Stringing a squash or tennis racket is an enjoyable activity for anyone who does it. Whether you plan to string for yourself, your local club, for your friends and family, or are even considering starting your own racket stringing business, this post gives an overview of the process. We will talk about the tools and the preparation you need for a successful stringing job.
Tools Needed for racket stringing:
- Racket string (Tennis or Squash)
- Tennis or squash racket
- Stringing machine (with base clamps preferably. The swivel kind)
- String cutter
- Starting clamp
- Needle-nose pliers
How to String a Tennis Racket
Determine racket stringing pattern:
The process involves weaving strings through the racket frame in a specific pattern. Therefore, before you can start anything, you must understand the pattern of your racket. For this you would:
- Study the racket pattern and count the number of mains and crosses. This is usually written on the frame as part of its specifications.
- You could also refer to the manual you get with the USRSA membership if you have one.
- Often the manufacturer of the racket would post its stringing pattern on its website.
- Lastly you could try finding the racket model on klipper’s website.
- Decide whether you are going to do a one-piece or a two-piece job.
- Really plan out your stringing job:
- Where will you insert the ends?
- how much length for the short-side or long-side?
- where will the knots go?
- Select the appropriate string for your racket and playing preferences. You can learn about the best squash strings or the best tennis strings to make a decision. You can also read up on the effects of string tension and gauge on your game.
- Check out these pink tennis strings
- Cut out the length of string required to do the stringing job (if you are working with reels); Usually 33ft for Squash and 40ft for tennis.
- If you are doing a two piece job, cut out the lengths for mains and crosses after measuring them off the racket itself. Leave at least 1ft on each end for tying off knots.
Stringing Machine set up
- Set up your stringing machine, ensuring it’s in good working condition.
- Adjust your clamps to fit the gauge of the string for a good grip without any slippage or crushing.
- Set the tension head (be it drop weight, crank, or electronic) on your machine to the desired tension.
Removing Old Strings:
- Use your string cutter to carefully cut and remove the old strings from the racket. Follow this guide on cutting racket strings.
- Take note of any broken grommets that need replacement. If a grommet is broken you can insert tubing as needed.
Mounting the Racket:
- Insert the racket’s head into the mounting posts of the stringing machine.
- Secure the racket in place using the mount points on the stringing machine. Whether you are using a 2-point mounting system or a 6-point, always secure the head and throat first before doing the sides.
- Be gentle but firm to avoid breaking the frame. No need to be super tight. The racket should just not move if you try to wiggle it.
Stringing the Main Strings:
Alright now lets get down to stringing.
- 99.99% of the time you will start by stringing the mains. Start by inserting one end of the string into the middle grommet at the head or throat of the frame. Follow your plan.
- There are many different ways on ‘starting’ which I wont go into detail here. You can explore youtube to find your preferred method.
- Use a base clamp and starting clamp to secure the string, then apply tension.
- Begin weaving the string through the appropriate grommets, following the pattern designated for your racket.
- Apply tension to each string, one at a time.
- Continue weaving until you reach the last main hole leaving enough string for tying off later.
Tensioning the Strings:
- Ensure you are applying the right amount of tension every time. You may need to account for string relaxation or pre-stretching.
- Always make sure your strings are clamped before releasing the tension head. Otherwise the whole job needs to be redone.
Stringing the Crosses:
- Start stringing the cross strings, following the pattern indicated for your racket.
- Use the awl to keep the crosses straight while you apply tension to them. of. This is to prevent the curving of strings during tensioning which leads to loss of tension later.
- Pro Tip: Weave one string ahead before applying tension. This saves time and is gentler on the hands.
- Make sure you also go over or under one string only. Going over or under two strings during a weave is a mis-weave, and counts as a botched job.
- Once all the strings are in place, tie off the ends of the strings using the appropriate knot or technique. The most common knots are the finishing knot and the double half hitch knot. I like to use the Parnell Knot.
- Use the snippers to trim the excess string.
- I like to apply an extra 10% tension to the string that is being tied off. As making the knot is done by hand, there is a chance that you may lose some tension in the process.
- Finally, use the awl to straighten out the strings for a neat job.
Removing the Racket from the Machine:
- Carefully release the clamps holding the racket in place on the stringing machine. Do the opposite of what you did during the mounting. Sides first, head and throat last.
- Make sure the base clamps are not holding any strings as you lift the racket from the machine.
- Gently remove the racket from the machine, ensuring that the strings remain intact and properly tensioned.
Time it takes to String 1 racket
A stringing job could take anywhere between 30 mins to 1 hour depending on the type of machine you are using, your stringing skills practice, and the number of problems you can run into during the process (blocked holes, mis-weaves, tight spaces etc.)
Stringing a squash or tennis racket requires attention to detail and precision. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to refine your technique over time for the best results.
Watch some of our racket stringing time lapses to see how fun it is.