How do I cut the strings out properly?
Generally, there are two methods. There is a "Yulitle" video. One method entails cutting from the center on an angle
, cutting up and then down, alternating as you continue on an angle (cutting both a main and cross simultaneously). The other method entails starting from the center and cutting in a clock-type motion (cross, main, cross, main), moving outward as you go. There are stringbed cutters, but any decent cutter will do (for example, diagonal cutters).
How do I measure string length?
All kinds of methods have been suggested. The obvious are rulers and yardsticks. Arm/Racquet/Desk lengths. I even wrap mine around a cookie tin "X" number of times and have a chart how long the string is with "X" wraps (It keeps the string tight to the curve and neat, too.
). Just try to keep the string straight to be as accurate as possible.
A "Radical" method (just my own gadget):
How do I know how much string my racquet needs?
There are a lot of individual answers. The simplest is check the pattern. However, that alone may not tell the whole story. Some strings stretch (some a lot) and some seemingly not at all. If it is the first time doing a racquet, measure the entire length of string before stringing, and be generous if possible. For the majority of racquets, with this machine, a standard 40' package of synthetic gut or a multifilament, for example, will get the job done. For some racquets, a string that doesn't stretch (much), like a poly, may require a couple of feet more without having to "jump" to reach the tensioner, wrap around, and enter the jaws. I have personally encountered this with my racquet. Keep track of what you have left when you're done (or perhaps what you would have needed).
Where do I find racquet patterns?
Racquet manufacturer sites. Some stringing machine manufacturer sites. Basic information on individual sales pages for racquets at TW. Miscellaneous tennis-related sites. Throughout the forum. The USRSA Digest if you're a member or can get your hands on one. In my opinion
, they could be more readily available.
How do I determine how a racquet was previously strung? The strings are still in it.
Count the knots. Two knots, one-piece job. Four knots, two-piece job. Find the center mains. Where is the start loop on the outside of the frame in the center, head (top) or throat (bottom)? Follow the mains away from the start loop and around the racquet. If two-piece, left and right side mains will both tie off. Count the grommets
from the center left and right mains to the tie off points. Note the grommet tie off position. If one-piece, only one main side will tie off. The other will continue around to the crosses. Follow this to the finishing knot of the crosses. For crosses of a two-piece, find the two knots. One is where the crosses begin. The other is where they end. One may be a starting knot, and the other a finishing knot. Most racquets have the crosses begin at the head and end at the throat. This can vary by model. When possible, most stringers find it best to string top-down.
I've heard I can add tension to the final mains/cross. Is this appropriate or necessary?
This issue has been debated because of the loss of tension when tying off. Again, threads abound. Personally, I don't add additional tension. Do attempt to cinch your knots tightly to the grommet and remove any slack. Do NOT tighten your knots using the machine's tensioner. This applies too much tension and can break the string or maybe even your precious racquet. The outer mains may move some because there are not main strings on both sides, as with all of the others.
My pattern says to tie off on a cross. I can do that?
Yes, if the manufacturer dictates that. I see this often with Babolat racquets, for example.
Should I straighten my strings?
Always straighten your strings when you've completed the racquet. This aids in appearance and proper playability. Tools are available for this, but using your fingers as you would on-court is fine as well. Straighten as you string if you wish.
$@*$%#@! I can't get the string through the grommet! What do I do?
You should have a Pathfinder awl if you got a Gamma machine. Try that. There is a "Yulitle" video. But even better, make an awl out of your string. Cut the tip of the string to a very sharp point. Maybe even compress the point some with your pliers. You can even apply something to lubricate the tip. Perhaps you can simply push it through now. If not, insert the point into the hole. Grasp the string very close to the frame with pliers (so you don't bend the string trying to push it in). Push it in with the pliers. Repeat with very small lengths of string as appropriate until it is through.
I just released all of the tension! What do I do now?
You will have to start over. If you are doing it for yourself, go ahead and use the same string. If you're doing it for someone else, you should use new string (It's just the right thing to do.
) However, if let's say you were doing crosses with two clamps, just go back and tension to the clamp still holding tension.
I missed a weave, and I tied off. Can I still use the racquet?
The racquet will be fine. However, I believe the racquet is not legal for official (USTA, ITF, those who follow the rules) play because of the change from the official definition of how the stringbed should appear.
I tied off on the wrong grommet. Is this a problem?
Most likely the racquet and string will be fine. Each occurrence may have its own issues if you undermined the frame or grommet in any way. While stringers sometimes tie off at grommets other than those specified, manufacturers design patterns with intention (Although some may argue with this statement.). In other words, unless you have a need to do so, use the official pattern.
How long will it take me to string a racquet?
The first time could range into a few hours. At least some have reported that. Once you get the hang of it (all of the "stuff" mentioned here), you'll probably get down under an hour. How far under depends on how good your weaving skills are, how little you have to check the strings and grommets, how well you tension and clamp, how long it takes for the string to finish stretching, how quickly you can tie knots, and how generally efficient you are with the loose strings and so forth.
I'm having trouble with weaves. What can I do?
Practice makes perfect. Aside from that, check your method. Generally, you'll use one of two methods. Push weaving
is where you place the tip of the string between a finger over the mains and one under, and push it along as you move the string over and under the mains. Pull weaving
is where you create a loop of string and pull it across the mains, one hand over and one hand under the mains, moving the string under and over the mains. Also, weave on an angle rather than straight across. That way there is more space to move the string. Also, our most excellent TT forum member, "Irvin," has two other ideas: pulling the crosses with a string and using a bead. See his videos at: www.youtube.com/user/Mr10sStringer
How good is the stringjob with this machine as compared to high-end machines?
I'm not touching that one with a ten-foot pole in this thread. I simply know my strung racquet is quite effective. Do a search. This is another debated topic. You aren't the first or last to ask this question. Make sure you use good technique, as noted earlier. A bad user can ruin any job on any machine.
Can I do the mains, leave them, and then go back later to do the crosses?
If you start the racquet, finish the racquet. Don't start if you can't finish. You want to equalize the tension on the frame created by the mains with the crosses as soon as possible. Leaving it not fully strung for long periods can only lead to a damaged frame.
I'm using a multifilament, and there are marks on the string from the clamp teeth. Are the clamps too tight?
You could have the clamps too tight, but such marks on a multifilament are common. Just be sure no string is crushed. The clamps do not need to be that
How high should the machine be when stringing?
Given it is a portable machine and not all users may have access to a surface with the optimal height, generally you want the machine raised to a height where you can comfortably see the string bed and be able to use the one hand under/one hand over weaving techniques noted earlier. Clearly, your height is a factor.
Do I have to be able to walk around the machine?
No. You need enough room for the racquet to rotate, the bar to drop fully, and not be cramped while moving around while performing stringing functions.
What environmental factors affect stringing?
Generally, you need good lighting, especially when trying to insert strings in grommets. Also, cool and dry is better, as sweaty hands and tennis strings do not go together.
Is the machine compatible with all racquets?
I'm not a racquet or machine historian, so I can't give a definitive answer. The machine will work fine with the common modern racquets you will encounter. If you have some type of older or unusual frame, then request a specific answer from the manufacturer or the forum.
Will the machine work with all types of string?
Yes. However, you have to take into account the characteristics of each type of string, as noted above, when stringing, particularly when tensioning, clamping, and weaving.
What is a hybrid?
It is simply one type of string as the mains and another as the crosses. This, of course, requires a two-piece job.
(Continued in Post #6.)