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What’s the best way to remove the stringbed of a racquet before restringing it? I usually cut out the mains first, followed by the crosses, but I’ve noticed that my frames bend out of shape slightly during this process. Is there a certain technique I should use to prevent this from happening?—Ebert J.
What you describe, Ebert, is a mistake that many novice stringers make. Cutting out strings incorrectly—for example, by removing sequentially all the mains, then all the crosses—stresses and weakens the frame unnecessarily. So it’s important to proceed with the right tack.
There are two frame-friendly ways to cut out strings, according to the U.S. Racquet Stringers Association’s Racquet Service Techniques Manual.
The first, and fastest, technique is to clip string intersections, i.e., where mains and crosses meet. Start by clipping the intersection closest to the racquet’s center, and then alternate snips back and forth in a diagonal pattern, concurrently working out toward the frame’s one and seven o’clock (or eleven and five o’clock) locations. (See diagram above for an illustration.)
The second technique takes more time than the first, as it doesn’t involve clipping intersections; but for this same reason, it requires less hand strength. As the Manual explains, “cut adjacent mains and crosses independently, working in an outward spiral.” Start by clipping the four sides of the frame’s center string square, say, in a clockwise pattern, and continue cutting in concentric, clockwise circles. (Again, see diagram above for an illustration.)
One further note: If you use string savers, make sure to cover the racquet’s head with a plastic bag while removing strings. (Or, better yet, don safety glasses.) As the USRSA notes, “This will prevent string savers from flying, which can cause eye injury.”