Stringing With a 22’x11′ String SetAlbert Murata
If you’ve used this stringing technique before, then you probably know why. There’s a couple of reasons why stringers used this technique back in the day. I’ll reveal the answer at the end!
Here’s a racquet I played with that I strung over 40 years ago. At first glance, the string job looks like a standard 2-piece, but in reality, it’s not. I strung it with the 22×11 stringing technique.
Back in the ’70s, when I first learned to string, most standard string sets were 33 feet in length. But there were a few natural gut sets sold in 22’x11’ lengths.
Are you still wondering why the 22’x11’ and not the full 33’? More on that later!
The Stringing Process
The string pattern of wood racquets was pretty standard back then – 18×20. That meant there wasn’t much variation when it came to stringing a racquet. Everything was done 2-piece. For a 33’ set, you cut the strings in half, installed the mains, then wove the crosses from head to throat.
Here’s the 22’x11’ stringing process.
- The stringer used the 22’ length of string to install all the mains and 6 of the bottom crosses.
- The short side was usually tied off at 5T. Notice the green arrow on the right.
- After installing the mains with the long side, the stringer inserted the string two holes above to start the 6th cross from the bottom (Yellow arrow). Notice the green arrow on the left, where it was tied off at 5T.
- The 11’ length of string was used to install the rest of the 14 crosses from bottom to top.
- You’ll notice at 2:00 and 10:00 on a wood racquet that the hole patterns were quite different. The racquet in the top picture has a pattern resembling a W, and the one in the bottom picture has uniform grooves. Note: Can you find my stringing error in the bottom image? I was a novice stringer back then.
- I always mounted the racquet on the stringing machine with the W on the right side to keep things consistent. It also made it easy to remember to tie off the 7th cross from the bottom on the left (opposite) side. Notice the blue arrow in the picture above. Note: If you start the 7th cross on the wrong side, you’ll realize as you reach the top that the strings won’t sit inside the grooves properly.
- Finally, the tie-off for the crosses was at 6H. See the blue arrow at the top.
Wondering why the 22×11? Here’s the answer!
- Similar to the modern 50/50 string pattern, the 22×11 technique allowed the stringer to install the natural gut cross strings in the sweet spot area, with the least amount of handling. This technique created a more pristine-looking appearance in the center of the frame
- When they used lamb’s gut to manufacture natural gut, the longest length of string they could make was 22 feet, due to the short overall length of their intestines. When they used cattle gut, they could manufacture longer lengths because of their longer intestines.
Check out my YouTube video HERE.