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How to Replace Broken Grommets

Posted 27th May 2019

Grommets are designed to protect the strings in a racket. A broken or split grommet may present a sharp edge that can cut into the string. If the grommet is missing, the frame itself may cut into the string. This can put strings at risk of breaking, particularly on off-centre shots.

Quite often, one or two grommets can become damaged in an otherwise pristine grommet strip. It therefore seems an unnecessary and time-consuming task (and needless cost to the customer) to buy and replace a whole grommet strip and bumper guard set, which typically cost around £6-10. Luckily, there is a way of replacing individual broken or damaged grommets, without the need to replace an entire strip that is not substantially worn.

Image 1

Head Graphene Neon 150 squash racket, with a string breakage caused by a damaged grommet.

RAB manufacture a hand tool for removing individual grommets. Created in 1985, the Grommet Grinder looks similar to an awl but features a tungsten carbide tip, cut with a sharp cross-textured helix pattern. This texturing enables the tool to grip, hold and cut grommets out of their containing strip.

Image 2

RAB 4mm and 3mm Grommet Grinders. In the example below, the 3mm grinder is being used for a single grommet.

RAB also supply replacement grommets, branded as FITTEX eyelets. The eyelets are available in a range of sizes to suit tennis, squash and badminton rackets, and come in three different variations. Grooved eyelets, which wrap around the string to protect it, are the standard replacement grommet for tennis and squash rackets. ‘Layflat’ eyelets are used when two strings pass side by side, or at tie-off holes. Round-head eyelets are used on badminton frames.

The procedure for replacing an individual grommet using the RAB Grommet Grinder is as follows:

  1. After removing the old strings, leave the grommet strips in place and sit the racket within the mounting system of the stringing machine.
  2. Insert the grinder into the grommet hole from the outside of the frame. Use the 3mm grinder for a single grommet, and the 4mm grinder for a double/tie-off grommet.
  3. Applying slight forward pressure, rotate the grinder back and forth until you feel the grommet detach from the strip.
  4. Use a pair of pliers to grip the grommet and remove from the grinder, pulling the grinder out of the grommet hole.
Image 3

Remove the grommet using pliers (step 4).

  1. Insert a new, appropriate size FITTEX eyelet into the hole from the outside of the frame. The eyelet will sit nicely over the grommet strip or within the groove of the bumper guard.
  2. If using a grooved eyelet, make sure the flat part points in the direction of the string loop such that the string lies within the groove.
Image 4

Insert the new eyelet (steps 5 &6), before starting to string. This example uses a FITTEX S2 grooved eyelet.

  1. If necessary, trim the eyelet to match the length of the existing grommets.
  2. String the racket, as per usual methods.
Image 4

Finished racket with three grommets replaced.

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