Why am I breaking string in the bag!?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by dangros, Jun 24, 2012.

  1. dangros

    dangros New User

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    I've been stringing for a few years but the last 3 stringing jobs have all died in my bag! I've come to love bab vs team gut 1.25 on the mains and bab rpm blast 17 on the crosses. I know that seems backwards but it feels great! The first Time I strung with that configuration, it lasted months. The break seems to happen between the 6th and 7th hole at the tie off of the main. This last time was after playing about 3 times over a couple weeks & practicing serves for over an hour. Im not sure when it actually broke because i put it in the bag and found it snapped a few days later. I hit hard but I'm no nadal and the string was not even fraying. It's happened on both rackets. And it's always the gut, which is new. I string both at 61lbs. I tend to use the awl to hold the last string in place so I can keep some tension as I tie off - this could be pinching the gut and weakening it. That was never a problem when I used all poly but poly is like steel and I don't want to jump to conclusions since the first job lasted for ever :)
    Any ideas??? This is killing me! The rackets are both aero pro drive gts if that matters.
    http://m.flickr.com/photos/dangros/7433983602/lightbox/
     
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  2. 1HandedBackhand

    1HandedBackhand New User

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    Could there possibly be damage inside the grommet caused by the awl tie off technique? Using a awl to tighten the last main is an "old school" technique and is frowned upon by the usrsa. If you do use an awl try some chapstick on the tip.
     
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  3. darklore009

    darklore009 Professional

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    Agree with the above post, the gromments could be damaged and could be scraping against the gut string. Is the bag has thermo guard?
     
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  4. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    I suspect it is your use of the awl. I am not sure what you are trying to protect on that last main but you can always pull a little tighter and then tie off--any loss of tension should be minimal. Using an awl on modern racquets with thin gut is perilous.
     
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  5. Valjean

    Valjean Hall of Fame

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    Gut often snaps (eventually) at the tie-off (and so, in the bag) when a stringer (you, in this case) forgets the string he is dealing with and tightens the knot the way he usually does for a synthetic....sad, but too often. too true too...
     
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  6. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I agree with above posts. All correct that the awl, can damage a fragile string like gut more than a synthetic.If you like to maintain tension on tie offs I just use the nice knot button on machine that increases the tension 10% for the one pull.BTW, I have hit that knot button with VS gut and that brought up the tension from 64 lbs. to 70 lbs for the one pull for tie offs more times than I would care to count and the gut holds up real well.

    Just use your fingers to tighten the knots with gut as well, as with pliers or starting clamp you can overpull the knot tail or loop and that just stress out the anchor string.

    Another issue is shanked shots with nat. gut. If you are not a clean hitter, and shank a shot, the string may not break at that point in time, but is stressed and weakened, and later in your bag the string snaps at the grommet.Back in the wooden racquet days that was not an issue so much as the large wooden openings were smooth and did not really stress out the strings as much as todays racquets do at the grommet areas.

    This is why I try to avoid stringing nat. gut on a very young hitter thats not that good of a hitter, unless a parent is explained to that one good shank can cause a string to break in the bag later, and not to come back to me a week later and ask why that expensive string job did not last.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
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  7. dangros

    dangros New User

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    The grommet looks ok to be ok. Since it happened to both rackets, I suspect the awl - after reading your. Should I also use a different knot? I'm also suspicious of the clamps. They had a hard time holding the gut in the beginning of the string job, so I may have clamped down too hard. They are the original alpha 4000 ones. any suggestions? As for the awl, just tie off w/o it and not worry about the tension loss?
     
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  8. dangros

    dangros New User

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    These are great responses! It's makes it all that much more fun. Shank-a-Rama:I'm a 3.5 who hits and serves pretty hard in comparison to my peers, so I'm sure I do my share of shanking, but I hope that the shanks aren't to blame 3 times in 4 or so so weeks when I've only played about 2x a week?

     
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  9. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Parnell knot cinches up easily with fingers.
    Starting the mains is the most stress on the 1st pull. I pull both center mains together, (anchor clamp) clamp RM1 farthest from tension head, and clamp the same string with starting clamp outside of racquet , then release tension, pull the LM 1, clamp, pull LM2 clamp, repull RM1 remove starting clamp, remove anchor clamp and reposition to hold RM1 and continue, this way you do not need to overtighten that 1st clamp to hold , and it will not slip as well. The 1st pull on the racquets mains puts the most stress on the clamp as it has no opposing force in opposite direction, and this method works nicely.

    I never use awl, just to enlargen any grommets or to install grommets and thats it.If you are concerned of loss at knot, then just increase tension by 10% for that pull or just don't worry about it and string it normally as its just the end mains.
     
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  10. dangros

    dangros New User

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    knot a good result

    After reading all of these responses, I bet it's the combination of the awl and use of a regular knot! The awl probably smashes the gut, then the knot, being a regular/overhand knot, chokes off the rest of the gut after I play a couple times - eventually breaking in the bag as the racket goes from playing outside in the 80-90 degree weather and enters the cool a/c of the apartment. We also turn the a/c on and off regularly while at work so the temps can vary from 70 to 90 in here. I'm sure that doesnt help.

    I'll use the parnell and starting clamp (inside the racket) and report back. Hopefully my backup racket will hold off with the old configuration. This is getting expensive!!!!

    As a side note, does anyone have much experience with the 3 tooth alpha revo clamps AND the 5 tooth? I have the regular 5 tooth (used to be stock) and it's slipping a big on the gut. The 3 tooth is considered an upgrade but I'm not sure there is much difference in the initial clamp downs to justify the 90 or so dollars to order the 3 tooth versions.

    And by the way guys, thanks for the input! This forum rocks.
     
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  11. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    I do not use that make of clamp, but I have a 5 tooth and 3 tooth and my preference is the 5 tooth as it seems to fit in tighter places better for me. It could be because its what I am use to. If your clamps slip, thats bad for the string and could be the entire issue with the string breaking, as it is clamped near the inside of racquet, and if slips a little it can mar the string weaken it and later snap at grommet.
    I would bet the clamps are fine and just need a well cleaning. Try a white shoelace and soak in alcohol and use that to clean clamp surface well, you can also use a white cloth soaked in alcohol, slightly clamp it and pull it through. It gets debris in the diamond coating and the string then slips. Be sure to clean tension head and starting clamps as well. Most likely is just dirty clamps and will not need replacement.
     
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  12. dangros

    dangros New User

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    slipage

    I tried wiping the clamps clean with a LITTLE alcohol and q tips but I'll heed your advise and take a cloth to it this time.

     
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  13. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    while i do use the awl on occasion, i stay away from it as much as possible. just be very careful and deliberate if you use it.

    this would be my guess as to the problem.
     
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  14. arnoldr

    arnoldr New User

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    to the OP. i had the same exact problem happen to me, the one time I used an awl to hold off the string prior to tie-off. Hit with the racquet for a few minutes and in the bag it went. A day or two later, broken string.

    so i just do what jim e does, hit the 'Knot' setting on my machine for tie-offs

    arnold r.
     
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  15. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    A little alcohol and Q-tip I believe just won't do it. You need to actually try and scrub the surface the best you can. If your clamps slip, then that was most likely the problem all along. The shoelace and cloth soaked in alcohol and pulling it through does the job. Just try and get the surface scrubbed well as a q-tip can't put much force to scrub it and the cotton fibers of q tip can get hung up with the diamond coating making things worse.BTW, don't just use a little alcohol, it is cheap, use enough to get them clean.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2012
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  16. dangros

    dangros New User

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    kno knot setting

    I just have the standard revo 4000 so there's no knot setting. I hand crank that bad boy! :) Would love to get a wise head tensioner but the wife would stick me in there and pull me apart.

     
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  17. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Knot button is nice, but knot necessary. All you need to do is set the tension 10% more for that end pull , just don't forget to set it back, as the knot button just ups it 10% for the one pull only, but you can also do that manually.

    On #2 issue, maybe not so bad if wife did pull you apart:)Then you may be wise
     
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  18. dangros

    dangros New User

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    plastic man

    that's a stretch :)
     
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  19. abllee2198

    abllee2198 Rookie

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    Late reply to premature breakage in the bag

    I had a similar experience with vs 17 breaking early. Turns out the problem is the sharp angle of the grommet and frame creates a sharp edge and eventually breaks through the grommet leaving the gut exposed.

    The solution I found that cured this breakage was to use thin Teflon tube on both anchor strings and knot over the tube. The break does not occur on the outside mains, just the anchor span.

    Thin tubing available from GSS website.

    Hope this helps,

    Albert
     
    #19
  20. dangros

    dangros New User

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    Seems to have worked!

    I've played 4 times and spent an hour blasting serves in high humidity and the strings are still going. I've stopped using the awl and started using the Parnell knot to tie off. The knot is a little tricky with poly but I can't complain with these results. Thanks to all who contributed to this thread!
     
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