Broken strings getting a little spendy? Try stringing at home.
Tennis racquet stringing machines range in price from $149 USD for Klipper’s tabletop USA Klippermate to $8,900 for the Technifibre TF-8000. The more expensive models are those you see in tennis clubs or pro shops; that’s not to say you couldn’t own one if you had the financial means.
Why buy a stringing machine? The obvious reason is to save money. drgreenthumb, a Tennis-Warehouse forum member and self described string breaker says that he’s “a home stringer because [he] could no longer justify $25-30 stringing jobs every two weeks.”
Lakers4Life another contributor on the forum noted that “Some have associated [stringing] with..some kind of handicraft…To me it’s a hobby that pays for itself. How many hobbies can you say do the same?”
At home stringing also gives players a chance to try a variety of different strings, quickly cutting out those that don’t work for them without the wasted service dollars. Once you get the hang of the craft you can also make a little money taking care of friends.
Learning how. Most home stringers I polled got instruction from a pro and/or used the machine manual or online racquet retailer videos. Your first racquets will undoubtedly not be among your best.
My family uses the Gamma 6004 with 2 point mounting (pictured above left), $1299. It is not a new to market model. The first racquets we strung took an hour each. We can now do them successfully in 30 minutes. With five players, two of them breaking strings almost weekly, we save quite a bit of money and the biggest bonus — we get the racquets done when we need them — right away. Quick set up means no issues with different frame sizes. Next step up would be to get something that has electric tensioning but that comes with a bigger price tag.
Bret Meyer, Gamma’s stringing machine engineer, says that “more money buys you better accuracy, consistency and convenience. A spring tension machine generally strings 2-4 pounds more or less than you set it at. Electric tensioning ensures each racquet is exactly the same.”
Just hitting the States this year is the Wilson Baiardo, $6000 (pictured right), a dream machine with multiple ergonomic and other features. This is what they used at the Open….no one NEEDS a Porshe either.
Racquet Sports Industry Magazine released its 2009 Guide to Stringing Machines earlier this year. You can find it HERE if you want more info on the 15 stringing machine brands in the offing.
Gamma stringing machines are sold by Tennis-Warehouse and other tennis specific retailers. Find a listing on the Gamma site. Contact Wilson re the Baiardo. The RSI article provides info on how to contact the other brands.