Copy of Bens Peak History Thread


#1

Since someone had requested it earlier and I have it typed out I figured I’d post it here as well

This is a copy of Bens Peak History thread from yoyonation since it appears some members are having difficulty accessing it

Direct link to original thread: http://www.yoyonation.net/talk/index.php/topic,89984.0.html

The Complete History of the CLYW Peak
8/14/2006 – 8/25/2010
(4 years, 11 days)

Chris and Paul, December 2006:

CONCEPTION!!!
11/2005 Chris starts thinking about starting CLYW.  Early artwork by Chris to show the artist who was doing the logo what Chris wanted:

12/2005 [quote=“caribouchris”]This is the artwork that Pat saw in December… I got bored during Christmas break in 2005.  Then in 2006 in the summer I got to work with Paul and the Peak was born in an evening I think.  So the design really wasn’t in the works for that long.  Just sort of planned out so that when we went to design it was done.  Really happened pretty fast.
[/quote]

7/27/2006 [quote=“caribouchris”]This is the date the proto design was finalized.  Sent this to Pat.
[/quote]

BIRTHDAY!!!
http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.0.html
8/14/2006 Chris announces the creation of the Caribou Lodge Yoyoworks company and its first yoyo, the PEAK.  First picture of raw proto Peak 0000.  This 26 page thread is historic and I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t taken the time to flip through all 26 pages do so now.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg32966.html#msg32966
8/16/2006 First pictures of the solid red anodized which later became painted proto “0001”, and the white “Black Clouds Over Snow” Levi painted proto.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg35200.html#msg35200
9/2/2006 Pekka, Boyd, AnarchYoyo(David W) and Parasite announced as the Peak testers.

Early September, 2006 [quote=“caribouchris”]This is the original image that started the mountain motif that Levi did.  He sent it to me while we were at work and asked what i thought.
[/quote]

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg36610.html#msg36610
9/13/2006 First pics of a Peak painted to “production release standards”: Blue proto Peak 0002 and Snow White proto Peak 0003.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg40700.html#msg40700
10/18/2006 [quote=“caribouchris”]The CLYW logo was done by a friend of mine who is a famous local illustrator who has done work for the new york times and globe and mail www.fifteen.ca

I’m really happy with how it turned out, he has a very interesting style.
[/quote]

PROTOS!!! (0th shop / a friend’s shop)
There were 6 prototype Peaks made.  They were all made at the same time at a small machine shop run by a friend of Chris’.  Because Chris had been driving business to this shop the 6 prototypes were made for free.

The 6 Peaks didn’t play quite right.  Chris describes them as having a thud.  Chris went about modifying by hand what I now refer to as raw proto 0000.  As you will read, there is another raw proto that exists, so “raw proto” isn’t good enough.  As this was the very first of the 6 prototype Peaks to be machined and three of the painted protos got numbered 0001, 0002, and 0003, as the current owner of this Peak and the writer of the Peak history, by the power Chris has vested in me, I hereby officially dub this Peak “raw proto 0000”.

Chris took a Dremel to the response groove and widened it on one half.  “I had to figure out where the thud was coming from.  By modifying the groove this helped so much.”  It seems that, even though some 7 to 10 months of design work had been done before the prototypes were machined, the width of the response groove was too narrow.  It was the industry standard width at the time which would allow for Dif-pads.  It was not suitable for flowable silicone.
 
It was a small blessing that the protos had problems with the narrow response groove, as this forced Chris to go wide, which was the direction the industry was about to go in… the flow groove.  Whereas almost all models of yoyos transitioned from response pad to flow groove in 2008 / 2009, the Peaks got to skip that.  They were a whole 2 years ahead of the game and the Peak may have been a factor in other companies deciding to transition from response pad to flow groove.

After widening one half of raw proto 0000 with a Dremel and finding this fixed the thud, Chris took the other 5 prototypes back to the machine shop to have their response groove widened.  They were all still raw at this point.  Chris recalls getting the 6 on a Friday, modifying raw proto 0000 over the weekend, and taking the other 5 back to the shop on Monday or Tuesday.  Of note is that Chris did not Dremel the other half of raw proto 0000, nor did he take that half back to the machine shop.  As a result both halves of raw proto 0000 are unique: one half has the response groove widened by Chris with a Dremel, one half is the only Peak half with the original, narrow, Dif-pad sized response groove.  When raw proto 0000 came into my possession, it was still raw, unpolished, like the day it was machined, and rather beat as well.  I wet sanded and polished it, making it look “special” like it should.  Here is the finished results and close up of the two unique responses this Peak has:

After the other 5 protos had their response groove widened, finishes were applied and they were distributed to the chosen testers.  Here are the histories of the 6 protos:

  • raw proto 0000 – Chris to Paul.  Paul sold to Elephark to Vendetta to attybud to me
  • raw proto – Chris to Paul. Paul gave this to Parasite for testing, but Parasite ended up being a “bad man” and was made to give it back to Paul.  Paul eventually sold it to YYN forum user “spy” in Brazil. Rumor is it may have found its way back to North America, but the owner wishes to remain anonymous
  • Levi painted white “Black Clouds Over Snow” – Chris to Boyd for testing, Boyd pimped the heck out of this Peak, used it in many contests, winning some, and was the only tester to provide really valuable feedback.  Boyd was the only tester allowed to keep a proto Peak
  • Levi painted Red 0001 – this was anodized red, the only proto to get anodized, and shortly thereafter Levi painted the mountains and “0001” on it.  Unique in that it’s the only anodized Levi painted Peak.  Chris owns this.
  • Levi painted Blue 0002 – Chris to Pekka for testing, given back to Chris to Vendetta to me
  • Levi painted Snow White 0003 – Chris to Paul.  Paul gave this to AnarchYoyo(David W) for testing and it was eventually given back.  Paul eventually sold it to Elephark.

1st Run / 1st Batch!!! (1st Shop)
Chris’ friend’s machine shop was only used to produce the 6 prototype Peaks.  For the first production run of Peaks, a larger machine shop was chosen.  The CAD design of the Peak was changed due to testing the prototypes, primarily based of the feedback from Boyd.  The response groove was widened from Dif-pad width to modern flow groove width.  It was made lighter, with a goal weight of 67.5 grams.  The inner cup was modified a bit.  The fancy grooves that Levi helped design were put around the nipple.  Chris said, “We also widened the gap for the first run.  I had a grey YYJ shim in the seat to widen the protos.”  I was unaware of the shimming of the protos until just recently.  Both protos I own had lost their shims before coming into my possession.

This 1st shop did many things that were simply… well… unprofessional. Chris said some things about that 1st shop that are not suitable to be reprinted here.  What can be quoted is, “… they modified a lot without (me) knowing they did.  Was a miracle it played well.”

You will see the term “OG” (“original gangsta”) Peak thrown around quite a bit.  It’s never been really defined.  I’ll going to attempt to define it here once and for all.  “OG” never means second run, it never means “proto”, and it almost always means it has been Levi painted.
 
The 1st machine shop did two batches of 1st run Peaks.  Only Peaks that came out of this first batch can be “OG” and not all of them are “OG”.  Paul makes reference to their being less that 100 Peaks made in this 1st run / 1st batch.  Chris goes on to say about 20 raws will be held back for custom orders: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg47090.html#msg47090

“Custom orders” more or less turned into straight up selling these Peaks as is.  Most of those 20 were sold raw on the side to friends and at 8 of them got sent to Pioneer for test ano finishes.  2 of these 1st run / 1st batch raws came my way.  I had one painted by Higby and the other anodized by Rick, Vendetta’s mentor.

Since there were a number of machine shops, we will call the machine shop that made the prototype Peaks “0th” or “Chris’ friend’s” shop.  Here’s the info on the 1st machine shop which made the 1st run Peaks:

[quote=“caribouchris”]1st Machine shop = 1st Gen /1st Run

  • 1st 50 Painted Peaks (October 2006) *(These are “OG” Peaks)
  • 1st run 28 Stories Peaks (Fall 2007 - had the flat spikes on some of them - some had vibe)
  • Some random anos, raws and the Yoyowiki Peak *(random anos being the early 1st run Pioneer test ano Peaks.  More on that to come.)
  • Most were given to contests, friends, team members
    [/quote]
    You can see that there was a nearly yearlong break between the October 2006 run of “OG” Peaks and the fall 2007 run which went on to become the 28 Stories Peak.

From what I can figure out, here is what became of that 1st batch of 1st run Peaks Chris picked up from the 1st machine shop in October 2006:

On October 29, 2006, shortly after getting the raw 1st batch of 1st runs Chris announced he had created the “Hoodride” Peak, which had gold anodized inner hubs but left raw on the outside.

[quote=“caribouchris”]The Hoodride run… we got 2 anodized gold, 2 anodized black. 1 black one went to Sebby. The other black to Paul and the other gold to Paul. I kept one gold and removed all the ano on the outside to create the Hoodride. RAN now owns it. It was a 1st run… probably one of the nicest. Same as the 1st run of 50 that were painted.
[/quote]
That quote from Chris references 4 early 1st batch / 1st run Peaks that I consider pre-“OG”:

  • Hoodride - anodized gold, ano removed on outside back to polished raw, Chris eventually sold this to RAN.
  • Solid Gold Dancer - anodized gold, Chris to Paul.  Paul still owns this.
  • Black Anodized - Chris offered this up as the prize for the 2007 Virginia State yoyo contest (Jan. 2007).  Sebby won that contest and is still believed to be the owner of that Peak.
  • Black Anodized - Chris to Paul.  Appears that Paul sold this and it eventually ended up in Étienne’s possession.  Most likely went directly from Paul to Étienne.

On, or shortly before, 11/2/2006 two white with teal mountain logo “production release standard” painted Peaks were made.  These were made before the painting of the 50 numbered while “Levi and Chris were ‘locking down’ the paint application method". One was numbered “gsimian” for Paul.  The other was numbered “c-foam” for Chris.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,5505.msg53299.htm
On 12/19/2006 Paul posts a picture of his black anodized, his Solid Gold Dancer, and his white with teal logo “gsimian”.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_PpMEVvqsevk/TR3pldhpEkI/AAAAAAAAJtc/hUiJN5PVU-4/s800/Paul%20Peaks.jpg"

This history of Chris’ white with teal logo “c-foam” is a sad one…
:stuck_out_tongue:


The goodies that got away
#2

Elephark did some searching for me and found where Paul sold the “c-foam” Peak for “pdaigle” on YYN’s BST forum: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,9897.msg96117.html#msg96117 I’m not sure if “pdaigle” is Vincent, but you can see a few posts down Chris, having just learned his “c-foam” is hitting the open market posts, “Where did you get the Peak? From Vincent? I miss it…”

“pdaigle” but the “c-foam” Peak on eBay to maximize the profit from the sale of it. Looks like “cluelessyoer” won the auction for $220 or more. Paul had posted pictures of the “c-foam” Peak in that thread, but they are now missing. Luckily Elephark made back up of the pictures and sent them to me (huge thanks). Here is the “c-foam” white with teal logo Peak, with “c-foam” missing as it had been rubbed off from play, and also the chips from Chris testing the finish by bouncing it on the floor:

Around this time the white with winter green logo OG Peak numbered “boyd” was made. Boyd used it in Save Deth Vol. 1, but it got lost/stolen in late 2007 / early 2008. Another huge thanks to Elephark for supplying me with a rare picture of it:

On November 18th, 2006 Chris showed pictures for what would become the Levi painted Plaid Peak, numbered “eh!”. It is the first Levi paint job to not be a flat color or a “production release standard”. This was truly a custom… the first custom. Chris still owns it. Do not let this fool you. There were several other “plaid” Peaks sold, one even under the name of “Oh Canada Eh!", but those were all part of the “eBay” Peaks (more on that later) and were sold in the back half of 2008, making them 2nd run Peaks.

50 Levi Painted Numbered “OG” Peaks!
So “Hoodride”, “Solid Gold Dancer”, 2 black anodized, white with teal logo “gsimian”, the white with teal logo “c-foam”, the white with winter green logo “boyd”, and “eh!” are done… then 50 got numbered and painted by Levi. These were all done in the white base with blue mountain “production release standard”. They were numbered 1 through 50. There were some special exceptions in this run. #50 was the only numbered Peak to have the mountains painted pink instead of blue. This was at the request of “Amerprise” but ended up going to “girlsyo2”. Also one of the numbered Peaks (number unknown) had the inside of its hub airbrushed blue much like Blue proto Peak 0002.

YYN only got 47 to sell. They did not get #1 as Levi held that one back for himself and still owns it. They did not get pink #50 as that was sold directly. One (number unknown) was held back because it had major vibe. Paul kept this and it is believed to have ended up in the National Yo-Yo Musuem in Chico, CA. YYN did receive the one with the blue airbrushed inner hubs. This was “picked out” by and sold to RAN, who has one of the nicest and largest collections of Levi painted Peaks. I assume he got a bit of special treatment from YYN and got hooked up with this special “OG” Peak. Interestingly Chris did not have a numbered held back from this run and ended up buying “OG” Peak #6 off BST at a later time.

There were other “production release standard” Levi painted mountain theme Peaks to come out of that first batch of 1st run peaks that do not have a number but are “OG” nonetheless:

  • Pink mountain theme painted numbered “David” – much like OG #50, made specifically for David W.
  • Pink mountain theme painted numbered “pekka” – much like OG #50, made specifically for pekka.

Therefore in my opinion “OG” Peak should only refer to the 50 numbered painteds, plus “gsimian”, “c-foam”, Boyd’s now lost “boyd”, “David”, and “pekka”, i.e. 1st batch / 1st run Peaks that were painted by Levi to “production release standards”. While being 1st batch / 1st run, Chris’ plaid painted “eh!” is not an “OG”. It is the first custom painted. And “Hoodride”, “Solid Gold Dancer”, and the 2 black anodized are not “OG” as they are not painted. They are pre-“OG” 1st batch / 1st run.

Mint OGs are very rare these days. I actually only know of 2 mint OGs, and both have traded hands in the past 18 months (one in mid-2009, the other in 2010) for in excess of $500 cash or cash and trade. That picture above of all 50 still mint… that’s about $25,000 in yoyos in today’s market. Of course if all 50 were still mint, they’d probably sell for more like $300 a piece, which is what chipped up OGs are bringing these days.

Timeline:
http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg40044.html#msg40044
10/12/2006 Chris picks up the first production batch (1st batch / 1st run) Peaks from the machine shop. These go on to become the 50 numbered, painted Peaks, the pre-“OG” Peaks referenced above, and eventually the Pioneer test ano Peaks.

[quote=“caribouchris”]Levi and I painted those Peaks together. I helped with the prepping and everything… he did the painting. It was in a small paint shack in a small farm town outside Camrose, AB. Took us about 13.5 hours to do them. Was a loooooooooong day!
[/quote]
http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,3358.msg45770.html#msg45770
11/19/2006 Chris picks them up from Levi. Time to silicone and pack.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,5163.0.html
12/4/2006
1:56PM CST YYN announces the first publicly available Peaks, the original numbered/painted (of which YYN had 47), would launch later that day. YYN servers see heavy traffic for the next several hours as people camped out on the store, constantly refreshing. The store and forum were slowed, but the servers did handle the load.
8:32PM CST “weber” apologizes for the Peak having been up accidentally for a second. Unknown if any were sold during that time.
8:54PM CST The Peak officially hit the store.
8:58PM CST There are 26 remaining.
9:03PM CST there are 5 remaining and those sold within the next minute.

And with that the first run of publicly available Peaks sold out in 10 minutes…

Pioneer Ano Test Finishes
With the 20 or so raws that were left over from the 1st batch of the 1st run; Chris sold many of these raw (sold 1 of 4 “leftover” raw 1st runs on eBay on 6/12/2007: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,10574.0.html not sure if Chris sold just 1 of the 4 or eventually sold all 4 on eBay, said “Each Peak sold on eBay by me comes with a surprise” making me think there were 4 auctions, one for each of the 4 leftover 1st run, 1st batch Peaks), gave some to Levi to paint, one became the red anodized YoYoWiki.org Peak, and held 8 back that went on to get anodized by Pioneer. These 8 1st batch / 1st run Pioneer anodized Peaks went on to have a historical importance and collectability about them on par with the prototype Peaks.

Note: The only CUSTOM Levi painted 1st run Peak I’ve seen is Chris’ plaid “eh!” Peak. Yes, all “OG” “production release standard” painted Peaks are 1st run Peaks, but they are not CUSTOM painteds. The Levi painted “eBay” custom painted Peaks started on 6/3/2008: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,28418.0.html meaning that all these Peaks were 2nd run Peaks (more on that later). Even RAN’s collection of custom commissioned Peaks were not announced by him until 10/17/2008: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,36543.msg406856.html#msg406856 making them 2nd run Peaks as well. If you own a Levi custom commissioned painted Peak that you believe is from pre-2008, check here to see if it is a 1st run: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,73907.0.html If so make a post about it so I can update this history as you have something special that just got more special.

So 8 raws were selected to have Pioneer put sample anodized finishes put on them. 4 colourways were selected and Chris had them done up in pairs.

This picture has 5 of the 8:

Missing from the picture is the second all electric green splash, the second green/blue acid wash, and the second black/blue acid wash.

I am proud to own 3 of the 8 Pioneer test anos, the lightly splashed Team Edition, the black/blue acid wash pictured above, and what has become known as the “Boyd” Peak.

My Pioneer Test Ano Peaks:

History of the 8 known Pioneer Test Ano Peaks:

  • Team Edition brown with electric blue splash, lightly splashed – owned by me
  • Team Edition brown with electric blue splash, heavily splashed – owned by Chris
  • Brown with electric green splash – owned by Sebby
  • Black/blue acid wash with proto Slip Matte finish – owned by me
  • Green/blue acid wash – owned by Elephark
  • Green/blue acid wash – given by Chris to his (old) boss, who supported Chris in starting CLYW, resides in Houston
  • “Boyd” Peak, half black/blue wash with proto Slip Matte finish, half brown with electric green splash – owned by me
  • “Alex” Peak, half black/blue wash with proto Slip Matte finish, half brown with electric green splash – owned by CLYW Team member “alexx”

1st Run / 2nd Batch!!! (1st Shop)
It was nearly a year before Chris tapped this 1st machine shop for a 2nd batch of Peaks. Chris was not happy with the quality of the 1st run 1st batch Peaks. The “Peak vibe” was now a community standard term. Chris had already found a new machine shop (which will be later referred to as 2nd Shop) which he and Boyd were keeping busy with the Bear Vs. Man formally announced on 2/27/2007: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,7400.0.html

The early Bear Vs Mans were anodized by Pioneer after the successful experimentations on the Peaks. Look at early CLYWs here: http://www.yoyonation.com/home.php?cat=387 My trained eye can visually tell apart a Pioneer ano finish from a Gruntbull ano finish (Gruntbull is the company CLYW would move to after they outgrew Pioneer and they are still with today). Pioneer used a cheaper dye which allowed colors to bleed into one another. This is why the Pioneer 28 Stories colourway used on the 1st run Peaks and the BvM has never been properly reproduced by Gruntbull on the 2nd run 28S Peaks or any other of the various CLYW yoyos to have had a 28S release. Look at the early BvMs and see how the splash is thicker in some places and so thin you can see the base color through it in others. This is especially noticeable on the 2nd Run BvM and the Wolverine BvM. Whereas I very much like this “look” from an artistic standpoint, from a quality standpoint this is cheap and undesirable, thus the move from Pioneer to Gruntbull at a later time.

Chris simply could not get this new (2nd Shop) that was producing the BvM in large quantities to make a Peak to his standards. Thus winter 2006 through fall 2007 became Peak drought #1. Everyone wanted Peak and counting EVERYTHING there were literally about 70 – 90 Peaks in existence, only 47 of which had seen a public release and could be said to be “in circulation” and “in circulation” in this case meant, “over my dead body or $300+”.

Chris finally broke down and in the fall of 2007 he ordered up another batch of Peaks from the 1st shop, which are the 1st run, 2nd batch Peaks. Chris recalls this being an order of 50, “maybe 60… I’d have to dig through a lot of emails which I think are all gone.” These all went to Pioneer to be anodized in the now famous 28 Stories colourway. (PS. “color” is American, “colour” is Canadian. As this is the history of a Canadian company and yoyo, this author chooses to use the spelling “colourway”).

Chris says, “Most sold at the Royal Bison, about 20, and the rest went to private sales and contests.” Unfortunately this 1st run, 2nd batch was known to have even more of a “Peak vibe” than the 1st run, 1st batch, so if “Peak vibe” had not become a mainstream term after the “OG” Peaks, it sure was after the 28S Peaks. This 1st run, 2nd batch had major quality control issues, such that almost every other half produced had an undesired flat nipple/spike. Chris tried his best to hand match 28 Stories Peaks such that each Peak contained a pointy nipple half and a flat nipple half. I happen to own a rare “double pointy nipple” 28S Peak which was hand matched by Chris for maximum smoothness.

And with that 2nd batch, the era of the 1st run Peak and the 1st Shop was over. It was still over another year before the 2nd shop was able to produce Peaks. Thus fall 2007 through early 2009 became Peak drought #2. “OG” occurred in 2006. 28S was 2007. 2008 only saw Levi painted “eBay” Peaks.

This photo contains most all the Peaks Chris ended up keeping:

On top is a 28 Stories.
Middle row contains the heavy splash Team Edition Peaks and the first Levi custom painted Plaid “eh!” Peak.
Bottom row contain red anodized and Levi painted proto Peak 0001, Blue proto Peak 0002, and Hoodride.


#3

2nd Run!!! (2nd Shop)
Around this time the Caribou Blog was started: http://www.cariboublog.com/ The history of the 2nd run Peak should be archived and easy to find.  Not so.  Due a combination of upgrading of blog software, the purging of posts made by a certain “ex” employee, and the purging of all posts using the word “yoyo” (…sigh…), all pre-2010 posts on the blog are gone.  The archive only goes back to January 2010.  I contacted Chris to see if he has a data dump of the pre-2010 blog posts.  It’s looking like they are gone for good.  This is tedious, but I’m going to have to resort to searching my personal emails to be able to reconstruct the Peak history from early 2008 through the end of 2009.  These dates may not be exact.  And as this is when the Peak hit its production “stride” I may miss several of the production / limited Peak versions.  My knowledge of what was released in Fool’s Gold versions is particularly weak.  I’ll try my best.  I apologize in advance.

[quote=“caribouchris”]2nd Machine shop = 2nd Gen (he also runs bvms & bassalopes)

  • Custom Painted Peaks Levi did in 2008 that sold on ebay
  • Atari Peak, Iron Maiden, Tree, Gold sparkle, Plaid…
  • all anodized Peaks from this year (meaning 2009)
  • a couple raw Peaks that went to contests
    [/quote]
    Levi “eBay” 2nd Run Peaks!
    Somewhere in mid-2008 the first 2nd run Peaks started coming out of the 2nd shop in very limited quantities and almost all of these went directly to Levi for paint and would ultimately end up on eBay as the “eBay” Peaks.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,28418.0.html
6/3/2008 – eBay Round #1: #1 Plaid, #2 Blue with Orange

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,28790.0.html
6/9/2008 – eBay Round #2: #3 Black with Gold, #4 Green with Black Trees

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,29141.0.html
6/14/2008 – eBay Round #3: #5 Red Plaid with Black, #6 Brown with Orange

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,29443.0.html
6/19/2008 – eBay Round #4: #7 Black with 24 Carat Gold Leaf Lightning Bolt and Peak Logo, #8 Navy Blue with Lightning

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,30544.0.html
7/8/2008 – eBay Round #5: #9 Blue with Baby Blue Logo, #10 Brown with Pink Logo

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,31161.0.html
7/16/2008 – eBay Round #6: relisted #9, #11 Blue with Pink Logo/Fade, #12 Brown (butterscotch) Gold Fleck with Sparkle Gold Logo

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,31437.0.html
7/21/2008 – eBay Round #7: #13 Hand Textured with Logo, #14 Woodgrain with Black Logo

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,32985.0.html
8/12/2008 – eBay Iron Maiden

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_PpMEVvqsevk/TR3pggXBaSI/AAAAAAAAJsM/SIo2tlYdh1E/s800/Iron%20Maiden.jpg"

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,34992.0.html
9/16/2008 – eBay “Oh Canada Eh!!” (note: NOT the same as Chris’ 1st run, first ever Levi custom plaid “eh!”), Metallic Aqua with Slime Green Logo

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,35638.0.html
10/1/2008 – eBay Super Mario Bros.

http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,38245.0.html
11/19/2008 – eBay Jawbreaker 1, Jawbreaker 2 (note: these are the only custom painted Peaks I know of to have the inner hubs specially painted… their hubs were textured/splatter painted.  Jawbreaker 1 is also the only painted Peak I know of to have the mountain logo painted on both halves.  I owned Jawbreaker 1 briefly.  It arrived with a chip from customs.  I should have kept it as it is rare because of the splatter painted inner hubs and the double logo.  I’ve seen both Jawbreakers floated around recently… both are beat to heck.)

Jawbreaker 1:

Jawbreaker 2:

And the Jawbreakers ended the Levi painted “eBay” Peak era.  In 2 short months 2nd run Peaks would hit production “stride” at the 2nd shop and after 2.5 years the Peak would no longer be “rare”.

China Peak!
http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,37989.0.html
11/14/2008 - Chris puts up the one and only China Peak for sale.  3 halves were made.  Chris held on to the extra half.

Levi custom painteds!
There are more of these than I care to go into detail about.  RAN’s collection is very well known.  I own Atari and Transformers custom Levi painted Peaks.  Trevor’s all black with purple “outlined” logo is ever popular.  The Vault Peak and Peakzilla are actually not Levi painted, but rather a very good attempt to reproduce Levi’s work.  There are actually two Batman / Joker themed custom painteds.

I’ve kept a private photo album of all Levi painted Peaks I’ve come across here: http://picasaweb.google.com/benjustinbaker/Peaks#

There is a very good thread collection Levi Peak pictures here: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,41164.0.html

Preparing for large 2nd run production runs!
It had been over a year since Chris sent the 2nd shop the CAD program for the Peak and they still were unable to produce a Peak to Chris’ standard.  The 2nd run Peak actually moved further away from the original concept first thought up by Chris and Paul.  Although the 2nd shop was eventually able to remove vibe from the 2nd run Peaks, they did not have the same machinery / setup as the 1st shop.  They were more of an “oil field” industrial shop.  They weren’t suited for the finesse and tight tolerance to CAD designs that are required for yoyo production. Their production involved tool changes, which introduced the tool change “circle” that is found inside the hub of all 2nd run Peaks.  There was no change in the CAD design from the 1st run to the 2nd run Peaks.  All changes resulted in the 2nd shop’s loose “interpretation” of the CAD design.  The intended goal weight was not hit.  The 90 degree edge on the outer lip (which is the easiest way to tell a 1st run and 2nd run Peak apart) was also a 2nd shop unrequested design “enhancement”.

All this information can come out now.  At the time though Chris could hardly go proclaiming “This new shop sucks and this Peak is nothing close to what I want.”  Whereas Chris was not saying this publicly, Paul did not hold his tongue in sharing his opinion of the Peak.  Paul had actually been unhappy with the production of even the 1st run Peaks and had long touted the only Peak that was THE PEAK as he intended was the prototype Peak.  Paul and Chris’ friendship fell on some rough times because of CLYW and the Peak, so there’s no telling how much of Paul’s opinion of the Peak is based on fact and how much was influenced by hurt feelings.  I, for one, have a hard time believing that anyone can be of the opinion that the prototype Peak is the best Peak version.  Go back and read the laundry list of CAD design changes between the prototype Peak and the 1st run Peak.  The prototype Peak needed to have its response groove widened to remove a “thud” and needed to be shimmed to get a gap wide enough for modern play.  True, a fully modified and shimmed prototype is a beast, and that beast would eventually return… 3rd run Peaks are still a few pages away.

My friends and I knew the public 2nd run Peaks were coming.  Production had been ramped up.  The floodgates were soon to be open.  We knew they had been machined for a while (mid-2008 Levi “eBay” Peaks) and had recently been making their way to Gruntbull for test colourways.  Chris was moving anodizing of all CLYW yoyos to Gruntbull at this time and just like he had to get test colourways from Pioneer to decide on the 28 Stories finish, he had to start all over again with Gruntbull.  First came solid color tests: 3 all blue and 3 all copper.  These were sold privately.  One of each had made it to my collection, although my copper I had to polish the rims of to remove scratches made when Trevor decided to “walk the dog” on playground gravel at the request of some children.

We had word there were 2nd runs coming to the CLYW store on 2/3/2009. That night I sent a text at 9:30PM CST saying “I’m tired.  I’m going to bed.  If Peaks drop, don’t text. CALL!”  At 1:13AM CST on 2/4/2009 I get a text that reads “PEAKS!!!” followed be a phone call.  Jumping up and refreshing the laptop on my nightstand already open to the CLYW store page, the 5 gold with light gold splash Peaks were up.  So were the 20 magenta with lime green splash Peaks.  I purchased one of each and by the time I finished checkout to return to the store page, the gold with light gold splash Peaks were sold out.

At this time Chris continued having Gruntbull do several small runs of test colourways searching for a colourway to make a large run of.  Chris was holding back one of each of these test colourways for me:

  • Gray fade, 10 made, fade was done in not so much a “fade” but jump from dark gray to light gray, i.e. kind of a fail.
  • Orange with light gray splash, 15 or 20 made.  Chris liked this colourway and decided this colourway would make up half of the production Sebastian Brock Peak, so he ordered up another 100 halves in this colourway.  These early 15 or 20 came from a different machining batch than the 100 Sebastian Brock halves of this color.  Due to small variation between every batch made by the 2nd shop, mixing and matching halves of any 2nd run Peak is not recommended unless you know the halves came from the same batch.  Of the 15 or 20 made, Chris had 5 or 6 leftover at the time he sent the 100 Sebastian Brock Peaks to YYN.  YYN sold 100 two-tone Sebby Peaks and 5 or 6 “all orange / gray splash”.  These 5 or 6 “all orange / gray splash” are from this early test colourway run, so some lucky kids from YYN got to buy this rare test color Peak without even knowing it.
  • Gray to baby blue color changing with orange splash, less than 10 made.  Base color was supposed to be baby blue.  Gruntbull fail.  Came out in this muted gray which looked baby blue from certain angles.  Actually pretty cool but accidental.  Not something that could be requested / reproduced for a large run.
  • Gold with black splash (Gold Nugget), 25 made.  Most had unacceptable vibe (20+), so less than 10 are perfect / A-grade.  As Chris was quickly falling into having a category of “B-Grade” yoyos and that term was already in use by YoYoFactory, Chris came up with the term “Fool’s Gold” to engrave on B-grade yoyos.  As it was the Gold Nugget Peak that first needs a “B-grade” stamp of some kind, its name inspired the “Fool’s Gold” B-grade stamp, which is still in use by CLYW today.
  • Burnt orange with gold splash (Iron Man), 35 made.  Intended to go out to the weekly winners of the CLYW video contest.  Unfortunately 25+ came back with unacceptable vibe and were engraved “Fool’s Gold”, making the 10 or less perfect / A-grades highly collectible.  This also meant there was not enough perfect Iron Man’s to go out to each weekly contest winner… see next entry…
  • Pewter with orange splash, 15 made.  3 sold to the public.  12 others were given to winners of the weekly CLYW video contest.  This Peak has made the rounds as the “Lava Peak”.  That was never an official name, but it’s out there, so… meh… One of these Peaks was intended to be given as the grand prize of the CLYW video contest.  Iron Man Peaks were supposed to go to the weekly winners, and the best (grand prize) weekly winner would get one of these pewter with orange splash.  As most of the Iron Man’s got stamped “Fool’s Gold”, these pewter with orange splash started going out to weekly contest winners.  I don’t think there ever was a “grand prize” Peak awarded.

#4

The Floodgates Open!
The much anticipated floodgates were open on 3/20/2009 and again on 3/21/2009 for the release of the Jensen Kimmitt Hulk Smash Peak sold by YYN.  There were 104 made, although not all were sold by YYN.  Some were sold early privately.  Never before had 100+ Peaks been made publicly available at the same time, and actually that didn’t happen here as these were released in two batches over two days.  These 100+ Peaks, split into two batches and sold over two days… neither batch made it to the end of the day before selling out.  This Peak was not bead blasted aggressively enough, leaving a rough area around the response that could result in string breakage.  Chris formally addressed this: http://www.yoyonation.com/talk/index.php/topic,47173.0.html

The floodgates opened for the second time on 3/31/2009 when YYN made available the 100 Sebastian Brock Peaks (plus the 5 or 6 all orange with light gray splash Peaks that were actually test ano Peaks).

The floodgates opened for the third time on 4/10/2009.  One the same day at the same time YYN made available three Peak editions:

  • 100 of the 2nd run 28 Stories Peak (this was Gruntbull’s take on the 28 Stories colourway)
  • 48 of the Chesterman Beach Peak (still one of my favorite Peak finishes, a unique midpoint between a splash and an acid wash)
  • 20 Claireview Station Peaks (YYN got 17 as one was sold privately to me beforehand, one was sold privately to another collector, and Chris kept one. This is a very special Peak in that it is the only 2nd run Peak to be anodized by Pioneer (see Pioneer test anos and 1st run 28S).  Gruntbull and Pioneer both bead blast.  Pioneer also offers sand blasting and this option was used on the Claireview Station, resulting in one of the glossiest blasted finishes ever.  From pictures alone you’d swear this was machined, polished and anodized, but in picking it up you get that soft feel that lets you know it has had some kind of blasting.  Sand blasting is a much finer medium than bead blasting, resulting in a less dented, shinier finish.  It is very comparable to the Soda Blasting used by One Drop.

And with this, over 350 Peaks being released in 5 versions by YYN under a month, the Peak drought was officially over.  If you wanted a Peak and didn’t get one in late March / early April 2009, you have no excuse other than not having the money.

Post Flood!
The Peak history gets a bit muddy here due to deletion of pre-2010 Caribou Blog entries and me personally stopping the buying of every Peak that came out now that Peaks were coming out on a near weekly basis.  Peaks were everywhere… Well, not true.  Peaks were at YYN.  Pat was very helpful in supporting CLYW in the very early days, allowing Chris to use the YYN forum to promote and sell CLYW yoyos.  This relationship worked out for both parties as all CLYW yoyos that YYN got were pretty much guaranteed sell outs.  While it may have never been formally announced, after the floodgates were opened and the Peaks were having huge production numbers, people paying attention noticed only YYN was selling Peaks (or any other CLYW yoyo for that matter).  This was because very early on Chris had gotten into an informal, verbal agreement with Pat to give YYN the exclusive on CLYW products.  This commitment was honored for as long as possible (too long in the minds of most people in the know) and throughout 2009 CLYW outgrew YYN.  It was time for the little birdie to spread its wings and leave the nest.  On 9/14/2009 Chris announced CLYW was going global. 
As splash finishes were starting to be used by competitors, Chris reinvented the CLYW finish by introducing the Maple Drip.  Arguably never as popular as the splash, it was proof that Chris sought to stay ahead of the game, to drive the market rather than ride on it.  Splashes still dominate CLYW finishes, but Maple Drips, washes, speckles, and whatever else Chris can dream up are becoming more and more the norm.

Here is a list of 2nd run production Peaks that haven’t been mentioned yet:

  • Royal Bison, 15 made, all had vibe, sold cheaply, would have been stamped “Fool’s Gold” if Chris had thought of it by that time. They have a “cartoon” look like the Shark vs Zombie Beaver Bear Vs Man, a camo gray base with a maroon splash.
  • Pink and purple wash, fairly large run, most got “Fool’s Gold” engraved, 12 or fewer are perfect / A-grade.
  • Chocolate with red splash, had vibe, most got “Fool’s Gold” engraved. 4 A-grades exist.
  • Wolf Lake, blue with clear splash
  • Hot Pink, solid
  • Winter Green, light green with clear splash
  • Grizzly Bear Cown Town I, 20 made.
  • Grizzly Bear Clown Town II
  • Frozen Mammoth Peak
  • Raspberry Maple Drip, 7 made, came with a Serial # card, I own #1.
  • Blue with purple Maple Drip
  • Orange with blue Maple Drip
  • Gold with black Maple Drip
  • “Adam Brewster’s Wedding” Edition Peaks, 6 made for the May 2009 wedding, 1 for Adam, 3 for groomsmen, 2 for ushers.  They were a dark sage with a robin’s egg blue splash.

There are 3 more 2nd run Peaks I feel I need to go into detail about because they are special:

Alex Bearing Gull Peak, 85 made, red with clear splash.  2nd run Peaks from this 2nd shop were like wine.  With each batch you never knew what you were going to get.  Their quality was all over the place and their consistency did not exist.  As a result, every batch of 2nd run Peaks are a bit different.  If you’ve thrown one 2nd run Peak and loved it, yet picked up another 2nd run Peak and hated it, you are not crazy.  There are differences.  The batch of Peaks that went on to become the Alex Bearing Gull’s happen to be the best “vintage” of 2nd run Peaks the 2nd shop ever produced.  There is just something special about this Peak.  All owners of it have said it time and time again.  The Peak is retired.  CLYW has replaced it with other full sized yoyos.  The Peak is quickly headed towards a collector’s only market.  But if you are in the market for a Peak to throw (and can’t find a 3rd run) do yourself a favor and find an Alex Bearing Gull 2nd run Peak.

YYN forum member Vendetta was interested in learning to anodize yoyos.  He found an anodizer named Rick who lived near him who did some incredible anodizing work, primarily on paintball guns.  Rick mentored Vendetta.  There was a time where Rick considered anodizing yoyos full time.  He anodized a run of M1’s for One Drop, the Affogato de Lo Tempio edition.  He also anodized 6 Peaks for Chris… Chris was testing him out.

What resulted from this test were the 3 Earth Swirl and 3 Fire Swirl Peaks.  Although all 6 yoyos reached Chris, as Chris mailed them all off individually to their new owners, a Fire Swirl Peak disappeared at customs.  Chris had been having this problem shipping “ground” for a while.  My Transformers Levi painted Peak is actually a second edition as the original Transformers Peak was “lost” at customs.  Chris made the move to shipping “air” by default, because “air” avoids customs, as it seemed too much a coincidence that his yoyos were commonly going missing at customs via ground shipping.

Before Chris could send Rick more Peaks, Rick took a private order of yoyos through Vendetta.  Rick got so frustrated with getting some 20 different types of yoyos each with a unique finish specifically requested by detailed oriented yoyo collectors, Rick completed that order and said, “To heck with that…” Rick never anodized another yoyo and Vendetta had learned everything he needed to start “Not Fail” anodizing.

Anyway, for the record there are 3 Earth Swirl Peaks and 2 Fire Swirl Peaks.  These are the only Peaks sanctioned by Chris from an anodizer other than Pioneer or Gruntbull and they happen to be among the most beautiful Peaks ever created and most rare.

3rd Run!!! (2nd Shop)
After years of battling with the 2nd shop to create a Peak as it was intended, Chris modified the CAD design to work with that shop’s equipment.  Instead of the shop making a yoyo as the CAD designed specified, Chris made a CAD design that wasn’t an ideal Peak, but after the shop got done with their interpretation of it, what was produced was the Peak closest to the prototypes.  After nearly 4 years a shop was finally able to produce the yoyo Chris and Paul had envisioned so long ago.  This weighed in at 67.3 grams, coming really close to the intended Peak weight of 67.5 grams.  This also had the return of the rounded lip.  Putting a 3rd run Peak up against a 1st run Peak, there is no visible difference.  This 3rd run Peak is overlooked and very much the unsung hero, because after just 2 batches and 6 finishes, Chris retired the Peak.

If you are a player looking for a Peak, find a 3rd run.  If you cannot find a 3rd run, find an Alex Bearing Gull 2nd run.  This is the gospel according to Ben.

The first batch of 3rd run Peaks went to a UK reseller and went on sale on 11/27/2009.  They sold out almost instantly.  They were also sold at another US reseller, but I don’t have the sales date and sell out time from that store, but I imagine they went on sale at roughly the same date and sold out just as fast. They came in three unique hybrid splash / acid wash finishes, each a dark base color and a splash / wash in a slightly lighter shade of the same color.  Almost a combination of the gold with light gold splash Gruntbull test ano Peak colourway and the Chesterman Beach colourway (which was a splash / wash hybrid).  These colourways do not photograph well because of the subtle color difference, but in hand they are a true masterpiece.  They are:

  • Orange on orange Acid Splash
  • Green on green Acid Splash
  • Purple on purple Acid Splash

The second batch of 3rd run Peaks went to a US reseller and went on sale on 8/23/2010, nearly 9 months after the first batch of 3rd run Peaks came and went.  This batch also got put into three colourways, each a signature edition:

  • Elliot Jackson, pink with blue drip
  • Adam Brewster, green with gray and red splash
  • Krisztian Kaluzsa, blue with orange and clear splash

As a testament that splash is not dead, old, or played out, the two splash editions sold out that day.  The drip edition was slower to sell and did not sell out until two days later, 8/25/2010.

Thus 8/25/2010 was the last day a Peak could be bought from a store.  That is the Peak’s “deathdate”.  From that day forward the Peak is an aftermarket product, only to be trade hands at yoyo meets and the backrooms of Buy/Sell/Trade Internet sub-forums.  CLYW has moved on to a 3rd shop that now produces all CLYW yoyos and has never produced a Peak.  In order for Chris to bring the Peak back out of retirement, he’d either have to tap the 2nd shop for another batch, or go through months of tedious tweaks getting the 3rd shop’s equipment set up to produce a Peak to the exact intended design.  For that reason alone, regardless of demand, I think the Peak is permanently retired.

CLYW Peak
8/14/2006 – 8/25/2010
(4 years, 11 days)
RIP

CLYW Peak Historian and Curator,
Benjamin Justin Baker

Bonus Pics!

This is a picture of Elephark’s collection at one time.  Top row is a DissKings powdercoated Wideload.  Second row is early Bear Vs Man’s.  Third row is OG Peak #31,  Levi painted Snow White proto 0003, and OG Peak #37.  Bottom row is a 1st run raw Peak, Oxy 4, TFL Groovy, and a 2nd run raw Peak.

Picture of early Bear Vs. Man’s plus 2nd batch / 1st run 28 Stories Peak:

Chris’ collection at one point in time (of note is the Gouda, the red ano / painted proto 0001, the Team Edition small bearing Bear Vs. Man, the all electric green splash Pioneer test ano Peak, the heavily splash electric blue Team Edition Peak, the the 1st run Levi custom “eh!” Peak):

This is a picture of Tyler Severance throwing a Bear Vs. Man just seconds before the string broke and the yoyo went flying and hit someone in the head:

And this history really isn’t complete without showing RAN’s awesome collection of Levi custom Peaks.  The numbered OG Peak in the photo is the special one that got the inner hubs painted blue, although you can’t see it in the photo:


#5

This is awesome! Thanks for posting it.