Taming stubborn grommets

If your racquet gets strung quite often, you'll likely see your grommets start wearing out after a while. At that point it's a good idea to invest a few dollars and replace them, so your frame will remain protected and your string won't break near the holes due to increased friction. Grommets are quite easy to get from places like Tennis Warehouse for $6 or so.

If you would like to replace the grommets yourself, you might run into a few little challenges. So here are a couple of tips for replacing your grommets to save you some time.

First of all, you can carefully use a dull knife as a lever to remove your existing grommets. If some of your grommets got torn apart on the inside of the frame and give you a hard time, use a string cutter or strong scissors to cut them off. Once your existing grommets are gone, make use of the opportunity and clean your naked racquet frame from any dirt that has accumulated over the past months (or years)!

For your new grommets, you might experience one of the following scenarios:

1 - You're lucky and they snap right right.

You're pretty much done :)

2 - They fit pretty well - you see the holes peaking through and they just need a little extra encouragement.

Try pulling 2 strings at the same time to snap them in all the way. Start by hand, then with lower tension. When the plastic starts making its way through, try carefully pulling individual strings, again first at lower tension, and when things look good, pull as normal.

3 - No matter how hard you try, you can't seem to fit your new grommets through all the frame holes.

This happened to me recently and it can be quite nerve wrecking! It was not a problem at all to replace the side grommets, however I was not able to fit the top band. I tried starting from either side, from the middle, pulled the middle of the band, worked the plastic, heated up the plastic with a hair dryer (probably not a good idea!), pulled the holes in by hand and then with a stringing machine, tried to push them through with an ale, cleaned out the frame holes etc etc. All in all, I spent 2-3 hours on this, and finally gave up. This was extra frustrating since I frequently replaced grommets in a sports store many years and never had a problem.

After emailing Tennis Warehouse, they informed me that they had issues with fitting some Prince grommets, especially on the Speedport Black (I play the Tour). I didn't want to give up nor wait for new grommets, so I asked a couple of my most gear-savvy tennis buddies. They recommended warming up the grommets in the oven for a few minutes, and then quickly working them into the frame. At first, I was a bit concerned about releasing toxic gases in a closed environment that is frequently used for making food :)

But I did give it a shot and started slowly - I went for less than 5 minutes at 200 degrees fahrenheit, placed the grommets on some alu foil in a way that they could "breathe", and frequently checked to make sure there was no funny smell or even melting going on.

From Gear

After a few minutes, I took out grommets out and pulled them trough the holes by hand with a couple of strings - and FINALLY, after some back and forth, they all came through!

From Gear

I then aired out the oven for an hour or so just to make sure, and then proceeded with scenario 2. I was quite excited that my trial and a lot of error eventually paid off!

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