The Highwire Pocket Tutorial

Posted on September 8, 2011 by

Categories: Equipment/Gear, Stringing

 

This pocket took me quite a few tries to get right.  Started off with a normal X’d up middle, and that didn’t work.  Then I did the ZigZags improperly, and had to redo them a couple times for them to be evenly spaced.  I strung this thing 5 times before I got it right, and now I can pass it on to you.  It’s a difficult pocket to get right because there are few ways to adjust it after it’s strung.  My pocket has great hold, and a sharp release.  It is a very firm pocket, which means it will shoot faster, but it also makes it very unforgiving when it comes to catching.

Some things to mention before we begin:  One, this is not a beginners pocket, either for the stringer or the player.  It was tough for me to string properly, and it’s not the best catching stick I’ve ever had. But it IS fun.  Second, I recommend a download called HoverZoom or PicMagnify. They are browser add-ons that will let you blow up all of these pictures without clicking on them.  It saves me a ton of time browsing on a lot of sites, and this article would be a great example.  Lastly, the pictures might not make perfect sense chronologically.  I strung this stick 5 different times, and the pictures came from several different stages of the process.  Just look at the gallery and the closeups and you’ll figure out exactly what you need to do. NOW, with all that out of the way, I’ll begin this tutorial with how I started this pocket: the failures.

   

I started the string at the top.  As with all of my “concept” pockets, I make sure to leave plenty of room above the knot, in case I need to adjust it after I’m past halfway.  I did a usual X’d up middle with (what I like to call) Z knots, and got to the bottom.   Nothing ground breaking so far.

However, I realized after I had gotten through the pocket the first time that the X’s were spreading out, making a hole for the ball and also creating inconsistency. (problem)  I restrung it, trying to move the X’s so that they’d be smaller and thus, more diamonds, but it still just didn’t work they way I wanted it to.  (complete 1st)  Because of the way the side supports worked, the middle would stretch out every time.


So I created a new way to do it (I think).  It still has the X’s, but it uses the Z-knots to create a solid twist between the two. This way, the leathers stay parallel and keep from stretching and creating holes.  It also keeps the leathers from shifting too assuring torsional support (I made that part up).  I started at the bottom this time. The picture above is my first attempt.  To start, make your X’s like usual, and go around the leather once on each leather (midtwist1).  Before you complete the Z knot, though, take your strings and twist them once, like the first step to tying your shoes (midtwist2).  Get to the other leather and do the same kind of loop around the leather that you did with the first string.  It’s basically 2 stacked interlocks right next to each other.  Try to keep these knots and the twist tight, and it will give you a solid middle track to base your pocket off of. Going up, I made 6 different twists on the way up, trying to evenly space them apart.  I doubled up on some of my twists towards the middle, but this isn’t necessary and I probably won’t do it next time.

midtwist1   

If you’ve read my stringing tutorials before, you know that I like to start most of my pockets with the middle track.  This makes it easier to keep everything symmetrical, and much easier to string the rest of the pocket.  So now that we have that, on to the fun part.
Full Disclosure: This pocket is based on a game I have on my Droid called X Construction.  It’s about building stable bridges so a train can cross, keeping the people from dying a loud (and comical) death.  In the game, you learn quickly that triangles are the most stable elements to build with, so I took that idea and ran with it.  I tried to recreate one of these span bridges in my pocket, so that the ball would have the most support, and keeping the pocket from stretching.

To do the support Zig Zags, you really just need to know how to do one knot, and how to count.  The knot is two twisted strings with side by side interlocks coming out in a twisted string.  The step by step on that one is laid out below in the pictures.  I put my pocket screw right in the middle of the head, to try and reduce some whip.  Start from the top corners of your head.  Basically, count the twists til you get to the side, then use one string to go around the sidewall or leather.  Next, use the other string to do the same, but put the first string under the one you just made.  It should form a nice little pretzel knot… and that is what I will call that.

   

To do the ones on the leather, it’s the same pretzel knot. You just have to go through the interlocks that are already there. Here it is a little closer.  One at a time, go under with the first, then twist.  It’s a lot like the knots from the Turtle Shell pocket.

   

 Make sure as you’re going through and doing this that each Zig has the same number of twists and the same length as the Zags.  That makes sense, right? You want the pocket to be exactly symmetrical, or it will pull to one side or the other.  These twists wont stretch a whole lot, so however you string it is probably how it will stay. That is, if you do it right.  Go all the way from top to bottom, skipping every other knot on the middle.  If you see my picture flow, I think there are 3 triangles of each color on there.  ALSO, remember to go under and over the other triangles as you go down.  Want to make it look nice, right?

Finally, when you get to the end, you gotta test your bridge pocket. Take a ball and roll it up the middle with your hand pressing on it.  Are the leathers staying together?  Are the diamonds staying even and stretching the same amount?  If so, you are good to go ahead and add shooters.

Now take it out and test it!  Like I said, it took me a few tries to dial in, but I love it.  If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up at www.facebook.com/mccoolsdyeshop.  Good luck with this one, and keep checking back for more custom stick work here on the Playground.

-Max

The finished product:

     

 

The Entire Gallery:

Posted in: Equipment/Gear

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  • Barry M

    Wow!  Very creative and very impressive!

  • http://twitter.com/LegionofLax Legion of Lax

    No video? lame

    • Max McCool

      What kind of video were you looking for? A tutorial? When it takes longer than 2 weeks to finish a pocket, there’s no way to make a video that makes sense.  If you can’t string this pocket without a video, you should probably try something easier.

  • Brian

    would it work the same with a pita twist center?

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