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Holabird Sports
Old 2004-07-11, 02:39   #1
Newbified
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Default Having some trouble tying knots

First off, hi everyone.

I just strung my third racquet last night, but I keep having the same problem. It seems that the last string on the mains and the crosses always seems to be so loose, so I am assuming that it is due to my poor knot tying. I increased the tension by 8lbs on the last strings like Jay Cee recommended, but it's still not working. Is this just something that I just need to have more practice on, or is there some sort of trick? Thanks in advance for any help.

- Newbified

ps. I have the same problem with the knot on the crosses too...
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Old 2004-07-11, 17:30   #2
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

Newbified,

Lets try to understand where the problem is, then we can have a look at some solutions.
Firstly, understand that when you put tension on a string, the tension is applied by pulling on the string and then you maintain this tension by clamping the string and blocking the clamp onto the base of the cradle (or if you use floating or flying clamps you block the string against another string which is pulling in the opposite direction).
That means that the last string that is clamped before you make the knot to tie off the main (or cross) has the applied tension up to the clamp, but after the clamp what you have to do is to tie off the string and try not to lose the tension on the string once you have taken off the clamp. The tighter the string between the clamp and the knot, the less the loss of tension is important. Generally you lose the tension because :
1.) the string is too slack between the clamp and the knot, or
2.) the knot slips and this introduces the slack causing loss of tension.
No matter what you do some loss is inevitable.

Joe advises stringers to put an awl into the grommet hole to block the string that you manually put tension on by pulling it strongly just before tying off. His explanations on this method are clearly demonstrated in the "Stringing Guide : Knots" on this site.

Personally I do not use an awl, I prefer to increase the tension on the last 2 strings before the knot by 4 kgs. each, this is enough to pick up the slack and minimise the loss of tension. I try to avoid the use of an awl because the risk of damaging the string is quite high.

For me, what is important is that you push any loose string on the outside of the frame into the grommet where it will be secured by the knot, so that when you tighten the half-hitch on the inside of the frame then there is no slack between the knot and the clamp.

Do not pull on the knot too tightly, for the knot to be successful, it must be self-locking. This means that the pressure coming from the last main when you release the clamp should pull the knot into the grommet and at the same time tighten the knot. If this does not happen then the knot is not right. I always push down on the last string to really "bed" the knot into the grommet, this takes any slip out immediately, then I push successively onto the 2nd last, 3rd last and 4th last strings to tighten up the outside main strings and to redistribute any slack towards the centre of the string-bed. This helps to provide much longer constant string tension stability for the player.

Some stringers even tighten knots by pulling on them with the machine's tensionner, not only is this of no benefit you may well break the string at the knot and probably have to start again.

Most occasional stringers and probably the majority of stringers in shops and pro-shops in Clubs, tie off with a "double half-hitch" which is easy to do and if done correctly is quite an acceptable method. Here is a comprehensive explanation as to how to tie this knot (with all of the complements to "Silent Partner" for their excellent stringing instructions, if you want to see a diagram so that you can visualise the knot. then visit their site www.sptennis.com ) :

<u>TYING KNOTS :</u>

Knots normally involve an anchor string (a string that is already installed and tensioned) and a tying string (a loose string end that is threaded through the same hole as the anchor string and wrapped around the anchor string in a self-locking pattern).
The most common knot in racquet stringing is known as the DOUBLE HALF-HITCH.
To tie a half-hitch knot remember the OUT rule:
take the tying string Over the anchor string,
guide it Under and around the anchor string,
and finally pull it Through the loop that the tying string has formed.
To lock this knot in place you need only pull on the end of the tying string.
A single half-hitch would normally be secure enough but it is standard practice to double up on the half-hitch for added security.
The second half-hitch is tied exactly the same way using the OUT rule.
[/b]
For the knot on the last cross you can apply the same method, for the starting knot it is better not to pull too hard on the first cross because if the knot is pulled into the grommet it can be quite a problem. If the hole is big and the string is thin then a knot with more volume is better. Once again check out the SPT site for a good example of a starting knot.

I think that this is enough to get you started, If enough posters want to learn a better way, I will be make the effort to show you the best knot, as used by most of the pro stringers on the Tour, but first you have to be able to tie off successfully with the good old "double half-hitch", and not finish up with slack string after the tie-off.
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Old 2004-07-13, 09:08   #3
Hawkeye2
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

@Jay Cee

Wow, very detailed explanation !

This should answer all the questions from Newbified at once.

Until now,I just pushed the last string to tighten the knot, but I will try to push the last mains to evenly distribute the tension, good idea !

@Newbified

Just try to increase the tension on the last two strings before a knot, this will help avoiding the tension less resulting from the knot.

When I started to string I just increased the tension on the last string and the loss of tension was really obvious.

Now I'm increasing the tension on the last two strings before a knot and this helps a lot !

If you think that the string slips through your knot, use a marker on the piece of string that comes just out of the knot. If the mark slips far through the knot, then there is definitely somthing wrong with your knot.

Bye




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Old 2004-07-13, 18:04   #4
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys.

I'm going to restring my racquet this Friday, and I'll let you guys know how it goes, or if I'm still having any problems. Thanks again.

- Newbified
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Old 2004-07-13, 21:15   #5
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

Hey Hawkeye2,

At last a tip that you can use, I never thought that I would get one up on the board. Now you owe me one.
Keep up your postings, they are great and I really look forward to them.

Nice to see that you agree with some of my comments, sometimes it's nice to know that at least one other competant stringer can share an opinion from time to time.

Sorry Joe, I didn't forget you, you know how much I admire what you are doing here, and I do agree with most of what you say, that surprises you doesn't it??
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Old 2004-07-13, 23:36   #6
Jens
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

@Jay Cee
Thanks man, well I'm not a professional stringer, but you are, so I'm really happy about each piece of experience you are sharing here with us!
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Old 2004-07-14, 19:31   #7
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

@Jay Cee
In my interview with G. Straehle, a German pro stringer, I included a series of pictures to illustrate the knot he is using. Can you tell if that is the "pro knot" you are referring to in your explanations?





P.S.: Sorry about the awl in my stringing guide, it must give you a pain in the ass.
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Old 2004-07-14, 20:33   #8
Jay Cee
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

Joe,

Thats a pretty good try, that looks like the one I was prepared to describe for y'all, some stringers call it a half-hitch with a tail.

(There is a white tube which appears to either be pushed into the grommet, or the string is going through the tube, curious, is this a substitute for your awl? I'm not sure that I get that one. )

What you are missing is a photo of the knot once it has been tightened. It is very compact, totally self locking and recognisable by the tail that lies flat agaist the frame once the knot has been tightened.

The big advantage of this tie off is that the pressure that blocks the knot is coming from the last main (or cross) string and you can tighten the knot even by hand then block it into the grommet by pushing only the last string once you have removed the clamp. Very easy, fast and neat.
The signature of a really good stringer.

It is a great knot for gut strings because they are quite fragile on the knot, it is very easy to break the string when you tighten a classical double half-hitch knot with your pliers. Today gut is not frequently used, but many monos are almost as fragile as gut on the knots and this is a very usefull knot for these monos. It works great on nylons, they will never slip.

This is the first time that I have actually seen photos or even a diagram of this knot, but it is not totally clear, so just to complete the photos here is a short description of how to make the knot :

The knot is tied in 4 actions :

1.) you start with a simple half-hitch but don't tighten it, just leave a closed loop of about 1 cm. (1/2 inch) wide. (photo #1.)

2.) take the tie string and loop it large, about 10 cms (4 inches) wide, go around the first loop then come back up through the small loop (photo # 2.)

3.) you then have to pull the first half hitch tight by pulling on the tie string as shown in photo #2. arrow 1,

4.) finally you carefully tighten the 2nd loop, as shown in photo #2. arrow 2, by pulling the tie string until the knot is firmly tied.

You should finish with a very tidy knot where what you have is a simple half-hitch where the tie string has gone twice through the first loop, in the same direction. The loop of the half-hitch blocks two strings instead of one if using a simple half-hitch.

For this knot to be perfect, you must increase the tension on the last 2 strings before the knot by 4kgs. (8lbs) on each string. When you block the knot this over-tensionning will pick up the slack which should the be re-distributed towards the center of the string bed by pushing successively on the 2nd last, 3rd last and 4th last main strings.

Sounds complicated but once you get the hang of it, you will never tie off any other way !!
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Old 2004-07-14, 22:35   #9
Jens
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

@Jay Cee
Great goin', now with the pictures and your excellent explanation the other stringers should be able to tie this knot, too.

The white tube is just a piece of string tubing for protecting the string inside the grommet.

I have got one additional picture of the knot with the first loop already being tightened (a little out of focus), hope it helps a bit:

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Old 2004-07-17, 02:17   #10
Newbified
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Default Re: Having some trouble tying knots

Ok, I strung my racquet today with a print out of what all of you suggested next to me. (Hoping that maybe the aura of the names would give me some inspiration)

I just did the normal double half-hitch because I figured I should master the simpler knot before I go on to the more advanced "half-hitch with a tail".

Results: Much better than the first few times I tried to string, although still tons of room for improvement. I think the main reason was because I made sure to push all the loose string on the outside of the frame into the grommet, which is something which I didn't do the first few times I strung, even though it makes so much sense.

Thank you guys so much for the help, especially Jay Cee.

- Newbified
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