STRINGING PROCESS OF NATURAL GUT
Due to the composition of natural gut tennis strings, extra care and attention during stringing is paramount. It is extremely important to take your time, always make sure the strings are straight and not kinked before slowly applying tension. It is not that difficult, but a slightly different process than stringing with polys. If not done properly with care the chances of unnecessary breakage can occur from any weak points or mishandling during stringing. Rare, but can happen.
If you don’t consider yourself an experienced stringer, then you may want to work with a certified stringer that you can trust with your strings. Of course, if you’ve been stringing for a while and understand the dynamics of natural gut then it should be a piece of cake.
Here are ten tips to help you get it right the first time.
Take your time:
Some of the best advice when stringing with natural gut is to take your time. Compared to synthetic strings, natural gut is considerably more fragile during the installation process. Recognizing this, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for installation and don’t rush. It can be the difference between unnecessary premature breaking of your strings and a job well done.
Check your grommets:
Grommets can easily be damaged over time so you should always check them before stringing. You would be surprised how many professional stringers skip this step. Imperfections such as grommets with rough edges due to contact with a tennis court or normal wear and tear can quickly cut into your strings and destroy your natural gut during the tensioning of your strings. If the grommets are in rough shape, consider replacing before you string.
Clamp your racquet:
This step is huge! If you’re racquet shifts during the stringing process because you didn’t make sure your racquet was fully secure before stringing, then you may end up regretting it. The jarring shift of your frame during your string job could easily lead to a string break that most synthetics would survive.
Please be careful when uncoiling the string. A kinked string can easily lead to breakage while stringing or very likely reduce the longevity of your strings with a break caused during your first few hours of play. Again, don’t rush. Take your time. There may be rare circumstances where natural gut will slightly come apart or uncoil a little, but do not be totally alarmed. This can happen with mostly uncoated string (V5 model), but once tension is slowly applied this small strange looking gap will close and does not affect the integrity of the strings.
Pre-stretching and waxing or adding oil:
The manufacturing of natural gut strings has come such a long way that pre-stretching really is not totally necessary. At the same time, many players believe that you can maximize the tension maintenance of the strings by taking this extra step. If you decide this is a must just be extra careful with this step and grab a friend to help if possible. I’d also recommend that you do a straight pull from one end to the other end of the string rather than wrapping the string around a pole or similar object to avoid unnecessary stress. Over handling gut not good for it. I must include here that applying an oil (such as baby oil or cooking oil) or any type of soft wax can greatly help during the stringing process. This reduces friction and speeds up the weaving process. It is also excellent for the string as it freshens it up, immensely reduces fraying and improves durability. This is particular useful with "very slightly" coated strings such as our V5 models and below. Not so important with our V5(+) and up, but still helps. It only takes a very small amount of oil or wax. You do not need to go crazy with the amount applied. Keep it simple.
Adjust your string clamps:
Always check and pay close attention to the tightness of your clamps. A great tip for doing this is to test the tip of the end of your natural gut string before you start your string job. Insert one tip of the string and close the clamp. If it’s too tight loosen the clamps until the string is snug. Too tight is bad. You don’t want it to slip, but you also don’t want to crush the string because that can reduce the durability for that portion of the string.Gut does not enjoy being pinched to death. It is already soft and delicate! Another thing we see far to often. Gut also does not easily slip like polys so a looser clamp is a must.
Weaving and pulling the string:
You should always take extra care when weaving the crosses. A quick pull that generates too much friction can easily notch the string and produce a weak point that can lead to breakage. Take your time.
Protect your turns:
With natural gut, it’s all about protecting the string throughout the string job. Gut performs fantastically once it’s in the racquet, but little hiccups along the way can cause problems. With that in mind, watch your turns through tight corners, edges of your stringer, and racquet clamps as you go. If necessary, form a barrier as you make your turns with a small piece of leather. For example, you could cut a piece from an old belt or use power pads if you have them on hand.
Keep a sharp tip:
Natural gut is made by weaving together several strands of beef serosa and can come untwisted when the tip of your string frays. Advancements in string coatings for natural gut have indeed made this less of an issue, but it’s worth keeping in mind. To avoid any issues clip the tip of your string anytime the tip becomes weak or frayed.
Watch your step:
Most synthetic strings can withstand you accidentally stepping on the string as you move around the stringer, but natural gut can crush easily with an unfortunate misstep. If you’re taking your time as you string, this is much less likely to result in any problems.