RacquetTech: Two-Piece Stringing without a Starting Knot
While using a starting knot is a perfectly acceptable method for installing cross strings on a two-piece string job, they do sometimes present problems. With stiffer poly strings, starting knots can be hard to cinch up and the larger knot can be a bit unruly and not aesthetically pleasing.
Using a starting clamp instead of a starting knot makes things easier and ensures all your knots are uniform. This is the method used by most of the top stringers on the pro tour. If you don’t currently use this method, you should give it a try. Even if you don’t use it all the time, it can come in handy in certain situations, such as when the tie-off is close to other strings and there is not enough room to accommodate a larger starting knot.
First, you will need a quality starting clamp. This is a vital tool that every professional stringer should have. Remember that the starting clamp is holding a lot of pressure, so make sure you get a good one! It should have strong holding power but not crush the string. A starting clamp has many uses; here is how it is used for starting the crosses:
Feed your cross string through as normal, but instead of tying the starting knot, make sure you leave enough string outside the frame to reach your tensioner. Place the starting clamp on the string so that it rests against the frame. Now you can apply tension and clamp, as you would normally do. You can either leave the starting clamp in place until you have all the strings in place or you can remove it once you have a couple of crosses installed. Either way, you will need to make sure that your machine clamp is available to use on the same side that the starting clamp is placed.
To remove the clamp, you will need to re-tension the top string by applying tension to the string you left outside the frame and clamp the string with the machine clamp. Once you have clamped and while the string is still tensioned and the starting clamp is away from the frame, simply remove it. Now you can tie your normal knot to secure the string.
- Make sure you leave enough string to reach your tensioner. Place the clamp on the string so that the clamp rests against the frame.
- Tension and clamp the first cross string as you normally would and continue as you normally would.
- When you are ready to remove the clamp, re-tension the top cross and clamp with the machine clamp.
- With the top cross now securely clamped with the machine clamp, remove the starting clamp.
See all articles by Bob Patterson
About the Author
Bob Patterson , the founder of the RacquetMAXX customization service, is a Master Racquet Technician with more than 20 years of experience. He was RSI's Stringer of the Year in 2005. He is Executive Director for the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association.
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