What to do if the guiding awl is broken?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by tennis4, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    A friend of mine just bought an used stringing machine (drop weight) and it doesn't come with the guiding awl. Before I tell him to get one, is this guiding awl a needed tool?

    I have one so I don't know what to do without it.
     
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  2. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I seldom use mine but it is a nice tool to have assuming you are referring to a Pathfinder Awl. They do break easily if not used with TLC. I insert my awl where I know I am going to need it before the hole is blocked.

    For instance when stringing Prince frames the mains will tie off at 8H most of the time and that hole can be hard to get a soft string in. So before I pull tension on the 7th mains I insert the awl from the inside out. Then after stringing the 8th main I insert the tag end in the awl and pull it through. If stringing one piece I will use the long side to run in the top two cross before stringing the 6th, 7th, & 8th mains so I don't have any problems with blocked holes.
     
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  3. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    I wouldn't have your friend spend the money. I never use mine, and they break really easily. Most of the time if you're having trouble getting the string through a grommet, you can just slice the tip of the string at a sharp angle so that it goes through more easily.
     
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  4. SonRK

    SonRK Rookie

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    $25 is absolutely ridiculous for that piece of equipment. It had its place when I was a huge novice, but you can easily clip the string really skinny with a pair of nail clippers, and push it through anything.

    Not generally worth it, especially if you constantly work with skinny (17g) strings
     
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  5. loosegroove

    loosegroove Professional

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    Actually you should try the method of cutting the string at a sharp angle. It's much easier in my opinion than dealing with the awl. It should be noted that in tough spots, it's easier to push the string through using needle nose pliers instead of your fingers.
     
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  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Like others have said, it is kind of a beginner's tool. I used it a bit when I first started stringing then bent mine and have not used or needed one since.
     
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  7. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    You should never need the pathfinder. If you know in advance that you may have a shared or blocked hole, just insert a small piece of scrap string in that hole as a placeholder. If you didn't do that, making a "string awl" (as suggested by loosegroove) works just fine (and in my view, is far more preferable than using any kind of tool that could damage the string or the grommet hole). Any string should work but you will find that stiffer strings generally make better string awls. Good luck.
     
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  8. djNEiGht

    djNEiGht Professional

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    coat the sharp string tip with some chapstick for shared/blocked holes.
     
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  9. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    ^^^Another good tip (no pun intended) or you can just use wax. I tend to do this only after an unsuccessful attempt with a non-coated string awl.
     
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  10. tennis4

    tennis4 Rookie

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    lol, I will not push my friend to get one, in fact, I will try to use some of the tricks next time.

    I kind of feel there must be a way to get through those blocked hole without having to use the pathfinder awl.
     
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  11. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    There is, if your using Poly (especially thin gauge) it is just as good as awl. If your using some really soft string like 16 gauge Kevlar you're in trouble? I just strung two Wilson tour 90 with 16 gauge NXT. There isn't too much of a problem until you get to the bottom cross in 7T. Both sides are blocked by two strings as you tie the mains at 6T. What do you do? The easiest thing to do is avoid the blocked holes. Use a universal ATW and run in the bottom cross and the top two crosses with the long side before you tension and tie off the two outside main on each side. No blocked holes.

    If someone is using a hybrid and you can't use an ATW pattern you could hold the two outside mains with starting clamp until the crosses are done. Again you avoid the blocked holes.
     
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  12. Wikky

    Wikky Rookie

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    As many have said this is a beginners tool. for the most part i rarely have to deal with blocked holes anymore since i usually string ahead to avoid them on one piece patterns. The only time I could see a reason for having one is possibly for double blocked holes on the last cross of wilson frames or 2 piecing prince racquets which will also give you a double blocked hole.
     
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  13. SonRK

    SonRK Rookie

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    This just reminded me about having to use spare string for these damn K90s

    My friend told me to string a few, and finishing the crosses near the bottom can be oh so troublesome if I forget to put those in when I tension the mains
     
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  14. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    I've never had one, and I've strung probably over 10,000 rackets.
     
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  15. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation Legend

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    I've also never had a pathfinder awl, but I keep a couple scraps of poly handy in case I need to make a space for the string I'm installing. As the poly scrap goes through the blocked grommet, I just follow the scrap with the tip of the new string. That usually gets it done.

    Avoiding the blocked grommet issue is the best case scenario, especially when stringing something that's ultra-flimsy. Kevlar has no backbone, but multi's and natural gut can also be reeeeeeeally tricky to force through any blockage, too.
     
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  16. Bdarb

    Bdarb Hall of Fame

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    This. Then you can feed it through with needle nose pliers a small amount at a time. This happened to me on the racquet Irvin described yesterday. The tie off on o3 tour took me like ten minutes the other night, got frustrating then I remembered my handy Chapstick.
     
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