Pre-Stringing Steps

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
One topic I have not been able to locate is a "Pre-Flight Checklist" so to speak. As I start to restring for others this is an item of concern for me and I will relate it with a story.

About a year ago I received a racquet from a buddy after work to restring. I arrived home got my family settled for the evening and then set out to restring the racquet. I took a quick picture of the racquet and ran downstairs to restring (I was going to attach the picture but need to figure out how to do that.).

I finished restringing the mains and got half way restringing down through the crosses and saw a big crack straight through the beam at 3 O'clock. I was worried that not only had I damaged the racquet but that the thing might shatter in my face.

Luckily it did not. I had the picture so I looked and sure enough the crack was there prior to my restringing and being a friend I reviewed the situation with my buddy. Had I not had the picture and had it not been a friend I am not sure how I would have explained the events.

What are the list of steps you recommend one should go through before restringing a racquet to make sure the racquet is in good condition to restring (Perhaps what do pro-shops do)?

Thanks
 

tennisbike

Semi-Pro
Not a pro here, just stringing for myself and a few for friends, but here are some of the things I go through before stringing.
  • Study and puzzle over the pattern. I still do not get how Babolat's drawings showing one piece throat to top pattern and stringing one whole side of main strings first before the other side. Figure out how much string I would need. I typically add about 1 foot to both the mains and crosses to allow the string to reach the gripper. Once I had to come out with my own pattern that is like a around the world.
  • Cut strings and clean frame. This is when I take pictures and examine the frame. If I catch it early enough then I stop to tell the owner of the frame.
  • Look at Stringway tension advisor to find main and cross tension. I use these as a starting point. Then depending on string type, racket, I make adjustment to the main and cross tension.
  • Refer JET or JayCee method to determine the tension on mains and crosses to achieve some benefit of proportional stringing.
  • Measure and length and width of the string bed before, so that I can compare with the measurement after stringing. That will help me determine how to adjust the main/cross differences.
I am slow and I like to tinker so ...
 

jim e

Legend
I look over racquet real well, looking for cracks over entire hoop and also in the remainder of racquet. Once I spotted a crack just above the grip on the frame. You sometimes have no idea how abused a racquet can be. This should be done before strings are cut out so you can notify player before anything is done. I remember a few years back someone I was hitting against after he threw his racquet, he kicked it into the fence, so you usually do not know how a racquet was treated when you get it. If you do not notice a crack ahead of time, and string it up and it breaks its stringers fault for not checking it over.


Next look over grommets . I usually check grommets both before strings are cut out and after strings are cut out, as you can sometimes see a small split when string is in place but not when cut out.With older racquets where grommets sets are no longer available I will tube or replace single grommets and if multiple grommets are bad, I tell player they can contact a supplier I know of, that charges an enormous amount for grommets sets, or look for a new racquet.Many do not know or care about grommets as they do not deal with them if they do not string. Also check the bumper guard for excessive wear.Especially when you get a racquet where string snapped because of worn head guard.When I see that, it is time to get another racquet if old and set is not available. Sometimes it is up to you to tell player it is time to replace.

Next if a stringer wants a new set of grommets installed, or its a new racquet ask if they want the job strung up 2 lbs higher to compensate for settling in of new grommets.
 
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Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
First check the head guard when handed a racket. If it’s badly worn but not needing a new one this time suggest they get one for next job.

Check for cracks. I look around the head then also in the throat area when the Y meets the head and down the Y for cracks.

If the strings are broken why did they brake? Does the frame need grommets.

Look at the grommets are they badly worn especially around the tie off grommets?

Why did the string break? Can the cause be prevented?

Check that grip / overwrap. Is a new one in order?

Was the frame strung properly the last time? What needs to change?

If the pattern is correct take note for how to string it.

Is there is specific way the crosses should be strung? Do the crosses lay in a groove on the outside of the frame? Is this a ported racket? Do you have what you need to string this frame?

Cut the strings and “Just do It.”
 

chrisingrassia

Professional
I don't check a frame until I cut out the strings. It's just a visual inspection for me, that's all that's possible. I check it for any fractures; paint scrapes/chipping is irrelevant.
I was stringing a racquet just like your example where I noticed something too late. I just keep stringing it. You'd be surprised how strong Kevlar/graphite/carbon is. I've strung racquets (with liability release obtained) that literally have gaping holes on the head and stress cracks in the throat. They have always survived.
 
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chrisingrassia

Professional
On a related note - has anyone ever torn off a head grommet guard to find traumatic damage hidden underneath? Like the damage was caused by lack of new grommet strip, custome was turned away, then they installed new grommets themselves to try and cover it up? :)
I've seen that twice.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
^^ Yes. I remember commenting something along the lines of, "Makes sense. As long as you cover the holes in the graphite with a layer of plastic...what could possibly go wrong?"
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
All these are good and recommended. In addition, I usually swing the racquet a few times to see if I can feel a loose buttcap or maybe a crack underneath the grip and I tap it a few times to see if I detect any abnormal sound or vibration. I also suggest a brief discussion with the customer about his/her playing styles, preferences, etc. and whether they have any concern about the racquet or strings.
 

chrisingrassia

Professional
But if the damage is under the grommet strip, how do you know it's there upon racquet receipt? :)
^^ Yes. I remember commenting something along the lines of, "Makes sense. As long as you cover the holes in the graphite with a layer of plastic...what could possibly go wrong?"
 

jim e

Legend
On a related note - has anyone ever torn off a head grommet guard to find traumatic damage hidden underneath? Like the damage was caused by lack of new grommet strip, custome was turned away, then they installed new grommets themselves to try and cover it up? :)
I've seen that twice.
That is twice more than it should be. Glad it was not me getting that!
How did you know this was the case if it was covered by a new grommet/ bumper guard??
In otherwords why did you remove it to look underneath in first place?
 

CosmosMpower

Hall of Fame
Good thread, some stuff I do. Most of it is obvious

Study the string pattern and how much string I need if I'm not familiar, pull up my hand USRSA handbook or Klippermate site

Cut out old strings

Check condition of grommets

Set tension on my machine

Clean/lubricate the slide rails for my clamps if needed

Make sure all my tools are present

Set clamps and clean the clamps if needed

Cut the string and pre-stretch it if needed

Double check that the arm to lock my mounting points are tight

Make sure I have the right attachments for the racquet to clamp it down properly

Make sure the logo on the butt cap is facing the right way (ADD)

Pull a section of fresh string to get the string factor so I can check tension after
 

chrisingrassia

Professional
I'm an investigator for a living, asking inquisitive questions is what I do.
That is twice more than it should be. Glad it was not me getting that!
How did you know this was the case if it was covered by a new grommet/ bumper guard??
In otherwords why did you remove it to look underneath in first place?
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
Not a pro here, just stringing for myself and a few for friends, but here are some of the things I go through before stringing.
  • Study and puzzle over the pattern. I still do not get how Babolat's drawings showing one piece throat to top pattern and stringing one whole side of main strings first before the other side. Figure out how much string I would need. I typically add about 1 foot to both the mains and crosses to allow the string to reach the gripper. Once I had to come out with my own pattern that is like a around the world.
  • Cut strings and clean frame. This is when I take pictures and examine the frame. If I catch it early enough then I stop to tell the owner of the frame.
  • Look at Stringway tension advisor to find main and cross tension. I use these as a starting point. Then depending on string type, racket, I make adjustment to the main and cross tension.
  • Refer JET or JayCee method to determine the tension on mains and crosses to achieve some benefit of proportional stringing.
  • Measure and length and width of the string bed before, so that I can compare with the measurement after stringing. That will help me determine how to adjust the main/cross differences.
I am slow and I like to tinker so ...
Thank you for your help!
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
I look over racquet real well, looking for cracks over entire hoop and also in the remainder of racquet. Once I spotted a crack just above the grip on the frame. You sometimes have no idea how abused a racquet can be. This should be done before strings are cut out so you can notify player before anything is done. I remember a few years back someone I was hitting against after he threw his racquet, he kicked it into the fence, so you usually do not know how a racquet was treated when you get it. If you do not notice a crack ahead of time, and string it up and it breaks its stringers fault for not checking it over.


Next look over grommets . I usually check grommets both before strings are cut out and after strings are cut out, as you can sometimes see a small split when string is in place but not when cut out.With older racquets where grommets sets are no longer available I will tube or replace single grommets and if multiple grommets are bad, I tell player they can contact a supplier I know of, that charges an enormous amount for grommets sets, or look for a new racquet.Many do not know or care about grommets as they do not deal with them if they do not string. Also check the bumper guard for excessive wear.Especially when you get a racquet where string snapped because of worn head guard.When I see that, it is time to get another racquet if old and set is not available. Sometimes it is up to you to tell player it is time to replace.

Next if a stringer wants a new set of grommets installed, or its a new racquet ask if they want the job strung up 2 lbs higher to compensate for settling in of new grommets.
Thank you. I need to invest in some tubing as well. Thanks!
 

LOBALOT

Semi-Pro
On a related note - has anyone ever torn off a head grommet guard to find traumatic damage hidden underneath? Like the damage was caused by lack of new grommet strip, custome was turned away, then they installed new grommets themselves to try and cover it up? :)
I've seen that twice.
You had me thinking about that 3 stooges short where Larry and Curly cover the whole they made in the floor with a rug and Moe comes walking into the room....
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
But if the damage is under the grommet strip, how do you know it's there upon racquet receipt? :)
You don’t.

The only reason I saw the damage on the one I referred to - the customer actually requested the grommet set to be changed. As I recall, when I called the customer to let him know what I found, he explained that whoever strung his racquet previously had told him that he really needed to change his grommets more frequently. LOL
 

esgee48

Legend
Poor planning! No beer in the cooler? I always have something cold to drink in my refrigerator be it beer, soda or water. Making a special run for beer is insane. :p
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
I'll add 1 more check...

Look at the knots and check whether the racquet was strung right side up (For a Wilson, a "W"), upside down ("M") or both. This may not be as obvious or easy on Volkl frames (no specific buttcap oientation). You'll want to mount the racquet the same way it had been mounted for previous string jobs.

For my racquets I always string rightside up to limit grommet deformation.

I think Tecnifibre EZ Lock Eyelets are brilliant.
 
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