Racquet Tech: For Easy Grommet Installation, It’s About Finesse, Not Force
Grommets and bumper guards wear out. It is what they are designed to do. They protect the frame and the string, but in doing so, they will wear out and need to be replaced.
Just like stringing racquets, some grommet strips and bumper guards are easier to replace than others. Practice and patience go a long way in being able to install them successfully.
For full grommet strips and bumper guards, use a strong awl to gently guide the barrel of the grommet through the holes in both walls of the racquet. Often, you are guiding a straight barrel through two holes that are not aligned since the racquet frame is curved. This is where the awl is necessary to guide it and get it aligned before applying pressure to push it through. If you apply pressure before it is aligned, the barrel will deform and you will never get it through — and the strip will be ruined.
Every racquet is unique, so one method doesn’t apply to all, but you’ll never win the battle with force! Explore different methods and find one that works best for you. The goal is to get the grommet strip placed properly so that neither the strip nor the racquet is damaged.
If only one or two grommets are broken and the bumper is in decent shape, you can replace just the broken grommet barrels, but you will need a tool and supplies. RAB replacement grommets are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. Use the Grommet Grinder tool to remove the damaged grommet and then slide in the replacement. Again, an awl helps ease the installation, especially in curved areas of the racquet, which is where the grommets are under the most stress. Once the new grommet is installed, trim the length to match adjacent grommets.
The replacement grommets have a shoulder to secure the grommet with the loop of string outside the frame. Make sure you have this in the proper position to be covered by the string.
Nylon or Teflon tubing can also be used in worn grommets to protect the strings if you can’t replace the grommet.
For more details on grommet installation and repairs, USRSA members can access the Racquet Service Techniques section of the USRSA website at racquettech.com.
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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