Natural Gut Breaking at Parnell Knot

JetFlyr

Rookie
I recently had a customer who broke a main of freshly strung bed of VS Touch 16g broke at a Parnell knot tie-off. I've uploaded some pictures.

I don't string a lot of natural gut--probably less than 10% of what I do. I was careful not to tighten the knots as much as I do with synthetic gut strings.

After looking at the pictures, do any of you have recommendations on tie-offs as it applies to natural gut strings?







Sorry, I can't get the images to display, but you can right-click them and open them in a new tab.
 
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RJYU

Rookie
I not sure what knot I use since I’ve never really thought about it, but a lot of tournament stringers use what has now become called the “Parnell Knot.” Like some other knots, it is pretty much foolproof if done properly. The likely culprits are either you didn’t do it correctly, the tie off grommet was damaged, or the player made a miss hit near the knot.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@RJYU how much force do you use when cinching a knot on natural gut. I've had a terrible time with the same thing, just on Babolats - Pure Drives and Aero Pure Drives. They always break at the 4 or 6.
 

JetFlyr

Rookie
The racquet was a Technifibre TFight 295. I strung the natural gut as a 2-piece, to reduce wear during the install. The grommets appear to be in good shape, with no rough edges, my Baiardo clamps were cleaned just prior to installing the natural gut strings.
 

Herb

Semi-Pro
As your cinching the knot you may be causing a weak spot on the main if it is rubbing against the grommet as you tighten. Make sure you don't have lateral movement as you tighten.
 
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Geoff

Hall of Fame
Another potential cause is pulling up on the knot to tighten the knot whether using a Parnell, Pro or Half Hitches. This will weaken the anchor main string and leave it susceptible to early breakage. There are good videos on using a rocking back and forth motion to cinch a knot without weakening the anchor string. In my opinion it is not necessary to use a lot of force to properly tighten a knot.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
@RJYU how much force do you use when cinching a knot on natural gut. I've had a terrible time with the same thing, just on Babolats - Pure Drives and Aero Pure Drives. They always break at the 4 or 6.
Hello @Rabbit. I had some members that had some breakage on those frames. What knot are you using? The problem seemed to resolve itself when switching from a Pro knot to a Parnell knot and making sure to use no upward pressure when tightening the knot. The issues was happening almost exclusively on 17 gauge multis.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I usually use a starting clamp to cinch knots, but with Nat gut I use my hands. I use as little force as possible to get slack out, always rocking as close to parallel with the anchor string as possible. Same thing when I pull the tail to finish the knot - easy does it - just enough so that the knot comes together. Then hold the tail taught, release the clamp, trim, done.
 

esgee48

Legend
PB99 called it. The main anchor string snapped. That can be 2 issues. Either the guy hit the ball near that spot which seems unlikely or you notched/damaged the main when cinching up the knot. If you look at the end of the main, you can see some scuffing and unraveling. This is why you do not try anything esoteric removing slack. Another vote for "stringer issue."

Solutions? Try waxing/oiling the string around the area where you know you will need to tie a knot. Do not be too concerned with tight and small. Hand tighten. Consider a simple DHH.
 

RJYU

Rookie
@RJYU how much force do you use when cinching a knot on natural gut. I've had a terrible time with the same thing, just on Babolats - Pure Drives and Aero Pure Drives. They always break at the 4 or 6.
Honestly, I haven’t any idea how much force I use. I use enough to cinch the knot up, but I guess not enough to possibly damage the anchor string. I guess it’s just what I feel is right for gut. I started stringing at tournaments back in the 1980’s when the vast majority of players used natural gut, and the gut back them was much more fragile than today.

I do know that you don’t need to cinch natural gut as tightly as a synthetic multifilament. Polyester doesn’t need to be cinched up as tight as a standard synthetic gut either, but due to its durability, you can cinch polyester strings pretty firmly because pinching a poly anchor string is almost impossible to do. That being said, you need to be somewhat careful when cinching poly on a natural gut anchor string.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
When you tie off knots don’t rock the string your tying off back and forth just do a steady straight pull. Make sure there is no twist in the string you are tying off and it pulls through without kinking. Many say that don’t use a starting clamp when tying off but I always do. If the string breaks because of the clamp it will be up on the string and not at the knot. I just don’t pull as hard. Like Ron said if the string breaks at the knot it’s either the stringer or the grommet.

If you’re using a starting clamp to start your top cross that could also damage the string and cause breakage. I’d use a spacer so the point where the clamp holds the string is not at a sharp bend or in the knot after tying off.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@Herb @Geoff @esgee48 @RJYU - thanks all. The really funny thing is, I string natural gut for 4 or 5 folks. The only problem I have it with these dadgum Babolats. I strung one last night and used a DHH. I made sure to just snug both half hitches up. I also used a power pad outside the 6th and 6th main where the breakage has been occurring. We'll see if this one holds up.
 

Geoff

Hall of Fame
@Herb @Geoff @esgee48 @RJYU - thanks all. The really funny thing is, I string natural gut for 4 or 5 folks. The only problem I have it with these dadgum Babolats. I strung one last night and used a DHH. I made sure to just snug both half hitches up. I also used a power pad outside the 6th and 6th main where the breakage has been occurring. We'll see if this one holds up.
Hello @Rabbit
I have used tubing on some Pure Aeros and Aero Pro Drives. In my experience the grommet for the main tie off is definitely a problematic area on these frames when stringing with natural git or soft multis.
 

10shoe

Professional
I don't use self cinching knots with natural gut. Even though I hate the way they look, I use a double half hitch or whatever the correct name is for what the USRSA recommends. You'll note that if you look at the USRSA instructions for stringing gut, they say to use a "double half hitch".
 

esgee48

Legend
With NG, when I do it, its always DHH knots. I had one break once using the Wilson Knot. That's when I said to myself, "Never More." :D
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
For some reason, the BB code stopped working...

http://www.dropbox.com/s/gq7xehc31yh0ehi/20180105_184619.jpg

Another possible cause - have you tried to widen up the grommet whole with an awl?
No need to open up that grommet it’s easy to tie off there at 6T. The problem is you double block hole 7T after tying off the mains. And I’m guessing the string broke just about at the point where the bottom cross goes over the 6th main. I wonder what the stringer putin that grommet to open up that double blocked hole so he could get the gut in there? I wonder if the stringer nicked the main when he did that.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
The racquet was a Technifibre TFight 295. I strung the natural gut as a 2-piece, to reduce wear during the install. The grommets appear to be in good shape, with no rough edges, my Baiardo clamps were cleaned just prior to installing the natural gut strings.
Next time use an ATW pattern to avoid the double blocked hole.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@10shoe & @esgee48 - thanks for the reassurance. I did a DHH on this last job. I've never had problems with the top knot, just the bottom one on these Babolats. I strung this PD+ ATW with natural gut, as I usually do. When I did the bottom knot, I made sure to just snug it up and not try to reclaim or worry about any lost tension. It was the last cross after all.
 

MattCrosby

Professional
I have a small amount of experience with the Parnell but always go back to my trusty Pro Knot, I've had one breakage at the tie off with the Parnell w/ Natural Gut, due to a mis hit, that caused a similar form of string breakage as to what you are showing @JetFlyr so now I just used Pro Knot's all round.
 

themitchmann

Hall of Fame
@Herb @Geoff @esgee48 @RJYU - thanks all. The really funny thing is, I string natural gut for 4 or 5 folks. The only problem I have it with these dadgum Babolats. I strung one last night and used a DHH. I made sure to just snug both half hitches up. I also used a power pad outside the 6th and 6th main where the breakage has been occurring. We'll see if this one holds up.
While I haven't strung many Babolats with Natural Gut, they do have a reputation for breakage around that area due to the design of the frame/string pattern (essentially, the angles the string has to overcome).
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
While I haven't strung many Babolats with Natural Gut, they do have a reputation for breakage around that area due to the design of the frame/string pattern (essentially, the angles the string has to overcome).
Why are we talking about Babolat rackets? The racket in question in a Tecnifibre T-Fight 295 isn’t it?
 

jim e

Legend
I use Parnell knot with nat. gut and I string a lot of gut and have so for years.
I only use fingers to cinch up knot.
With Parnell knot there is no reason to pull tail very tight once 1st loop is pulled tight, as that will stress the string.
I have used the so called Parnell knot since 1968, when an old timer taught me to string back then. Back then this knot did not have a name that I knew of.
He told me that he did not know anyone in our area using that knot and it would distinguish my job from anyone else at that time.
So back in the wooden era I strung a lot of gut and still string gut today using same knot without any issues.
I have had some issues with some gut makes that were inferior, or poor quality control, so I do not stock those strings any more,
But no issues with the Parnell Knot and gut, that's for sure.

BTW, I place a lube called tri flow on the main string grommet openings, and that has stopped the early snapping of nat. gut at a grommet opening.
 
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Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
I used a gingerly cinched DHH on the last one. I guess I was over tightening the knot on the others. But, I used the same knot on other brand frames with the same force and all was good. It was just the Babs, one guy with a PD and another who uses an APD.
 
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