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How to Tie the Wilson (Pro) Knot

Posted 30th June 2019

There are a variety of knots that can be used to tie off the end of a string. The double half hitch knot is perhaps the most common and is the simplest knot to learn. The Parnell knot and PC knot are also common alternatives, while some experienced stringers may even use a ‘signature’ knot of their own to mark their work. Whichever knot is used, it must secure the tension without damaging the anchor string (the string that is already installed and tensioned) and it must not come undone.

The main disadvantage of the standard double half hitch is that it is quite bulky. It is common to encounter situations where there is very little space for the tie-off knot, for example when the anchor string is in close proximity to another string. In these cases, a smaller tie-off knot is required.

The Wilson knot, otherwise known as the pro knot, is used by Wilson’s team of tournament stringers and is not only very small and compact, but is also very secure with no slippage issues. The steps for tying a Wilson knot are as follows:

  1. After tensioning and clamping the last string, lock the turntable and cut any excess string, saving about 12 inches or so for tying off.
  2. Feed the loose string through the tie-off grommet, so it emerges alongside the anchor string.
Image 1

Feed the string into the grommet (step 2).

  1. Create a loop by forming a single half hitch. Remember ‘OUT’ – Over, Under and then Through. Take the loose string over the anchor string and then under it, then through the loop created around the anchor string.
Image 2

Half hitch (step 3).

  1. Take the loose end and come back over and through the loop.
Image 3

Form a second loop (step 4).

  1. Holding the loose end of the string, pull the first loop taut by hand (pulling towards the frame).
Image 4

Pull towards the frame to close the knot (step 5).

Image 5

How the knot should look after completing step 5.

  1. Gripping the bottom part of the loop with a starting clamp, pull down the anchor string (away from frame) to take up the slack on the outside of the frame, then pull around towards the frame in an arcing motion, sliding the knot towards the grommet.
Image 6

Tighten the knot (step 6).

  1. Tighten up by pulling the loose end of the string using a starting clamp. Only pull towards frame – pulling out will loosen the knot. All knots should be tied using hand-applied tension (never use your machine to pull knots).
Image 7

Grip the loose end with a starting clamp (step 7).

Image 8

Pull the loose end.

  1. Trim the loose end. Be sure it is cut below the frame edge.
Image 9

The finished knot.

However, with thin gauge string or a large or badly worn grommet, the knot can sometimes be pulled into the grommet. In this case, the Parnell knot may be better as it is a little bit bigger, or alternatively use the standard double half hitch.


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