The string shop constantly improves processes and workflow to make strings better and more efficient. One improvement we are finally putting into production is replacing knots with ball ends.
One of the first things I did in the string shop was to develop the knot/loop. I had to have a loop to fit onto the hooks of the winding machines, and the string had to be centered in the middle of the loop so that the string would be centered on the machine spindle. I consulted numerous books about knots and could not find what I needed, so I spent several days tying all sorts of knots until I stumbled upon one that worked, and the Gamut knot/loop was born.
Knots are problematic because they cause a sharp bend in the string, a weak spot if developed at the knot point. I have tried various ways to make or adapt ball ends over the years, but the technology was unavailable at the necessary scale for our workshop. Then, 3-D printers became affordable and available to small shops like ours. Our technology engineer (Jake) was quick to envision the possibilities, found the one that would work with the materials we needed, and was soon working out the designs for all the sizes we needed.
Since all wound strings will now have the ball ends, I had to make a new type of hook to hold the string core centered on the machine spindle. This new design does the trick and is easy to mount and remove the string.
So, we bid adieu to the knot/loops and say hello to the ball ends. Last year we tied over 2,000 knots into strings, resulting in some sore fingers. Needless to say, the crew is glad to see the ball ends put into production.
For those who want to have knots, we will continue printing instructions for tying the knot on the back of each Academie string package.
Once design and testing are complete we will be phasing out the old string knot and washer options.
Gamut leather string washers will still be available for purchased by the dozen, but they will no longer be available as an included string option.