Stringing for (Potential) Beginner

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by TimothyO, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I haven't even bought a machine yet and I'm not convinced that I will. But it has been suggested that I do so since we now have four people in our family who play tennis. My wife and I are also particular about our stringing and our favorite local shop charges $25 per job.

    So...

    1. I'm very handy with tools and home projects, technical stuff, arts/crafts, etc., so I'm pretty sure I can handle do this. But how long does it take to get good enough to do something like a gut/poly hybrid well?

    2. Assuming I proceed with this, what sort of machine do I need for low volume stringing for myself, my wife, and my kids? I'm most interested in quality over speed and saving money by taking a DIY approach. This isn't a business venture where speed matters. What's the least expensive machine I can buy and still produce a good job for our family?

    3. What's the best way to learn how to string? Are there classes one can take? Talk to a stringer I respect and get lessons from him? YouTube? :) (just kidding about YouTube).

    4. Besides the machine what other tools and materials are required? Are they included with the machine or purchased seperately?
     
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  2. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    Tons and tons of threads on this man.

    I can help you out though if you give me a budget.

    Also start watching yulitle videos on youtube..it may not make much sense though until you actually have a machine..it seems more complex than it is, and you will have a learning curve that slopes down rather fast once you have done around 10 racquets.

    You definitely must get a starting clamp.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
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  3. esgee48

    esgee48 Hall of Fame

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    1. Less than 5 racquets. The first is always the hardest, then the time goes down almost exponentially to around 35-50 min.

    2. For low numbers, a good dropweight from Klippermate, Gamma or Swingway. Klippermate does not have a racchet. Gamma does and SW is really the best though it is also the most expensive.

    3. Read the sticky, ask forum members if you encounter problems.

    4. Maybe a starting clamp. Everything else comes as part of machine if purchased new.

    Note: If you like a particular string, buy them in reels. Packs are for one offs or experiments.
    Note2: Gut should be done slow and carefully, so your time may not be in the 30's.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    Check the sticky at the top of the forum. There are many good videos (e.g. YULitle videos) and links to good threads.

    1. IMO you can be stringing quality jobs right from the start with even low budget stringers (gamma, alpha, or klippermate). IMO, the biggest learning curve is weaving crosses which just takes practice to get faster. There are also some tricks (Irwin's bead and rope tricks) to make this process faster. Learning to tie good knots also takes a bit of practice particularly the Parnell and feeding string though blocked holes used to give me fits but the more you string, the less those things are problems.

    2. You can do a good job with the low end, but well-made stringers. I think the quality of the job has a lot more to do with the skill of the person than the price of the machine. That said, I enjoy stringing about 100 times more on my Neos than I did on my Klippermate. However that is more a reflection of the ease of use of the Neos rather than a criticism of the Klippermate. I recommend getting the best machine you can afford and since quality built machines hold up well, you might look around in the used market.

    3. I have no idea what the best way is however like I said I think there are a ton of good videos online as well as posts on this forum and other places like stringforum.net. I also used the Klippermate instructions which are good for a beginner, imo.

    4. I agree with esgee about the starting clamp although I strung with my Klippermate for over 5 years without one so it isn't absolutely essential. Most machines you buy new come with what ever tools you'll need like an awl, needle nose pliers, and some type of string cutter. You can pick up additional tools like my industrial strength string bed cutter (awesome) or a starting clamp as you go.

    The great thing imo about stringing yourself besides the cost savings is the ability to experiment with different strings or hybrid combinations.
     
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  5. tennis_ocd

    tennis_ocd Hall of Fame

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    I went out and got one from: http://www.eagnas.com/

    Done about 20 racquets (including the pia eox3 several times. seriously? - I'd have never purchased the stick if I'd known it'd be a minor hassle.)

    Youtube videos were great; as was watching a couple stringing jobs from the club expert. There is always the nagging question as to whether I'm repeatedly doing something wrong without knowing it.

    I wouldn't go in with the idea of saving/making money. But it can be a relaxing hour and your racquet is finished the day you want it. And you can play around with different set-ups although I don't feel I'm at the level to really appreciate the differences. It is amusing to play with others that are light years better/more experienced and realize they have no idea as to what strings they have or at what tension.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I am a 51 year old who got a Klippermate when I was 31. I've used the same machine for over 20 years now. My wife and I both played all of that time. Since then, both of my kids played. My son is a high school player on a highly ranked team in our state.

    I've strung all of our racquets for all of those years. While I've occasionally thought about upgrading, it's never really made sense when it comes down to it. KM says that it's all you need if you're not stringing several racquets a day. They're really right.

    You can get really proficient fairly quickly. Under an hour within a few frames and eventually under 30 minutes pretty easily. I've done 22 minutes. Polys and gut slow things down a bit but you can do it just fine.

    I've strung for friends at times and made some money. My son does racquets for his friends now. Most people don't know or care what kind of stringer you have. I've never damaged anyone's racquet.

    I am a believer in the Klippermate. Personally, I think the cam gripper on the KM is easier than a ratchet but that's just me. I've tried both and can manipulate the cam much more quickly.

    IMO, take a leap. Don't necessarily let people talk you into more than you need. For what you're planning to do, a base level machine will do just fine. My Klipper has strung several hundred racquets; I'd guess close to 1000. It's still going strong; two racquets last night--all the original parts, clamps, and everything. Go for it.
     
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  7. thomas_kim

    thomas_kim New User

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    Hey guys, sorry to somewhat jack this thread, but I'm also somebody who looks to string in the future, but I don't know what machine to buy. My budget is around 100-300$, so could one of you guys recommend me a good machine in that price range?
     
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  8. nalvarado

    nalvarado Semi-Pro

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    Progression II.
     
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  9. FLYTYER1964

    FLYTYER1964 Guest

    My Gamma Progression II has worked great I string for some HS Kids and it has worked fine. It was around $350 from TW. The next thing I am getting is a starting clamp it will make life easier.
     
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  10. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    I went with the $160 Gamma because the Klippermate doesn't have a ratchet. The ratchet makes it easy to get the dropweight angle at 90 degrees, so very glad I spent the extra 10 bucks.

    I think I was stringing quality jobs within 2 or 3 racquets. I'm still terribly slow, but I relax and take my time and don't worry about speed. I've actually noticed that my stringjobs hold tension much better than the ones I used to pay for (I think it's because I'm patient enough to do 10-second pulls on the poly to stretch/creep out the kinks).

    My gamma came with all the tools I needed. The string-hole hollow awl gismo works great.
     
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  11. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    That would be the pathfinder awl. They are also easy to break.
     
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  12. mixedmedia

    mixedmedia Professional

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    Definitely check out the sticky and all the relevant links in it. And I'd suggest looking at the threads I've started in this section, as I was in a somewhat similar position. Then you'll have a lot better idea of what's going on. And I assume it's GG stringing for you?
     
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  13. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Do be careful with these. Having gotten more experience, I have not ever had to use an awl of any kind when string is already in the racquet. The pathfinder, as Irvin said, is very easy to bend and break.
     
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  14. Wikky

    Wikky Rookie

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    I have to agree, once you have done enough racquets you learn to look ahead and find ways around string without using an awl. They're still handy to have on holes that can be double blocked like a blade 93, but most of the time you can get away with cutting the string on an angle and using a pair of pliers to get it through.
     
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  15. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Written by yours truly. :)

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=416197
     
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  16. Wikky

    Wikky Rookie

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    Haha.... I remember mentioning the same racquet in that thread. I will never stop complaining about stringing that stick as my first racquet. took me half an hour to do the last cross.
     
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  17. COPEY

    COPEY Hall of Fame

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    Two approaches that represent opposite ends of the spectrum with respect to one's reasons for buying a stringing machine. It's not a question of right or wrong advice; it's a matter of figuring out what features you value most based on your current workload or how many racquets you expect to be stringing in the future. Read as much about different types of machines and their features as possible, then purchase one that suites your needs/wants.

    Just about two years ago I purchased a machine, and my line of thinking was comparable to Beernutz's rationale. I have an Apex 2 with a Wise 2086. It allows me to string with comfort and the features make it enjoyable to string. I do string for quite a few high school kids and people who play indoors at the nearby Air Force base, so I went with a machine I felt was sufficient for how much stringing I'd be doing. I'm fortunate enough in that I could definitely afford a more elaborate machine, but I couldn't justify it based on the number of racquets I string. Instead, I put the money into finishing off a room in my basement and making it into a nice stringing area. You may decide that all you truly need is a KM like jgrushing and many others, but after much research, you opt for a Star 5 because regardless of the limited number of frames you'll be stringing, you want it to be an enjoyable and comfortable experience. Some would say it's overkill, but if you can afford it, why not! I always tell people any machine is better than no machine, so do your research and pull the trigger on whatever works for you.

    As for learning on youtube, it's how many people do it (me included), and I consider myself to be pretty good. On top of that, guys like diredesire, drakulie, jim e, Irvin, and a number of others provide extremely good info and tips in various posts. If you have a knowledgeable stringer who's willing to teach you, even better. Still, watching videos by Yulitle, Irvin, and Drak will supplement/reinforce what you already know.

    Good luck with your decision!
     
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  18. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    I've now taken the plunge and bought an X-6 -- I wanted a 6 point mount for the option of restringing my crosses. It'll arrive late next week and I can't wait.

    Worst case scenario, I reckon I'll recover my costs in 2 1/2 years. But since you're stringing for 4, you'll probably break even in less than a few months.

    So lately I've been watching every youtube video I can in anticipation. I plan on starting with an old frame first so I can get a couple of stringjobs under my belt first with the complimentary strings. Before proceeding to string up my backup racket . . . and then on to the natty gut mains in my MGPMs!

    I fully expect that I'll stumble along at first, make a ton of rookie mistakes, and I'll probably never be half the craftsman that some stringers are. But I also fully expect it to be fun, enjoyable and challenging too.

    As for the least expensive quality machine, that seems to be the 2-pt mount Gamma dropweights (TW carries the red version, and some of their competitors sell the blue one). In particular, the blue x-2 seems to have a pretty good showing on youtube videos. Like travlerajm said, its ratchet sure appears to be a valuable feature to have. The question you'll have to ask yourself is whether you want a 2-pt or a 6-pt mount. Basically, if I hadn't wanted the option of restringing crosses, I would have gone 2-pt.

    Anyway, having seen and read how into strings you are, I think you'd probably really enjoy stringing for yourself. Or teaching your kids to do it for you :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012
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  19. DUO

    DUO New User

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    The first thing I would tell you is watch out when weaving the crosses, perhaps you should look at one of Irvin's video using bead for weaving crosses if you haven't done so yet. Another would be get the hang of learning about knots
    http://www.keohi.com/tennis/misc/knots.htm
     
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  20. Smasher08

    Smasher08 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for sharing -- really helpful!

    The X-6 arrived, and I did 3 stringjobs yesterday. Hoo-boy, mistakes galore!! Misweaves, string slippage from too loose clamps, struggles getting my knots right, etc :D

    Fortunately by the 3rd one, I was starting to get the hang of it, although I'm still far from being decent at tying the knots. I don't have a starting clamp, and right now I think I should definitely order one since the grip my needlenose pliars are giving me is merely ok.

    I'm definitely glad I got a 6-point mount since just cutting strings out shows the distortion that a racket head can undergo. I can also see the value of having fixed clamps, but flying ones still seem good enough to me for infrequent home stringing.

    The first stringjob took nearly 2 hours, mostly for the crosses. But by the 3rd, I was doing mains in 20 mins or so, and the crosses in around 40.

    The first of my trial sets was done with the cheapest complimentary string that it came with. So I've decided to hit with it for 5-10 mins just for the hell of it, and then it'll be cut out for a few more trial stringings.

    The one thing I didn't expect is how much I'd enjoy stringing.
     
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