Post your favorite stringing tips here!

drop shot

Rookie
The USRSA has a page devoted to stringing tips that is pretty useful. What are your favorite tips that make stringing a raquet easier? Please post all of your ideas here no matter how insignificant they seem.
 

drop shot

Rookie
NO!

No, I just think that this message board has some of the smartest stringers around. I could care less about getting a free pack of strings. I would just like for others and myself to benefit from some of the posters knowledge.
 

waterpro

New User
i agree, I am somewhat new to stringing. I can hold my own fairly decently but hey if someone has tips or techniques that make it easier I am all ears. It used to take me 2 1/2 hours to string a racket. I am now down to about 1hr45min. I hear people that do it in 20 minutes and I am sitting there puzzled because it takes me 6 times as long to do it. So anything would be helpful. Post away people!
 
Some basics are to preweave the mains,enlarge any holes before you start,makes string ends sharp.When doing crosses make sure you weave ahead and don't let go of the string end becuase the fishing for the string end after each cross is what will waste time or save it.When weaving try and weave away at an angle from the other crosses.Prestretching serves 2 purposes:relaxing the string by removing coil memory for easier installation and decreases initial tension loss.I don't want strings and if you win with something I post then consider it a double present.
 
Hawaii 5.0 has pointed out the most important tip which is the weave ahead. I also think you should weave using one hand below and one hand above the strings so you can more efficiently press the cross through.

Let me add that watching TV while you are stringing is bad practice. IMO, you are better off paying attention to what you are doing, which if you practice this in general, will also help your tennis game.

Finally, if you are using a drop weight like a Klipper, you shouldn't get anxious about having the bar exactly horizontal. As many have pointed out, even a 5% error only results in a fraction of a lb difference in tension. Add to this the fact that after a few minutes of hitting the tension is pretty well evened out over the entire string bed.
 

kninetik

Rookie
Im in the same boat as waterpro taking approximately an hour an a half stringing racquets. One problem I have is weaving. I can get halfway through the stringbed relatively quickly, then the string starts to get really tight and I can't pull the string using my fingers anymore. From that point, my weave slows down dramatically. Any tips on weaving, and how pros can just weave from one end to the other in under 10 seconds?
 

borisboris

Semi-Pro
:lol: As if I'd let my stringer watch the boob tube while stringing my racquet!!! = misweaves. Best to put on some tunes or have a documentary show on so the visual isn't as important as the verbal. I became side tracked watching the FO and missed 2 weaves and had to move the stringer so I wouldn't watch. :roll:
 
Weaving the crosses ahead one allows for less friction on the weave and a much easier instillation.By weaving ahead you get this window and instead of going up and over strings you can go just a fraction of the distance,especially when combined with snake weaving it really helps.Make sure you don't let go of the end and you'll shave a few minutes on even a 20-30 min job.The reason I prelace the mains on a two piece is so I don'y pull as much string and I knot pretty efficiently.Eventually you'll get to the point where you really don't need to be watching yourself weave and you can tell by feel.Also a last minute visual check can spot the misweaves if you look at a 45 degree angle of the mains low to the frame and you'll see a bowing pattern and misweaves look really big.
 
I think you can learn alot from the videos at the bottom of the page on this website (speed stringing competition).... cant say anything about the machines.....but the videos are worth watching for people looking to speed up their time...
http://www.sptennis.com/video.asp


Tips for speeding up time... dont drop the end of the string while doing the crosses... keep it in your hand... otherwise you just fish for it all the time.

If you are 2 piecing a "normal" frame... just cut the string in half before you start... save time installing mains.

GET ONE OF THOSE EXPENSIVE STARTING CLAMPS! I know they dont seem cool... but you can double it up by your first clamp to get the string going (good for people who have touchy clamps and waste time readjusting them... or making them too tight.... also .. for those of you who dont know this already... those little holes you see in the clamps... they hold a chunk of string that you can loop around..... what this does for you is allow you to tension the "stub" of string that wont reach the tension head. THIS IS THE MOST UNDERRATED thing you could own if you string a number of frames... the clamp is strong enough to hold the string while the extra string looped from the clamp will reach the tension head. I know that there are experienced guys on this forum that can attest to the usefulness of these clamps. I try not to measure wrong and therefore I hope to never use this clamp... but if I have to use it once it was worth it...

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpage-SCLAMP.html




I'll add some more later..
 

Gaines Hillix

Hall of Fame
I agree with weaving one ahead on the crosses before tensioning is a real time saver. It also reduces friction on the mains. I find that pulling the string almost all the way across on the second weave is what saves the most friction. Just leave a loop of string outside the frame that is long enough to reach the tension head. Push the first string as close to the previously tensioned string as possible before you pull tension on the first untensioned string. This helps keep the string straighter when you tension it and mis-weaves are much easier to spot before you pull tension on that string. The weaving technique that seems to work best for me is one hand above and one below pushing the string at an angle across the stringbed with my index fingers. This takes advantage of the stagger in the mains and makes the cross easier to push through. Be especially careful on the last string at the head or throat. This is the most common place for a mis-weave to occur. I hold my knots tight with my parallel jaw pliers while releasing the clamps. Then I release the pliers. For avoiding problems with blocked holes, insert a loop of scrap string under the blocking string before you tension it. This is usually where mains are skipped and where cross strings will be installed later. Then when you get to that hole, use your fingers or pliers to pull on the loop of string to pull the blocking string out of the way. Remove it when you are finished. On a two piece job, when you start the crosses, weave the second string first and then weave back for the first string. This saves pulling all of the string through the frame on the second cross. If you have a starting clamp, you can avoid using a starting knot on the first cross string. Just weave the second and then first cross and pull out a length of string on the outside of the frame long enough to reach the tension head. Then clamp off on the outside of the frame with the starting clamp. After you've weaved and tensioned 3 o 4 more crosses, you can come back and retension the first string, remove the starting clamp and put one of the machine's clamps on and tie off the string with a regular tie-off knot. If your string ends won't stay sharp after cutting them with your cutters, put a drop of super glue or clear nail polish on them. Clean your clamps regularly with isopropyl alcohol or acetone free nail polish remover. Learn some around the world patterns so you can string racquets whose mains end at the throat one piece while avoiding stringing bottom up. Straighten the crosses as you go. It will be easier than trying to straighten them after your're done and the stringbed will retain more of the reference tension. Pay attention while you're stringing. Try to be as consistent as possible. Be consistent on how long you let the string sit on the tension head before you clamp off. Save your expletives for stringing polyester. You'll need them! Never leave a partially strung racquet with tension on the strings. Cut the strings out of a frame with one broken string. Don't let it sit with a broken string waiting to be restrung. Never leave your racquets in the trunk of your car or the back seat on a hot day.
 

bcaz

Professional
Thnaks, Gaines. A superb summary, all in one place. We should all print this for future reference.
 
Another tip that might help someone with a Klippermate or someone that uses metal clamps. They give you a tiny piece of sandpaper to clean the clamps with, but it is awkward to use. I bought a sheet of fine sandpaper and cut small strips out of it. Then I glued the strips to the ends of a tongue-depressor which makes it easy to lightly sand-clean the clamps. It is a whole lot faster than using alcohol.

All you need is one scary stringjob where the clamps totally slip to see the value in keeping the clamps clean.
 

Gaines Hillix

Hall of Fame
If you are stringing one piece, there are several ways to measure the shortside string, but here's one that is simple and a real time saver. Determine which end of the racquet the mains will start at. Start the shortside string measuring by putting one string through the center grommets on the long side from the opposite end that the pattern calls for. If the pattern says to start at the head, feed the string through at the throat. If the pattern has 16 mains, pull through 9 lengths of the head. This is eight lengths for the short side mains and 1 extra to reach the tension head on the last main.
Now feed the string back through the grommets for the first shortside main and pull the 9 lengths through. Now set up your clamps and away you go.This not only accurately measures the short side string, it also saves feeding the long side string through the center pair of grommets on that side. You may find the extra length of string on the short side isn't needed on strings that have a lot of stretch or frames that have shorter outside mains.
 
folks,

this was a seminal thread on the forum and really helped reduce my string time. Let's update the thread and diredesire has agreed to add it to the forum sticky.

So please post your best tips here.

p.s. I wonder what became of gaines hillix....
 
I'm saddened to hear that, he was good enough to help me pick out my first stringing machine. He was very generous with his time and advice (as are the posters here).

here are some tips that haven't been posted:
- to measure string, measure your wing span
- for your own racquets, put a small dot the center of the head of the throat. Some racquets already have this marked. I also like to mark the holes to skip.
- for mains, string two on one side of center then two on the other
- to push through blocked holes, cut string diagonally to form a point. Putting a little lip balm on the point also helps. Never use an awl.
- when weaving crosses one-ahead, after tensioned, push untensioned weaved string next to tensioned string to look for mis-weaves.
 

Traffic

Hall of Fame
I was teaching a friend how to string. And he was 'weaving' the crosses by manually up and down each string rather than holding string between your two middle fingers. I found that this slow method has a high error rate. I caught 3 mistakes. I found the standard weave technique really helps eliminate this error.

I make sure the tip of the string is cut at an angle. Then I make sure I have about 1cm sticking out beyond my fingers and I say out loud, "over, under, over, under…" and it helps a lot. I weave one ahead as that makes the main strings lay up and down to help with the weave. I'm not super fast like the pros, but I can move across probably at 1.5 strings per 2 sec. That's enough to string a racquet in about 35min. If you count cutting out strings, mounting, and straightening strings and putting the vib damp back on, it's about 55min.
 

zinzan8

Rookie
Have good lighting. Makes it easier to insert into the grommet holes. And a flashlight can be handy when looking for the clearest path into a tie-off hole.
 
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Karma Tennis

Hall of Fame
Old thread but a goodie.

My biggest stringing tip .... CLEAN your stringing machine on a regular basis. This includes cleaning the String Clamps, the Base Clamps, Starting clamps, the turntable rails, and the string gripper. I use generous amounts of Isopropyl Alcohol which does a great job of removing gunk, grime, and string residue.

And for those who find weaving Cross Strings an absolute chore ... consider using a Cross Stringing tool. There are a few different products on the market. They are an added cost, but they can save both time and fingers.
 

jim e

Legend
One thing that helped me cut down some of the time was to keep control of the end of the string. I felt very awkward to hold onto the end while stringing, so I placed a wide rubber band over my watch, and I slide the string end under the rubber band, and I always Know where the end is.
This saves time. At one time I use to slide the string end under my watch band but getting poked by a stiff string was not the best. The rubber band over the watch works for me. Just a thought for those that are attempting to get a little faster.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
The number one key to consistency is keeping the crosses straight. Focus on keeping the crosses straight before you clamp them and move on. Straightening crosses after you've tied off means you're losing tension.

That's the biggest advantage I see with the Babolat Sensor's design and a constant pull tension head. The Mighty Sensor is laid out so as to make straight crosses an easier thing to accomplish and the constant pull tension head ensures that as you straighten the cross, tension is maintained.

The second biggest tip I have it do not overthink the process. Stringing is not rocket science:
  1. Thread mains/weave crosses
  2. Pull tension
  3. Clamp
  4. Repeat
Anybody tells you different is blowing smoke.
 

jim e

Legend
Also , for the beginners here, there is no need to keep checking your weaves over and over. It is waste of time.
I watched someone in big box store a long time ago check every row weave after weaving, and that eats up more time.
Remember on most racquets, there is an even number of main strings, if you go over the 1st cross with weave , you will end up going under the last cross string.
The reverse is also true if you go under the 1st cross you will be going over the last cross.
Unless you really mess up and have 2 mis weaves in same row, or have a double mis weave the above will hold true most of the time, so you really don't need to keep checking.
I try to make it where I start most mains with going under the 1st main, as by going over the last main, it's easier to place string into the grommet after weaving.
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
Reduce the number of tools in your tool tray. Nothing worse or time consuming than fumbling for what you need in a mess of tools. Curved pliers, cutter, starting clamp (plus for me, a setting off awl and a starting block). Anything else you need in those rare occasions should just be close by.
 
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zinzan8

Rookie
@MAX PLY, what is a starting block?

And how is a setting off awl used? I’ve seen the Wimbledon stringers video where one of the guys is stabbing the strings, bit I haven’t found a video that demonstrates how its used. Could a stringer effectively use something like the blunt end of a steel or hard plastic chopstick?
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
All the blunt awl is doing is straightening the strings after stringing. It is always best to keep the strings straight while you're stringing. When stringing crosses I generally string 1 ahead as many stringers do. But most stringer will leave the lower cross in the lower section of the frame while they tension the higher cross. If you do that the last tension cross actuall pushed the cross you're tension down the frame and there's generally nothing to hold it up other than your fingers.

I pull both untensioned cross up to approximately where they will end up. Then when you tension a string it will not bend downward as much and will be almost perfectly straight.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
@MAX PLY, what is a starting block?

And how is a setting off awl used? I’ve seen the Wimbledon stringers video where one of the guys is stabbing the strings, bit I haven’t found a video that demonstrates how its used. Could a stringer effectively use something like the blunt end of a steel or hard plastic chopstick?
The stabbing motion to which you refer is really just a way to, for lack of a better term, nick the string you want to move. The stabbing motion is just faster and easier than trying to nudge a string individually. As you can see, it's hard to explain. The best explanation is actually doing it.

You would need to show me what blunt end of steel you're referring to. I setting off awl is a blunt piece of steel so yes it works but it needs to be specific in shape. A plastic chopstick would not stand up to the rigors of use, I'm afraid it would break. You would also not have much to hang on to thereby rendering it useless as you have no lever against the string.
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
@MAX PLY, what is a starting block?

And how is a setting off awl used? I’ve seen the Wimbledon stringers video where one of the guys is stabbing the strings, bit I haven’t found a video that demonstrates how its used. Could a stringer effectively use something like the blunt end of a steel or hard plastic chopstick?
A starting block is merely a spacer used when starting the cross strings that rests between the frame and the starting clamp. It is designed to preserve a small length of string from being potentially crushed by the starting clamp and then bent around to the tie off hole when finished. I have the Kimony one which honestly I bought on a lark . . .I use a soft string on my personal frames (either gut, NXT or X-1) and I figure it couldn't hurt (that stated, I never had a problem in the prior 40 years of stringing before I purchased it--but now, since I blew 17 bucks on it, I might as well use it). I don't think anyone needs one.

The setting off awl is a blunt steel awl that is used to straighten any wayward strings when you finish. I do straighten as I go (as do most seasoned stringers) but there's always some rebels when I finish. The stabbing motion (perfected, I believe, by Norman Bates) is an acquired skill---I think it "nudges" (rather than "nicks" (sorry Rabbit) the string. The more you do it, the faster and more accurate you become. I am not sure a plastic chopstick would have the same efficiency (plus, you'd be hungry an hour later!).
 

zinzan8

Rookie
Okay, so I knew what the blunt awl looked like. I think the back end of a metal chopstick looks the same, but yes, without a handle, probably not as easy to utilize. Guess I could create a handle out of tape or something (like a prison shank), but probably not worth the effort. Anyway, still hard to imagine the actual technique without seeing someone use one up close, explaining a bit as they go.

And the starting block, thanks for the explanations and image link. So it's like using a wooden clothespin or the parnell pad, right?
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
^^^ more like the clothespin--the Parnell Pad really just protects the frame from the metal of the starting clamp . . . it doesn't preserve a length of string (the starting block as a bit more width). I am a fan of the Parnell Pad too--but you can make your own if you wish with a scrap piece of leather (or a comparable material).
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I think the back end of a metal chopstick looks the same, but yes, without a handle, probably not as easy to utilize. Guess I could create a handle out of tape or something (like a prison shank), but probably not worth the effort.

And the starting block, thanks for the explanations and image link. So it's like using a wooden clothespin or the parnell pad, right?
You’re right not worth the effort too flexible. You may be better off grinding down an old screwdriver.

The clothespin would be very similar the Parnell pad is much thinner. Sometimes you want something thin other time something thicker. I would want something the would keep the section of string I’m clamping in the straight section outside the frame. For instance, many time I use an ATW pattern but I do not like to clamp a top cross with my starting clamp but I do want (sometimes) to use the short side to run a top cross. So I’ll use the starting clamping on the outside main on the long side to free up the clamp on the long side to clamp the cross coming from the short side string to run in the cross at the top and tie off. Then both my clamps are free and I can finish stringing.
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
^^^ I think it needs a propeller on top. Seriously, I have used a headlight before when stringing when the power went out once (had a tourney the next day).
 
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Herb

Semi-Pro
Keep you crosses straight as your pulling tension. Don't overthink the process. string 2 piece as much as possible as it is easier to work with 2 short pieces than one long piece, If you are stringing multiple racquets, string the most difficult first (18x20, shaped poly, etc.) (when your finders are tired you will be working on the easier racquets), keep a sharp tip cut on the string, keep the end of the string in your hand as you pull so you do not have to look for it.
 

esm

Hall of Fame
I often wear an LED cap so I can see the grommets better. My eyes aren't young anymore!

That is cool.
my wife got me a pair of two finger gloves with a small light, so to help me with dark grommet holes.
I found the glove is handy when pulling the strings as I do them in well lit room. Lol
 

Tennease

Legend
I need good lighting as well. I use a floor lamp with a flexible goose neck and position it right above the string bed. Works great for me.
Me too, I need good lighting. There is a light bulb in the ceiling right above my stringing machine but the lamp was a dim yellow one, so I replaced it with a bright cool white LED with 1400 lumens of brightness level. I can see everything now.
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
Would be a bit hot to wear one where I am so maybe I can wear this one:

That is......ehhhhh....nice? I'd get one, but I don't need to weld anything on the Mighty Sensor. Weld? What am I saying? That thing could fuse parts together on its own! I think the design came out of the move War of the Worlds, the 1953 version...
 
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