My Review of a New Cross Stringing Tool

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by norcal, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    First of all I want to let you know I do not own this product, I have no stake in it's success, I'm not being paid for this review, I didn't even get a Stringweaver tool out of it! A guy on my local league team (he is a professor at the local college and a good player) invented the 'Stringweaver' tool and he knew that I string and he asked if I wanted to try it. I told him sure, I would be happy to. I told him I was a member of the tennis warehouse forum and I could write a review on the 'stringing' forum there also if he wanted. I don't know if he is a member here, but if you have any questions I'm sure he can come here to answer them.

    Some background on me. I have been stringing rackets for about 30 years. When I was younger I strung for quite a few people and strung quite often. I wouldn't consider myself an 'expert' but I've strung hundreds (maybe a thousand?) of rackets over the years on many different stringers. At this point I only string for myself and a couple friends and average probably three rackets per month on my ancient Klippermate. Anyway, here goes:



    [​IMG]

    Instructions: very simple to understand and figure out. I did not even watch the video on the website. Basically you just fit the tool over the strings and lock it in place. It only takes a few seconds. You push the lever one way to separate the main strings and then alternate as you string each cross. You do not need to take the tool off the strings, you can just slide it down the string bed as you go. The tool itself is made of heavy duty plastic and seems quite durable.

    Using the Stringweaver: Once the tool is installed It effectively separates the main strings so when you weave the cross string there is essentially no resistance. I have strung full beds of polyester and hybrids with a polyester cross in the past and absolutely hated weaving with polyester. This tool will certainly take a lot of the hassle and pain out of weaving, especially polyester, and allows you to string the crosses more quickly. I imagine once you get used to this tool and tweak your weaving technique you can go really fast (especially, say in an 18x20 full poly job lol nightmare). I use a poly main, syn cross in my 16x18 frame and the whole process was pretty straight forward and simple.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Things did get a bit cramped towards the throat, I was able to use the tool down to the last cross without much trouble and could have fiddled around with it placement wise to help with the last one but I just took it out and did the final one the old fashioned way because it's so ingrained in my muscle memory anyways.

    One thing I wondered about was if using the Stringweaver would affect the tension of the string job - when tensioning the crosses you don't have the friction of the mains (since they are mostly separated) so I figured the overall tension would be higher. I strung this racket the exact same tension/same string as the one previous (without the tool) and according to RacketTune App the numbers were:

    Previous job: 46.9
    Stringweaver job: 47.6

    I record my stringjobs and they are all between .2 of each other so this one seems to be .5 tighter. Of course the variation could be due to the vagaries of using a dropweight, or my general suckiness as a stringer or whatever but it kind of makes sense it would be slightly tighter.

    In conclusion, I would recommend this tool. It is very easy to use and I think it would benefit beginning stringers who are slow at weaving, any stringer who has to deal with poly crosses, stringers who string more dense patterns and stringers in general who want to weave faster/easier (or are string geeks who like to try different things). If you string infrequently or have an easy string/pattern and have your weaving technique down then maybe it's not for you.

    Another attractive feature of the Stringweaver is the price - $35. When he first told me about the product I was guessing $60-ish. To me as a stringer $35 is worth the wear and tear on my fingertips as well as the potential increase in stringing speed.

    Anyways, hope you guys find this review informative. You can google the name of the tool for more info. Edtit: Google stringweavers, I guess without the s it takes you to some guitar website or something.

    Cheers
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
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  2. neverstopplaying

    neverstopplaying Professional

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    Nice review. I heard about this tool before - looks like it should be more popular.
     
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  3. chrisingrassia

    chrisingrassia Professional

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    Not something I'd buy, but cool.
     
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  4. MathieuR

    MathieuR Professional

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    Looks like a "half-baked-Stringway-cross-weaving-tool".
    It "opens" the path, but you still have to weave manually (but it looks like it will make life easier).

    I think if you take such a tool, go for the "full monty"
     
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  5. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    For anyone interested
     
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  6. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    Interesting tool and I do see the benefits for certain hobby stringers. It seems not quite as efficient as the Stringway but is roughly half the price (and for that conclusion I am assuming that an average purchaser would really need both the MP and LP versions of each) and if one feels that they are inefficient with crosses, it may be a worthwhile purchase. On the other hand, efficient cross stringing techniques come with experience and I'd personally rather plow that extra dough into saving for a better machine. Nonetheless, kudos to the inventor and I hope they are successful.
     
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  7. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    Firstly, I will point out that I am a huge fan of the Stringway tools and have been using them for a couple of years now.

    It should be pointed out that the Stringway tool is a true threading tool. The Stringweaver is more of a "weaving assistant". (The Stringway tool can also be used in the same manner as the Stringweaver if desired.)

    The Stringway tool comprises of mainly metal. The Stringweaver is mainly plastic. That alone explains the difference in price. Only time will tell what impact that difference has on the durability of each tool.
     
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  8. chrisingrassia

    chrisingrassia Professional

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    If ya'll professionals start using these tools, you diminish your skill that pays you money. Any 13yo can then charge what you do because weaving is an art, learned over time
     
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  9. jwocky

    jwocky New User

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    And, then we can debate ad infinitum the additional deformation/elongation effects on some types of string material from using any such cross weaving instrument.
     
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  10. MattCrosby

    MattCrosby Semi-Pro

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    Cool tool, but I think it would slow me up stringing, I can get a racket done in around 15 minutes so I think that would just slow me up. Great idea for people who are progressing through stringing.
     
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  11. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    Voww. I just got my stringing time under an hour and I felt like I achieved something .

    15 minutes is a fantastic time. I will be super thrilled if I can ever get to 30-40 minute mark.
     
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  12. MattCrosby

    MattCrosby Semi-Pro

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    It takes time, and depends on what racket I'm stringing, if I'm stringing something with a Poly/Syn gut hybrid I can crack it out pretty quick, a full poly usually takes around 20 mins, thats not including straightening, stencilling, labelling and bagging :D
     
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  13. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    Ha! I have Scotch and Whiskey that are older than 13 YO. I can see someone using tools like this or the one by Stringway. To each, their own. For me, it's not so much the weaving, but waiting for the machine to stop making noises as I push the crosses into position. I could do a job in 20 minutes, but I found that the tension is not as even as if I waited 10-20 seconds. I rather be consistent then fast. In my situation, it is not worth the rush since I do not have problems weaving.
     
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  14. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are using a constant pull stringer?
     
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  15. Technatic

    Technatic Semi-Pro

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    [
    I think that every new invention in the tennis industry should be appreciated because new stringing products are really very rare.

    And there is nothing wrong with plastic, because there are a lot of very strong plastics in the industry.

    That is when you use the right type for the right product and adjust your design to the fact that you make it of plastic and not of metal.

    The copy of our flying clamps in the 90’s, seen on this picture, was of course some kind of mistake because clamps have to be stiff and offer as much friction as possible.

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    The main problem with plastic is that it's not as friendly to the environment as most metals are.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of each of the tools is recyclable.
     
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  17. jim e

    jim e Legend

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    It is not like water or drink bottles that are mass produced where there are millions of them.
    I doubt that there will be millions of these made filling up the landfills when they are discarded.
    Not that I want this tool, as I can weave just fine without helping aids.
     
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  18. steve s

    steve s Professional

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    To norcal:

    I have arthritis in my fingers, that comes and goes, and have trouble with the weaving. About how far up do the string go? Can the string be pull across, or should still be fanned after the weave?

    Think I want to be the first one on the block to have one.
     
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  19. eelhc

    eelhc Hall of Fame

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    Well... We should really worry more about synthetic strings.

    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

    Oscar Wilde
     
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  20. chrisingrassia

    chrisingrassia Professional

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    Ya know......have any of you tried to weave a cross when the mains aren't all even/flush?
    Regardless of whether that weave is hard or soft, the soft weave (which is what this tool creates), is a difficult one. It would probably take me more time to soft weave than straight or hard weave.
     
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  21. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Even without a bead?
     
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  22. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    do people really use these cross stringing/"weaving" tools?
     
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  23. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    @steve s

    I didn't even think of arthritis in the fingers. I was thinking more of discomfort from weaving poly but I think this tool could definitely help with arthritis pain.

    To answer your question (I think): You can weave the string straight across if you want, with little or no resistance. I slid the tool further down than the instructions say because I didn't want it so close to my hands (I usually weave in a semi-circle fan; down then back up) and it still provided plenty of separation of the mains so I don't think there's any need to have it close to your hands.

    The only area it felt cramped at all was at the end toward the throat - not sure if there is much you can do about that. I was able to fit it all the way down to the last cross but chose to weave the last two the old fashioned way because that was easier for me. Here is a pic of the tool at the throat.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    Yeah I was wondering about this a bit also which is why I compared the tension to an identical racket strung without the tool.

    Once I thought about it for a minute though, I figured hitting a tennis ball (with whatever psi that is) will make any slight deformation/elongation irrelevant compared to what my 68mph (tt translation = 92mph) forehand will do to the strings. Heck I have been known to stand on a string bed briefly to break in a string bed that hasn't had time to relax lol.
     
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  25. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    It is definitely a weird feeling if you are an experienced stringer and have your weaving down. Once I get started I can pretty much weave without looking. With the tool I had to look because my fingers didn't have the same frame of reference. That's why I mentioned I would have to tweak my weaving technique to get used to it. I do *think* the potential is there for the average stringer to weave faster, especially with poly.

    As for the Stringway tool mentioned above, I had no idea there was a tool that actually does the weaving for you! I can't even picture how that would work, I will have to look that up. Pretty cool though.

    And yes, the Gamma clamp I got to replace the broken Klipper clamp is not nearly as good as metal - wish I knew that when I bought it!
     
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  26. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Trust me as long as you have to weave the crosses with your fingers there is no way this tool will relieve arthritis pain.
    If you have a KM stringer why not go back to KM? There stringer is guaranteed for like. If anything goes bad they will replace it, see about 1:20 in this video https://www.klipperusa.com/video.php
     
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  27. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    Wow, thanks Irvin! I had no idea there was a lifetime guarantee. Ordered the Gamma through Amazon because I was in a pinch and needed it tomorrow.

    As for the best advice I ever got regarding stringing crosses (and in general) - @Irvin advising cutting your string end into a very sharp point. Amazing how many headaches such a simple tip has alleviated!
     
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  28. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    I may have said that but I don't remember it, are you sure it wasn't someone else. I cut the tip of a string if I can feel a mushroom on it because it block the string from going into a small grommet. More often than not I'm stringing multi string and if you cut them to a sharp point they will fray easily. I usually cut my string at a point but not a sharp point unless I'm trying to get a string into a tight spot.
     
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  29. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    May want to dull that sharp point if it is a poly. Poked a point through my pinkie. Thank goodness I had two.
     
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  30. norcal

    norcal Hall of Fame

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    I thought it was you in the context of dealing with blocked holes, but that is just my memory. Either way, I wish your youtube videos were around when I started stringing - the kids these days have it so easy!

    /get off my lawn

    edit: Ronaldo - [​IMG]
     
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  31. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Getting through a blocked hole is different than weaving. I've cut a sharp point to get through a block hole only to cut it again on the other side. Weaving crosses can easily wear down a sharp point on a soft string.
     
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  32. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Lil clear nail polish may help.
     
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  33. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Yes I've used that and heating the tip helps also but nothing beats a pathfinder awl. The trick is to insert the awl before blocking the hole, so you don't have to force it in. Then when you're ready to insert the string, open the awl, cut the tip (so it fits easier into the awl,) insert the string in the awl, pull the awl out and you're done. Nothing I've found is any where is close to being that easy.

    EDIT: BTW putting nail polish on Ashaway Kevlar doesn't work if the hole is really block. A pathfinder awl works every time without fail.

    EDIT: There is a problem when you have a really fat string that won't fit in the awl. Then the best option is to use a really sharp tip and use the string to push the awl instead of pulling the awl.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
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  34. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Broken two pathfinder awls. Used them BITD when stringing CAPped Prestiges and Radicals. Redefined blocked hole.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2017
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  35. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    If you break them you're trying to insert them in a blocked hole. You must put them in the hole before it's blocked.

    EDIT: the awl is nothing more than a tube of insert in the grommet. You then push the string in the tube and pull it out and when you do the string remains through the grommet. I've also used some blunt needles for the same purpose but the od is larger and the in diameter is smaller. Going to have to find some real thin ones.
     
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  36. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

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    Ty, may need one soon. Still Have those Prestige mids.
     
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  37. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    Do people really use Electric Power Tools? Do people really travel down to their local store in their car rather than walk?

    I've got better things to do with my time than to waste a lot of time learning how to master manually weaving cross strings. The Stringway tool has saved me many hours already and has also saved my fingers a lot of wear and tear.

    Keep in mind that I was very late to the "String your Own Racquet" party. The tools were available. I acquired them. I have never looked back.
     
    #37
  38. chrisingrassia

    chrisingrassia Professional

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    How much time does the tool save you per stick? Have you timed it and gotten an average?

    I can string a cross in about 6 seconds. Cutting it down to 3 or 4 seconds would save me ~45 seconds per racquet?
     
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  39. Karma Tennis

    Karma Tennis Professional

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    At my current level, using the Stringway tool saves me about 5 to 10 mins per frame (20 crosses). So if I do 3 frames in a day, I'm saving around 15 to 30 mins. More importantly, with the tool I find it much easier to string multiple frames a day because it is so much easier on my fingers.

    I would love to be able to string a cross in 6 seconds. But that isn't happening for me anytime soon.

    I imagine if I was doing 5 or more frames a day, I could probably develop a reasonably efficient manual weaving technique to speed things up. But I just don't have the time or inclination to do so at this stage of my life. The tool just works!
     
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  40. StringWeaver

    StringWeaver New User

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    I've been silent up to now because it may be difficult for me to be impartial on this subject. However, as the inventor of the StringWeaver I am in a unique position to answer many of the questions raised in this thread. But first I wish to thank norcal for writing his very thorough review of the device which started this thread. For the record, I had no input whatsoever in his review and learned its content only after he had posted it.

    Now to the questions and comments:
    Yes, they do. The Stringway MK2 has been around for many years though it appears to have not been widely adopted in the US. There may be several reasons for this, but I will not make disparaging remarks about that tool. By the way, I did not learn about its existence until after I had developed my StringWeaver. The StringWeaver has only been available to the general public for about two months but stringers all over the country have been purchasing and using it. The feedback from these users has been very positive and it encourages me to continue this little venture.

    To which Irvin responded:

    I would disagree with Irvin on this. One arthritic user specifically told me using the tool was easier on his fingers. I definitely felt it in my old joints before I developed the StringWeaver. In fact, that was one of the reasons I worked so hard to develop the tool.

    As to Steve's other questions, on most racquets the StringWeaver is thin enough to remain on the bed until all crosses have been strung. It depends upon the shape of the head. You can pull the string across without fanning, but I think fanning is still a good idea--most stringers are used to fanning and it doesn't really add more time.

    Technatic wrote:

    Technatic is absolutely right about this and I thank him for making this point. A great deal of effort went into finding a material with all the necessary properties to make a durable, affordable, and successful product. The StringWeaver is made from an engineered plastic that is very strong but not brittle, has a high impact resistance, and can be cut to tolerances within a few thousandths of an inch. Each piece is precision machined to ensure an excellent fit and a very smooth action.

    Finally, several posters have brought up the issue of speed and whether tools like the StringWeaver will save you time. The last thing I want is for this thread to devolve into a pissing contest over who's the fastest stringer in the West. So, I'll say this. If you are new to stringing or you string too seldom to get really fast, then yes, a tool like this will save you time, perhaps even a great deal of time. If you are already very fast and string racquets in say, less than 15 minutes, then no, it might not make you even faster. However, there are factors other than just speed to consider. Mainly, how do your fingers feel after you've spent an afternoon stringing with nasty polys like Black Widow or Barb Wire? Also, how much damage are you doing to the outer coating of the string when you pull your crosses through the mains?

    I designed the StringWeaver with the amateur stringer in mind. I've been surprised by the number of professional stringers who have adopted it. They tell me they did so not to save time but because it makes weaving the crosses easier on their fingers and is less damaging to the strings. Shop owners use it when training new employees in the art of stringing and they say it speeds up the learning curve.

    That's it. Back to lurking mode until summoned again.
     
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  41. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Trust me on this it hurts to just open my hand because of arthritis and you're just taking the word of somebody else. The faster I move my hand or the more resistance there is the more it hurts. Just keeping my fingers loose and shaking my hand hurts. The doctor said, "Don't do that." I've taken medications for about 10 years now and nothing really helps? I can tell you from my experience the more I use my hands to do something like stringing the better it seems to be.

    I would suggest you be very careful making claims as to what your tool will or will not do. Good luck with your invention.
     
    #41
  42. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Seems to me that one should try the tool before discarding its benefits out of hand. Your post seems to be a bit contradictory. The tool would lessen the amount of resistance making it easier for you. The speed you weave is totally up to you, so you could go slow enough to be comfortable. I would suggest you be very careful condemning products without trying them.
     
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  43. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    As I mentioned in an earlier post, tools such as this (and the Stringway cross-stringer) seemingly can be very valuable to the hobby stringer (and likewise to the more proficient stringer). It does strike me that these sorts of implements can make the installation of cross-strings much easier for anyone (and frankly would be less stressful on those with sore fingers and hands). And if they make stringing more efficient and/or enjoyable for the stringer, then by all means, that person should consider taking advantage of them (and kudos to the companies developing and selling them). For those of us who (at least presently--no hand/finger pain yet!) don't feel they need it, so be it--but we should be happy that other folks out there are indeed invested in the stringing craft. This post is not an endorsement . . . just an open mind.
     
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  44. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    @MAX PLY I could not agree more with you more but sore hands is one thing arthritis is another. My hats off to the inventors that come up with their ideas. I recall @Shroud made a video of him stringing poly through Kevlar and he was very slow. I think a lot of his problem was technique,but Kevlar at his very high tension then weaving poly through did not help. This tool can really help those who don't string enough or haven't developed a technique yet.
     
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  45. chrisingrassia

    chrisingrassia Professional

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    Yep. To be fair, I think that's all that OP was going for. Just giving an opinion on it.
    But when StringWeaver jumped in here......who's brand new to the forum as of TWO days ago......and only posted in THIS thread.......:rolleyes::rolleyes::oops::oops::confused::confused:
    Norcal's first sentence is awfully suspicious now that I re-read it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  46. Technatic

    Technatic Semi-Pro

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    HI Stringweaver.

    I would like to share some forum experience about cross stringers with you. The tool was our first product made in1982 so we had a lot of discussions on forums about it.

    A cross stringer thread will always be used by stringers to boost about their stringing qualities. These guys will always tell how fast they are without the tool.

    Or they will degrade the tool with remarks like:

    And

    Because we sell many tennis units we thought that it could be a good idea to make a badminton unit, because weaving badminton strings is much more difficult.

    So we made a prototype and asked the Badminton Central forum about their opinion.

    It became a contest:

    At first 15 seconds weaving time pro string was mentioned as a good average time.

    So I put 8 strings in through the tool in 82 seconds as a clumsy tennis stringer not used to the thin badminton strings.

    You would think that this convinced the guys ……………………………it hardly did.

    And of course we did a lot of “contests” with experienced stringers on shows and seminars. The conclusion, the experienced hand weaver can never beat the experienced guy with the tool.

    But the funny thing is:
    The gain in speed is not the major advantage at all, the advantages are the convenience and the quality of the stringing product.

    No more sore fingers, standing straight, no more string burning, weaving high density patterns as easy as low density patterns and monos as easy as multis.

    For these reasons you should be careful with your expectations, you will not sell thousands of the tools. The badminton cross stringer is our only product that does not sell well and we will not make a new series.
     
    Karma Tennis likes this.
    #46
  47. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,210
    ^^^how about using my whole quote next time, which continued “(and likewise to the more proficient stringer)”. My post was hardly degrading—to the contrary, it was quite supportive of innovative tools like these. Taking my views totally out of context hardly helps your cause or credibility.
     
    Rabbit likes this.
    #47
  48. Technatic

    Technatic Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2009
    Messages:
    642
    Hi Maxply

    Only mentioning the “Hobby stringer” tells what it is often about, whatever your context may be.

    The pro stringer should struggle to get the strings through because he is so good with it and the hobby stringer needs a tool because he is not so good.

    IMO the home stringer is the smart guy who looks for ways to make stringing easier and the pro stringer feels he has to continue struggling otherwise other pro-stringers might think that he can not weave fast enough.

    To justify their opinion pro stringers come up with the most untrue arguments like in a long discussion on this forum lately.

    Maybe Carpenters in the 50’s ignored the first “Black and Decker” tools also although I doubt it.

    But maybe this blog explains the feelings of experienced stringers who put the tool away first because they felt they could do better.

    http://www.******************.com/b...-cross-stringing-tool-revisited/#comment-2148
     
    #48
  49. jwocky

    jwocky New User

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2017
    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Big Blue Marble
    Such debate/discussion will rage on for inventions, but one has a choice to:
    - not purchase the instrument and then there is no experience on which to base the comments about the tool
    - have the instrument in one's toolbox and use it when the mood strikes or the conditions are sub-optimal (raw fingertips, arthritis, string type, decide to revisit the tool, invent a better tool, etc.) and then qualify comments about the tool accordingly ["have used it N times only, and I save (don't save) time" or "I do (do not) get a better quality string job than finger weaving because ..."]
    - use the instrument regularly and comment based on credible (tracked) data
     
    #49
  50. Chotobaka

    Chotobaka Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,683
    In comparison to Stringway's cross-stringing tools, this is...

    [​IMG]
     
    #50

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