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StringWeavers are Rockin’ Our World!

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

It is indeed an extremely rare occurance for racquet technicians/stringers to be presented with new tool options. Sure the standard cutters can be improved and premium string clippers and awls can be introduced, but I can not recall the last time a tool was created that generated so much excitement for me when stringing. I am first to admit, I’m a gadget guy. I enjoyed using “The String Thing” to straighten strings, I enjoyed when I purchased my Xuron cutters, my UltraSport tension calibrator, my Craftsman R6265 electric stapler, my Beers ERT 300, my GSS RAB starting clamp, My RAB grommet grinders, my beloved Hansen Tacker, my stethoscope and even my Stringway Cross Stringing Tools. However, none of them, NONE, have gotten as much continual use and have been able to make my job easier and more enjoyable on a daily basis than the new StringWeaver tools.

Quite frankly stringing with the StringWeavers is an unexpected joy. When I set out to first test them, I was skeptical. I had no idea how easy they would be to use nor did I expect that they would quickly become my favorite stringing tool ever. So what exactly are they and why I am so passionate about them?

StringWeaver currently makes 3 versions of their device. Each is designed to work in harmony with different density stringbeds. Once the main strings are in place, the StringWeaver tool is placed into the stringbed. It fits easily onto the main strings. Once it is placed onto the strings, the stringer simply slides the plates to latch it into place. If you are familiar with the Stringway Cross Stringing tool, it is infinitely easier and less clunky to install and use.

What this tool does is to raise and lower alternating strings to create a channel allowing easy installation of the cross strings. It is essentially the same effect that stringers have been using for years with the “one ahead” weaving method, only with the StringWeaver tool engaged, the channel is a little deeper and makes installing the cross strings infinitely easier. While weaving is not necessarily a difficult challenge (or any challenge for that matter) for an experienced stringer, the tool provides some specific advantages in addition to making it easier to get the string in place. Specifically, the larger channel makes it much easier to install stiff strings. Some of the new stiff poly-based strings with sharp profiles can make the fingertips of even the most grizzled stringing professionals numb after just a few frames. Enter the StringWeaver tool. With the enhanced channel, the strings can be placed into the stringbed more freely and easily resulting in less friction and discomfort for the fingertips of the person installing the strings.

But wait, there’s more! In addition to less friction while weaving, you can use the tool to create a nearly friction free channel for pulling the crosses. This reduces the chances of notching and actually allows the stringer to gain some time in the stringing process as they can pull more rapidly with no fear of notching or burning. I really appreciate this option when stringing natural gut. Pulling the natural gut through a practically friction free channel is the best possible scenario for this living, breathing, somewhat fragile string. Professional stringers know that all the passes through the channels, no matter how careful, can twist the gut a little and wear on the protective coating. These issues, common to pulling/properly installing natural gut crosses, are all but eliminated when incorporating the StringWeaver tool into the stringing process.

In my business I string a significant amount of sharp profiled poly-based strings. This tool saves a tremendous amount of wear and tear on my fingertips. After receiving the tool and thoroughly testing it, I found myself using it more and more in many scenarios, not just for poly-based offerings. For instance, I found it useful/helpful when installing sticky multifilaments. It made pulling crosses much easier with no fear of notching. As mentioned above, using with natural gut is now essential for me as there are just too many advantages to ignore. I also enjoy using it with most synthetic gut at 58 jobs, just because it has now become part of how I string.

Initially I was concerned the tool may alter the results of my stringing. I was afraid that continually pushing down on the mains to create a channel would possibly stretch them out and perhaps create a looser stringbed. Then I wondered if pulling tension on the crosses while using the tool would alter the stringbed stiffness, perhaps making it tighter? So, I put it to the test. I strung the same racquet multiple ways and measured my results. My testing period lasted approximately two weeks. What I found was when I incorporated the tool into my stringing routine a certain way, the results were 100% identical to the method I use without the StringWeaver tool. I used my Babolat RDC to measure stringbed stiffness and I also used an ERT 300 to measure Dynamic Tension and my trusty String Meter so I could measure individual strings. Bottom line was I could create differing stringbed outcomes using the StringWeaver in some ways, but I could create identical outcomes to what I always get, using the method I describe below.

The next paragraph describes the process I use.  It is difficult to follow, but for those interested in the process, it provides detail.  I hope to someday soon produce a video which will be a far better way to demonstrate how I use it.

I always install and tension the first two cross strings and have the 3rd string in place, but not tensioned.  At that point I insert the StringWeaver.   I then trigger the switch on the tool to open the channel and then weave the 4th cross string into place through the open channel. Next, I pull tension on the 3rd cross string. (Note: I am essentially using the one ahead stringing method for crosses that I always use) After clamping off, I then pull the rest of the string through the channel. Once the string is all pulled through I switch the trigger on the StringWeaver and reverse the channel. I then push string number 4, which is installed but not yet tensioned, up against string #3. (Note that because the channel has been reversed string #4 is now in a hard weave environment.)  I go ahead and install cross string number 5. I pull through the string leaving enough to reach the tensioner. I then tension string #4, (the string that is now in a hard weave environment) pull the rest of the string through, switch the trigger to reverse the channel and repeat the process.  I have found the results using this method and sequencing changes nothing in my stringing results, but makes stringing much more pleasant for me.

It should be noted that when I was pulling tension with an open channel, my results varied from my norm. The stringbed was measuring tighter, but not by as much as I initially projected. I strung several rounds with the open method and it did produce identical results, but these results did not match the results I get when not using the StringWeaver.

Did it save me time? Honestly, I am not sure. In some cases I may have shaved a minute or two off of my stringing time and in some cases I may have added a couple of minutes. Time was not a factor one way or the other for me. However, for someone who does not string often or is learning, the StringWeaver may indeed save a significant amount of time. Weaving is just easier with this tool.

As much as I love the StringWeavers and fully endorse and embrace them, there are a couple of areas which new users will want to be aware. Currently the tool needs to be removed anywhere from the last 2 – 5 cross strings. (Using my preferred method) This is the area of the stringbed where weaving is the most difficult/challenging. With some frames the unit is too big/long to operate reasonably in the lower parts of the head. Also on some frames the StringWeaver can become stuck. The sliding process that allows the tool to disengage from the stringbed becomes extremely tight and difficult to implement. It needs to be cajoled in order to disengage and this can slow things down and become disconcerting if the tool decides to be obstinate about removal. This occurs mostly when, using my method, the tool is pushed to the very limits for working during the installation of cross strings. I now take it out a string earlier so as not to have to wrestle with it, but it means I do have to endure an extra weave or two in the most difficult part of the frame. It should be noted that the manufacturer does recommend a different process, but he does suggest removing the tool before tensioning the final cross strings.

Finally, some readers may wonder how the StringWeavers compare to the StringWay cross stringing tool. In my estimation there is no real comparison. The StringWeavers are infinitely easier to use. With the Stringway tool, the user just slides the string through the device rather than weaving. It is nifty and works, but I find when using the StringWeaver I am far less likely to produce a misweave error and it is faster and fits much better with my established stringing rhythm.

Guts and Glory Tennis does not sell or profit from this tool. We just discovered it works great for us and wanted to share our experiences. The device can be purchased online directly through the manufacturer who is USA based. Buy American!

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