Having trouble putting string into the tie-off holes- what are you tips and tricks?

I just began stringing this past week and I've been having an extraordinarily difficult time with the starting knot on crosses (sticking the string into the same hole that one of the main strings is in) and tying off the crosses (sticking in the string in the same hole as one of the mains). How do you guys do it? I am using the right holes to tie off, but it just feels like the 16 gauge string is just too big to fit twice into a hole when trying to jam it in
 

Cobra Tennis

Professional
Very common problem and happens to the best (and worst) of us.

-- cut the string to a point with fingernail clippers so it pokes in easier
-- if you know you have a blocked hole, take a 3 inch piece of hard string like poly and stick it in the shared hole when you are doing the mains to save the space
-- chapstick on the end of the string
-- use a starting clamp and flatten out the end of the string
-- I have on very few occasions burned the end of a string to harden it up enough to pass
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
If you forgot to save space for another string, just use a stiff polyester scrap (16 Ga) cut to a sharp point. Push that thru the hole and run it back and forth a few times. Remove and insert the 2nd string. This trick also works when you are doing holes that are blocked by other strings. I am referring to those near the throat, especially when the mains tie off at the throat too. Having said this, it is better to plan in advance so you do not have to do this.
 
A tip to use in conjunction with the aforementioned: use needle nose pliers to push the string through. Grip the string very close to the tip so it doesn't bend.
This is a good tip, but can I add for the sake of a novice, grip it really close. Like you are looking to advance a mm at a time. This gives the least length of bendable string. And you might want to put some tape around the hole, because the slightest bump with the needlenose can make an unsightly chip in the paint, depending on the racquet.
 
Very common problem and happens to the best (and worst) of us.

-- cut the string to a point with fingernail clippers so it pokes in easier
-- if you know you have a blocked hole, take a 3 inch piece of hard string like poly and stick it in the shared hole when you are doing the mains to save the space
-- chapstick on the end of the string
-- use a starting clamp and flatten out the end of the string
-- I have on very few occasions burned the end of a string to harden it up enough to pass
What do you mean by flatten out the end of the string with starting clamp?
 

Folsom_Stringer_Musa

Professional
A tip to use in conjunction with the aforementioned: use needle nose pliers to push the string through. Grip the string very close to the tip so it doesn't bend.
Cutting a sharp tip and then using a bend nose plier will certainly do the job.
I bought the bend nose plier(s) just for this.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@GrilledBurgers What racket and grommet hole are you using? I’ve never had an issue with starting the top cross. My guess is you are using the wrong tie off grommet. Maybe your source for instructions is wrong.
 
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Wes

Professional
@GrilledBurgers,

Almost all of the tips/advice above are spot on.
However, I would not advise you go poking around with an awl (nor a sharp poly string either). Doing so risks damaging the string which is already in the grommet.
You don't really want to use an awl (or scrap piece of poly) to create space.
If you want to use an awl (or scrap piece of poly) to reserve space, then that's perfectly fine (as @Cobra Tennis mentioned in his 2nd point).

What you're experiencing is the consequence of, on some grommets, the tensioned string running through them will hug the wall of the grommet (these are the easy ones to navigate) and that, on some grommets, the tensioned string running through them will be running diagonally (making a sort of "S" turn) which means it's a little more tricky to navigate past the "offending" anchor string.

This can take place when tying off the mains... and/or the crosses.
It's just a product of whether the anchor string (which is already tensioned) is pressing against only one wall of the grommet (hugging)... or pressing against both walls (on a diagonal).

The 2 videos below should help you have a better understanding.
Although I'm explaining this for the main string tie-offs, it's essentially the same for the cross strings as well.

Navigating Tie-Off Holes

Why tying off your mains seems tricky SOME of the time (yet easy at other times)
 

Humbi_HTX

Rookie
I always cut the ends of the string in an angle to create a tip, and grab the string with thin nose pliers perpendicularly and push the string with the pliers. When using 16g, it can be a little more difficult to push in, but I mostly use 18g and is much easier to get into tight holes and less harsh on my hands when weaving the crosses.
 
I've used all of the things above to get a string through a tight grommet, and they all work in most cases. But, I wouldn't use the chap stick (wax) on a hole meant for a starting knot. It's usually ok, but I have seen a couple of already slippery strings completely pull the knot apart when waxed up. Multi's are the toughest usually to get through holes (as well as Kevlar and sometimes natural gut), and chap stick is usually fine with these.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@GrilledBurgers the best option to get the top cross in the tie off grommet stringing 2 piece is to preweave the top crosses before you tension the anchor string and insert the tag end of the cross string in the tie off grommet First. No awls, pointed strings, lubricant, flat strings, or blocked holes should ever be needed / encountered.
 
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dak95_00

Hall of Fame
I have a utility knife blade aka razor blade aka box cutter blade I keep on my table for this. I use it to cut the edge of my string to a sharp, pointy edge like someone widdles wood to a point. If it needs pushed by something requiring more force I’ll use my needle nose pliers. I’ve never left a mark on a frame.

I always tell new stringers that the razor blade is the most important tool.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
I completely agree with Wes. Plan ahead. When doing mains, you can see which holes are skipped. Put a scrap string in there before you tension the main. This also helps prevent crossovers. You know in advance which will be the tieoff holes. If the string is thick, pull 2 strands thru the hole and make sure they go thru easily. Then leave a scrap string in there. I still do it for strings near the throat where all the strings cluster together. Saves a lot of hair-pulling and cursing and snide remarks from Da GF. :sneaky:
 

Wes

Professional
@GrilledBurgers A good option to get the top cross in the tie off grommet is to preweave the top crosses before you tension the anchor string and insert the tag end of the cross string in the tie off grommet First. No awls, pointed strings, lubricant, flat strings, or blocked holes should ever be needed / encountered.
^^^
Agreed (at least for that top cross tail during 2pc. stringing).

However, @GrilledBurgers you still may have to know how to deal with this issue when tying off the bottom cross (albeit only sometimes).
Furthermore, during 1pc. stringing you won't always be able to "pre-insert" the tail ends of your string.

As @esgee48 already mentioned in post #5, the best remedy is to see (visualize) potential issues beforehand & plan ahead.

In chess, it's good to plan several moves in advance.
In stringing, it's wise to do so as well.

Like this...

or this... (see from 16:12-24:40)
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
The real issue is why @GrilledBurgers can‘t get the string through the tie off grommet for a starting knot. I believe he is using the wrong tie off grommet.

Maybe he is using a modified Yonex loop and tying off the mains in the top cross grommet and now must use the main tie off grommet to tie off the top cross.
 
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Wes

Professional
The real issue is why @GrilledBurgers can‘t get the string through the tie off grommet for a starting knot. I believe he is using the wrong tie off grommet.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Let's not be so quick to jump to that conclusion.
We don't have enough information (yet) to make that determination.

Some (i.e. most) racquets have the top cross tie off in the vicinity of the 5th or 6th main string (so, perhaps at 5H or 6H).
Obviously, these are easy.

However, some racquets have the top cross tie off onto the penultimate main, or even the final/outer main string (so, perhaps at 8H, 9H, or even 10H).
When this is the case, the tensioned anchor string (penultimate or final main) is running through it's grommet at a substantial angle/diagonal, making it a bit trickier than normal.

Top cross tie-off on final/outer main:





@GrilledBurgers,
Exactly what racquet is giving you trouble (for inserting the end of the top cross)?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@Wes who's jumping to conclusions? I asked in post #10 what racket and grommet. But no matter what it is easier topreweave the tie off before tensioning the anchor string.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Hey Zeus!! Why get all p...y about something like this. Here is what I would do. I have two awls that have 4000 grit smoothed tips rounded. I use these to "fix" recalcitrant grommets. For Pete's Sake, it is only stringing a racket, not brain surgery or rocket science with passengers on board.
 
You really don't need a hook. You could just use a scrap piece of string and loop it around the string on the inside of the frame and pull it to 1 side.
 

dak95_00

Hall of Fame
Hey Zeus!! Why get all p...y about something like this. Here is what I would do. I have two awls that have 4000 grit smoothed tips rounded. I use these to "fix" recalcitrant grommets. For Pete's Sake, it is only stringing a racket, not brain surgery or rocket science with passengers on board.
Are you telling us you didn’t watch Wes’s 50 minute videos on stringing tennis racquets?

Side note: 50 minutes! I could’ve played two sets or strung a racquet and 1 set or strung 2 racquets.
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
Are you telling us you didn’t watch Wes’s 50 minute videos on stringing tennis racquets?
Wes is a helluv guy. But I personally don't care near as much as most stringers. I love testing out various rackets and strings. I figure my experience with two piece allows me to use any type of strings that I need or want with a string time of cutting out to tying off about 30 min, give or take 5-10 min depending on my "focus."
 
Maybe. Maybe not.
Let's not be so quick to jump to that conclusion.
We don't have enough information (yet) to make that determination.

Some (i.e. most) racquets have the top cross tie off in the vicinity of the 5th or 6th main string (so, perhaps at 5H or 6H).
Obviously, these are easy.

However, some racquets have the top cross tie off onto the penultimate main, or even the final/outer main string (so, perhaps at 8H, 9H, or even 10H).
When this is the case, the tensioned anchor string (penultimate or final main) is running through it's grommet at a substantial angle/diagonal, making it a bit trickier than normal.

Top cross tie-off on final/outer main:





@GrilledBurgers,
Exactly what racquet is giving you trouble (for inserting the end of the top cross)?
Appreciate the benefit of the doubt, I am using the newest Yonex VCore Pro 97 330. The two white strings are where I had difficulty pushing in the string. I was unable to push in the 16g red string and thus opted for the 18g white string and it went in with slight difficulty.

Pic1
Pic 2
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Appreciate the benefit of the doubt, I am using the newest Yonex VCore Pro 97 330. The two white strings are where I had difficulty pushing in the string. I was unable to push in the 16g red string and thus opted for the 18g white string and it went in with slight difficulty.

Pic1
Pic 2
you’re having an issue because the anchor string goes through the grommet diagonally. If you preweave your cross string you should not have any issues.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
VCore Pro 97 uses 7 at the top for tying mains. Crosses are suppose to use 6 at the top and 11 at the throat. OP used wrong holes for the crosses based on his images.
 
VCore Pro 97 uses 7 at the top for tying mains. Crosses are suppose to use 6 at the top and 11 at the throat. OP used wrong holes for the crosses based on his images.
Yes! You're right, I followed what my old stringer did since he had been in the business for 20+ years, should have double checked it myself. Thank you all!
 

ttbrowne

Hall of Fame
I gotta say I've strung over 2500 racquet s and never had this issue. I'm enjoying the answers and help from the forum.
I have issues with flared tieoff holes. Babolat racquets are the worst.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I gotta say I've strung over 2500 racquet s and never had this issue. I'm enjoying the answers and help from the forum.
I have issues with flared tieoff holes. Babolat racquets are the worst.
I’m almost afraid to ask, but what kind of issue do you have with a flared tie off?
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I gotta say I've strung over 2500 racquet s and never had this issue. I'm enjoying the answers and help from the forum.
I have issues with flared tieoff holes. Babolat racquets are the worst.
Yes, agree 100%. To be a string manufacturer, Babolat makes some of the most stringer-unfriendly frames on the market. They should ask Volkl how to set a frame up!
 

ttbrowne

Hall of Fame
I’m almost afraid to ask, but what kind of issue do you have with a flared tie off?
After a while the cross "tieoff" at the top of Babolat racquets start to flare so the knot can be pulled almost thru the hole. And I just don't like how sharp the edges of Babolats tieoffs become after 3 or 4 stringings.
 
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