So poor he had to hand string a racquet?!

Zoolander

Hall of Fame
I was just watching a replay of Tsitsipas and Dimitrov. The commentator, who i think is Mark Woodford, said that in his first couple of years on the tour in Europe, stringing was so expensive he and his coach learnt to hand string his racquets. Not only that, if he broke a string they replaced only THAT string so he had knots everywhere and sometimes one string a different colour if he had run out of string and used something else!

Has any of you hardcore stringing mob ever heard stories like this? Have you ever done it?!
 

Dragan

Semi-Pro
I was just watching a replay of Tsitsipas and Dimitrov. The commentator, who i think is Mark Woodford, said that in his first couple of years on the tour in Europe, stringing was so expensive he and his coach learnt to hand string his racquets. Not only that, if he broke a string they replaced only THAT string so he had knots everywhere and sometimes one string a different colour if he had run out of string and used something else!

Has any of you hardcore stringing mob ever heard stories like this? Have you ever done it?!
Yes, it's definitely true. A friend of mine (60 years old) told me that in his time wooden racquets were strung manually by experienced stringers (using two awls and bare hands to pull tension). Natural gut was the only competitive string available at the time (recreative players used fishing lines, with variable success), and due to gut's excessively high price and problems with availability, individual broken strings were replaced as needed ("patching"). From today's perspective, it looks crazy.

I remember purchasing a wooden Dunlop Maxply in mint condition, strung with natural gut, with seven or eight knots, due to multiple "patch jobs" :)
 

Rabbit

G.O.A.T.
What I heard Woodforde say was that he did that at the club he grew up at as a junior. Wood rackets were the norm then.
 

nyta2

Professional
I was just watching a replay of Tsitsipas and Dimitrov. The commentator, who i think is Mark Woodford, said that in his first couple of years on the tour in Europe, stringing was so expensive he and his coach learnt to hand string his racquets. Not only that, if he broke a string they replaced only THAT string so he had knots everywhere and sometimes one string a different colour if he had run out of string and used something else!

Has any of you hardcore stringing mob ever heard stories like this? Have you ever done it?!
i've tried hand stringing when i was experimenting with very low string tensions (eg. went to 30lbs on a drop weight... then tried hand stringing)...
launch angle was insane (but spin was insane when hit well), but like anything i imagine one can get used to it
certainly better than nothing if i don't have a stringer.
can't imagine hand stringing and being on tour!
but maybe the very low tensions are not as big a problem if s&v'ing (feels good to me)
 
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Folsom_Stringer_Musa

Professional
At the end, mistake can happen or the string may come short (for whatever reason).
If the racket has larger Grommet Holes free to take 2 strings, extra tie off possible.
Otherwise it will not be an easy job to feed 2 strings through a grommet hole that is made to take only one.

I have done it once on a Head Ti6 Racket for cross from 1st to 16th cross one string and then 17th cross to 20th cross another piece of same string.
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
Growing up, the guy I learned stringing from told me he used to hand string using a dowel to wind the string and awls to hold the string at tension--a laborious process. When I was working there, we often "patched" a player's string after he/she broke it--typically gut (or softer synthetics (e.g., Blue Star, Vantage, Gold Twist come to mind) (we'd save the scraps from other string jobs) as the customers knew how expensive a full gut string job was--and we'd only charge a buck or two. I did the patches on a racquet when mounted on the stringing machine (Ektelon C, I think?). Keep in mind that most of these racquets were wood frames at fairly low tension and the cult of equipment junkies (of which I am a proud member!) was not anywhere close to what it has become. I can say I suspect I have not patched a string job in the last 25-30 years.
 

BillKid

Professional
Mark Woodford used a 12x14 pattern racquet strung with huge-gauge rope. Maybe he arrived at this by economic necessity?
Maybe his racquet was 18x20 but he broke 6 mains et 6 crosses and just did not replace them. Jokes apart, that story sounds surprising. I grew up in Europe in the 80s and I don’t think stringing was that much expensive. Maybe an issue in early 80’s, was too young at that time.
I remembered he was using a very open pattern, but 12x14 that’s crazy. Not sure why he liked it because I don’t remember he was a topspin player. Maybe for pocketing?https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-mark-woodforde-wimbledon-1999-25-june-1999-136756214.html
 
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onehandbh

Legend
i've tried hand stringing when i was experimenting with very low string tensions (eg. went to 30lbs on a drop weight... then tried hand stringing)...
launch angle was insane (but spin was insane when hit well), but like anything i imagine one can get used to it
certainly better than nothing if i don't have a stringer.
can't imagine hand stringing and being on tour!
but maybe the very low tensions are not as big a problem if s&v'ing (feels good to me)
You can hand pull up to 30 lbs? Hmm. I should have tried that when I strung my 100+ year old wood racquet. I used my stringer and strung it at 27 or 29 lbs. Still have yet to hit with it, but at least it survived being strung with VS Gut. Despite being 100+ years old, amazingly, it is not warped at all. Some people might consider it blasphemous to string such an old racquet, but I want to try hitting with it.
 

MAX PLY

Hall of Fame
I've strung quite a few antique/vintage wood racquets. Mostly for decorative purposes--I typically use the very cheap gut (thick gauge) because it ages so fast it looks vintage in a month or two. Low tensions--have hit with a few, but only with regular felt balls that were a little mushy (after trying a green dot first).
 

nyta2

Professional
You can hand pull up to 30 lbs? Hmm. I should have tried that when I strung my 100+ year old wood racquet. I used my stringer and strung it at 27 or 29 lbs. Still have yet to hit with it, but at least it survived being strung with VS Gut. Despite being 100+ years old, amazingly, it is not warped at all. Some people might consider it blasphemous to string such an old racquet, but I want to try hitting with it.
i did 30lb on drop weight stringer...
guessing i hand pulled to say 15-20lb? no idea... i can easily pull a 70lb dumbbell (eg. bent over row) :p
i've had ideas of stringing an old woodie i have... but not enough of an itch to follow through with it :p
 

BlueB

Legend
I have patched gut mains, in the first hybrid I have ever strung. I haven't played with that frame much, maybe 10-12 hours, since the patch, but it's still holding, about 8 years later.
 
Never hand pulled strings or used an awl as a clamp, but have done lots of patches back in the wood racket years. Strings were mostly gut (Victor Imperial and Superb, VS Africord and VS-VS). There were multi's like Vantage, then some nylons came out like Statite and Leoina 66, Forten Nylon and a few others.
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
Never hand pulled strings or used an awl as a clamp, but have done lots of patches back in the wood racket years. Strings were mostly gut (Victor Imperial and Superb, VS Africord and VS-VS). There were multi's like Vantage, then some nylons came out like Statite and Leoina 66, Forten Nylon and a few others.
Had a Bancroft Executive and Head Vilas strung initially with Victor Imperial and VS Africord (red). Wooden racquets tend to play out after 9 months, still had patch jobs.
 
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