How avoid knot tension loss

Spin Diesel

New User
Hi there,

I‘m new to stringing and have already strung my rackets four times.
Now I am wondering, if you have any tips for not loosing a lot of tension when tying off the crosses. I already changed to using a starting knot instead of a clamp, so it‘s already good at the top - my first racket played very inconsistently, because of the tension loss there. Are there actually any benefits of using a starting clamp?

Now at the bottom there is still a lot of loss. I can very easily move the last two crosses with my hand and they stay out of position, so I would like to optimise this. I‘m using a parnell knot but am wondering if the double hinge is actually easier for a beginner.
Do you have any other tips?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
The best way to avoid tension loss is to avoid drawback. I never knew just how important a good clamping system was until I got my 700-ES. Now I have less than 1 mm of drawback and I use a 10% knot tension on all tie offs. If you’re using flying clamps I would suggest getting good clamps like Pro-Stringer Claws. They fit into very tight spots because of the small profile and they are adjustable to string width so there’s less tie off string distortion. Using fewer knots will also help drawback because there are fewer instances of knots. Tying off all your knots on a cross string also helps. The fewer knots you have, the better your clamps hold the string, and the less you distort the string being tied off all help to reduce drawback And subsequent tension loss. Another option is trying not to get too close to the frame as you clamp the string. I try to stay at least a mm away. Some time the subsequent will even remove some of that slack, and that can’t happen if the frame or grommet stops the clamp from moving.

EDIT: I’ve also been waxing the tie off string where it comes out of the frame up to and past the point where the knot is tied. I believe it reduces friction and allows me to get a greater tension on the untensioned string between the clamp and knot, and I can tighten the knot better with a lower pulling force. I even wax my starting knots and I don’t have knot slipping or sliding into the grommet.
 
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Spin Diesel

New User
Thanks for your answer. I think the strings inbetween are ok. Drawback isn‘t very much.
It‘s more the knot at the end where I have problems. I‘m already pushing the string from the outside of the frame into the grommet as much as I can while tightening the knot. But as soon as I release the clamp, I can see how it pulls the knot just a bit towards the grommet and that little bit is where I loose a lot of tension. It seems like I just can‘t tighten the knot close enough to the grommet.


What do you use for waxing? Maybe that could help me with my problem.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I think the strings inbetween are ok. Drawback isn‘t very much.
You tension and clamp the 1st main and release the tensioner. When you tension the 2nd main the clamp might pull back to the same location, maybe. But if that 1st main is back up to reference tension why not skip tensioning the 1st and double pull it when you tension the 2nd? Think about that. I imagine because of the loading of the clamp tensioning the 1st main is much better than double pulling.
It‘s more the knot at the end where I have problems. I‘m already pushing the string from the outside of the frame into the grommet as much as I can while tightening the knot. But as soon as I release the clamp, I can see how it pulls the knot just a bit towards the grommet and that little bit is where I loose a lot of tension. It seems like I just can‘t tighten the knot close enough to the grommet.
I do not know where that knot at the end is. I do not know is the string you’re tying off goes through a grommet when there is friction from an anchor string. I can’t help you if I don’t know what you’re having trouble with.
What do you use for waxing? Maybe that could help me with my problem
I am using paraffin wax now I did use chapstick but it is messier. Here is an example of my drawback. If you look close about 1” above you can see a piece of parrafin wax on the string. This string in the video is Lux 4G but I’ve gotten similar results with SG, natural gut, and multi string type or gauge does not matter.
 

Spin Diesel

New User
Sorry if I didn‘t make myself clear. I guess my english is sufficiently suited for normal conversation, not so much for technical things though ;)
I understand the importance of drawback. What I wanted to say is that drawback isn‘t too bad on my machine. I will measure it next time I string but I think it‘s not much more than 1mm as well.

My main problem is on the last, most bottom cross string. Here‘s a link to a photo:
Unfortunately I get an error, when I try to embed it here.
I tension it +10%, clamp it, then thread it through the next hole and make a knot around that main string. Now, when I release the clamp, the string pulls back and the knot moves a bit towards the grommet and this is where I loose tension.
I think I can‘t get the knot close enough to the grommet. I‘ll try waxing next time, I can imagine that could help.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@Spin Diesel - practice is the best remedy. The upside, as you know, is that you won't affect playability because the last cross loses a bit of tension. What you can do is use a starting clamp to pull the string taut, then insert an awl into the grommet hole. That will have the effect of locking the string in place while you tie the knot. Once the knot is secured, you can remove the grommet.
 

Spin Diesel

New User
@Rabbit Thanks, will try that!
Yeah I thought so, that it shouldn‘t be too bad regarding playability, at the bottom.
But at the top I changed to a starting knot instead of a starting clamp, because my first strung racket played pretty badly, because of the tension loss I was getting there. But I also tend to hit the ball quite a bit more towards the top of the racket.

Can you tell me why so many people prefer to start with a clamp? What‘s the benefit? I‘ve seen that on most videos I watched before starting and therefore did it like this as well on my first try? Aren‘t you always gonna get a more accurate tension when using a starting knot?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@Spin Diesel here is your picture.
That does not look like a Parnell to me but I could be mistaken. One issue I see is your anchor string is below the intersecting string and it exits the frame below the string between the 6th and 7th mains. You then went through the grommet and started your knot going over the anchor string to the left. 99% of the time that will result in a crossover on the outside of the frame. You could have first gone under the anchor string and up on the left. This pull the string outside the frame below the string going from 6th to 7th main preventing a crossover. Now you could pull on the string you’ll be tying off and make a Parnell loop especially if it is waxed. This hold that string you‘ll be tying off tight. Now for the knot. The one you have looks more to me like a VS starting knot than a Parnell knot. It appears to me the tag end does not come up through both loops to make the Parnell. @Richard Parnell correct me if I’m wrong. To cinch up the knot either use cam action pliers or use a starting clamp.

if your anchor string would have been on top instead of going under and up to lock the string with a Parnell loop you would have gone over and down before locking the string. Then bring the string back up on the right side before tying your knot. This gives you more room to tie the knot because the knot will easily slide over the bottom cross when you cinch it up. The knot and technique you’re using makes for a loose knot.
 
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Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@Rabbit Thanks, will try that!
Yeah I thought so, that it shouldn‘t be too bad regarding playability, at the bottom.
But at the top I changed to a starting knot instead of a starting clamp, because my first strung racket played pretty badly, because of the tension loss I was getting there. But I also tend to hit the ball quite a bit more towards the top of the racket.

Can you tell me why so many people prefer to start with a clamp? What‘s the benefit? I‘ve seen that on most videos I watched before starting and therefore did it like this as well on my first try? Aren‘t you always gonna get a more accurate tension when using a starting knot?
Even at the top of the frame, losing a bit of tension on the first cross isn't going to be noticeable (unless you're Petr Korda). You might should check your clamps to see if you're losing tension while stringing. When you say it played badly, how so?

I use a starting clamp for a few of reasons,
1. it eliminates the need for a different kind of knot which is more aesthetic IMO
2. I do not like pulling tension against a grommet with a knot
3.) I think a starting knot isn't as effective as a starting clamp and
4.) I don't think tension is retained as well using a starting knot.

I personally have never cared for a starting knot.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@Irvin Thanks a lot!

About the knot - is this wrong then?
No that is correct but your tag end does not go through those 2 loops as shown in the picture. Notice on the left side there is one small half loop and another larger half loop. The tag end from the larger half loop goes UNDER and through the smaller loop. Your’s does not, therefore you have a VS starting knot.
 

loosegroove

Hall of Fame
Also, whichever knot you use, are you making sure to cinch it in two steps? For example you can't tie a parnell knot, just pull on the tail, and expect it to be flush to your frame. You have to cinch the first loop first, which will bring the knot flush against the frame, and then cinch the second loop by pulling the tail.
 

Spin Diesel

New User
@Rabbit Thanks! Maybe I give the starting clamp another try, after I get my knots to work fine at the bottom.
About the racket that played badly: the tension loss was so much that even the second cross was noticeably loose when moving it with my finger. It played quite dead at the top, already when I just tried out how it feels when just lightly playing a ball in the air a few times. I still tried it on the court and it was the same.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Be very careful cinching up the VS starting knot. It is intended to be used as a starting knot and tightened up pulling the string inside the frame. If you tighten the knot by pull the individual loops they will be easier to break. Those loops go around a single string making for a small radius for the knot. The smaller the radius the longer the outside of the string in the knot has to stretch, making it easier to break because you complete string is not carrying the pulling force only the outside.
 

Spin Diesel

New User
Also, whichever knot you use, are you making sure to cinch it in two steps? For example you can't tie a parnell knot, just pull on the tail, and expect it to be flush to your frame. You have to cinch the first loop first, which will bring the knot flush against the frame, and then cinch the second loop by pulling the tail.
Thanks! Yes I did that!
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
@Spin Diesel , I know this sounds heavy handed and I don't care about what others think about it. I use a Gamma cam pliers and a self made awl to pull "extra" tension on the last mains or crosses, jam the smoothed tip awl in the grommet, preventing any drawback, and then at my leisure tie off.

Sitting crosslegged naked on a "purple" rug oiled up in front of the stringing god, candles and incense burning all around, while sawing a knot back and forth to get it tensioned near reference tension seems a waste of time to me.

Stringing a tennis racket is a factory job brought home.
 

jim e

Legend
The Parnell Knot takes a certain rocking motion to cinch it up so the slack is pulled tight.
The leading edge of the second loop is pulled foward to cinch, and then lift up and back to snug it back so not to lose tension. Do that a couple times and knot us cinched tight. Pulling excessively hard on tail is no help at all as 1st loop is pulled tight keeping knot snug.
The only time I use an awl is to open a grommet before a string job, or to install a grommet set. Jam in an awl where there is a string and you have potential to damage a string, especially if you string a delicate string like nat gut.
 
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stapletonj

Hall of Fame
"ram and jam" with a needle nose awl has always worked for me. just be VERY careful when inserting the awl that you do not pierce either string....

all sexual innuendos and double entendres in the previous lines are entirely intentional and due t my 8th grade mentality.
 

serveandvolE

New User
I started stringing in the early/mid 80s and then stopped playing for about 25+ years and started playing again as well as stringing in the past 3 years. Back in the 80s I was taught how to string by an established tennis shop in my neck of the woods (and subsequently strung there) and we used awls for knot tie offs. Coming back to it so many years later and with the existence of YouTube I'm seeing how stringing has changed (and stayed the same). I don't think I've seen one stringing video using an awl for tie offs. Are they taboo now? What's the deal? I use them now and it seems to really help with keeping tension during tie offs.
 

Ryebread

Professional
Hi there,

I‘m new to stringing and have already strung my rackets four times.
Now I am wondering, if you have any tips for not loosing a lot of tension when tying off the crosses. I already changed to using a starting knot instead of a clamp, so it‘s already good at the top - my first racket played very inconsistently, because of the tension loss there. Are there actually any benefits of using a starting clamp?

Now at the bottom there is still a lot of loss. I can very easily move the last two crosses with my hand and they stay out of position, so I would like to optimise this. I‘m using a parnell knot but am wondering if the double hinge is actually easier for a beginner.
Do you have any other tips?

Which ones do I want for my gamma X-ELS?

Do they just slide off and on?

thx
 

struggle

Legend
sorry if I want to upgrade my clamps. Which ones would you get?
Gamma x-els has good string clamps. Maybe the base clamps aren't the best, but are functional.

Still, maybe start a new thread mentioning the issues you are having (whatever they may be), or perhaps even contact Gamma.
 

struggle

Legend
How hard do you push the awl into the hole? I know it's not easy to describe in words. How hard is too hard?
Enough to hold the string tension once tensioned. You should still clamp the string as normal of course.

I don’t do this (use the awl for such) but if you’re going to, it should hold the tension pulled, otherwise there’s no point in doing so.

Main thing is to slide the awl in so as it doesn’t pierce the string, but slides past it, point protruding into to stringbed/frame, if that makes sense...
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Now I am wondering, if you have any tips for not loosing a lot of tension when tying off the crosses … at the bottom there is still a lot of loss. I can very easily move the last two crosses with my hand and they stay out of position, so I would like to optimise this.
How hard do you push the awl into the hole? I know it's not easy to describe in words. How hard is too hard?
there is a clamp on the bottom cross just above the knot. How hard do you think you can punch the awl into the clamp?
 

struggle

Legend
huh? (rolls eyes). Pictured is a tied off string, no clamp, no awl. There IS HOWEVER, a grommet that should have been tubed at minimum.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
huh? (rolls eyes). Pictured is a tied off string, no clamp, no awl.
Well if there was no clamp on the bottom cross when he tied the knot you’ve figured out why the bottom 2 crosses were loose.
There IS HOWEVER, a grommet that should have been tubed at minimum.
it only took you a day to figure that out?
 

struggle

Legend
Well if there was no clamp on the bottom cross when he tied the knot you’ve figured out why the bottom 2 crosses were loose.

it only took you a day to figure that out?
No, it took your incoherent post for me to respond to you.

There is no clamp pictured, so what in the sam hell are you going on about? You have no clue if he had it clamped or not before tying off.
Most certainly he did, or should we just assume the entire frame was string by hand? C'mon man,

Once again, you have proven yourself.

Amen.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
No, it took your incoherent post for me to respond to you.

There is no clamp pictured, so what in the sam hell are you going on about? You have no clue if he had it clamped or not before tying off.
Most certainly he did, or should we just assume the entire frame was string by hand? C'mon man,

Once again, you have proven yourself.

Amen.
You guys are suggesting pushing an awl into the grommet to hold the string you’re tying off. You’re right I see no clamp but I do recognize if there was a clamp there that would be a bad idea. You just have figured that out yet.
 

struggle

Legend
You guys are suggesting pushing an awl into the grommet to hold the string you’re tying off. You’re right I see no clamp but I do recognize if there was a clamp there that would be a bad idea. You just have figured that out yet.
Again, incoherent. People are coming here for advice, yet you're providing zero.

One would clamp the string, then the awl would be there to hold the tag end tight before tying the knot.
Clearly, expecting the awl to hold tension on the entire string would not be a best practice, no matter how
it was done back in the day on a Tad Davis.

Please just lay off the meds, or start taking them. Whichever, it's not working for you. TIA.
 

struggle

Legend
It depends on the diameter of the awl, no? I found an awl from 1mm at the tip to 9mm at the head.
Likely depends, yes, but if one is going to use an awl to hold tension on the last couple/few cm of string
on the last cross then it is easily feasible to move the clamp over just enough to make room for which ever awl
you have in your quiver.

The awl i use, occasionally, to open up a path or whathaveya, barely protrudes into the "stringbed" area
and would never hit the string clamp. But Swervin' will likely mention some other reason it won't work.

It's all an exercise in futility, mostly the dealing with the swerve.
 

esgee48

G.O.A.T.
If you are losing so much tension from the tie off, then increase the ref tension 5-10 #. That way, you don't have to fool around here. I use to be OCD about tension losses due to tie offs, but no longer care. FWIW, I do not increase ref tension for tie offs. I do pay attention to how well I cinch up the knot and seat it. Knots will come with doing more string jobs.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
It depends on the diameter of the awl, no? I found an awl from 1mm at the tip to 9mm at the head.
First you must tie a proper knot. @Spin Diesel believes he is tying a Parnell knot but he is not. Also the string is twisted because of an overlap on the outside of the frame. I believe these issues will cause problems with the knot no matter what you do afterwards.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@Spin Diesel here is a video I just made that shows you how to make sure you are tying a Parnell knot. If you have any questions let me know. Once you have perfected your knot tying technique if you want to use an awl and have room do it.


EDIT: I believe a good knot and tying technique is more important than using an awl to hold tension. If you watch good stringers you will not see them using awls. The harder you smash that awl into your tie off grommet that more you’re going to expand the grommet and before long you‘re going to have the knot sliding into the enlarged grommet hole.
 
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Spin Diesel

New User
Hey @Irvin
thanks a lot!

Thanks to all the other suggestions as well! I‘ll try out all that stuff next week.

I‘m only stringing for myself and actually find it quite a relaxing task to do. I‘m not trying to be as fast as possible but to get a good result. But I‘m only stringing the few rackets I need for playing, so my experience through repeating is only growing slowly, that‘s why I was asking here.
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
For the sticks I string for others I try to avoid losing tension on the last few strings mostly by just being careful with the clamping. I use a parnell to start, but cinch it up carefully using a slow pull on the crank after pre-running the row ahead. This does a slight amount of a pre stretch. I don't string for Federer, so I just need to make it good enough for club members.

But for my own sticks, I notice I get more spin and comfort if I leave the top and bottom slightly more loose. If I have to restring sooner, it's not a matter to me since I own the machine and have reels. So I just crank them quick so they don't pre-stretch and then just tie them off with a double half hitch on the bottom and a Parnell to start.
 

stapletonj

Hall of Fame
It sounds like some are advocating putting the needle nose awl in from the inside of the hoop.
I do it from the outside and very carefully with a twisting motion, just enough to create some tension.
I then use some cam action pliers to cinch it up tight and give just a little extra push and twist on the awl to hold tension.

Tie off the knot quickly on general principles, and pull the awl out with a twisting motion.
 
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