THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
The process for producing natural gut tennis strings is highly complex process. Below you will find the general work flow to make our natural gut:
- Strands of cow intestine arrive at our string production facility in large barrels.
- The strands of intestine are removed from the barrels and washed to remove salt, which is used to preserve the intestine en route to the facility. At this stage, the intestine is gently washed in a series of baths, where a detergent is introduced to soften the strings.
- Once washed the gut moves on for a thorough inspection where fatty or discolored strands are removed to ensure the utmost in quality.
- After being inspected the strands of are then layered together by a specific predetermined number to obtain a general gauge of the string.
- The strands are then measured to ensure the appropriate length necessary for tennis strings, which must be 42 feet long. Approximately 2 feet is lost throughout the remainder of the production It will take approximately three cows to produce one set of natural gut tennis string.
- Next, the gut is sent to a curing tank where chemicals are introduced to sterilize, whiten, and cure the gut. It’s natural for gut to have an orange hue, which is mostly removed at this stage.
- Once cured the strings are spun together a specific number of times depending on the desired gauge of the string.
- The gut is then sent to the drying room where it is dried at a controlled level of humidity for up to three weeks. During this time the gut has twists applied regularly. This step is considered to be one of the most critical for producing a great set of strings.
- After being dried the gut undergoes a second stage of drying for up to 3 weeks to ensure the strings are completely dry.
- At this stage, the strings are typically rough so they are sent through a grinder to produce a smooth even finish.
- Next, the strings are either given a coat of oil or coated for extra durability. Normally we do not coat the strings rather oil them, but will soon be adding a coating with future versions. There are both pros and cons to either process. Uncoated strings are not quite as durable, but generally provide the most gut like performance in terms of feel, touch and power. Coated strings tend to last longer and can handle much higher tensions. Though, in our opinion coated strings do not necessarily provide the best gut like performance.
- Lastly, the strings are checked for quality, packaged and shipped.
As you can see the process is rather labor intensive, which is part of the reason why natural gut tennis strings are more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. Though, the old saying goes once you go gut it is hard to return back to 100% synthetic. Additionally, long term, gut is so much easier on your body.