GGT Extra

New Found Respect for Crank Machines

This entry was posted in Stringing, Stringing Machines by GGTennis. Bookmark the permalink.

We just returned from attending the Grand Slam Stringers Symposium at Saddlebrook in Florida.  What a terrific conference.  I speak for myself, but think others will agree there is always a tremendous amount of learning that takes place at this event. While the information and tips I picked up were invaluable the greatest surprise for me involved a crank machine.  Yep, the exact style of machine that I have poo-pooed on for a number of years earned my respect this past week.

Until this conference I did not believe that a crank machine could produce results comparable to constant pull machines especially with full poly.  If you would have asked me before the conference I would have stated that it was “impossible.”  I believed this to be an absolute truth until I witnessed otherwise. At the conference I watched John Elliot string full poly using a Prince Neos.  The technique he had to employ to generate results comparable to those on other machines was not all that complicated but did add a bit of time to the string job.  However, if quality stringing is important to you, the time involved is simply a non-factor.

While John was stringing I was sitting on the sideline shaking my head.  I knew he might be able to do a bit better than most on this machine, but I had serious doubts as to whether he could match results from other machines.  After the racquet came off of the machine it was measured for overall stringbed tension.  Curiously and shockingly the results were almost identical to those obtained on other machines throughout the symposium.  If I was not there to witness it myself I would not have believed it.  However, seeing is believing and I must now apologize to all those who I have mistakenly told a crank machine is useless for stringing poly-based strings.  I retract my statement and in fact considerably raise my appreciation for the Prince Neos.  In terms of machines for stringing poly I might now rate it behind the Stringway line, but ahead of most higher priced constant pull machines…assuming the technique that John demonstrated is the one being used.

In a nutshell there are a couple of important steps to follow.  First, when pulling tension on a crank machine, pull extra slow.  Be extremely gentle, almost slow-motionesque, until the tension head clicks into place.  This will serve you well with the mains.  On the crosses slow pulling is again essential.  However, this is where some added guile is required.  After you lock the string DO NOT clamp off or release the tension.  Allow it to remain under tension while you weave the next cross string.  Now come back.  Grab the crank with one hand and hold it steady.  Next release the tension head. Do not allow the string to release.  Rather at this point you will pull until the tension head clicks and re-locks. Clamp off.  You have now effectively recovered tension that was lost as the string relaxed.  Follow this process for each and every cross string.

The results off the machine are nearly identical to that of other machines.  What we do not know is whether the results in terms of the tension maintenance and playability will last the same as when strung on constant pull machines.  Unfortunately there was not enough time at the conference to measure this and it is important to know.  We know that John’s method on a Stringway machine will only give back a kilo or two at most after 10 – 15 hours of play.  The long-term result of the racquet strung with the crank is unknown.  The gentleman whose racquet was strung on the machine is from England and I am hoping to hear from him as to how that racquet performs and will report on it.

The basic message is exciting as those who own crank machines may be able to get very good results stringing full-poly, an outcome we did not believe possible until this past week.

9 thoughts on “New Found Respect for Crank Machines

  1. Mark on said:

    This is very interesting. Question though: When stringing the crosses what is the advantage of holding the crank? It seems to me that it would be the same as doing a double pull on the cross?

  2. GGTennis on said:

    It is similar to a double pull, but holding the tension does not allow it to slip at all. What you are doing is pulling up the slack/tension loss that occurred while the string was elongating.

  3. K on said:

    What about using this method on mains when used on a hybrid with multi crosses?

  4. GGTennis on said:

    Not sure. We don’t blend multis with poly. It’s a terrible marriage. We use soft solid core or natural gut.

    • Joe stringer on said:

      I happen to like multi crosses as much cheaper than gut and much softer than solid core nylon or syn gut. Just make sure poly isnt textured, as multi will frey more quickly.

      • GGTennis on said:

        Joe, We have found that multis do not support the polys as they need to be supported. A soft solid core string, like the WeissCANNON New Element 500, offers better durability and support for those wanting a hybrid set up but who do not want to go with natty gut.

  5. Kf on said:

    Ok, what about with a syn gut? With the mains being poly, would this method work with pulling the mains, and stringing the syn gut as normal?

  6. s&w 5906 magazine on said:

    This is a good posting, I was wondering if I could use this write-up on my website, I will link it back to your website though. If this is a problem please let me know and I will take it down right away

  7. s&w 5906 magazine on said:

    What are you stating, man? I realize everyones got their own view, but really? Listen, your website is interesting. I like the effort you put into it, especially with the vids and the pics. But, come on. Theres gotta be a better way to say this, a way that doesnt make it seem like most people here is stupid!


Leave a Reply

Guts and Glory Tennis, LLC    3655 Sentry View Trace Suwanee, GA 30024   Phone: 404-926-6060
© Copyright Guts and Glory Tennis, LLC. All rights reserved.    Site by HEROweb