Starting Crosses with knot or starting clamp?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by JackB1, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    What are the benefits of one method over the other?

    I do have a starting clamp, but it seems easier to just tie a knot and go, rather that clamp it and then come back 3,4 strings later and tie it off.

    What would be the advantage of using a starting clamp to start the crosses
    with?

    If you do use a starting clamp, how many do you string before you go back and tie off the first cross? Would you then use just a normal "tie off" knot, like a double half hitch or parnell knot or do u still use a "bulky knot"?
     
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  2. sstchur

    sstchur Hall of Fame

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    When tying off, use your favorite tie-off knot, be it double half hitch or parnell or whatever. Bulky would be overkill I think, and defeat (at least one of) the point(s) of using the starting clamp method in the first place.

    As for advantages, a local MRT in my area told me that those bulky knots can be pulled into the grommet when you first pull tension which can be somewhat stressful for the frame. He claims (and I don't know the validity of this claim) that in some situations, such stress from a bulky knot can actually create a weak spot in the frame such that just scraping it on the court when going for a low volley could cause it to crack.

    Is that true? I don't know. Is it likely even if it is true? Probably not.

    I still use this method because I prefer having all the same kind of not, and it does indeed seem to be less stressful for the grommet.

    As for how many you do before you go back, I don't know that it matters too much. Three or four or five or whatever floats your boat (but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong on this point, and there is indeed a magic number of crosses you should do.)
     
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  3. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

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    I recently restrung a racket that was purchased from an Online store (not TW), it was strung by the retailer. After removing the old string I noticed the tie-off grommet was pushed in so far that the outside of the head guard buldged out. My only conclusion is that a bulky/starting knot was used and pushed the grommet into the frame.

    My only recourse since the grommet was flaired was to tube it and use the other side to tie off. I told my client about the problem and suggested he call the store to send him a new grommet set, which they promptly did. He should of asked for a set of string as well, but maybe that was pushing it.

    I personally don't like using a starting knot or a bulky knot just for that same reason I described. I'd rather use a starting clamp, instead.

    As for how many crosses before tying off the start, 5 or more is recomended. Sometimes I forget and finish the last cross and tie off before tying off the start.
     
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  4. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I also use a starting clamp to start my crosses, so all knots are the same,and you would not be tying off on a main string and pulling tension against it, and when using thin gut or other 'fragile' multifilament strings, and especially at higher tensions, it is not uncommon to snap that first cross string right at the knot or at the two sharp turns the string makes, With using a starting clamp, you do not pull tension against these turns. The USRSA stated at a stringers symposium that they will be updating their recommended procedure, for using the starting clamp use to start crosses.

    I get rid of the starting clamp usually right in the beginning.
    I clamp the end with the starting clamp outside the frame, then clamp the far end as usual(fixed clamps), then clamp the near end and get rid of the starting clamp and tie off right in the beginning, just so no accidents occur to knock off the starting clamp.(Obviously I wait till a few crosses are placed on racquets that tie off on crosses like the pure storm which is tied to the 3rd cross),I actually see no benefit to waiting till later, but I'm sure its a matter of preference like many other issues. ( Since that beginning cross string is now a tie off I also up the tension like I usually do for tie offs, but thats another issue) .
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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  5. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    Starting clamp. All knots are equal and less pressure on the mains when making the first pull (much as the others have said).
     
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  6. schap02

    schap02 Semi-Pro

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    I string a variety of racquets for clients - some outdated and older frames that it's either impossible to find grommets or way way too expensive to replace existing grommet sets....that being said I have found that usins a starting clamp increases the life of the upper grommets where a tie off knot would usualy be placed. I think it's entirely up to the stringer when to remove the starting clamp, for me it usually depends on the frame and how quickly I am weaving crosses, usually the 5th or 6th cross for me is when I remove the starting clamp, on my own racquets I string the entire frame before removing the starting clamp and tying off just because my frames are 18x20 and I usually get in such a groove weaving that I don't want to stop...but for customers frames it's usually the 5th or 6th cross.

    Just my opinion here...
     
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  7. JackB1

    JackB1 G.O.A.T.

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    great answers guys....I now see the benefits of using the starting clamp instead of the bulky knot.

    In watching Yulittle video on this, he does 5 crosses and makes a point of showing that you want to have 1 flying clamp in the diagnolly opposite spot of the starting clamp, before you remove the starting clamp and tie off.
    After you tension the starting cross, you take off the starting clamp and then move that diagonal flying clamp to clamp it just inside the frame of that first cross and then you tie your knot.

    Only reason I could see for using the "bulky knot" method would be that you think you might come up short on string length and you want to use as little string as possible.
     
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  8. Marc C.

    Marc C. Rookie

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    Starting knots are ugly and don't always hold up to the first pull. Make your string job look like that of a professional by using a starting clamp and tying your regular knot.

    As for when to go back to remove the clamp and tie off. My former boss and stringing mentor would always finish weaving the crosses before he would go back and tie off. I always find this risky as the string can get caught around the clamp and pull it off if you are not careful.

    A quick tip on using the starting clamp. If you want it to have incredible grip on the string (without causing damage) and no slippage: Just cut a piece of sand paper and fold it over the string right where you will be placing the starting clamp and the string won't move at all.
     
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  9. Lambsscroll

    Lambsscroll Professional

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    A knot and go if your stringing for yourself. If your tension is really really high and the knot breaks then use a starting clamp next time.
     
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  10. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    With a neos or similar this is more or less your only option as you only have one glidebar on the table for crosses, unless you have a couple of starting clamps or a spare flying clamp you'll have to go to the finish before coming back to tie off
     
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  11. Sweet-Spot

    Sweet-Spot Rookie

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    Thanks guys. I couldn't figure out what would be the benefits as blindingly obvious as I have laways used a starting know but these arguments make logical sense.

    I also was watching the pro stringing rooms at a tournament and they all use starting clamps for the crosses. So from here on in.... I'm converted.
     
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  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I string for myself and either way works. I bought a starting clamp a few years ago. After that, I never went back to a bulky knot. Yes they both work, but it seems like a cleaner string job with a smaller knot everywhere. So I go 5 strings and then clamp at the top cross. Then I just tie my normal tie-off knot and I'm done.
     
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  13. ricardo

    ricardo Professional

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    I use starting clamp..

    I use starting clamp to start crosses in the middle of the racket head.

    I do hybrid stringing:
    Mains = Natural gut
    Crosses = Multi/Synthetic.

    I string the crosses this way because of the following benefits:
    1. Reduce string friction while weaving
    2. Faster weaving because you are only weaving 10 ft instead of 20 ft.
     
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  14. uk_skippy

    uk_skippy Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, Same here.

    You don't need too much string for a Pro knot. If you have enough string just to reach the tension head, you'll have plenty for a pro knot.

    The top cross is the last tie-off I do as I leave the clamp on until I've finished the crosses. You can always loop the tail within itself and the place within the handle of the clamp. It's tidy and out the way.

    Regards

    Paul
     
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  15. Sweet-Spot

    Sweet-Spot Rookie

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    Hi Paul
    Is this just a personal preference or is there a reason for this as opposed to tieing it off after 5 or so mains?

    I'm trying to modify my stringing habits based on best practise and scientific reasons behind certain things.

    I have alot of bad habits :)
     
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  16. ced

    ced Semi-Pro

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    Do you go from the center up and tie, then the bottom down and tie , or do you alternate top and bottom strings 1 ahead (as most people do mains) ? Also how many pulls on your two center strings ?
     
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  17. ricardo

    ricardo Professional

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    I do it in the following sequence.
    1. From the center I go up and tie.
    2. From the center I go down and tie.

    Two center strings
    I clamp the two center strings using a floating clamp.
    I pull the bottom center string and hold it outside the edge of the racket with a starting clamp. I then pull and weave the top center string all the way to the top and tie-off. I then pull the bottom center string and remove the starting clamp and continue pulling and weaving to the bottom and then tie off.
     
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  18. tball

    tball Semi-Pro

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    I've split quite a few grommets using the starting knot. Since I switched to clamp & regular knot, I have not had that problem ever again.
     
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  19. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

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    I like using a starting clamp, then tying a pro knot. A good thing about the starting clamp technique vs. the starting knot is that unlike starting knots, the starting clamp method does not mushroom the grommet hole.
     
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  20. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    i tend to use the starting knot. havent really had issues.
     
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  21. Virtua Tennis

    Virtua Tennis Semi-Pro

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    Do your starting knot then take it off and see if you did any damage to the anchor string. You may decide it's better off to use a starting clamp.
     
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  22. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

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    It's just everyone's personal preference.
     
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  23. Rjtennis

    Rjtennis Hall of Fame

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    I'm a big fan of using a starting clamp. It only takes a few more seconds and puts less stress on the grommets and frame.
     
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  24. Squidward

    Squidward Rookie

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    Starting clamp for me. It just makes it easier and more tidy of a job.
     
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  25. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I prefer the starting clamp because the knot is smaller and not pulled into the center of the grommet.
     
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  26. uk_skippy

    uk_skippy Hall of Fame

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    Hi

    It is my personal preference. Once I get started doing the crosses I want to finish them, not go back to tie-off half way thru them.

    Regards

    Paul
     
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  27. BigT

    BigT Professional

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    In my 20 years of stringing, I have only used a starting clamp.
     
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  28. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Is there a preferred video on how to use a starting clamp? I have one but sort of followed the Klippermate instructions which used a starting knot
     
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  29. Sweet-Spot

    Sweet-Spot Rookie

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    how do we embed videos in posts here? I've seen a few good ones on YT
     
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  30. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    You can't embed videos, but you can post the url to videos.
     
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  31. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    Edit: I didn't really touch on the OP, as it's been answered pretty darn well. The one thing that isn't ideal about the starting clamp method is that you are guaranteed 'knot' tension loss if you use a starting clamp. This isn't necessarily the case with a starting knot (as you've got an anchor with no outside-the-frame loss. I think regardless of whether or not you end up using the starting clamp, you should at least know how to tie a proper starting knot. This means a knot that prevents anchor string crushing AND is big enough not to get sucked into a well-worn grommet. This may mean a standard starting knot sitting on top of a piece of scrap string (more commonly known as a 'deadman's knot,' although to my understanding, a true deadman's knot is a double half hitch with scrap string inserted under it (which isn't recommended, IMHO).

    Even with the caveat of knot tension loss, I find the starting clamp method wildly preferable. It looks cleaner and is less stressful on the grommet. No personal opinion on whether or not it's actually less stressful on the frame itself. If you're tying good/proper starting knots, you shouldn't have too much trouble with sucked-in-knots.

    I do it identically, for reasons elaborated upon below:

    My reasoning (beyond "personal preference"): I try to "shift gears" as little as possible in my process, this is also the main reason why I pre-lace mains (which makes it really hard to watch me string, since there's string everywhere in the frame, sorry..). What I mean by "shift gears" is switching between one task and doing another. When you are stringing the crosses, you're doing two things: Weave, then tension/clamp. You get into a 'rhythm' doing things, and disrupting this to back-up and tie off the top is pointless if you trust in your starting clamp. In reality, tying off 3-5 crosses in versus at the very end of the job yields NO benefit besides maybe getting the starting clamp out of the way. I've never personally found a starting clamp movement-prohibitive, so I always leave it on. I also like to keep my starter handle up, not sure if that'll make a difference in the discussion.

    My reasoning behind pre-lacing is that I've already got the string end in my hand, why not lace as many mains as possible (don't even need to rotate the racquet to do this!), and then you can let go of the string (and prevent an added string-end search). This is the mantra of "eliminating wasted movements/processes" in your process. That's my 'logical' reasoning to what Paul is describing as 'personal preference.' I have a suspicion Paul's "personal preference" is something like: do things this way because they simply make sense. In anything you do out of habit, you should occasionally ask yourself "why exactly am I doing things this way? Is this really the best way?" Habits are hard to break, but you can always improve on things you're doing if you think about it critically. IMHO.

    IIRC, zap doesn't have a starting clamp, at least at work -- which might explain his preference.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
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  32. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

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    I actually prefer text descriptions over videos, as videos usually take way, waaaay too long to get the point across (if you know exactly what you want out of the video, at least). Then again, I'm probably one of the most needlessly wordy people in this sub-forum, so take that FWIW :)

    My process:

    A) Weave the second cross. Pull some slack. [I like to keep my second cross in a 'V' shape before the next step]
    B) Weave the top cross, make sure your string tail is long enough to reach the tensioner. [If not, there's some low-friction slack in a 'V' from above].
    C) Set your starting clamp butting up against the frame.
    D) Ensure the "loop" between cross 1 and cross 2 is long enough to reach your tensioner (with a tiny bit of slack to actually tension).
    E) You're done -- and you're already one string ahead. Proceed as usual until crosses are done.
    F) Return to the top and re-tension Cross 1.
    G) Clamp and tie off.

    FAQ:
    Q: "Why are you stringing the second cross first, DD?"
    A: This minimizes the amount of string pulled through the crosses. If you string the top cross first, and then proceed as normal, you have to weave the top cross with a very short length of string, and then weave the second cross, and then pull ALLLLLLL of the string through the mains. This isn't friendly to the string, and it's a waste of time. Use the slightly-less-short length of string to string the second AND top cross.

    Q: "Why don't you remove the starting clamp earlier?"
    A: See above post. If you are clumsy, feel free to tie off the top cross as soon as it's convenient. (To be fair, this really is a 'style' question).
     
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  33. v-verb

    v-verb Hall of Fame

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    Thanks diredesire - I'll give that a try!
     
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  34. db10s

    db10s Hall of Fame

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    I sometimes use a starting clamp, but not usually. I don't use a bulky knot either... Nothing has ever happened...
     
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  35. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I do the following:

    1. Weave the 2nd cross first, then weave the 1st top cross.

    2. Use machines fixed clamp to clamp the 2nd cross farthest from the tension head.Optional if you want to back this up with starting clamp on outside 2nd cross near tension head.

    3. Tension 1st top cross, clamp with other machines fixed clamp, and tie off with finishing knot.

    4. Weave one ahead, tension 2nd cross, continue as normal.

    No starting clamp needed (unless you wish to back up the anchor clamp on
    1st pull) , and finishing knot can be done.

    This technique I sent to USRSA couple years ago and it was published in their RSI magazine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  36. hyperion99

    hyperion99 Semi-Pro

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    Could you use the starting clamp instead of a knot on a glide bar stringer?
    Or do you need and extra starting clamp?

    Thanks
     
    #36
  37. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    You can use a starting clamp instead of a knot on any type of stringer.
     
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