Ever wonder how those old wood tennis racquets were made? Ever seen The New Yankee Workshop? Does "routing your throat wedge" mean anything to you?

That's right, these laminated hoops aren't just pressed balsa and Elmers. These racquets are works of art! Should you, would you, could you, ever want to make one of these masterpieces, it turns out there are exactly 42 steps in the process. Rich Janes is a racquet designer and engineer with decades of design experience.He holds several tennis related patents, some of which are repsponsible for technology being intoduced this year ('02) Among his previous projects is the quintessential woody; the Jack Kramer Pro Staff. While it is said that Rich spends more time these days with guitar design, he lists steps one through forty two for all you fan of wood. Visit The Racuets links for more from Rich and the Pro Staff.

*Images; Wilson Sporting Goods Archive

Forty two steps to manufacture a wood tennis racquet:

1. Rout throat wedge from basswood.

2. Cut handle wedge from basswood.

3. Cut handle pallets from basswood.

4. Bed sand wood strips to correct thicknesses.

5. Glue wood frame strips ready for lamination.

6. Dunk handle wedge and throat wedge in glue to coat them.

7. Cut vulcanized fiber strips and place between wood strips. (Strata Bow).

8. Glue and set in place rawhide strips in shoulder area of racquet.

9. Put all in bending table forms and squeeze with high pressure.

10. Close lid on table and turn on RF curing cycle. (17 seconds)

11. Remove raw bend, cool, and cut to length.

12. Cut front and back to approximate thickness with dual blade saw.

13. Run frame through bed sander until correct thickness.

14. Glue on handle pallets (basswood).

15. Cut handle flakes to length and thickness.

16. Glue handle flakes to frame.

17. Rout and trim handle flakes to shape on racquet.

18. Steam bend U-face from maple or beech.

19. Sand and trim U-face to proper thickness and length.

20. Glue U-face to frame.

21. Rout U-face to fit flush to frame, and rout radiused edges to U-face.

22. Cut handle pallets to correct handle length.

23. Rout handle pallets to form octagonal handle shape.

24. Rout handle flake tip to proper shape and edge radius.

25. Drill holes with automatic driller.

26. Drill throat area holes with another drill fixture.

27. Rout all string holes ( Ones without slots).

28. Cut slots between pairs of stringholes.

29. Hammer radius on hole edges with chisel tool.

30. Run abrasive string through holes to smooth them.

31. Frame is routed to round edges lightly.

32. Frame is sanded.

33. Coat with clear sanding prime coat.

34. Sand lightly to remove all upright "hairs".

35. Pass racquet through electrostatic clear coating operation.

36. Racquet is weighed and balanced, and "banked" into groups.

37. Racquet is drilled through handle with "pecker drill" to reach weight and balance.

38. Decals are applied.

39. Decorative trim cord is applied above U-face tips and handle flake edge.

40. Racquet receives second electrostatic clear coating.

41. Racquet is weighed and balanced again and weight added if necessary in handle hole.

42. Butt cap and grip is installed. Trim tape added to top of grip

If that doesn't get you to the workshop nothing will. Approximately 10 million of the Jack Kramer racquets were produced over its thirty one year history. Another 10 million recreational racquets featuring Jack's image were also produced giving Jack Kramer the longest professional endorsement in sports history.

*Read our 1995 conversation with Jack Kramer by visiting The Woody Interviews link.

*Images; Wilson Sporting Goods Archive