Keeping the machine in “tip-top” form

machineEver walk into those big box sporting good stores or even the local tennis club and take a look at the machine?  In many instances you will notice an untidy appearance.  This can be indicative of them not being routinely cleaned and maintained.

Each week our machine gets at least 2 thorough cleanings.  Keeping the dirt and grime away is not only pleasing to the eye, but it keeps the machine in tip-top operating condition.  A dirty machine can indicate clamps that are not routinely cleaned.  Dirty clamps can cause strings to slip and inconsistencies in string jobs.  We want to stay as far away from that as possible.

When cleaning the base, housing and tensioning units of our machine we use regular rubbing alcohol as pictured in the large bottle above (which can be purchased economically at warehouse clubs…it lasts forever!)  It dries fast, cleans well and leaves no residue.

Many advocate using rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush to clean the clamps.  Our clamp cleaning process is a bit different.  We do NOT use rubbing alcohol.  Rather we have two stiff bristled brushes we use to begin the process.  The smaller brush pictured above is a copper brush we picked up at a hardware store, while the yellow brush is stiff bristled nylon that we picked up at a Bar-B-Q store.  After brushing the clamps we will then use non-acetone (VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO USE ACETONE!!!) polish remover as a solvant.  This can be applied with either a toothbrush or shoestring, either will work fine.  The advantage the non-acetone polish remover offers is that is disolves the polyurethane build-up (which comes from strings like NXT, NRG etc…) which can accumulate on the clamps.  Alcohol is not as effective in breaking down and removing build-up of this material.

Our machine is checked to make sure it is in perfect calibration as a matter of routine daily.  It is cleaned at obsessively regular intervals to assure our customers the best string job available.  For our stringing friends who read our blog, we invite you to try the non-acetone polish remover, especially if residue build-up on clamps is an issue. (It is usually found in the girl section…nail polish, files, hand lotions etc. in stores like Target and WalMart).

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2 Responses to Keeping the machine in “tip-top” form

  1. Jonathan says:

    Well said. Regular machine cleaning is so important and I suspect that many shops do not clean their machines regularly enough.

    By the way, I have a blog entry idea for you that relates to this one: How about a short blog entry on ways to combat clamp slippage.

    I have read there are many techniques that people use to ensure that the strings aren’t slipping through the clamps (using a paperclip to check movement; marking string with crayon, etc.). This is another one of those things that I bet many shops do not do regularly enough when switching between different types of strings.

  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    John, did you get a new stringer? I’m asking because of the picture above.

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