Why string mains first?

#1
It's an outside the box question (and arguably a stupid one), but why do we string mains first?
- I'm relatively new to stringing, so go easy on me :)

I assume that stringing the crosses first would place additional stress on the racket due to the oval shape, but is that the only reason?

What would be the impact of doing this?

Has anyone tried it?
 
#6
Take a good look at your stringing machine. All 2 or 6 point mounts have supports at 6 and 12. They are there to support the frame as mains attempt to squash the hoop. There is nothing similar to support the crosses, so your hoop will get really narrow if you do them first. The hoop may or may not crack since it depends on the tension selected. That's why you do the mains first rather than crosses. Of course you can mount your frame 90 degrees off so the crosses would be supported. However, you could have issues of where to tie off the crosses. Then you have issues with blocked holes for mains.
 
#8
It's an outside the box question (and arguably a stupid one), but why do we string mains first?
- I'm relatively new to stringing, so go easy on me :)

I assume that stringing the crosses first would place additional stress on the racket due to the oval shape, but is that the only reason?

What would be the impact of doing this?

Has anyone tried it?
You sound like an innovator , revolutionize stringing and do cross strings first!
 
#9
It's an outside the box question (and arguably a stupid one), but why do we string mains first?
- I'm relatively new to stringing, so go easy on me :)

I assume that stringing the crosses first would place additional stress on the racket due to the oval shape, but is that the only reason?

What would be the impact of doing this?

Has anyone tried it?
Be an innovator and be the first to try stringing the crosses followed by the mains! Please come back and let us all know how it went! :)
 
#11
Take a good look at your stringing machine. All 2 or 6 point mounts have supports at 6 and 12. They are there to support the frame as mains attempt to squash the hoop. There is nothing similar to support the crosses, so your hoop will get really narrow if you do them first. The hoop may or may not crack since it depends on the tension selected. That's why you do the mains first rather than crosses. Of course you can mount your frame 90 degrees off so the crosses would be supported. However, you could have issues of where to tie off the crosses. Then you have issues with blocked holes for mains.
Makes sense...I have a 6 point and there is no support to prevent racket elongation.
 
#12
What about another scenario where we string mains first, then start stringing crosses from the middle instead of the top?

If we tensioned mains the way that we tension crosses, then the racket would distort significantly. There must be some imbalance in the way that we string crosses...the first 8 or 9 crosses will contribute more to reshaping the racket, then as the remaining strings pull the racket in further, some tension will drop off the first 8 or 9.
 
#14
What about another scenario where we string mains first, then start stringing crosses from the middle instead of the top?
This works for Prince Ported frames when doing crosses. You don't need a brake when you do it this way. Tension is very similar to top down crosses if you pull long enough to overcome inter string friction. If you clamp quickly or use a LO, then the mains and earlier crosses in the middle have a chance to relax - lower tension. This will be offset when you start to add more crosses. Eventually, the tension will get back to or approach ref tension. At that point, whether you do crosses top down or middle up/down, the tension should be about the same. The manner to find out is to measure the length of the frame before an after stringing, doing it the traditional way or your innovative way.
 
#17
This works for Prince Ported frames when doing crosses. You don't need a brake when you do it this way. Tension is very similar to top down crosses if you pull long enough to overcome inter string friction. If you clamp quickly or use a LO, then the mains and earlier crosses in the middle have a chance to relax - lower tension. This will be offset when you start to add more crosses. Eventually, the tension will get back to or approach ref tension. At that point, whether you do crosses top down or middle up/down, the tension should be about the same. The manner to find out is to measure the length of the frame before an after stringing, doing it the traditional way or your innovative way.
Thanks esgee48 for the good advice...much appreciated

I might try measuring length of the racket and width of the frame at several points before and after.

With my 6 point stringer, as you explained earlier, the 6 & 12 won't prevent elongation because they're designed to minimise contraction. The additional 4 points should also help by preventing the frame widening. After I string the mains, I imagine that 4 side points will be applying pressure against the frame to compensate for any shortening of the frame. Then as I continue to string the crosses, the pressure should normalise and take some of the pressure back off the side clamps so that the frame retains its original shape once it's unclamped.

Is that basically how it works?

I imagine there is the potential for more frame distortion with a 2 point machine?

How tight should I adjust the 6 points?
I usually start with the 12 & 6, then make sure the other 4 are tightened softly against the frame, then I tighten 6&12 then the other 4 a bit more until each point is reasonably tight.
Does it make a difference?
 
#18
What about another scenario where we string mains first, then start stringing crosses from the middle instead of the top?
Quick note: the reason crosses aren't strung from the middle is because this puts extra stress on the "shoulders" (top left/right corners) of the racket.

I was actually thinking about this thread and string tensions in general last night and there's one other thing you may want to consider. Stringing the crosses after the mains increases the tension of the mains because they're being stretched when the crosses are tensioned. While doing a 2 piece string job (both mains and crosses at 55 lbs using a Klippermate), I used a Gamma tension tester on the mains before and after stringing the crosses and the measurements (arbitrary units, unfortunately) jumped from about 30 to 46. If you do the crosses first, you're going to have the reverse effect where the crosses end up with more tension than the mains. Thing is, I don't know how much of an issue this is - I would assume rackets are designed for normal mains-first string jobs where the mains end up with more tension than the crosses but that's just my speculation
 

Ronaldo

Talk Tennis Guru
#19
Anyone find a Youtube video of stringing crosses first, then mains? Have old Yonex and Head racquets, may try this and post.
Whats the worst that can happen? Bottoms Up!
 
#20
Thanks BenC...great info...I can see what you mean about stressing the shoulders of the racket.

That’s a big difference in mains tension...the weaving of the crosses through the mains adds a lot of this tension also.

I know of proportional stringing methods that adjust the tension based on the length of the string, which seems to make sense, but this will be impacted by weaving and lengthening of the mains as the crosses are applied, which is essentially increasing the tension of the mains.

There’s certainly a lot going on...you tension a string to a specific tension and by the time the racket is strung, it changes significantly...the whole stringbed is connected in someway and impacted to some degree by every other string as it tensioned.

I use the Sergetti proportional stringing method which claims to take a range of factors into account. I like it, but there a players a lot better than me who don’t rate it and some that do.

Esee48 got me thinking that there must be a big difference between stringing on a 2 vs 6 point machine. The 6 point machine will exert pressure on the frame to resist distortion as the mains are strung, the 2 won’t.
There has to be an impact on the 4 side clamps exerting a force against the frame when we are stringing crosses.

I imagine the following would happen if we tested a racket strung at say 50lbs on both a 2pt and 6 pt machine:
String mains, then string only 2 crosses towards the centre and clamp outside the frame.

My guess is that when you take both off the machine, the cross string tension for the racket strung on the 6 point will increase a lot more than the 2 point due to the force applied by the 4 side clamps.

So when say we are stringing at a given tension, I wonder if we’re kidding ourselves?
 
#22
May try this idea on a Neos. Turn it sideways and string the crosses first. 2 pt mount. Shirley my Bumblebee can handle the pressure
I’m think you’re having a go at me :) but if not, it’s going to make the crosses feel much tighter by the sound of things.
 
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