Learn to string
it here!

Or buy it on any
unstrung head from
BY Pat Miller

The following information will take any stringer from start to finish, stringing a traditional stick. Just follow the step-by-step instructions to learn how to string your first of many traditional pockets. This is by no means the only way to string a traditional stick, however it is one of the more simple and easy ways.

Stick Compass:

When stringing the head you must do so with it upside down. It is easier to string the stick from the backside. Do so with the scoop facing upwards and the throat facing down. Within the following instructions the words up and top will refer to areas in the direction of the scoop of the stick. Down and bottom will refer to areas in the direction of the throat of the stick. Right will refer to the area of the back of the head that is on your right side. Left will refer to the area of the back of the head that is on your left side.

Stick Compass Bearing

Listen Now!

String-O-Meter rating:
For beginners!
String needed:

  • 4 Leathers
  • 2 Sidewall Strings
  • 1 long piece of nylon
  • 2 or more shooting strings (athletic shoelaces, wide athletic shoelaces or manufacturers shooting string)

Note: for a six diamond traditional stick (with a little room to breath) about 13 feet of nylon should do the trick, I would use about 15 or 16 If I were doing a stick with 8-10 diamonds. This is less material than what is provided in a string packet. Therefore stringers can cut down the string before they start in order to avoid having such long and annoying string to string with. As far as sidewalls go, you will need to use both from the packet because if you cut one in half to save string, you won't quite make it!

Prepare your materials
Be sure to tug on the leathers tightly before use. This will ensure that they do not stretch out too much after you have already strung the stick. You can wet the leathers before stretching. Some like to step on them and pull them upward. Whatever method, just be sure to stretch them somehow.

Lesson 1: Knots

There will be two types of knots that you will need to learn in order to string your pocket. One is the type of knot that you will use at the end of strings, nylon or sidewall. The other kind of knot will be the one that you will use to secure the nylons around the leathers at numerous places. We will touch on this later when we come to the nylon section of the article.

The first knot that you must learn to tie is the one that you will use when tying the end of a sidewall string and nylon string. It is a simple knot is which you loop the string around itself one time and then pull the end of the string through the loop. This can be clearly seen in picture 1 and 2.

Lesson 2: Sidewalls

Tie the end of one of the sidewall strings as seen above. Starting at the top of the stick, pull the unknotted end of the string through the first smaller hole at the top of the side of stick. Then take that end and loop it around the bottom of the plastic sidewall of the stick and into the second hole from the outside of the stick. This can be seen in picture 3. When you pull the string from the inside of the stick, pull the end of the string over the string coming out of the hole above it. Then pull tightly (picture 4) to create the clean looking loop of sidewall string that you will later attach nylon strings to. You will need to continue to loop the string from the outside of the head to the inside, go over the last string, and then pull tightly into each of the holes the rest of the way down the stick. (Picture 5). Do this exactly the same on each side of the stick until you reach the bottom.

When you get to the bottom of the stick you will see that there are two holes next to each other. On one side of the stick you will need to tie off the sidewall in the second to last hole. (Picture 6) Do so by pulling the string from the inside of the stick to the outside of the stick, then tie the knot that was described above and is shown in picture 8. On the other side of the stick you will tie off the sidewall in the last hole as you did in the second to last hole on the other side. You can ignore the second to last hole on this side altogether (picture 7). You are now ready to move on to the leathers.

Lesson 3: Leathers

For this pocket you will need to use all four leathers. Now you will need to string them through the top of the stick. You will notice that the leathers have a smooth side and a rough side. You would like for the smooth side to be away from you when you are stringing. That means that the smooth side faces the inside of the pocket. You will also notice that one end of the leather has two holes cut into it approximately 3/4 of an inch apart. These need to be at the top of the leather in order to attach it to the holes in the scoop of the stick.

Pull the flat end of the leather through the wide hole in the scoop from the front of the stick to the back (the back is the side of the head that is facing you when stringing) with the smooth side facing towards the front (picture 9). You will only need to pull through a few inches so both of the holes can be seen. Then take the longer pointed end of the leather and loop it through the top hole in the leather. Make sure that the smooth side of the leather is still facing the front of the stick in order to make sure that it did not get twisted. Now pull the leather so it makes s a close loop around the plastic (picture 10). Now take the same long pointed end of the leather and pull it through the second hole in the leather and pull it tightly. When finished it should resemble picture 11. Repeat this three more times in order to have four leathers dangling from the top four holes in the scoop of the stick. Now you will need to tape the pointed ends of the leathers down tightly to the shaft to the stick in order to keep them straight throughout the rest of the process. Be sure not to twist them here and that the smooth side of the leather still faces the front of the stick. Now you are ready to move onto the nylons and the heart of the stick!

Lesson 4: Nylons

You will need to start stringing the nylons from the bottom of the stick on the side from which you did not string the sidewall string through the last hole in the sidewall. Tie off the nylon on the outside of the head. You will need to leave at least a few inches of extra string behind the knot. You will need to loosen and move this knot as you break in the stick (picture 12).

Loop the nylon around the closest outside leather. You will do this by looping the string over the top of the leather, then underneath and over itself again. Much in the same manner as you did with the sidewall strings. Picture 13 shows you a good close-up. Then pull the string tightly. This will create the second half of the knot that was discussed above in which the nylons are securely fastened to the leathers. Picture 14 shows a close-up of the tight loop. Now loop the nylon back around the above and opposite piece of sidewall in the same manner that you just looped the nylon around the leather. (Picture12). Continue with this process making evenly spread loops as you work your way back and forth on the way towards the top of the stick.

The number of times that you loop around the leather will determine how many diamonds will be in the stick. For example, if you go back and forth 12-13 times you will have a 6-diamond stick when you are finished. Make sure to EQUALLY space out each of these loops in order to have a stick without really big diamonds then really small diamonds.

There will be lots of slack and extra string to pull through the loops here. Be patient and take your time. As you work your way along be sure to tug tightly at the loops that the nylon makes around the leathers and the sidewall string, but do not tug too tightly at the string in between the two!

Now that you have reached the top of the stick you may want to tie the string off at the shooting string or top sidewall hole, or loop the nylon through this hole (picture 15) and then go on to pull the nylon through the top of the leather (picture 16).

You are ready to do the second set of back and forth stringing next to the nylons that you have strung between the sidewall and outer leather. Now you will need to do the same loops again around the next middle leather. Be sure to make this loop parallel to the loop on the sidewall (This will make the diamond symmetrical). Now you have to complete the second type of knot in which you weave the nylon around the nylon on the other side of the leather.

The first step in completing this knot is to pull the nylon under the leather on the side in which the opposite nylon loops over the leather, then pull the nylon over and under the opposite nylon and back over the leather (picture 17). This sounds complicated but follow the picture and you will find that it is not too complicated. Now pull on this string and it will pop into place between the other nylons (picture 18). Loop your nylon over itself and you've got your knot! (Picture 19). You will now need to continue with this back and forth until you get down to the bottom of the stick.

At this point you will want need to somehow get around the leather and come back up between the two middle leathers. This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. The leather cut way: You will carefully need to slice a hole in the leather no larger than the precut holes at the top of the leather. Next loop the nylon over the top of the leather and back around underneath around the hole (picture 20). Then go over the nylon and through the hole (picture 21). Then pull tightly on the string and you've got it! (Picture 22).

  2. The second way uses a zip tie and is the easiest of the zip tie methods that I am going to show you. Small zip ties can be found in office supply stores and hardware stores. They're great for quick stick repairs also!. Simply kink the string where you would like it on the back of the leather and crank down the zip- tie (picture 23).

  3. A more secure way to use a zip-tie is to first knot the string around the leather first. In order to do this first loop the zip tie around the leather (Picture 24). Then tie it over itself (picture 25). Now simply fasten the zip tie ABOVE the knot with the box part of the zip tie on the back of the leather (picture 26). Now after adjusting the knots on the leather simply tighten the zip-tie and the nylon now has no way of slipping up above the zip-tie. This is the best method that I have used out of the three and recommend it highly.

Now continue in the same manner up between the leathers, then back down between the outer two leathers again (picture 27). You will need to use the same techniques mentioned above at the bottom of your last outside leather. When you finish you can tie off the nylon through the shooting string or last sidewall string hole at the top of the stick.

The next step is the shooting strings and break-in. But we will save those for an article coming soon called "ALL ABOUT SHOOTERS"!

Click on an image for a larger version

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Each pocket design found in the Stick Tech Workshop will be assigned a String-O-Meter rating. This is just a relative measure of how difficult it is to string the sticks.

EASY - This refers mainly to mesh pockets and those for the novice and first time stringer.
MEDIUM - This refers to sticks such as the six and eight diamond stringing. The designs aren't too tough, but require some concentration and time.
DIFFICULT - This refers to sticks like THE "Dog Track". These sticks are usually variations from the basic traditional pocket.
ADVANCED - This refers to sticks that take more time and careful attention to string properly. Overall stringing capability and ability to tie more complicated knots are usually needed to string a pocket reading 4 on the String-O-Meter.