Starting crosses

#1
I always start my crosses by securing the top cross with my starting clamp, outside the hoop (after I've weaved the top 2 crosses). Or is it better to get a little more action out of the top of the face by double pulling the top 2 crosses, setting a table clamp on the 2nd cross, pulling full tension on the top cross, setting table clamp, tying knot, then pulling full tension on the second cross and clamping? I realize that the only difference is that full tension is only pulled on the top cross once instead of twice. Is there a noticeable difference? Would you recommend one method over the other for the racquets in my signature?
 
#3
Here's what I do @Muppet.

(LO Stringer, single pulls) ...

1/ Weave the top three crosses.
2/ Secure the top cross with a Starting Clamp on the outside of the frame.
3/ Pull tension on the second cross.
4/ Clamp the second cross.
5/ Weave the fourth cross.
6/ Pull tension on the third cross.
7/Clamp the third cross.
8/ Pull tension on the first cross.
9/ Remove starting clamp.
10/ Clamp the first cross.
11/ Tie off the first cross with a finishing knot.
...
12/ Continue down the frame.

(LO Stringer, pull tension twice to simulate CP stringer as per @Irvin's videos) ...

1/ Weave the top three crosses.
2/ Secure the top cross with a Starting Clamp on the outside of the frame.
3/ Pull tension on the second cross twice.
4/ Clamp the second cross.
5/ Weave the fourth cross.
6/ Pull tension on the third cross twice
7/ Clamp the third cross.
8/ Pull tension on the first cross twice
9/ Remove starting clamp.
10/ Clamp the first cross.
11/ Tie off the first cross with a finishing knot.
...
12/ Continue down the frame.
 
#4
It really does not matter how you pull the crosses. More often than not I use a starting knot now. But any method is fine. I preweave 2, 3, or 4 crosses depending on the racket. For instance if I’m stringing a racket with O Ports on the side I start preweaving in the grommet above the top O Port. You’re not Going to get more action out of the top crosses by stringing them tighter unless maybe you hit the ball up there and your talking about shearing action.
 
#5
It really does not matter how you pull the crosses. More often than not I use a starting knot now.
@Irvin, if you use a starting knot, do you pull tension on the first cross, clamp off, and continue? Given it is at the top of the string bed, could one skip pulling tension on the first cross and go straight to pulling tension on the second cross (IE same side of the hoop as the starting knot)?

That would save me a bit of time. I just have to learn how to tie a starting knot!
 
#6
@Irvin, if you use a starting knot, do you pull tension on the first cross, clamp off, and continue? Given it is at the top of the string bed, could one skip pulling tension on the first cross and go straight to pulling tension on the second cross (IE same side of the hoop as the starting knot)?

That would save me a bit of time. I just have to learn how to tie a starting knot!
You could but I would not. You will have a loose knot and very low tension on the top cross that way. I use an iKnot which is actually very easy to tie once you get it down.

EDIT: here are a couple of videos on the iKnot
 
#8
Here's what I do @Muppet.

(LO Stringer, single pulls) ...

1/ Weave the top three crosses.
2/ Secure the top cross with a Starting Clamp on the outside of the frame.
3/ Pull tension on the second cross.
4/ Clamp the second cross.

5/ Weave the fourth cross.
6/ Pull tension on the third cross.
7/Clamp the third cross.
8/ Pull tension on the first cross.
9/ Remove starting clamp.
10/ Clamp the first cross.
11/ Tie off the first cross with a finishing knot.
...
12/ Continue down the frame.
This method interests me. Does it leave a little slack in the 2nd cross? And is that why you do it this way? When you clamp the 2nd cross, do you clamp on the same side where the knot is going?

Also, do you think it would help to nudge the 2nd cross a bit during step 8 while the 1st cross is under tension?
 
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#9
I weave top 2-3 cross strings.
Pull both 2 top cross strings together.
Clamp machine clamp 2nd cross string farthest from tension head, and starting clamp on 2nd cross outside frame near tension head.
Release tension head.
Pull top cross string, clamp, tie off.
Pull 2nd cross string, remove anchor clamp, clamp and continue as normal stringing one ahead.
Each string is tensioned and finishing knot used.
USRSA published this in their magazine when I sent it to them many years back.
 
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#10
This method interests me. Does it leave a little slack in the 2nd cross? And is that why you do it this way? When you clamp the 2nd cross, do you clamp on the same side where the knot is going?

Also, do you think it would help to nudge the 2nd cross a bit during step 8 while the 1st cross is under tension?
I imagine it does leave a little slack in the 2nd cross. However, I tend to string mainly Polys which are on the stiffer side so that might mitigate any negative effects somewhat.

Yes, I clamp the second cross on the same side as I tie the knot.

I'm usually targeting SBS values rather than tension numbers off the stringer and tend to hit the marks most of the time. Playability is fine.

Nudging the 2nd cross probably wouldn't hurt but I don't bother doing it. In fact I don't bother holding or nudging any strings when I'm pulling tension.

The only thing I do under some circumstances is to pull tension twice. I've noticed that by doing that with some strings I get lower rate of tension loss over the playing period. But I don't really care about that because I tend to restring every 6 hours of play regardless of the state of the string bed.

One point I will make. I have been stringing for higher SBS values over the past year or so. Targeting values in the mid to high 40s range (IE DT between 45 and 50). Recently, I have started experimenting with much lower values - low to mid 30s. Early days, but I guess the odd slack string is going to be even less noticeable now.
 
#11
I weave top 2-3 cross strings.
Pull both 2 top cross strings together.
Clamp machine clamp 2nd cross string farthest from tension head, and starting clamp on 2nd cross outside frame near tension head.
Release tension head.
Pull top cross string, clamp, tie off.
Pull 2nd cross string, remove anchor clamp, clamp and continue as normal stringing one ahead.
Each string is tensioned and finishing knot used.
USRSA published this in their magazine when I sent it to them many years back.
@jim e, So are you pulling tension on the 2nd Cross against the anchor clamp on the same string on the far side of the hoop?

So this means you have that anchor clamp, the grommets, and the clamp on the first cross all offering resistance to the tension head. Yes?

Also, I'm interested to know why you initially pull both top crosses together? Are you using a CP or a LO stringer. (I can't remember!)
 
#12
@jim e, So are you pulling tension on the 2nd Cross against the anchor clamp on the same string on the far side of the hoop?
After I tension 2nd cross, I remove anchor then clamp as normal for 2nd cross.
@jim e,
So this means you have that anchor clamp, the grommets, and the clamp on the first cross all offering resistance to the tension head. Yes?
anchor clamp is on 2nd cross string as well as starting clamp.That is what is giving resistance to tension head.
CP machine.
@jim e,
Also, I'm interested to know why you initially pull both top crosses together? Are you using a CP or a LO stringer. (I can't remember!)
Pull the both initially (they both get tensioned separately eventually) , that allows to set anchor and back up with the starting clamp, so the 1st cross pull has resistance in other direction. CP machine
 
#13
I weave top 2-3 cross strings.
Pull both 2 top cross strings together.
Clamp machine clamp 2nd cross string farthest from tension head, and starting clamp on 2nd cross outside frame near tension head.
Release tension head.
Pull top cross string, clamp, tie off.
Pull 2nd cross string, remove anchor clamp, clamp and continue as normal stringing one ahead.
Each string is tensioned and finishing knot used.
USRSA published this in their magazine when I sent it to them many years back.
Thanks for this, Ive been using your example for a while now,,, mainly on softer cross strings and when dealing with nat.gut...
 
#14
Hmmm reading this I realized that I may not like how I start crosses.

-weave top cross backwards and pull enough string to reach tensioner.
-place starting clamp outside frame
-pull tension on top cross and clamp
-do 2 more crosses then go back and pull/clamp/tie off 1st cross

Thinking it's unnecessary stress at the starting clamp both on the string and the frame

would it be better to skip pulling the first cross to start and start by pulling the second cross since you have to go back and tension the first cross to tie off anyway?
 
#16
Hmmm reading this I realized that I may not like how I start crosses.

-weave top cross backwards and pull enough string to reach tensioner.
-place starting clamp outside frame
-pull tension on top cross and clampnd
-do 2 more crosses then go back and pull/clamp/tie off 1st cross

Thinking it's unnecessary stress at the starting clamp both on the string and the frame

would it be better to skip pulling the first cross to start and start by pulling the second cross since you have to go back and tension the first cross to tie off anyway?
Isn't it risky to pull full tension on the 2nd cross as your 1st pull? Are racquets strong enough at that location? Are you anchoring the lower end of the 2nd cross with a starting clamp, or are you anchoring with a table clamp at the end of cross 2 opposite the tensioner?
 

elkwood

Hall of Fame
#17
Hmmm reading this I realized that I may not like how I start crosses.

-weave top cross backwards and pull enough string to reach tensioner.
-place starting clamp outside frame
-pull tension on top cross and clamp
-do 2 more crosses then go back and pull/clamp/tie off 1st cross

Thinking it's unnecessary stress at the starting clamp both on the string and the frame

would it be better to skip pulling the first cross to start and start by pulling the second cross since you have to go back and tension the first cross to tie off anyway?
Thats pretty much how i do mine also
 
#18
Isn't it risky to pull full tension on the 2nd cross as your 1st pull? Are racquets strong enough at that location? Are you anchoring the lower end of the 2nd cross with a starting clamp, or are you anchoring with a table clamp at the end of cross 2 opposite the tensioner?
I would be anchoring with a starting clamp on the first cross, so it's sort of a double pull, but I go back a couple pulls later and put full tension on the 1st cross, remove the starting clamp, use the fixed clamp and tie off.
 

g4driver

Hall of Fame
#19
For Head FXP crosses (since they are slicker than two eels in bucket of snot):


For most crosses:


For certain frames, to include my frames with gut
Mains and poly crosses, I use a starting clamp outside the frame and tie a finishing knot poly tied off on poly. I don't tie off poly crosses on gut. Shanked overheads tend to snap the gut mains more often when I tied poly off on gut mains. Stopped tying poly off on gut mains and the shanks have fewer snapped gut strings.
 
#20
So I took the plunge and used a starting know for the crosses for the first time ever. Went with the iKnot as per @Irvin's videos.

Found it easy enough and it simplified the whole process for me. Probably saves me a couple of minutes but no big deal there.

Can dispense with the Starting clamp for the crosses now. So it looks like I've just doubled its useful life. LOL!
 
#21
So I took the plunge and used a starting know for the crosses for the first time ever. Went with the iKnot as per @Irvin's videos.

Found it easy enough and it simplified the whole process for me. Probably saves me a couple of minutes but no big deal there.

Can dispense with the Starting clamp for the crosses now. So it looks like I've just doubled its useful life. LOL!
I have been using the I-knot almost since I started stringing, it is a great way to start the crosses and eliminates one of the possible tension loss points as you can pull full tension after putting the knot in.

One possible area of downside is when stringing natural gut/poly hybrid. If you put the i-knot around the natural gut mains, you just need to be a little more careful in not damaging it while pulling the string to tighten the knot or when pulling the i-knot back towards the grommet. Black VS Touch gives me the most grief in this area as it shows slightest friction on the gut more prominently than natural color NG.
 
#22
One possible area of downside is when stringing natural gut/poly hybrid. If you put the i-knot around the natural gut mains, you just need to be a little more careful in not damaging it while pulling the string to tighten the knot or when pulling the i-knot back towards the grommet. Black VS Touch gives me the most grief in this area as it shows slightest friction on the gut more prominently than natural color NG.
There was a VS Starting knot designed for using a starting knot on gut. But the VS starting slips ever so little and could leave the tag end protruding out just a little. The iKnot tuck the tag end up in the knot, tuck the end against the frame, and makes the overall knot bulkier.

EDIT: I’ve tied poly to gut, and gut to gut and so far never an issue.
 
#23
I weave top 2-3 cross strings.
Pull both 2 top cross strings together.
Clamp machine clamp 2nd cross string farthest from tension head, and starting clamp on 2nd cross outside frame near tension head.
Release tension head.
Pull top cross string, clamp, tie off.
Pull 2nd cross string, remove anchor clamp, clamp and continue as normal stringing one ahead.
Each string is tensioned and finishing knot used.
USRSA published this in their magazine when I sent it to them many years back.
I do this method and love it. Its the easiest way for me to start and I can use a tie off knot on all knots.

Its also the best way to string zx crosses since my variation does not use a starting clamp. I just set the machine clamp as jim describes but dont back it up at all with the starting clamp. I find the double pull is plenty to get the machine clamp straight. And how many of you are pulling crosses at 86lbs? If it was a problem shroud would have found that out years ago
 

graycrait

Hall of Fame
#24
I use @Irvin bulky starting knot now after watching Origin 17 slipping out of its standard starting knot, no such issues with Irvin's knot and the tail fits snugly against the frame as opposed to standard starting knots tail/tag point to the middle of the racket. Works with 17g prestretched Zyex really well. Zyex can be "delicate" when knotting. Dang it! I just strung a racket with Zyex crosses for a fella, I am going to start using Irvin's starting knot as a cross tie off for Zyex when possible. I normally use a loose DHH with a drop of super glue.
 
#25
I string the second cross then the first. I leave enough to tie off on the first cross and put the starting clamp on the outside of the frame. Then I pull tension on the second cross and string all the way down. At the end I tie off at the bottom and pull tension on the first cross on the top and tie off.
 
#26
I have four similar racquets strung up with different setups now, 1 reverse multi/poly, 1 full bed poly, 1 poly/SG, and 1 poly/multi. The one that is strung with only 1 full tension pull on the first cross is the poly/multi. The poly/SG crosses started with 2 full tension pulls on the top cross, but there seems to be little difference between poly/SG w/2 pulls and poly/multi w/1 pull.

OTOH, the 2 racquets with poly crosses have 2 pulls on the first cross and feel stiffer at the top part of the strings. So maybe I don't need to change my procedure when I use nylon-based crosses. Or since there is little difference in the two racquets when using nylon-based crosses, maybe I should switch over so that I won't have to keep track of which method to use.
 
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#27
This is what I've boiled my method down to for all string materials in a 2-piece pattern:

- weave top 2 cross strings, leaving enough extra to reach gripper
- set the starting clamp outside the hoop on long side of 2nd cross
- pull 30 lbs on the top cross
- pull, nudge strings to achieve equal tension
- set short side table clamp on the 2nd cross
- release the top cross and pull it again at reference tension
- set the long side table clamp on 1st cross
- release tensioner and tie a finishing knot, freeing that clamp
- pull 2nd cross from long side, remove the starting clamp
- remove the short side table clamp and nudge the 2nd cross to equalize the tensions
- set the long side table clamp on the 2nd cross
- release gripper
- continue down the frame

How's this look?
 
#28
@Irvin, if you use a starting knot, do you pull tension on the first cross, clamp off, and continue? Given it is at the top of the string bed, could one skip pulling tension on the first cross and go straight to pulling tension on the second cross (IE same side of the hoop as the starting knot)?

That would save me a bit of time. I just have to learn how to tie a starting knot!
I do this with my frames even though @Irvin says not to. I haven't had any issues with loose knots bc I usually jack up the tension to around 70 and make sure to help straighten strings with my fingers.
 
#29
I do this with my frames even though @Irvin says not to. I haven't had any issues with loose knots bc I usually jack up the tension to around 70 and make sure to help straighten strings with my fingers.
I didn’t say not to, I said I would not. What ever you want to do on your racket is fine with me. If you jack up the tension on the second cross to 70 (not sure how far up that is) then you’re raising tension closer to the hitting area to get higher tension on the top cross you should never use anyway. I’d rather keep tension on all those top crosses the same for consistency.
 
#30
I didn’t say not to, I said I would not. What ever you want to do on your racket is fine with me. If you jack up the tension on the second cross to 70 (not sure how far up that is) then you’re raising tension closer to the hitting area to get higher tension on the top cross you should never use anyway. I’d rather keep tension on all those top crosses the same for consistency.
I wonder how the tension would be divided if I pull tension at 70lbs on top 2 crosses by only pulling 2nd cross. I guess I could test with a synthetic gut and use my tension meter.
 
#32
I didn’t say not to, I said I would not. What ever you want to do on your racket is fine with me. If you jack up the tension on the second cross to 70 (not sure how far up that is) then you’re raising tension closer to the hitting area to get higher tension on the top cross you should never use anyway. I’d rather keep tension on all those top crosses the same for consistency.
I wonder how the tension would be divided if I pull tension at 70lbs on top 2 crosses by only pulling 2nd cross. I guess I could test with a synthetic gut and use my tension meter.
 
#34
I do it this way.
- weave two top crosses
- starting clamp on the first cross
- reference tension on the second cross, machine clamp second
- do third cross normally
- then first cross: tension, machine clamp and tie a finishing knot ( I use reference tension)
 
#35
This is what I've boiled my method down to for all string materials in a 2-piece pattern:

- weave top 2 cross strings, leaving enough extra to reach gripper
- set the starting clamp outside the hoop on long side of 2nd cross
- pull 30 lbs on the top cross
- pull, nudge strings to achieve equal tension
- set short side table clamp on the 2nd cross
- release the top cross and pull it again at reference tension
- set the long side table clamp on 1st cross
- release tensioner and tie a finishing knot, freeing that clamp
- pull 2nd cross from long side, remove the starting clamp
- remove the short side table clamp and nudge the 2nd cross to equalize the tensions
- set the long side table clamp on the 2nd cross
- release gripper
- continue down the frame

How's this look?
Just the opposite of what I expected. I have one racquet with poly/multi and another with poly/SG. They are very similar spec frames, the two in my current signature. On the poly/multi I used the above procedure for starting the crosses. On the poly/SG I used my old method of pulling the top cross twice at full RT. Surprisingly, the one with the two full pulls had a much higher launch angle than the other. The one with one full pull had super low launch angle. I thought about adjusting my technique for it, but it was too far gone. It makes more sense to re-string. The other two racquets I tested today were a full poly w/2 pulls and a multi/poly w/2 pulls. These two had what I expect for a launch angle, with the full poly a little higher (optimal). All 4 racquets had similar power.

That's 3 out of 4 for two pulls being superior for me. But why is that? Does it have something to do with opening the strings on top causing the wider part of the sweet spot to narrow, tightening the center strings and lowering launch angle? I honestly didn't think it would make so much of a difference. I'm pretty much thinking of just bagging the procedure above and going back to the first method I started this thread with. But I'm still interested in hearing from anyone who can describe for me what's happening with the Biomimetic 200 - poly/multi racquet.
 
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