# Can I get away with no starting knots?

#### ppt3

##### New User
Quite new for stringing, searched but can't find a definite answer.

I am confused with the starting knots, thinking why can't we just use normal tie-off knots.
I guess the reason it that the holes reserved for starting knots are usually bigger than others, so we need a bigger knots?

But by taking a close look of a HEAD racquet, the main tie-off hole is also larger than normal holes. Why normal tie-off works in this case?

Also I remember I saw some video showing how to do cross without starting knot, but forgot if they use a different hole from the starting hole?

#### jim e

##### Legend
If you use a finishing knot in place of a starting knot, you can pull that smaller knot into the grommet and cause grommet damage. As alternative you can use a start clamp to hold the string rather than a starting knot, and once you pull tension on first couple cross strings you can go back and use a finishing knot.

An alternative way is to weave 1st 2 cross strings pull both strings at same time then place fixed clamp on 2 nd cross string farthest from tension head (I back that up with starting clamp on outside that same second cross. Then tension 1st cross string and tie off with finishing knot.Go back and tension second cross string, remove that 1st anchor clamp and clamp that 2nd cross and continue as normal.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
If you’re tying the knot before you pull tension it is by definition a starting knot. If you tie the knot after tension is pulled it is a finishing knot.

#### ppt3

##### New User
Thanks. That means that tension pull directly on starting knot is (much) greater than the tension on the finishing knot (since it is after pull)?

Jim's first method seems pretty straight forward to me. What is the advantage of 2nd method? It looks like a variation of Yusuki method on the main?

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Thanks. That means that tension pull directly on starting knot is (much) greater than the tension on the finishing knot (since it is after pull)?

Jim's first method seems pretty straight forward to me. What is the advantage of 2nd method? It looks like a variation of Yusuki method on the main?
No if you pull 60 lbs of tension on a starting knot or a starting clamp there is no different in the tension you pull. But when you remove the starting clamp and tie off with a finishing knot you will loose tension due to drawback. With a starting knot there is no tension loss due to drawback.

#### jim e

##### Legend
Jim's first method seems pretty straight forward to me. What is the advantage of 2nd method? It looks like a variation of Yusuki method on the main?
The 2 nd method you do not have to pull that 1st cross string with only the starting clamp to anchor the string, as the 1st pull places the most stress on the clamp, and the second method you have the machine clamp as well as back up starting clamp to take the initial force pull.
Both ways work.

#### Traffic

##### Hall of Fame
I've never strung using a starting knot. I use a starting clamp. Use a tie-off knot after 3rd cross.

#### ppt3

##### New User
you can pull that smaller knot into the grommet and cause grommet damage
No if you pull 60 lbs of tension on a starting knot or a starting clamp there is no different in the tension you pull. But when you remove the starting clamp and tie off with a finishing knot you will loose tension due to drawback. With a starting knot there is no tension loss due to drawback.
Since the tension is always 60lb no matter with starting knot or finishing knot, the same tension (60lb) could pull the finishing knot into the grommet as well and causing damage? Or that only happens when I pull directly on it as starting knot?

#### esgee48

##### Legend
Only when pulling on the Starting Knot. If you use a finishing knot after pulling the 1st cross [after doing cross 2 &3], the string between the 1st cross and the tie off hole is not under tension. You could try to pull 60# of tension on the knot, but the piece of string will not get to 60#.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Since the tension is always 60lb no matter with starting knot or finishing knot, the same tension (60lb) could pull the finishing knot into the grommet as well and causing damage? Or that only happens when I pull directly on it as starting knot?
If you use a finishing knot you will loose a lot of tension from drawback. If you use a starting knot there is no drawback.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
The loss of tension using a finishing knot is negated by something called a knot button. This adds a set number of pounds to the pull that compensate for the loss of tension when tying off. You can also add extra tension with a lockout by not letting the brake engage on that pull.

You can nearly eliminate draw back with technique; i. e. using a starting clamp or cam action pliers and an awl.

The discussion is really moot as any loss of tension on the first/last cross has zero effect on playability.

Sorry for the addition -- in answer to the OP, I was taught to hold the tag end of the string when you pulled tension on the first cross. Since I didn't have a starting clamp back then, I used a pair of needle nose or whatever I had. This helped keep the knot from pulling into the grommet.

Pedantics aside, a starting knot is generally a bulky knot used to prevent pulling into a grommet. So you were correct in your usage. I personally never used a starting knot, I used the method I described and <gasp> a DHH knot to begin my crosses prior to the acquisition of a starting clamp. I see absolutely no need to use a starting knot now that I have a starting clamp.

Hope this helps.

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#### Traffic

##### Hall of Fame
If you use a finishing knot you will loose a lot of tension from drawback. If you use a starting knot there is no drawback.
So there is higher tension in the first cross vs the last cross? Is this desirable? Wouldn't consistency be more desirable?
You can nearly eliminate draw back with technique; i. e. using a starting clamp or cam action pliers and an awl.

The discussion is really moot as any loss of tension on the first/last cross has zero effect on playability.
I used to be concerned with the possibility of losing x.x# tension in the draw back of tie-off knots and such. I tried 5# higher on tie-off pull, then 3 and now I don't worry about it. At the end of the day, I think if you can tension consistently every single time, then you'll get predictable results. Using those predictable results, you can adjust your reference tension.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
@Traffic, truth be told, I use the knot button on the Mighty Sensor because this is the first machine I've owned that has a knot button. But I agree with what I believe you're saying. Wimbledon has never been won/lost on the tension of a first/last cross.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
The loss of tension using a finishing knot is negated by something called a knot button.
Good in theory but not in practicality. Yes you can increase the tension in the tie off knot with the knot button and you can adjust the knot tension but truth be told you will still loose tension. I have increased the tension up to 12 lbs and still end up with a lower tension on the tie off strings. I believe @uk_skippy has said that at Wimbledon he sets the knot button at 10 lbs on all the machines.
So there is higher tension in the first cross vs the last cross? Is this desirable? Wouldn't consistency be more desirable?
You would think that would be the case but it is not. The greater the bend angle at the frame the greater the friction and the lower the tension. So the closer the the cross (or main) is to the outside of the frame the greater the tension loss on the cross and the lower the tension. Consider it a built in proportional stringing system if you want.

I think the top cross is closer to the sweet spot (COP = I/Md Ref: https://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/index.php?threads/calculating-cop.571447/#post-10683805) than the bottom cross is for most rackets but I doubt it matters at all. If I wanted to go for consistency I would prefer to use a starting knot at the top so the tension loss is gradual and conforms to the curvature of the frame.

Of course this is all OCD BS and does not matter in the long run. IMHO

BTW the default knot button tension on Babolat machines is +4 lbs and I've have gone back to +4 lbs and just leave it there for the outer mains and bottom cross.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
Good in theory but not in practicality. Yes you can increase the tension in the tie off knot with the knot button and you can adjust the knot tension but truth be told you will still loose tension. I have increased the tension up to 12 lbs and still end up with a lower tension on the tie off strings. I believe @uk_skippy has said that at Wimbledon he sets the knot button at 10 lbs on all the machines.
Did you even read the post I made right above yours I quoted?

OH well...

From a purely practical standpoint, increasing tension on the pull for a string to be tied off will result in less tension loss and a reference tension closer than if you had not increased tension on that pull. Second, if one uses cam action pliers or a starting clamp to pull tension on the tag end and then use an awl to "lock" the string, there is virtually no drawback. Pull tension on the tag end using cam action pliers or a starting clamp, hold tension while an awl is inserted into the grommet. Once the awl is seated, release tension. Tie the knot off as normal using whatever knot you use. Release the fixed clamp base. The clamp, if done properly, will not move. Ergo no drawback.

Bottom line, any reasonable drawback on any machine for the first or last cross is not going make one bit of difference in the string job PERIOD. So this discussion is just going down a rabbit hole.

Finally, for the love of the English language......it's "lose" not "loose".

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
From a purely practical standpoint, increasing tension on the pull for a string to be tied off will result in less tension loss and a reference tension closer than if you had not increased tension on that pull.
It is natural to loose tension on the outer strings. I would prefer not to interfere with that happening.
Second, if one uses cam action pliers or a starting clamp to pull tension on the tag end and then use an awl to "lock" the string, there is virtually no drawback.
Drawback is something totally different and you can use tools to account for that but you end up pulling harder on the string to do that. The harder you pull the greater the chance of breaking the string.

#### jim e

##### Legend
@Traffic, truth be told, I use the knot button on the Mighty Sensor because this is the first machine I've owned that has a knot button. But I agree with what I believe you're saying. Wimbledon has never been won/lost on the tension of a first/last cross.
I agree Rabbit, as even R. Parnell a few years back on another site said that that is why they put that lovely knot button on the machines.
I use the knot button as well, especially on the end main strings as the increase in tension helps keep the end main strings straighter from the offset weave of the adjacent main.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
It is natural to loose tension on the outer strings. I would prefer not to interfere with that happening.
And it appears preference is just like opinion; everybody's got one. I prefer to deliver a string bed as consistent with the requested tension as possible.

Drawback is something totally different and you can use tools to account for that but you end up pulling harder on the string to do that. The harder you pull the greater the chance of breaking the string.
Please provide your definition of drawback if it is not the movement of the clamp releasing held tension when a knot is tied. As to your second point, it is invalid. The amount of tension used pulling the string to remove slack is far less than the amount of tension imparted by the tension head during the stringing process. Further, the pull is linear, not at an angle and the part of the string in the starting clamp is the tag end which is cut off.

Again, and I should read your icon to fortify this, I said earlier that it doesn't make any difference. Your pedantic replies have got to be designed to pull other posters into these inane back and forths. Never wrestle with a pig, you just get muddy and he gets happy.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
@jim e , thank you very much. For the life of me, I thought it a simple point and one which was universal. But it has been turned into the usual picking fly crap out of pepper by the King of Minutia and one-upsmanship.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Please provide your definition of drawback if it is not the movement of the clamp releasing held tension when a knot is tied.
When you remove the tensioner after clamping a string it the clamp moves that is drawback. After you tie the knot and release the base of the clamp if the clamp moves again that is drawback. After playing with the racket is the knot tightens any the string has to drawback.
The amount of tension used pulling the string to remove slack is far less than the amount of tension imparted by the tension head during the stringing process.
If the tension is not the same in the string all the way through to the knot and in the knot you will have drawback.
Further, the pull is linear, not at an angle and the part of the string in the starting clamp is the tag end which is cut off.
The force applied from the tag end of the string, through the knot, through the grommet, and to the clamp is not linear. A linear force is applied in a straight line by definition. If you think the pull is linear pull the tag end with your linear gripper at reference tension and tell us what happens.

Dudes.....

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
I use the knot button as well, especially on the end main strings as the increase in tension helps keep the end main strings straighter from the offset weave of the adjacent main.
You what? LOL your outside main is not straight because of a weave? Do you weave your crosses before you tension the outer mains? The knot button is not going to straighten your outer mains.

I use my knot button too. Increasing tension on the outer mains with the knot button will account for some loss introduced by drawback but different strings and tensions will have different amounts of drawback. There is no way to determine how to set the knot tension for all strings, rackets, and tensions IMO. That being the case I believe it is best to use a set knot tension (or not) and not get too OCD with it.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
When you remove the tensioner after clamping a string it the clamp moves that is drawback. After you tie the knot and release the base of the clamp if the clamp moves again that is drawback. After playing with the racket is the knot tightens any the string has to drawback.
That is exactly what I described. You would argue just for the sake of arguing. As it is, we're saying the same thing and you're still claiming to be "right".

Irvin said:
The force applied from the tag end of the string, through the knot, through the grommet, and to the clamp is not linear. A linear force is applied in a straight line by definition. If you think the pull is linear pull the tag end with your linear gripper at reference tension and tell us what happens.
Clearly there is a disconnect. One that I do not choose to continue. I'm just damned glad of one thing: that I string my rackets and not someone like you. The whole freaking world chooses to use a knot button and they're all wrong....

kkm

#### jim e

##### Legend
All I am going to say about increasing tension on knot tie off strings, is the one thing just about all can agree upon is weather you increase or not, do it the same way each time for consistency, as there are many reasons to increase and many reasons not to.I hope this ends this topic!
No need for arguments.

#### uk_skippy

##### Hall of Fame
I believe @uk_skippy has said that at Wimbledon he sets the knot button at 10 lbs on all the machines.
4kgs, or 9lbs

#### uk_skippy

##### Hall of Fame
Careful there @uk_skippy, you’re inviting a correction from @Irvin. After all 4 kilos is 8.8 pounds not 9!
Yeah, but I was rounding up 'cause machines won't do 8.8lbs

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah, but I was rounding up 'cause machines won't do 8.8lbs
Actually the Star 5 knot tension will round down to 8.5 lbs. But I have no idea if that is just a readout error or what is happening in the machine. What difference does in make on a one time pull on a string you will never play with?

#### insiderman

##### Semi-Pro
still gotta 'tie-it' properly...

10-4

#### Big_Dangerous

##### Talk Tennis Guru
If you’re tying the knot before you pull tension it is by definition a starting knot. If you tie the knot after tension is pulled it is a finishing knot.
Despite the fact that you might use the same style knot for both, like a Parnell knot, or a double half hitch.

#### CosmosMpower

##### Hall of Fame
I never use a starting knot. Starting clamp on the outside of the frame on the first cross, start stringing downwards and then come back at the end and tie off normally.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
Despite the fact that you might use the same style knot for both, like a Parnell knot, or a double half hitch.
Correct the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all. If the knot is tied before you pull tension it is a starting knot.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
If you use a finishing knot you will loose a lot of tension from drawback. If you use a starting knot there is no drawback.
Correct the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all. If the knot is tied before you pull tension it is a starting knot.
So, going by your contradictory statements above, if one were to string one-piece, using a starting clamp and used a starting knot for both ends, the would then magically turn into finishing knots?

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
So, going by your contradictory statements above, if one were to string one-piece, using a starting clamp and used a starting knot for both ends, the would then magically turn into finishing knots?

EDIT: When stringing one piece with a starting clamp on the tail end of the short side and long side, you have one big long pull in the center?

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#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
EDIT: When stringing one piece with a starting clamp on the tail end of the short side and long side, you have one big long pull in the center?
How apropos that you would use the least funny member. Please keep the "experiments", videos, and "new" patterns & knots coming. And hey....those new uses for stuff you buy at the Kountry Korner General Store.....priceless.

And you are one big pull. Please feel free to return to watching "new" episodes of Hee Haw.

#### am1899

##### Hall of Fame
That never happens on these forums.
IMHO it’s one thing that sets this forum back.

In fairness, there doesn’t seem to be a plethora of topics to talk about within the context of stringing and repairing racquets.

#### am1899

##### Hall of Fame
Correct the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all. If the knot is tied before you pull tension it is a starting knot.
I would respectfully disagree. The ability to tie different knots, and the ability to select a particular knot based on application, are of some importance - especially to prevent having a knot pull through a grommet.

#### jim e

##### Legend
IMHO it’s one thing that sets this forum back.

In fairness, there doesn’t seem to be a plethora of topics to talk about within the context of stringing and repairing racquets.
This is a great forum! I would not say it sets it back.Sometimes it keeps things interesting or funny.
That's not a big deal. It's life. Just ignore if you have had enough. No big deal if the horse gets beat over again, it happens with a number of off topics.

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#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
I would respectfully disagree. The ability to tie different knots, and the ability to select a particular knot based on application, are of some importance - especially to prevent having a knot pull through a grommet.
Sounds like you and I are in agreement. If I were to tie a Pro knot and you it for a starting knot there would be a good chance of it slipping through the grommet so there are bulkier knot used specifically for starting knots. It is best to have a bulkier knot when used as a starting knot because starting knot is pulled into the grommet under full reference tension. A finishing knot on the other hand is tied after tension is pulled and you're finishing up. If you were to use a bulkier knot sometimes used for starting knots it would be difficult to tighten up and have it look neat.

If I told you I used a starting knot to string the top cross instead of a starting clamp would have have have any idea of what type of knot I tied? If I told you I used a finishing knot to tie off the bottom cross would you have any idea what knot I used for a finishing knot?

EDIT: Do you think all starting knots (iKnot, VS Starting knot, starting knot, dead man's knot, or Bulky knot) are the same? Do you think all finishing knots (double half-hitch, Pro knot, dead man's knot, and Parnell knot) are the same?

#### jim e

##### Legend
This entire thread is knot right!

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
This entire thread is knot right!
I'd have to disagree Jim. A new stringer wanted to know the purpose of a starting knot. The starting knot is a purpose not a single knot. The holes used in a set of grommets is the same for all locations where knots are tied are the same. Those holes are generally larger around and have thicker wall than other grommets is the same strip. There is no difference at all between a grommet for a Starting knot or a finishing knot. Starting knots and finishing knots are functions of knots and not a specific knot. A double half hitch could be used as either a starting knot or a finishing knot. But IMO there are other types of knots that are better choices for starting knots, and other types of knots that are better choices for finishing knots. A starting knot does not have to be the 'standard' starting knot.

#### jim e

##### Legend
Come on Irvin, just having a little fun.

#### Rabbit

##### G.O.A.T.
Come on Irvin, just having a little fun.
Your attempt was knot lost on the rest of us.

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#### am1899

##### Hall of Fame
Sounds like you and I are in agreement.
It didn’t sound that way to me, based on this comment:

Correct the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all.
Which is why I said what I said. In light of your more recent comments, it appears now that we agree.

As far as certain knots being “the same,” I wouldn’t view 2 knots that are tied differently as, “the same.” They may achieve a common objective, but they’re knot the same.

#### Irvin

##### Talk Tennis Guru
It didn’t sound that way to me, based on this comment (Correct the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all.):
Let me say it again the type of knot you tie makes no difference at all. If I tie a Parnell knot on the top of the frame at the top cross tie off and pull tension on the top cross and the knot is what is holding the top cross it is a starting knot. If I use a starting clamp to hold the top cross instead of a starting knot and pull tension then tie off the knot is a finishing knot even if I tie a starting knot for that finishing knot. [/quote]
Which is why I said what I said. In light of your more recent comments, it appears now that we agree.

As far as certain knots being “the same,” I wouldn’t view 2 knots that are tied differently as, “the same.” They may achieve a common objective, but they’re knot the same.
Same function (starting or finishing) not the same type (Parnell or Pro.)