Tips on how to become faster at stringing?

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by LHM, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. LHM

    LHM Rookie

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    So I am now getting a lot of rackets thrown my way for stringing. I am stringing appx 8-12 rackets per week, and the trend seems to be staying. It takes me appx 45-50 mins to do a complete string job on my Gamma Progression with fixed clamps and with a Wise 2086 head. When I say complete string job I mean these stages:

    (1) Inspect racket
    (2) Make a note of the tie off points and which holes to skip etc
    (3) Remove old strings
    (4) Clean racket frame
    (5) Measure out the new string
    (6) Mount racket to machine
    (7) String the racket the 2 piece method
    (8) Remove racket from machine, inspect & straighten the crosses if needed
    (9) Stencil the strings.

    Is my complete job time of 45-50 mins acceptable for all the above or can it be drastically reduced? Any hints or tips are most welcome.
     
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  2. Smittithekitty

    Smittithekitty Rookie

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    Well it depends...
    If you’re averaging 2 Racquets a day give or take
    That’s around 1.5 hrs for the pair.
    How much are you charging???

    For me once again it comes down to how much am I worth.
    I average around 18 mins on a racquet, however I have a system from intake to finish (most you listed on top) I knew off the back I can knock out at least 2.5 racquets in a hour time and I charge 17$ per racquet for normal services. That’s roughly around 42.50$ for my time. Not including the strings or all the cost of running a business.
    Time for me is $$$, it is in my best interest to have a system that helps me do the most amount of racquet (well and accurate) in a set amount of time.

    Are you looking to maximize your profit or are you trying to just get better with your processing and methods?

    I think time and the amount of racquets your doing is going to determine how you get “better”. Repetition, keeping everything the same each and every time. Once it becomes a habit it will be quicker. I like having my starting clamp, awl, etc at a certain place. I know exactly where my tail end of the long piece is so I don’t waste time grabbing it from the floor and stuff. Small stuff can make or break you, however if someone used my machine (wife) or friend and mid place my item or borrow them that slows me down and makes me even more tense haha

    Also upgraded machines... once you get to a certain point all these extra things you invest in your stringing will cut your time down. From easier mounting, slicker guiderails and solid clamps. When you drop a large sum of money you are eager to get it back haha hence you’ll find more client and try to get more racquets done within the hour.
    Nothing like financial motivation haha

    Might be off track and subject but this MY intake:)
     
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  3. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    On that machine, doing all that, I really don't think that's a bad time.

    a couple ideas:
    - Measuring string can take time for non-pro's. The pro's seem to develop a method for measuring the string very quickly. Often times its just based on their own wingspan or the length of the racquet etc.

    - Every pro video I see when they pull string through (main's or crosses) they pull much faster than I do, but you have to be aware and prevent twisting/kinking.

    - While pulling the string through keep the tail in your hand so you don't have to locate it to start the next weave.

    finally - consider upgrading your machine. Even if you only charged $10 you would pay for an Alpha Ghost in just over 6 months, less when you consider you can sell your old machine/wise for like $800 , heck you would pay for nearly any machine within a year.
     
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  4. jim e

    jim e Legend

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    Your number 2 making notes of pattern may work a % of time, but I have received racquets to string that were not properly strung and with your way you would continue that.
    Plus you do get new unstrung racquets or racquets that have strings removed. Having a Digest comes in handy if you are not familiar with the racquet.
    Doing that # of racquets you should join the USRSA and get their "Digest" that lists most patterns. It's a good org. and gives credibility to craft.
     
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  5. LHM

    LHM Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies guys, much appreciated.

    I am not trying to max out profit, I am just keen to see if I should be quicker, or any tips on how to improve my technique by becoming quicker, it has nothing to do with £££.

    My method for measuring out string is actually very fast an accurate. I included it in my stringing process in my post above so I was clear as to everything I do when it comes to stringing. To make it even faster I have now considered pre-measuring and cutting string into 20ft pieces to its on hand ready to use.

    As for unstrung rackets, I do get them from customers, quite often, so if its unclear from the grommets where I should tie off I usually use the Klipper USA site, which is very helpful. I also use the Klipper USA site to ensure I am using the correct tie off grommets on previously strung rackets.

    I seem to be outgrowing myself with the demand I am now getting for stringing. I think this is greatly down to the fact that I live in a town with many large tennis clubs close by, and the other local stringer is very unreliable, slow and actually does shoddy restrings. Word of mouth travels very fast and far and wide. I am not complaining about the volumes, I am actually very greatful for it, I just seem to be spending all my spare time after work stringing so was wanting to speed it up.
     
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  6. esgee48

    esgee48 Legend

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    Point 8 should not be needed. I always straighten my crosses as the machine is pulling. Aside from all the rest, learn to weave quicker. I can do an entire Prestige Mid in about 30 minutes, but often take about 40 because I pull my crosses at least 15 seconds. If I just pull the cross down once and then push back up to straighten, then clamp, I could get down to 25 minutes. As others have stated, learn to be consistent and develop good habits.
     
    #6
  7. MattCrosby

    MattCrosby Professional

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    For me, from start to finish I'll list what I do,

    1) Check Racquet for Damage
    2) Cut and Remove old string / Clean Racquet
    3) Type and Print Label
    4) Mount Frame
    5) Measure String (3.5 wing spans for mains, 4 for crosses)
    6) String Racquet (2 Piece / 1 Piece depending on Client request)
    7) Straighten crosses
    8) Remove frame
    9) Stencil / Bag Racquet

    All that takes me probably 25 minutes tops from start to finish, if I have multiple racquets to do, I don't do step 9 until I've strung all the frames.
     
    #7
  8. jim e

    jim e Legend

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    I would not pre cut 20' sections. Some 18 main OS racquets may take more for the main strings, especially with poly strings that do not stretch much.
     
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  9. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

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    Eliminate #2 and commit these six rules of thumb to memory. (If you really want to know how a racket should be strung look it up.)

    Most rackets have 16 or 18 mains. 16 main rackets generally skip 8 or 7&9 at the head and or throat. 18 main rackets generally skip 9 or 8&10 at the head and throat.

    Most rackets today do not have shared holes so the crosses go in all empty grommets.

    Tie off holes are generally larger than normal grommets.

    The stringing pattern must be generally uniform and, in particular, not less dense in the centre than in any other area.

    ALL RACKETS ARE NOT STRUNG 2 PIECE

    ALL RULES HAVE EXCEPTIONS
     
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  10. mmk

    mmk Hall of Fame

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    How many customers really care about stencils?
     
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  11. jim e

    jim e Legend

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    I agree
    I very seldom stencil.
     
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  12. Smittithekitty

    Smittithekitty Rookie

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    Few however every sponsored players and ambassador knew there was a fine liner stating they will have all stencil placed... I Charge $20 so there is all options for them if they desire... usually most don’t, but I always ask
     
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  13. MAX PLY

    MAX PLY Hall of Fame

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    I think the previous posters have listed some great tips. I would add or augment a few:

    1-As jim e and a few others mentioned, having a good pattern resource may be bit quicker and more reliable than noting how the frame was strung when you got it (presumably your inspection of the frame would reveal a mis-strung racquet). The more you string, the more familiar with patterns you will become. Likewise, if you have repeat customers, record the pattern, string and tension for future uses.
    2-How do you cut out the strings? I use cheap surgical scissors (honestly better than my more expensive Kimony cutter), working from the middle and cutting a cross and a main at the same time--middle up then middle down--many tournament stringers use electric scissors as a time saver.
    3-Plan ahead for any blocked holes by inserting a piece of scrap string to keep your path to a potentially blocked hole.
    4-Are you sitting down when you string? If so, I think mounting your machine to be an upright will add speed as it is typically more efficient to string while standing.
    5-I keep only a few tools in my tray when stringing--curved pliers, diagonal cutters, starting clamp and setting off awl (I do have another starting clamp in close proximity if need be). That it--so I an never fishing through a bunch of crap on my try to get the tool I need.
    6-I straighten my strings as I pull and then when complete I use the "stabbing" method with my setting off awl to straighten again before removing the frame from the machine (sometimes I may make a few hand adjustments thereafter but keeping the strings straight while stringing and the use of the setting off awl is usually all I need to do).
    7-Finally, I suspect most of the efficiency gains will come from economizing the actual stringing process itself--particularly weaving crosses--that will come with time. What's important is that you do a comprehensive quality job--speed and efficiency will come with time. Focus on quality first and you will have enough repeat business to practice making your craft more efficient. Good luck.
     
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  14. SavvyStringer

    SavvyStringer Semi-Pro

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    You could be losing time cutting out strings if you’re using small cutters and only cutting a string at a time. Get some shears or I prefer surgical scissors. As you string more you’ll be able to see the pattern in a racket used or new before you string it and won’t have to spend time looking it up. After that it’s all technique and your physical speed. That comes with practice. Tennis warehouse is also a good source for patterns. They’re listed in the spec section now. The biggest thing you have to watch out for is assuming a pattern because companies make so many variations on the same frame. It won’t be a problem for mains or even for a two piece but if you’re doing an ATW you could get off pattern on a 16x18 or 16x20 if you’re not careful. If you do everything 2 piece it’s a nonissue.
     
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  15. Steve Huff

    Steve Huff Legend

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    This might help you from starting a racket all over--rackets like the new Babolat Pure Aero have a left side and a right side. Make sure you start your crosses on the correct side or you're going to have strings looping the outside of the frame and not be in the grooves. As some of the others have mentioned, if you're going to string for others, you should probably join the USRSA.
     
    #15
  16. 10shoe

    10shoe Rookie

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    I'm disinclined to push myself for speed. I string long hours and prefer to remain relaxed.

    To me, the amount of racquets I can do in an hour is not dependent on my speed while stringing, the period when there is actually a racquet on the machine. That's generally around 20 minutes. It seems to me, it is the amount of time between racquets that adds up.
     
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  17. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    strung my fastest time the other day (22 minutes, standard time for me is more like 35+ minutes)

    One thing that made a large impact was the speed at which I pulled the string through the grommets, especially on the crosses. I still fanned as I pulled, and watched for kinks, but by pulling faster the unpulled loop would actually kind of bounce up and was less likely to snag on anything in addition to being faster.
     
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  18. 10shoe

    10shoe Rookie

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    I don't usually watch the clock, but today I made it a point to take note of how long things took. And luckily today I was not interrupted every 5 seconds.

    From the moment it was mounted to the moment it was dismounted it took me 20 minutes to string a Pure Strike 18 x 20 with X-1 Biphase 17. I was slower on both a Prince Vortex 110 and a Babolat Y112 which took 23 and 22 minutes respectively strung with Solinco Hyper G 17.

    Prep time for the racquets varied and all the stuff I do in preparation of label printing (measuring DT, Wgt, Bal, SwgWgt) bring me to an average time of between 30 and 35 minutes.
     
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  19. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    What machine?

    Also good example of multi stringing vs poly stringing … poly definitely takes a little longer.
     
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  20. 10shoe

    10shoe Rookie

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    Toyo-Zouki String System
     
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  21. am1899

    am1899 Professional

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    1. Always continue to hold on to the end of the string you’re working with - this way you don’t need to find it again when you move onto the next main, or weaving the next cross.

    2. Always cut the ends of the string to a point...unless you’re stringing with Luxilon. In which case, one end of the string will be flattened and textured - this is the end you want to use for weaving your crosses.

    3. Avoid outside distractions - unless they actually help you concentrate. In my case, some upbeat music helps me (not too loud). YMMV.

    4. If you’re working with a 40(ish) foot set of string, and you are stringing a 16x19 100sq inch frame (or less), just cut the set of string in half. There’s no sense in measuring if ~ 20ft will be more than sufficient for both mains and crosses. (This assumes you are stringing 2pc, of course).
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018 at 9:25 PM
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  22. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

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    I string on a Gamma Prog II ELS, which was a really nice step up for me from a table top drop-weight machine that didn't have fixed clamps. This machine might not necessarily be a whole lot faster (it is a little faster for sure), but if I catch a big bundle of racquets to work on in a hurry, it's much easier to churn out some volume with my Gamma.

    You sound like me in terms of the care you take with prepping the racquet and then inspecting it when you're done. That will take a few extra minutes no matter what - I say don't sweat it. I've tried to get a little faster, but I feel like I dumba$$ whenever I mess up. That's when my need for speed makes the job take maybe an entire hour and it also costs me two sets of string. Woof!!

    Repetition and consistency will sharpen up your process, but even if you take five or eight minutes longer than the speed merchants, I know that I get a lot of peace of mind knowing that I'm always doing a job right. Whenever I'm impatient and trying to really fly, I'm a LOT more susceptible to making mistakes.

    One thing I like to do when installing crosses is to weave one ahead, but then run the end of that string through the next grommet and weave across only a couple of mains - so that I don't need to find that end again for each cross. Instead of starting that end straight across the string bed parallel to the "one ahead" I've already done, I run it diagonally down toward 6 o'clock so that it's out of the way. When I've tensioned the next cross, the end is right there for me to grab and go with weaving the next "one ahead" cross. Yes, this creates another smaller loop coming our the other side of the hoop, but it's easily manageable and saves me from finding that darned end over and over again.
     
    #22
  23. Wes

    Wes Semi-Pro

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    Umm... have you been watching me?
    I frequently do the EXACT same thing. LOL
     
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