Want to string my own sticks

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Overheadsmash, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    I have four I use regularly, plus my kids are in junior tennis and they each have a racquet. I know nothing about stringing. What is a good machine to get and can you teach yourself or do you need someone to show you? I know I probably want at least the machine with the crank as opposed to the drop weight because I know with the drop weight I will have trouble figuring out how much slack to put out there to get it level. Any ideas? Thanks!
     
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  2. jhutch

    jhutch Rookie

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    You don't need to worry about slack unless you get a klippermate. Stringing is fairly easy to learn, just watch some videos on YouTube. I would save some money if I were you and get a dropweight, especially if it is just for personal usage.
     
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  3. Jonny S&V

    Jonny S&V Hall of Fame

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    I second this, unless you string more than 10 frames a week, no use in getting a higher end machine when a basic model will do the job quite nicely.
     
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  4. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Is the drop easy to use? Easier than the crank or the same? How about the part that holds the racquet? Some seem to have only two points, some have 4? and some have 6. Do I want one with the clamps fixed to the machine or that ones that are separate? Thanks!
     
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  5. StJamm

    StJamm Rookie

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    Crank machines are a little easier and quicker to use however they don't offer any more accuracy than a drop weight. There has been previous discussion on the merits of 2,4 & 6 point racket clamping and the reason goes that the fewer points of contact with the racket that the machine has the easier it is to string the racket i.e less fiddly - less mounting points to have to squeeze strings through. However I personally have a 6 point mounting machine as I value the extra security and feel that the racket is more secure whilst under great tension.
     
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  6. snoopy

    snoopy Professional

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    Read the sticky it's a big help. Watch Yulites videos too.
     
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  7. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Is there an advantage to using fixed clamps vs. floating clamps? I'm about to get a gamma and was wondering if there is some advantage to paying the extra money for the fixed clamps. Can someone help here? Thanks!

    FYI I'm just stringing for myself, my two kids, and probably some of my buddies. Strictly for fun.
     
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  8. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I would say, as a minimum, 4 point mounting and fixed clamps. The extra mounting points help to prevent frame deformation, and fixed clamps allow you to prevent tension loss. Personally, I went with a 6 point mounting, fixed clamp crank machine. The ease of use over a drop weight and that extra security is worth it. I paid that machine off very quickly (gave it to my sister) and now use a fully electronic machine. It's very academic to start small that way you appreciate every little thing about the machine so that when you upgrade, you realize just how much easier it is to do certain things. In another thread I made an analogy about photography which I think explains my views well. Start at the midrange so that you still have a lot to learn, but not so much to learn that you end up wasting time when you don't need to. Then, when you go to upgrade, you appreciate all the things that are now taken care of for you.
     
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  9. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Something like this then?

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Gamma_Progression_ST_II_Stringing_Machine_/descpageGAMMA-STII.html
     
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  10. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    #10
  11. MuscleWeave

    MuscleWeave Semi-Pro

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    #11
  12. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Eagnas has machines on sale right now. How are those? Please remember I've never strung and am a total noob. Thanks!

    Also thanks for the video link - I book marked it - will come in handy.
     
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  13. tennisnoob3

    tennisnoob3 Professional

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    ^eagnas is usually not reccomended around here due to poor customer service and quality. Have you looked at the stickies thread about machines?
     
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  14. MuscleWeave

    MuscleWeave Semi-Pro

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    My pleasure...And cool avatar.
     
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  15. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    I just watched several of YULitle's videos - very helpful.

    So the Eagnas's are cheap. I'm guessing the Gamma's are ok? Seems that way.

    I'll go for that Gamma I posted earlier - looks like it will last me for a long time if I take care of it.
     
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  16. tennisnoob3

    tennisnoob3 Professional

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    #16
  17. mikeler

    mikeler Moderator

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    I have used the Gamma X-ST for the past 2.5 years which is very much like the Progression. It is a very well built machine. Bret aka Gamma_Tech on these boards is always around to help with machine specific questions. I recommend also buying a stand and cover if you can afford them. I even put caster wheels on my stand so I can wheel it around the house.
     
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  18. airman88

    airman88 Semi-Pro

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    Just wait it out until a slightly used crank machine comes on the sale thread. A $500 machine will be up for $200 or so about every month.
     
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  19. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    eagnas is fine, BUT no they are not as nice as more expensive machines.

    i have a combo 910 (one of the more popular eagnas machines) and
    i am thrilled with the machine for the price point. it works great.
    YMMV
     
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  20. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    No buying a eagnas that's for sure:

    http://www.eagnas.com/bad.html

    This is just eye-watering lol:

    Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 09:07:26 -0500
    they still might fit though...whats the diameter of the opening for the sliding bar and the measurements(length and width of the clamp). If they are the same measurements of the ones I have, I would like to order.
    March 16, 2006
    10:13 AM
    Maxline wrote

    Thanks for your e-mail.

    We do not measure our parts in order to fit on the other brands' machines. If you would like us to measure it, the labor charge is $45.00.
    March 16, 2006

    Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2006 13:23:10 -0500
    45 dollars, just to get a ruler and measure the clamp....a task that will take 10 seconds of your time, sounds silly to me. Anyways, how much for two clamps + shipping to Canada?
    March 16, 2006
    12:07 PM
    Maxline wrote

    Thanks for your e-mail.

    We do not sell the parts to you. <----Are you kidding me?



    Anyway, is the Silent Partner Jazz any good? Looks well built.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2010
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  21. archer

    archer New User

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    YUlitle's video channel - for sure! He has everything you need to get going - i taught myself thru his sight and it was super easy and comprehensive. Then, for good meausure, I took the USRSA course/test to further my knowledge and show that I have good basic level of competency. Anyhow, do as much research on this forum to learn all the features of the various machines and start to narrow it down, it seems overwhelming at first, but just spend the time. A stand up crank machine at the very least for comfort and economy. I know the Eagnas sight looks really cool with all the detailed photos and information...and I almost pulled the trigger on the Comet 11. But after reading so many posts about poor customer service I backed off. If I were you, I would buy the best machine you can afford - it pays for itself and you can always resell and recoup a good portion of your investment. if you buy something crappy you won't be happy and it will be another hassle and expense. I started perusing Craig's List and ultimately found someone selling a very high-end machine with all the goodies at a kick-ass price, I couldn't be more satisfied - 2 years later! Also, call some companies or direct sellers (Alpha, Gamma, Silent Partner, ect.) and see if they have any good deals on re-conditioned machines. You'll be happy with a good, well taken care of, high-end used machine. Contact Mark at Alpha (mark@alphatennis.com) He's the guy at Alpha and he's super helpful and willing to give you the low down and he may have some good deals going. I actually ended up buying an Alpha Apex II with a Wise electronic tension head and I'm all set! Anyhow, take your time, do the research and choose wisely...you'll be stoked once you get your machine and start stringing...it pays for itself over and over! Cheers!
     
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  22. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Thanks that is good advice. I can tell there is a problem with the eagnas just from reading the customer service stuff they they put on their site themselves.

    My regular stringer, who has done it for 30 years, said to get a constant pull machine so I'mn looking a one of these

    http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/Gamma_Progression_II_ELS_Stringing_Machine/descpageGAMMA-GPELS.html

    He said something about it being difficult to string gut with one of these maybe? Not sure what he meant it was in a email and he has not responded back yet. Anyway, they make a stand for that machine too and he said Gamma has good parts availability. He said the crank machines are harder to use because you need to develop a certain pace or you will be pulling strings for different amounts of time and it will be inconsistent tension or something? I don't know I've never done it. He owns a very nice Babolat stringer btw - way too expensive for me though. The cool thing is he is looking to change careers and I am not sure he is going to keep stringing as much as he does now, so he said when I get my machine he would teach me. He's strung for several pros before and strings for several great players here locally so I'm very sure he knows what he is doing.

    Anyway, an thoughts on crank vs that constant pull gamma I have up there?
     
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  23. tes

    tes Rookie

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    I think there are a lot of revo 4000 machines in circulation so the chance of picking a good used one up at a discount are pretty good. Deck just sold me his for 2 year old machine for $400 now that his son is gone off to college. Packed in the original box with tools, dvd etc. He even included a bunch of leftover strings.
     
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  24. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    What is your goal in getting a stringer?

    Are you straight looking to save money thus need to look at payback time of buying a stringer? Maybe looking to decrease the cost of trying different set ups so you can try more things and maybe more expensive strings even if you don't save money overall vs now? If so, how often do you need to restring now? You don't mention how many kids you have or how often they or you need to restring.

    Are you looking to just learn something new, maybe get the kids more involved in their sport and learn more about strings and stringing and cost isn't really a major factor? Can you see you kids earning extra money by starting to string for their and your tennis friends?

    Any of those reasons are valid. If you are strictly looking at stringing for your own needs, only have one kid and are looking to decrease the cost of you activities a simple dropweight, flying clamp machine can't be beat. They are not difficult to learn to use with a bit of effort and if the kids decide they want to play soccer instead and your hip goes out you can sell a $150 machine for $75 the whole experiment is pain free.

    If you are looking at a long range full family of junior tennis and adult tennis with maybe a side biz for your kids with little doubt of changing your mind then go for the $1,100 machine IMHO.

    I have a Klippermate 2 pt dropweight that works just fine for me. However I'm an adult and the only one in my family that plays regular tennis. I knew zero about stringing a tennis racquet before finding this forum just a year ago. There is all the info you need on this forum and YouTube.

    If I was more of a string breaker and I had a couple of older kids playing I'd probably go for something like the Alpha Pioneer DC Plus at $429 or something similar. It has a 4 pt mounting system and fixed clamps at a still reasonable price for a hobby. The dropweight system doesn't bother me at all and I like that a dropweight is a constant pull.

    That's my 2c. Here is a link to my first stringjob: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=313693&highlight=klippermate I've done less than a dozen stringjobs, on a variety of racquets, since getting my stringer and am down to about an hour on my last one...and that was a full natural gut job. I think I could do a multi, on a racquet I've strung before, in about 45 mins now. I'd say it takes about 6 to get comfortable where you don't need to double and triple check everything and can just start. I've now settled on and know what knots to use without looking them up (YouLitles vid for starting knot and Drakulie's for pro knot) and generally understand how typical patterns work. I say definitely go for it whatever machine; I enjoy it.
     
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  25. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Great post! If my stringer up and quits, which I suspect he is going to do eventually, then I'd teach my kids to do it. Both play. The primary reason I want one is because I play 3-4 times a week now and my daughter is in junior tennis. I have 4 racquets I use, and since I started playing a year and a half ago after having never played before (I've golfed for 30 years and have an 8 handicap but there is just no time anymore to play) have got myself up to what the pro at my club says is a 3.5. I really like trying different strings and tensions, and really like tennis.

    Ultimately, and only if my stringer truly does quit or wants to reduce his workload, would I make a side business out of it. If my kids can do it, it sure beats working at a fast food restaurant when they are teenagers! For me, it would just be for fun and to save some money. I'm stringing my 4 sticks every three months, so that's 18 bucks x 16 a year. I can pay for a machine pretty quick at that rate.

    I have a question - a drop weight machine is constant tension? Is it as accurate as the electronic one I just posted? If so, I'll get the Aplha or a Stringway with fixed clamps. The stringway looks great. I don't really know about Klippermate. I'm going to go look now!!
     
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  26. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    I don't want to step outside my knowledge...there are far more experienced stringers on here that have used a variety of machines...so I can't tell you which is more accurate. I have read reports that Klippermates are quite accurate and yes they are constant pull by their design...all dropweights are as far as I know. You level the bar with the weight on it (within a few degrees of level is fine) and all the while the weight is pulling on the string. You clamp the strings while its still pulling and then lift the weight.

    My understanding of crank machines is they pull the specified tension and then lock out. So in the time between lockout and clamping there is some change in tension. Again, from what I've read, this is not a big deal as long as you are always using the same machine...you will dial in the to the tenision you like to use with that machine. If you settle on say 60 lbs and then go to someone with a constant pull and ask for 60 lbs then the stringbed may feel a bit different that's all.

    Some electronic machines are constant pull...the Gamma Progession you linked to says that it is. I think you need to get electronic and crank machines calibrated every so often, don't know how often, whereas there is nothing to get out of adjustment on a dropweight. Again, hopefully someone that actually knows what they are talking about with personal experience will chime in.

    I just strung some Prince Premier w/ Softlex in my backup C10 Pro tonight to use if I play in damp conditions and my 45 mins claim above was maybe optimistic! It still took about an hour...but I was watching a movie at the same time. I gotta say that string is a great one to start with; I have no idea how it plays but boy was it easy to string!

    I don't know if you got to the video link of me using the Klippermate at the end of the first link I gave above but understand that many times you hit the right level on the first try. That video was specifically showing how to adjust the string and I think was my 2nd or 3rd string job. Some dropweights have a ratchet built into the drop arm pivot and I guess that speeds things up from what I've read...but really adjusting the bar becomes second nature quickly. I do know I sometimes think it would be nice to have fixed clamps and to have a couple more mounting points. I've only had the mounts slip once, during an early job, but still...seems like 4 would be good.
     
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  27. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    alpha makes a nice little drop weight machine with fixed clamps for 429 dollars that may be the ticket
     
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  28. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    OK after lots of shopping, phone calls, and research, it's going to be the Alpha Revo 4000 and I'm replacing the crank with a Wise 2086 Electric Tension Head. Everyone I have talked to says that will be a nice setup. Now I just need to get some cheap Kmart or Target racquets and cheap string to practice with.
    Pics to follow!
     
    #28
  29. jim e

    jim e Hall of Fame

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    Don't waste you time and $ on a cheap racquet to string with. You will never use it to any degree, and would just be a waste. Just string up your own racquet. As long as you mount the racquet properly, and the machine is calibrated to pull the proper tension, you should not damage your own racquet.
     
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  30. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Should be a real nice setup. I agree with jim_e don't bother with buying cheap racquets or string. Use the time and effort instead watching Yulitle, Irvin and Drakulie videos without which I probably never would have started to string at all. Nobody knew less than me when I bought my stringer and I only had 2 mounting points, a bit trickier, and flying clamps. With the 6-point Revo mounting system and fixed clamps, no worries. Just block out 2 or 3 hours for the first job so you can relax and get to know your machine. I would also recommend reading the entire manual that comes with your machine a day or two ahead of time.

    Here are links that cover most of the process:

    Mounting on a 6 pt machine: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/u/4/rshyofxT_TY

    Step by step main starting w/ fixed clamps: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/u/34/Ygwsrrrj04Q

    Pro Knot for tying off mains begin at 1:35 into the video; the clearest example I've seen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDwAnjSYcxQ

    This one is also good and clear: http://www.youtube.com/user/Mr10sStringer#p/a/u/0/mGQW_ONBPPo

    There is also the Parnell knot and the double half-hitch that can be used but I found this one to be both simpler to tighten and easier to remember as an occasional stringer.

    Two options for starting your crosses with knots. This is if you don't use a starting clamp, but as long as you are spending the money you are I'd just get a starting clamp from the get-go.

    Starting knot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBMEP6WjYR0

    Bulky knot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT1cXy-6Wz0

    Time saver: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/u/16/iuQS6g5TPgI

    Starting crosses with a starter clamp: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/u/17/vIbR7OzJJ5k

    Weave your crosses "one ahead". This just means weave the next cross before you pull tension on the previous one. You will need to leave a loop of string so you can pull tension on the previous one. It just makes it easier to do the actual weaving. You'll see why when you do it.

    Weaving crosses: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/search/2/L0FPGEBcBHo

    Passing string through blocked grommet: http://www.youtube.com/user/YULitle#p/search/1/xfG-nlb4JxU

    Have fun and let us know how it goes. You are guaranteed a closer connection to your racquet...as funny as that might sound!

    EDIT: One last one...the shoelace trick! I haven't tried this yet personally but looks cool:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Mr10sStringer#p/u/0/VM_SuQgirr8&fmt=18
     
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  31. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

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    this post should go up in the "sticky" thread. nice that someone was willing to take the time to go through a nice set of "basics" videos and put them together in this manner. good on ya.
     
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  32. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Wow those are great links thanks for posting.

    I'm looking forward to this. Watched all of the yulitle. Will watch the others now as well.

    The drakulie pro knot is very clear you are right - even I can handle that one lol!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
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  33. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    OK I finally made my decision and ordered - Stringway ML120. Getting shipped to me now.
     
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  34. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    how exactly do you learn to string?
     
    #34
  35. Cooper_Tecnifibre4

    Cooper_Tecnifibre4 Professional

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    [​IMG]
     
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  36. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    do you know how to string?
     
    #36
  37. Cooper_Tecnifibre4

    Cooper_Tecnifibre4 Professional

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    No, but your question was "how would you learn" You just go to somebody that knows how to string.
     
    #37
  38. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    not many australians in our area string?
     
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  39. Cooper_Tecnifibre4

    Cooper_Tecnifibre4 Professional

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    I know a heap.
     
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  40. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    willing to teach for free?
     
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  41. Cooper_Tecnifibre4

    Cooper_Tecnifibre4 Professional

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    Not if you where a stranger, but i know alot of them, my coach for one.
     
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  42. freshtennis

    freshtennis Banned

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    why dont you learn to string than ..
     
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  43. Mighty Matteo

    Mighty Matteo Semi-Pro

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    Get the eagnas combo 910. i have one too and i have never had any problems. it is such a good deal and you will also get amazing deals on string because one you buy a machine, you are an eagnas club member. i was in the same position as you a year ago and i am so happy i made this choice.
     
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  44. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I knew this was Eagnas before even reading the post (only noticed the bold portion). It baffles me how that company manages to stay in business.
     
    #44
  45. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Stringway ML120 is already in transit to me. I think they threw in a bunch of alpha string - I will need it as I am a total newbie at this. Bought a starting clamp too - looks like that helps when tying knots
     
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  46. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Aw shucks...thanks. :) Truth be told I kind of did for myself too, to have them all in one post. ;)


    YouTube is your friend.



    I use a pair of linesman's pliers to tighten knots but came us short on string once and would've like to have had a starting clamp to make a bridge. Using a starting clamp is also probably a better way to start the crosses. I'll pick one up someday.

    Good luck...I don't know anything about that machine...looks interesting.
     
    #46
  47. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    All set up! Weight had some paint flaking off and Alpha is sending a replacement. Excellent customer service! Strung my first racquet already.

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
    #47
  48. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    Great...very clean lines on that machine. How was the stringing process for you? Any comments re: surprises or temporary glitches? Did you find using the dropweight pretty easy or time consuming?...If the latter, don't worry, while I'm sure electronic is faster, you will get faster w/ the dropweight. Does it have a ratchet system for adjusting the string? Did it grip the string fine? Did your clamps grip and adjust well? What kind of string was your first job?
     
    #48
  49. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Excellent choice for a machine! That will last you a lifetime and will not require any calibrating or issues with electronics.

    Unless you own a high volume stringing business (or are rich with lots of disposable income), the fancy high-end stringing machines can be a wate of money, IMO.

    - - -

    This is the machine I would get if I ever sell my X-2 (which I love).

    BTW, if I may ask... what was the total price?
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
    #49
  50. Overheadsmash

    Overheadsmash Professional

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    Total price was around 1100.

    I bought a bunch of cheap gamma synthetic gut to practice with.

    My only glitch was figuring out which holes to use and in what order. I tied off with parnell knots and watched yulitle's video to learn how to do it.

    I know I am going to need to practice maintaining tension and I think it's going to take me stringing 6-8 sticks before I know what I am doing.

    The string gripped just fine - when you release the weight it clamps down on the string. It also has two string holders - so when you start your mains you can put one string on the left side and one on the right.

    The build quality of the machine is great btw.

    It seems like I am putting an awful lot of tension on the string at 55 lbs - I guess this is normal.
     
    #50

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