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Our Medley of Stringing Tools – We Give Thanks For An Anal Pursuit of Perfection

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We entered into 2011 with no idea how much our stringing skills/results could or would advance, just a desire to be open to learning as much as possible in order to remain fresh/innovative and relevant.  As we move into the time of year where we reflect and give thanks, I am personally thankful for being open to new experiences and the opportunity to evolve into a better stringer.

Through a series of blog entries in 2011,  I have shared information about my personal journey to explore new areas/topics/methods/approaches in stringing.  Today I string using the JET Method, which is the most updated version of the method John Elliot has been developing for many years.  As part of the JET Method  I am now using a series of tools I never imagined I would be using at the start of the year.  I think the tools themselves are interesting enough to comprise a full blog entry.

In order to achieve the full benefits of the JET Method, there are what I refer to as a “Medley of Tools” that are used.  When stringing in a public setting the use of these tools often intrigues local stringing customers.  Why?  Because it is highly unlikely they have ever seen a stringer using any of these tools, much less the full medley in concert with one another.  It is indeed different and it is fascinating to many customers.  In fact they end up paying increased attention, asking additional questions and learning that the person using these tools is able to achieve results that take anal perfection in stringing to dizzying new heights.

The tools of the trade include the following (most are included in the photo above) which we will describe in some additional detail.

1.  Stringway ML 100 or 120 stringing machine
2. One Stringway flying clamp and two triple flying clamps
3. Stringway cross stringing tool
4. The String Thing – string straightening device
5. Tourna Stringmeter

Much has been written on the Stringway machine.  The main reason we choose to use it over our high end electronic machines is because it provides better/more consistent results.  Unlike electronic machines, the operator is in total control of EVERYTHING that happens while stringing and this is a HUGE advantage.  By using this machine we receive all of the constant pull benefits minus any worries of overshooting tension and damaging sensitive strings such as poly-based offerings.

For the majority of the year we have been exploring/testing/measuring results with our Stringway flying clamps.  Our conclusion is that there is no better clamping system on the market today.  Period.  Our final product on the Bairado and Star 5 is more consistent, (as measured with the Stringmeter), when using these clamps than the fixed clamping system that comes with the high end machines.  Why?  Simple Newtonian physics.  It is impossible to lose or leak tension with these clamps (assuming they are clean and properly adjusted).  The triple clamps, which we use for the majority of the stringing, are extremely resistant to twisting.  What little twist occurs is immediately recuperated on the subsequent pull. Admittedly the double flying clamps have a tendency to twist, but again, this is recovered and no tension is lost.  In our experience the Stringway fliers are the most precise clamping system we have tested or observed.

When we started stringing the full-poly L-TEC hybrids in volume, we noted it was not the most comfortable way to spend a weekday afternoon.  The various profiles that help provide action/spin/bite on the ball also put a hurt on the stringer’s fingers.  At the suggestion of John Elliot we started using/testing our cross stringing tool.  Yes, at first getting into a routine with this tool can be awkward.  But once the secrets are unlocked, (always use the short side of the tool for feeding), the pleasure and pure joy of stringing is rediscovered.  The tool has quite a few benefits.  In addition to being easier on the fingers, there is absolutely no notching or burning that can occur.  Also, and most importantly, the profiled strings go in precisely as designed with no twisting.  There are two added benefits, the first is ergonomic in that bending required for the person stringing is minimized as feeding the string through the tool is smooth and fluid requiring minimal effort.  The second is that customers are absolutely spellbound when they see this tool in action.  I have to admit, it is fun to watch.  More importantly, it becomes addictive and very pleasant to use.  After several weeks of using the tool, I wonder how I could possibly have gone so long without it?

When the stringing is complete and the flying clamps and cross stringing tool are removed from the stringbed, I often find that there are a few strings that have gotten pushed out of perfect alignment.  The String Thing works great while the racquet is still mounted in the machine for correcting this.  I find that running the tool across the stringbed first is the best sequence.  Then to finalize the straightening I have found that taking The String Thing and running it from the bottom of the head to the top of the head will set everything into place.  This technique, even with synthetic strings, will remove the smiley face phenomena that some stringers experience.  Remember, from bottom of head to top only to get everything into perfect alignment.

After the racquet comes off the machine I then use the Stringmeter to measure the tension of each and every main string.  Using the JET Method, combined with these tools, all main strings will give an identical and consistent tension.  Perfection achieved!  There can not be anything more satisfying for a stringer or better performing for the customer.


One thought on “Our Medley of Stringing Tools – We Give Thanks For An Anal Pursuit of Perfection

  1. Ken on said:

    Thanks for sharing the tools you use and the insights you gained using them as well as the results! Thanks to you I purchased 2 triples, 1 single (which I don’t end up using at all), and the stringway cross stringer. (I definitely had money to burn:)) But in the pursuit of perfection, the zen of stringing while getting the same results, I think this is a small investment vs purchasing a baiardo or another high-end machine. (I already had a stringway by the way.)

    I too have found by the stringmeter that my results are very consistent from string to string. And with the cross stringer tool 300% less tedious when doing crosses. I am not sold on all the tenets of the Jay-cee method – starting with a double pull – but am reaching my own amateur level of stringing enlightenment.

    Thanks! I’m going to keep on reading your blog!


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