Hall Of Fame
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Guymon, OK
Tools I think you should have
This is an important tool. It really helps when unblocking holes and manipulating string in tight spaces. The best awl is one that never breaks, but since that is unreasonable, the things that make an awl great are:
1) It's blunt
2) Not too thin, on average
3) Not too long
There are a few good awls out there. But, let me explain what I wrote above. A sharp awl can puncture string. You want as blunt a tip as possible to avoid this, and most stringer's awls are plenty blunt enough. A store bought awl will typically be too sharp. Also, it should be thin, to avoid breakage. An awl is not subjected to much bending motions, but when it is, you'd like it to withstand the force and not break. Also, if it is too long, you could get the same bending result. Now, I use the Kimony awl that is available from GSS (their shortest model.) But, I've used many good awls in the past. This is a great tool to have when you need it, but it should be avoided at all costs due to it proclivity to puncture string. Every time you can avoid using the awl, you're saving yourself the risk of heartache.
This, I feel, should belong in the first category as a need. Since, technically, you don't need it, it's here. But, I strongly urge all stringers to own one. First, what makes a good starting clamp:
1) Uniform clamping
2) uniform clamp surface
3) plenty of clamping power
4) durability of springs
A starting clamp can help you in three ways
1) Help you tighten knots
2) Act as a bridge when you come up short when pulling tension
3) Help you start crosses
Now, there is a lot of talk about the "best" starting clamp. Many say it's the old red Babolat clamp. I say, it's more important that you have any starting clamp than have none at all. But, be wary of cheap imitators.
I've come across two types of starting clamps, that are different enough to mention. Now, there are some that have more or less springs in the handle. That aside, there is another difference. The clamp that Alpha now sells has a wider head than the one GSS sells. It is also more difficult to open, possibly due to it having a more open grip. I personally recommend the pair sold by GSS. It most closely resembles the clamps I've used and enjoyed in the past (babolat and tecnifibre.)
Setting off awl
This tool is helpful in straightening string. It is a super blunt awl, which allows you to more quickly insert it into the string bed to straighten strings.
It can also save your fingers. When pushing a cross up and down to avoid burning your crosses, you can save your fingers the pain by using this tool instead.
I've used one or two of these. They are all about the same. Just makes sure that it is a rounded, blunt tip. The more blunt, the better.
This tool is essential for all stringers. It allows you to check your machines calibration. ALL machines should be checked for calibration, but drop weights only need theirs checked once. Crank machine owners should check theirs' often (about every 25-30 racquets.) And Electric machine owners should check theirs' about every 200 racquets. This doesn't mean that the machine needs to be adjusted that many times, just that it should be checked. Adjustments to this schedule can be made the more you get to know the eccentricities of your machine.
Michael A. -- If your flaw in stringing is consistency, http://www.youtube.com/yulitle
MRT 07-08 -- your stringing will be consistently flawed.
Last edited by YULitle; 07-06-2008 at 08:31 AM.