Stringing Natural Gut Anxiety!

pyk64

New User
At what point does your anxiety with stringing natural gut go away? I've done a few gut jobs and I still get anxious about clamping too tight/too loose, cleaning everything, twisting, pulling, kinking, kinking, kinking the string. Ugh...does the anxiety ever go away?

This weekend I went thru 2 sets of KLIP Legends because the first set kinked right as I was finishing up my last couple of crosses - screamed bloody murder and cut out the whole damn thing.
 

Cobra Tennis

Professional
I might blink an eye if I see some more of that Pacific Bull Gut, a $60+ set come my way. VS and all others are a breeze.

Always string it two piece, don't rush, and a light pre stretch will go a long way in the kinking / coiling deal.

I have had a recent issue with some Babolat Tonic 15g as it doesn't seem to have a slick coating that VS has. It is more prone to friction and I have to wax it down a bit to calm it down.
 

diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
Another thing some people do is string gut frames 50/50. This reduces the amount of mains that you have to pull a cross through by the end of the job. Helps reduce the beat-up factor.

As far as anxiety, I have little to none. If you're stringing for others and they bring you gut (especially off-brand gut) - have a disclaimer in place that you're not responsible for anything that happens to any string that you don't supply.

For personal frames, you can often pull kinked gut if it's not too bad. You have little to lose at that point. A "normal" tip is to hold on to the end of your cross strings at all times so you don't waste time having to search for it after every pull. This advice is almost always good, but you CAN propagate string coiling/twists when you do this. Try dropping the end of your string a few times a job to reduce the (subtle) twisting. These twists will show when you start pulling the string across the mains and the loop gets very small.

The biggest one for me is: Don't knot too tight. It's one thing to ruin a set of string during the early stages of the job, but accidentally breaking a string on the finishing knot is... an experience that all stringers have to earn their stripes with :) I cinch by hand these days on gut.
 

McLovin

Legend
Don't knot too tight. It's one thing to ruin a set of string during the early stages of the job, but accidentally breaking a string on the finishing knot is... an experience that all stringers have to earn their stripes with
Words to live by. This should be a sticky at the top of the section.

I've been stringing gut in my frames for over 20 years now (used to be Kevlar/Gut, now Gut/Poly). I also string gut in many friend's frames...probably 30-40 per year (I don't advertise...just word of mouth). The only time I get anxious is when tying off, and that is mainly because of the above quote. Haven't had it happen to me in years, but sometimes a little fear can serve as a healthy reminder...
 

pyk64

New User
Think I'll definitely try some pre-stretch and string 50/50. I learned the hard way on cinching the knot too tightly with a Ashaway Monogut. On the Monogut, pulled too hard too quickly, snapped the string, took out that little abrasive piece on the clamp, and hit myself on the forehead with the clamp! Never again.

Earning my stripes the hard way.:eek:
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
If I were stringing gut in the crosses only I would not use the 50/50 method. I agree it may be a little easier on the gut weaving but it is very much looking ke weaving the bottom half of the racket twice and you should already have found out that the top half is easier. If you're concerned about pulling the gut through too many mains pre weave in the top 5-6 crosses before tensioning any mains after a skipped grommet. When pre weaving crosses I prefer to have the clamps out of the way at the bottom.
 

eelhc

Hall of Fame
After about a dozen sets I realized that natural gut is tougher and more resilient than I had thought. I keep an an unscented candle (paraffin wax) in the tool tray and give the mains a light rubdown prior to stringing the crosses (clamps get cleaned afterwards). I do get nervous when stringing natural gut on racquets with shared grommets.... Ugh!
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I used to put paraffin on the mains before stringing the crosses when I first started but it got to make a mess of the turntable and I had to clean the clamps much more often.

Another tip I use some of the time is to keep the second loop of the Parnell on the bottom of the racket while tightening the first. Then pull the string all down below the frame and hold it when you pull the string up. That prevents kinking in the loop and you don't have to pull the gut string around that sharp angle weakening the string.
 

pvw_tf

Rookie
I do get nervous when stringing natural gut on racquets with shared grommets.... Ugh!
Always enjoyed and still enjoy working with natural gut. Worked with sort of the whole range. Vs 1.2 to 1.4, Vs Black, Afv and Afv red, VS un-coated 1.2, Bowbrand, klippringer, snauweart 1.8 for the hi-ten and the not so nice guts.
We called indian gut. Gut from pro-players from India. Irregular thick(-ness), very hard to get 2 strings in a shared hole (wooden rackets), could not be strung over 25 Kg. But still fun to do. Always nice guys to work for.

Prefer the 50/50 method and have wax if needed.

So not nervous but enjoyment ;-) Even more to play with it. 1.2 un-coated was a dream to play with.

Peter
 

zapvor

G.O.A.T.
the toughest part is getting started right. make sure you uncoil carefully from the pack, and pre stretch it carefully. once you start the actual stringing it should be ok. I do go much slower with gut. about 10min more than regular string job
 

diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
If I were stringing gut in the crosses only I would not use the 50/50 method. I agree it may be a little easier on the gut weaving but it is very much looking ke weaving the bottom half of the racket twice and you should already have found out that the top half is easier. If you're concerned about pulling the gut through too many mains pre weave in the top 5-6 crosses before tensioning any mains after a skipped grommet. When pre weaving crosses I prefer to have the clamps out of the way at the bottom.
I personally find that pre-weaving has never been worth it. Fanning the loop of string you have to leave behind on a double-hard weave beats up string just as much as not having space. I personally do not string 50/50 in my own process, to be fair, but stringing the frame normally would be better than a pre-weave. The only luxury you have is a LOT of space on the bottom, so you can fan/V-shape your crosses a ton to minimize the effects of the woven strings below. This does have a side effect of having to leave a longer loop/slack, though. (You can't use this technique indefinitely)
 
I only string for myself, so my clamps are all already pre-set with the appropriate clamping pressure.

As for making sure I'm not bending and kinking the gut, I still go slow and make sure I don't bend anything when I turn a corner.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I personally find that pre-weaving has never been worth it. Fanning the loop of string you have to leave behind on a double-hard weave beats up string just as much as not having space. I personally do not string 50/50 in my own process, to be fair, but stringing the frame normally would be better than a pre-weave. The only luxury you have is a LOT of space on the bottom, so you can fan/V-shape your crosses a ton to minimize the effects of the woven strings below. This does have a side effect of having to leave a longer loop/slack, though. (You can't use this technique indefinitely)
@diredesire, Let's assume you have a racket that skips 1 or more grommet holes on the top of the frame. Do you really believe pulling the entire length of the gut string past the tensioned main string that's blocking that grommet or those grommets does not stress the string more?

EDIT: Also pulling a twisted string like natural gut tends to untwist the string at the same time so your chance of kinking the string goes up.
 
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diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
@diredesire, Let's assume you have a racket that skips 1 or more grommet holes on the top of the frame. Do you really believe pulling the entire length of the gut string past the tensioned main string that's blocking that grommet or those grommets does not stress the string more?

EDIT: Also pulling a twisted string like natural gut tends to untwist the string at the same time so your chance of kinking the string goes up.
The scenario is a bit contrived, as I feel most people will be stringing the top two-three crosses with the tip of the cross string, and not needlessly weaving/fanning the entire length of the string through. I typically start on cross 2 or 3 and weave up. You need to have two strings at minimum (untensioned) to start weaving one ahead, so why not? IMO, moot point.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
The scenario is a bit contrived, as I feel most people will be stringing the top two-three crosses with the tip of the cross string, and not needlessly weaving/fanning the entire length of the string through. I typically start on cross 2 or 3 and weave up. You need to have two strings at minimum (untensioned) to start weaving one ahead, so why not? IMO, moot point.
That's correct but I was offering an alternative to a (2 piece) 50/50. Normally I olny pre weave the top three crosses as you said. I tension the top two crosses then weave one ahead all the way down the racket.
 

zapvor

G.O.A.T.
lol its funny how Irvin keeps coming up trying to invent stringing ideas when the pros on tour do as diredesire indicates. I guess that's home vs professional stringers though. so fair enough
 

zapvor

G.O.A.T.
The scenario is a bit contrived, as I feel most people will be stringing the top two-three crosses with the tip of the cross string, and not needlessly weaving/fanning the entire length of the string through. I typically start on cross 2 or 3 and weave up. You need to have two strings at minimum (untensioned) to start weaving one ahead, so why not? IMO, moot point.
some people just don't get it man they think they are inventing some new better method
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
That's correct but I was offering an alternative to a (2 piece) 50/50. Normally I olny pre weave the top three crosses as you said. I tension the top two crosses then weave one ahead all the way down the racket.
Right, but diredesire was pointing out that your alternative really does nothing to reduce friction on the string. If you preweave the top 5-6 crosses, every time you tension, you're going to have to follow that by pulling the slack through...which will...beat up the string.

IMO not necessary to reinvent the wheel when stringing with gut. Gut is more fragile. Respect that, and you can expect mostly good results.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
Right, but diredesire was pointing out that your alternative really does nothing to reduce friction on the string. If you preweave the top 5-6 crosses, every time you tension, you're going to have to follow that by pulling the slack through...which will...beat up the string.

IMO not necessary to reinvent the wheel when stringing with gut. Gut is more fragile. Respect that, and you can expect mostly good results.
Not true, the bottom half of the string is not pulled through the top portion of the mains for those prewoven crosses.
 

zapvor

G.O.A.T.
Right, but diredesire was pointing out that your alternative really does nothing to reduce friction on the string. If you preweave the top 5-6 crosses, every time you tension, you're going to have to follow that by pulling the slack through...which will...beat up the string.

IMO not necessary to reinvent the wheel when stringing with gut. Gut is more fragile. Respect that, and you can expect mostly good results.
dude dont bother man. he thinks hes the resident expert on here the bigshot stringer with the fancy tips. just read what dire desire has to say, or if you go back far enough yulite.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
Not true, the bottom half of the string is not pulled through the top portion of the mains for those prewoven crosses.
Big deal. Why bother pre-weaving 5-6 (why not 10?)...when you can pre-weave the 1st 2 crosses, set your starting clamp, or tie your starting knot, and off you go with 1 ahead stringing? To save 2-3 cross strings worth of string getting pulled through the mains? Not worth it.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
@Irvin my experience has been that people resort to name-calling, insults, and condescension when they can no longer justify an inferior argument.

Just so we're clear, I read the thread and was aware of what was said - before I posted.

Edit - I've had the privilege of working with and training under a few excellent stringers during my career - some of whom are MRT's and pro tour level stringers. The fact that I've never seen any of them do what you are suggesting, nor have they suggested it to me....speaks for itself.
 
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zapvor

G.O.A.T.
@Irvin my experience has been that people resort to name-calling, insults, and condescension when they can no longer justify an inferior argument.

Just so we're clear, I read the thread and was aware of what was said - before I posted.

Edit - I've had the privilege of working with and training under a few excellent stringers during my career - some of whom are MRT's and pro tour level stringers. The fact that I've never seen any of them do what you are suggesting, nor have they suggested it to me....speaks for itself.
just leave him alone he's hopeless
 

diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
just leave him alone he's hopeless
No need to make these types of remarks, either. I value Irvin's contributions. Even though I don't integrate many of the tips/tricks into my stringing in general, I have found myself thinking deeply about why I choose to do things a certain way from ideas he's presented. If he's presenting downright bad (harmful, dangerous) information, that's one thing, but I've always considered Irvin's advice/ideas as suggestions for people to try as food for thought. I don't think Irvin himself uses many/most of his concepts. I am fairly certain he doesn't weave with a bead, for instance. It's cool, man.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I don't weave with a bead or a string for that matter. I also don't leave the tip of the cross string sticking out from the grommet when I string crosses. I turn the racket if needed, insert the string and pull through the cross so only a loop large enough to reach the tensioner is left. But cutting down on the time required to do all those little time consuming tasks is what you need to look for if you're going to speed string. I don't speed string either. I'm never in that much of a rush to get the racket out the door and I have no intention to ever enter a speed competition. Many years ago I prewove crosses down the frame but except for one ahead stringing on the crosses and an occasional Yonex loop I don't pre weave down the racket. I usually pre weave the top three crosses up the racket though to eliminate blocked holes. Actually my stringing has become pretty boring except for the occasional digression in hopes to improve my technique. I've actually experimented on my customers rackets before but not without their permission and many times they get a free string job for letting me do it. I've picked up some rackets from the Goodwill to experiment on and later donated them to pros or tennis centers for loaners.

I've offered comments and new techniques to help those that want new or different ways to string a racket. I assume others can use them or knot as they see fit. I'd like to see other ideas from others on stringing but it seems like they are few and far between any more. I'd like to see YuLitle back again but it isn't too difficult to see why he doesn't care to contribute any more. I've heard he teaches now and I know that's a pretty time consuming job. And their could be other reasons.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
@Irvin my experience has been that people resort to name-calling, insults, and condescension when they can no longer justify an inferior argument.

Just so we're clear, I read the thread and was aware of what was said - before I posted.

Edit - I've had the privilege of working with and training under a few excellent stringers during my career - some of whom are MRT's and pro tour level stringers. The fact that I've never seen any of them do what you are suggesting, nor have they suggested it to me....speaks for itself.
I did not call anyone names and you were assuming I was pre weaving crosses down the racket which is something I never remotely the suggested.
 

am1899

Hall of Fame
I did not call anyone names
Here, let me highlight this for you.

@Irvin my experience has been that people resort to name-calling, insults, and condescension when they can no longer justify an inferior argument.
and you were assuming I was pre weaving crosses down the racket which is something I never remotely the suggested.
So that's what I was assuming? Man, I didn't even know I was assuming that. How did you know?

Seriously, I read the thread (yes, I can actually read and comprehend). So, I was aware that you were suggesting to pre-weave the first 5-6 crosses going up.

Overall, I too appreciate your contributions. They often tend to drive conversation about a topic that many of us love to discuss - stringing. But sometimes, your contributions are overshadowed by your unfriendliness towards anyone who disagrees with you. Consider the idea that, it's ok if someone disagrees with you. And, that there's no reason to belittle someone for sharing their own thoughts - even if they contradict your own.

Back to the OP - my anxiety about stringing with natural gut is directly proportional to how rushed I feel to complete the racquet. If I focus on taking a little extra care, a little more time, I find (for me) little reason to be anxious about something going wrong.
 

diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
I don't weave with a bead or a string for that matter. I also don't leave the tip of the cross string sticking out from the grommet when I string crosses. I turn the racket if needed, insert the string and pull through the cross so only a loop large enough to reach the tensioner is left. But cutting down on the time required to do all those little time consuming tasks is what you need to look for if you're going to speed string. I don't speed string either. I'm never in that much of a rush to get the racket out the door and I have no intention to ever enter a speed competition. Many years ago I prewove crosses down the frame but except for one ahead stringing on the crosses and an occasional Yonex loop I don't pre weave down the racket. I usually pre weave the top three crosses up the racket though to eliminate blocked holes. Actually my stringing has become pretty boring except for the occasional digression in hopes to improve my technique. I've actually experimented on my customers rackets before but not without their permission and many times they get a free string job for letting me do it. I've picked up some rackets from the Goodwill to experiment on and later donated them to pros or tennis centers for loaners.

I've offered comments and new techniques to help those that want new or different ways to string a racket. I assume others can use them or knot as they see fit. I'd like to see other ideas from others on stringing but it seems like they are few and far between any more. I'd like to see YuLitle back again but it isn't too difficult to see why he doesn't care to contribute any more. I've heard he teaches now and I know that's a pretty time consuming job. And their could be other reasons.
Just for the sake of argument (and to further derail the thread [Sorry OP, I have a tendency to do this...]), I don't think pre-weaving multiple strings (>2) saves in time, string mangling, etc. I actually think it makes all of the above worse.

I don't know many people who leave the tip of the cross string sticking out. I assume when you say this you mean that you weave the cross, and then leave the string rather than pulling most of the slack through and then sticking the string end into the NEXT string. This is actually worse for the string! You lose the benefit of the soft weave in terms of wear-and-tear if you do this. You should always be pulling all the string (besides the implied tensioning loop) because it is more gentle on the string. The dangling end of the string (in my experience) is best kept tucked away under a rolled up pinky finger or rubber band if you like to do that (I find it too fiddly). If you do NOT pull the last cross string through, presumably you'd be tensioning the "one behind" (current) cross string, thus shifting the zig-zag pattern of the "next" (now current) string. If you still had the remainder of your slack to pull through (long loop), you'd be increasing the wear and tear to the string. This is one of those things that isn't a big enough deal to really nit-pick about, but (as usual) if we're discussing minutiae, it is theoretically better.

Now, if we pre-weave multiple strings (5-6), the problem is double, IMO. You mentioned "Many years ago I prewove crosses down the frame ..."

In my experiments, you had a hard limit to how many crosses are/were pre-weavable. This was largely in part due to the tensioning loop (which roughly means your'e down 2x minimum crosses at the bottom), and THEN you had to leave mini loops on all following cross strings so you could wedge a finger and pull the next string through. I found at MAX I would only ever be able to pre-weave about 7-8 strings before I ran out of string. This was also due to the added slack to make very exaggerated Vs to minimize string damage. Even if I did that, I always found I had to yank on the strings way harder than the "KISS" method of one-ahead, AND the speed "savings" was always in the (significantly) negative side of the spectrum.

All other stuff aside, in the context of the original digression - I think 50/50 is still OK for gut from a wear and tear perspective, but if you find yourself needle-and-threading often at the end of your string jobs, you indeed may want to avoid it.
 

Irvin

Talk Tennis Guru
I wish I would have published a video on what I was originally trying to say. The 50/50 pattern (1 or 2 piece) with fixed swivel clamps has many problems. As far as pre weaving I agree except initially I pre weave the top three crosses, tie my starting knot, tension the top two crosses and from then one it's one ahead.
 

diredesire

Adjunct Moderator
I wish I would have published a video on what I was originally trying to say. The 50/50 pattern (1 or 2 piece) with fixed swivel clamps has many problems. As far as pre weaving I agree except initially I pre weave the top three crosses, tie my starting knot, tension the top two crosses and from then one it's one ahead.
Fair post - every method has its list of drawbacks, the bigger question is which is the least of myriad evils. I do very much the same as you do, with the exception of a starting clamp. 3 is the sweetspot IMO.
 
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