Water and gut...what happens?

Discussion in 'Strings' started by Redflea, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    3,852
    My son asked me a simple question today and I was surprised that I actually don't know the answer to it...

    I've recently switched to gut, and have mentioned to my kids that I have to be careful about playing when it's wet out, as water is bad for gut strings. My son asked me what would happen if the strings got wet, and how the damage would appear, etc.

    I've only been using gut for a short while, only used it briefly when I was a kid, and never got it wet, so I quickly realized I have no idea specifically how water/moisture affects gut, how the strings react, and how it affects playability.

    So my son and I can be educated, can someone lay it out for us?

    - What happens to gut strings when they get too much moisture on them? I.e., how do they react, what does water damaged gut look/feel like (does it get slimy or ?), and how does it affect playability?

    Thanks!
     
    #1
  2. Court_Jester

    Court_Jester Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,094
    This is from the Natural Gut 101 article from TW:

    Back in the day, getting natural gut wet could mean ruining a good string job. This was a bigger concern for players living in areas with a humid climate, where moisture in the air could penetrate the string and adversely affect its playability. However, today's natural gut strings are coated with a protective layer to prevent water and weather damage.

    Even players who are hard on their strings can prolong the life of natural gut to get good value from the string. Several manufacturers recommend players in humid climates apply wax to their strings between usage. As well as keeping moisture out, cleaning the strings down with a cloth and rubbing wax on the stringbed prolongs string life by reducing friction and notching between strings. During play on clay, and even hard courts, dirt and grit lodged between the strings can increase friction. Friction creates notches on the surface of the string, leading to premature breakage. A little care taken to keep the strings waxed-up and grit free will lead to a much longer string life.

    Natural gut manufacturers continue to improve their production processes in an effort to increase durability. For instance, Babolat currently uses a high-temperature finishing process in its Thermogut line of strings. The Thermogut treatment is designed to increase the cohesion of the string's fibers all the way down to the core.

    In the notched areas of the gut strings, moisture can get in, thereby hydrating the gut fibers. When this happens, the string starts swelling up as well as softening and fibers loosening. These softened areas then become very susceptible to breaking.
     
    #2
  3. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,539
    Location:
    ATL
    simply stated the string brakes.

    when you take your racquet out of the bag you will find the string broken/snapped.

    I accidentally and unknowingly had a wet wristband fall in the racquet side of my tennis bag....the next time I went to play, when I took my racquet out of my tennis bag I had found that one of the main strings was snapped while in my bag......
     
    #3
  4. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,993
    Location:
    Western MA
    Clip off a tiny piece from the tail where the knot is tied. Put it in a glass of water for 10 or so minutes. Basically, all the individual fibers separate and swell up.
     
    #4
  5. Redflea

    Redflea Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    3,852
    Thanks for the feedback and the idea for the experiment... I have a reel of gut laying around, when I string it up I'll drop a 6" piece of the leftover in a cup of water for my kids. :)
     
    #5
  6. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    7,266
    Older gut would get a little brittle. It didn't really show up in how it played, but how quickly it frayed. I saw a guy pour a can of Coke on his gut strings once, and other than being sticky for a while, he never noticed that they did anything different. It's not like the gut in your body isn't exposed to a little water.
     
    #6
  7. acetennisman

    acetennisman Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    156
    you sick people are so rich you can talk about taking your reels of gut and ruining them. hah :-D

    And obviously humidity exists everywhere for the most part on earth
     
    #7
  8. psp2

    psp2 Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,102
    Reel of natural gut doesn't exist.
     
    #8
  9. Court_Jester

    Court_Jester Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,094
    I'm sure he meant a set of nat gut.
     
    #9
  10. aroddick

    aroddick Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Messages:
    167
    i am sure you can find a scientific article by searching google.

    >>>>>> I would call the customer service of the string. <<<<<<<<
     
    #10
  11. aroddick

    aroddick Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Messages:
    167
    just get a thing called

    babolat thermogut. Its like $9.00 but it works well with gut.
     
    #11
  12. rich s

    rich s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,539
    Location:
    ATL
    I tried it.

    The interesting part was that the fibers didn't seem any less strong while they were wet, however, when they were left to dry is when they became brittle.
     
    #12

Share This Page