Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pat Markey

The 5 reasons you need a starting clamp for stringing tennis rackets

Ask any tradesman and he will have a ' need to have' list of tools at his disposal.  For the racket stringer there are a number of tools that are essential, some that make the job a little easier and than others that are competition 'crushers'.  This tool  is a combination of each.

Gamma Starting Clamp
The '5 must have reason why you need this tools for tennis racket stringing' will bypass the basics- it is a given that you have a racket stringing machine already.  The no. 1 tool on my list is the 'starting clamp'. The starting clamp has numerous uses and for me one of the most widely used tools. Pictured to the left is the Gamma Starting Clamp (price $34.95).  I consider there to be 5 benefits or 5 must have reasons to owning this tool.  1)  I use it to back up the machine clamp when I start my string installation.  It keeps the machine clamp from slipping, it's basically insurance in case the string might not be 100 % secure in the machine clamp, it has saved me many times.  (read other posts to learn more about this). 2) String extender.  If I didn't measure my strings long enough and need a little extension to reach the stringing machine, than I can attach a second string for the purpose of using this as a 'string extender'.  This is a 'big one' for new stringers, I have found that many new stringers haven't got the basics of string measurement down and sometimes find themselves about 6-8 inches short and have a little 2 inch piece of string left after installing all strings.  Well, this is the tool for such a job.  Please note, if you measured too short to even come up short on string before installing the last string than this will not be able to help you. 3)  Free up your machine clamps.  On some rackets when 'the around the world pattern is required because the main strings end up at the bottom and you come up on the short side and use the 'starting clamp' to secure the short side by placing the clamp on the outside of the frame and therefore freeing up your starting clamp.  4) Pre-stretching string.  If you need to pre-stretch any of your tennis strings, mainly done with natural gut or some multi-filaments (you can read more on another post about this), you can use this to secure the two ends of the string when pulling.  Generally I will place a cloth around the clamp after securing the strings and then pulling, to assure less stress on my hand.  5) To pull tension.  This is not a primary use for this tool, but many times when I am needing to pull a tie off knot I will use this to grab the end of the string.

AG Tool Kit
Gamma tool kit
These are the 5 primary uses of a 'starting clamp' to help you on your stringing journey.  It is important to get a quality tool and I have food that either Gamma (like pictured here) or Babolat to offer quality stringing tools.  You can also compliment this tool with an array of tools offered in toolkits like the two pictured below.  It is a good idea of any beginner to have this equipment. Stringer's Tool Supply Kit : AG International Stringing Tools & Supplies $29.95 : All the basic stringers necessities within a convenient plastic tool box. A great gift for beginners and professionals alike.Kit Includes:Diagonal Cutting Pliers to cut string.Needle Nose Pliers to pull string through grommets.2 Awls to punch holes in grommets.1 String Hook1 Hand Tensioner1 Roll Double-Sided Tape to hold down replacement grip.1 Roll Black Finishing Tape to neatly finish the racquet when putting on grip.  String Starter Tool Kit : Gamma Stringing Tools & Supplies $25.95 : The Gamma String Starter Tool Kit is a perfect beginner kit for any new tennis player, all organized in a handy plastic carrying case. Kit Includes: Diagonal Cutter Bent Nose Pliers Needle Nose Pliers Carrying Case.

Pat Markey

About Pat Markey -

Patrick Has been stringing rackets for over 25 years including at many professional events around the country including the US OPEN and AUSTRALIAN OPEN. He brings a depth of knowledge and love for the industry.

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