that logo stood for.

    Couple of things about that particular awl. Not sure if you could tell from the photos, but the awl is beveled. Seems to me it is a Bradawl; an awl used to specifically work on wood. Wonder if this particular awl was put in this set, in case stringers were still working on wood frames???

    Does that make sense, since the logo (as you say) was an earlier logo??????

    Also the wooden awl seems to be a grommet grinder. However, the "grinders" are missing from the set. If you look, there are two spaces for plastic boxes (one is missing) in the tool set. The gentleman I purcahsed it from said he lost one fo the plastic boxes, but seems to remember there were tool pieces in there.
     
    #11
  12. TheShaun

    TheShaun Hall of Fame

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    Drak, thanks for sharing. Some guys have all the luck!
     
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  13. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Just happen to have an old stringer's digest laying around and that tool set is listed in the 1990-1991 Stringer's Digest for $285 with this article titled Kudo's to Babolat (An editoial Obervation.)

    "Babolat VS provides stringers with some of the best quality tools on the market. Babolat's finely-crafted German-made tool kit provides any tool necessary for a professional string job.

    The Babolat VS tool kit (available for $285), offers six high grade specialty awls, including square, curved and blunt-tipped tapered awls; also spring action cutters, needle nose pliers and parallel jaw pliers. Other tools include cam-action pliers, plier grippers, string puller and tweezers. The tools fit in a foam packed carrying case - a professional package. Babolat's tools are available separately, but if you can afford the kit, we think you've made a top-quality. long term investment."

    By the way the wooden tool is a called a Pull Along (a.k.a. Pull Through. Come Along): uses a loop-tipped wire to pull strings through tight or shared holes. Individually they were priced $4 to $20 (I would imagine $20 for the Babolat.) Extra wires were about $0.20 cents each.

    I could scan the article in pdf format and and email it to you if you want. Just let me know.

    Nice find and thanks for sharing.

    Irvin
     
    #13
  14. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Irvin, thank you so much for your research and following up here.!!!!

    Yes, please email me the pdf file at drakulie@aol.com. Much appreciated.

    I kept wondering what the metal wires in the clear plastic case were for. There are several in there (never used). I would have never guessed the wooden awl (Pull Along) was used for this purpose. Great stuff!!!!

    As for the tools being made in Germany, the awls don't have the country of origin, however, the starting clamp and cam action say made in France. The cam action also has "BabolatVS" engraved in the metal. Not sure if you could see it.

    The bent pliers (which are not mentioned in the article), do say made in Germany, as do the parallel and needle nose pliers.

    Here is a photo of the bent nose:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The bent and needle nose pliers are the two tools the guy used, as you could see from the wear. All other tools are like new.

    Only thing missing is the second clear plastic case and the tweezers. I'm wondering if one could order to tool set and request specific tools, since I don't see and cutters as mentioned in the article.

    Anyway, thank you so much for assisting. Much, **MUCH** appreciated. :)
     
    #14
  15. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Drakulie the files are on their way. Let me know if you do not get them.

    Irvin
     
    #15
  16. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Drakulie that tool set is in the 1987 Stringer's Digest for $250. Pretty much the same article - Kudo's to Babolat. Two years later they had a price increase to $285. At that rate they should be worth about $900 now. lol

    Irvin
     
    #16
  17. mdqm

    mdqm Rookie

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    dddddrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkk
    hey my friend very nice find,enjoy these tools:).
    hope see you next sunday
     
    #17
  18. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hey, Irvin! Once again>>> a million thanks for the pdf file! Great to read the history of the tools.

    I find it interesting the tool set went from 250 to 285 in such a short time, and 20 years later the tool set Babolat now sells goes for 350. :confused:


    Majic Man!! Thanks! I was going to call you and tell you to look at this thread, but never got around to it. Glad you found it. I knew you would definitely appreciate this tool set.

    Yes, I'll call you this weekend to set up a hit on Sunday. :)

    By the way, LOVE the new avatar!!!! :evil:
     
    #18
  19. iplaybetter

    iplaybetter Hall of Fame

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    that starter is good, one of the Indian wells stingers has a few with blue handles(not the new one, but the one without eyelets to serve as a jumper) and i got to try it, really nice clamp

    nice find
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
    #19
  20. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^Thanks. Yes, all three of those starting clamps are nice. I tried the original one last night, and it worked very, VERY well. Lots of clamping power. Although my favorite is the clamp in the middle.

    Anyway, was able to use some of the tools yesterday, and they are awesome. Very happy with the set. :)
     
    #20
  21. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    If for whatever reason you don't like the cam action pliers, i'd kill for a pair like those.

    OK, I wouldn't kill for them... but keep me in mind ;)
     
    #21
  22. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    [​IMG]

    Are those the bottom pliers (shown above) with the strange looking head... with the red-rubber piece?

    Are they for pulling string/knots?
     
    #22
  23. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Hey Bud!

    Yeah, that is the CAM plier. The one I used in the past seemed to have a red "rubber" piece, except it seemed to be something like very durable, hard cork. Smooth, but very, very gentle on paint. You could rock the string while using that "hump" for leverage (against the frame). It was a GREAT tool, and it had excellent grip on the strings, too. Gentle, and great pull. I own a pair of parallel pliers like above the CAM in that picture (except no red rubbet handle), and while it is has a mean grip on strings, I just don't like it very much. I just tossed it in my tool bag.
     
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  24. dancraig

    dancraig Hall of Fame

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    #24
  25. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Interesting, do you have any experience with this clamp dan?

    I'm leery of picking one up blind, as one side of the jaw seems to be made out of plastic, whereas the babolat clamp (and the one i use) have full jaws made out of metal. (I should also note that the jaws have a very nice texture to them, but not full blown grooved)
     
    #25
  26. dancraig

    dancraig Hall of Fame

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    Hello Johnny
    I have not used one. I just thought seeing the operating procedure might be interesting to someone.
     
    #26
  27. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I have seen Color Guard at the Home Depot for coating the handles of tools. It comes in a can and you dip the tool and let it sit. A think it is a little expensive maybe $25 for a pint or so. But if you have a lot of tools to coat it may be worth a try.

    Irvin
     
    #27
  28. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    DD, thanks for your input. The cam pliers are exactly as you describe. "Hard rubber coating", jaws are serrated, but not too severe. As you state>>>>> nice texture to them, where they don't kill the string, and they work beautifully. Very, very happy with those. Like you, I've never liked the parallel pliers. Although they are extremely powerful, they are just way too strong and the texture on the mouth of the jaws are too abrasive IMO. Still, a nice tool to have. If I ever get rid of the cam's>> you'll be the first to know. However, you'll most likely have to take the whole tool kit, as I feel it would be a pity to separate all the tools. :)
     
    #28
  29. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If it were up to me I would not use those cam action pliers. I think they will allow you to pull a lot more tension that you think you are pulling and it would be easy to break the string tying the knot especially with got or multi-filament strings. But I have to admit they do give you a good grip and allow you to rock the string tighter and will not mar the frame as easily.

    Eagnas makes these pliers too if anyone is interested.

    Irvin
     
    #29
  30. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^^I actually like the tool. Comes in very handy when tying off the last main, but agree, one has to be careful, because as you said>> it does put a lot more pull on the string then one might think.
     
    #30
  31. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Folks, I'm pretty sure the cam pliers were most handy when 'patching' a broken string...you could grab enough string to tension it with the cam pliers when you couldn't reach the pull on your machine(or in an emergency, you could patch WITHOUT a machine). This was popular when not everyone had a 'bridging starting clamp' to use in this process. Also, came in handy when sets of string were pre-cut at very conservative lengths(like 33' or 22' x 11' for wood rackets) and you didn't end up with an extra foot or two at the end of the mains or crosses.

    I still have my tool kit, purchased in 1984(with the BMW logo). Never cared for the parallel pliers, have used the starting clamp for all these years. Beautiful awls were long ago broken...setting off awl is still around...saw a little use in the Pro Blend days. My second plastic box had emery cloth squares included...NOT to be used for 'cleaning' clamps according to one of the BMW gurus of the day.

    Irvin mentioned a 'coating' for the handles. PLASTI-COAT is one brand...about $10 retail for a smallish can...just dip the tool handle in and find a place to hang it until it dries. I've seen white,yellow, black, blue and red so you can personalize your tools. They also make a spray that is great on wicker furniture that needs to flex a little...slightly tacky finish.

    The grommet grinder was ahead of its time...you could also 'rotate' an individual grommet back when they were so popular(Yonex, early Graphite Edge, various early Prince composites, et al). The long taper made it easy to adapt to various sizes of grommets.
    Ah, the good old days!!!
     
    #31
  32. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    coachrick, thanks for your post.

    Does your set have the starting clamp without the eyelets or with them????

    Also, the grommet grinder you speak of,,,,,,,,,,,,which tool in the set are you referring to??? Is it the awl with the beveled edges?? The one in my set with the BMW logo???

    Last question. My set has one plastic box (the other is missing). The plastic box I have, has the metal wire for the pull along. What does the second plastic box contain???

    Also, could you email me privately?? drakulie@aol.com.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
    #32
  33. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Thanks, Irvin!!!

    Wanted to just send a special thanks to, Irvin. He was generous enough to mail me some pages from his stringers digest where the article focuses on this tool kit.


    Thanks!!!! Much, MUCH appreciate your generosity!
     
    #33
  34. Buckeye10s

    Buckeye10s Banned

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    This is quite possibly the biggest stringing geek thread of all time...

    I love it! 33+ posts on not stringing, not machines, but tools! It almost brings a tear to my eyes...

    Great find Drak!
     
    #34
  35. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    ^^Buckeye, great way to define this thread. We are truly geeks.

    Absoluetly loving the set! The starting clamp and cam action are both awesome. Both work very, VERY well.
     
    #35
  36. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Blue babolat tool kit

    Even though I don't need it, I met an ex professional stringer who is no longer in the business, and sold me for a great price the following set. It was too good of an offer to pass up. It was really cool talking to him, and hearing his "war stories" from the stringing rooms, and some of the tips he provided. One neat thing, is the Starting clamp on the tool kit. From the pictures, you could see he placed an extra spring on them to make the holding power on them that much better. He informed me he learned this from some of the other stringers. The tools are in excellent condition, and really only need some slight cleaning, and a bit of rust removal from the springs on the starting clamps. The kit includes 2 starting clamps, cam action clamp, diagonal cutters, bent nose pliers, 2 long awls, blunt awl, and string bed cutters.

    Enjoy:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #36
  37. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Starting clamp:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Cam Action Clamp:

    [​IMG]
     
    #37
  38. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    String Bed Cutter:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    #38
  39. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Diagonal Cutters and bent Nose Pliers:

    [​IMG]
     
    #39
  40. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    4 different starting clamps:

    [​IMG]
     
    #40
  41. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    red and blue cam action clamps:

    [​IMG]

    In this photo, note the inner jaws of the clamps. the red ones (pictured on the left) have grooves to assist in gripping the string, where as the newer blue ones appear to be diamond coated:

    [​IMG]
     
    #41
  42. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Tool box:

    Tool Box of red tools on left, blue on right.

    [​IMG]
     
    #42
  43. Il Mostro

    Il Mostro Banned

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    If I get a woodie looking at that tool set, does this make me some sort of deviant, or just over stimulated? :)
     
    #43
  44. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Don't worry, we are both guilty! :evil:
     
    #44
  45. Richie Rich

    Richie Rich Legend

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    you guys need help, of the female kind :mrgreen:
     
    #45
  46. zidane339

    zidane339 Hall of Fame

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    Haha, too funny! Great pics Drak, I remember when you first got your Neos stringer, look what has gotten into you now!
     
    #46
  47. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Haha. Yeah, I was looking for a stringer (babolat) and am still looking, but when I came across the neos, I couldn't let it go for the amount they guy was asking and considering the condition it's in. It's already paid itself off several times over, and still going in the few months I've had it. When I do find the babolat star 4, I'm going to keep it as a back up. I actually learned to string on a similar machine in the late 80's, although can't recall if it was a H model, or some other brand. As for the tools, I just got lucky. I already had the VS red clamps, and other tools, but finding both tool kits has been fairly amazing, and overkill, but again>> couldn't pass them up for the price I got them for. Glad you enjoyed the photos.
     
    #47
  48. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Those blue stringbed cutters look excellent. Now that you have 2 CAM pliers...
    *Cough* ;)
     
    #48
  49. YULitle

    YULitle Hall of Fame

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    Just further proof that non-serrated pliers are the way to go.

    These look great Dark and I am intensely jealous. :D
     
    #49
  50. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    They are very good, and have some good weight behind them. I've used these before in a friends shop, and they cut very well. Very comfortable, and being they are are built like tanks, they cut well. However, for the price (I believe they are about $70.00 if you buy them from babolat), I'd go with Fiscars, which cut, IMO better, and only cost about 10 bucks. I still use my Fiscars.

    email sent.
     
    #50

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