Porch (20-eH-teen)

(ed) #1

Apologies for the long story - it gets longer every year…

Like so many worthwhile pursuits, the eH started out as a couple of friends wasting time. Steve Buffel (of SPYY) and I were hanging out in his Calgary garage, and he showed me some old oak yo-yo blanks he’d made on a drill press (I think it had been an idea for his wedding?). I was like “can we make one?” and we did. And it actually played kind of great. Later that afternoon we tried a slightly wider one and lasered them in his basement.

It wasn’t until I got home to NC that I realized I couldn’t put the stupid thing down. I’d always loved wood yo-yo’s. Steve knew this and even patterned my metal “Flying V” as a cross between a No Jive and a Variflex “X-Games” slimline. I had been feeling more and more disconnected from the “roots” of my own yo-yoing, and playing the SPYY woodie gave me a radical idea.

I told Steve I wanted to throw a wood yo-yo - just ONE fixed axle wood yo-yo - for all of 2012.

He would have been within his rights to say “yeah, find a new sponsor”, but instead he said “I’ll turn it.” And the yo-yo he turned was exquisite. It was a cleaner, sturdier version of what we’d made - red oak, take-apart, with replaceable hemlock axles. It had my initials on it and was made in Canada, so it became “the eH”. Around the same time, Steve Brown sent me a cone of untwisted cotton string from the 60’s, and those became my raw materials for all of 2012. It was every bit as wonderful and as frustrating, as restrictive and as liberating as you could imagine.

I’d documented the project on my blog and on 365yoyotricks.com, and as the year wound down, some people asked if they could buy the eH. Andre was probably our most vocal supporter - he was the one who really saw the STORY of the yo-yo as worthwhile and he was adamant that he’d help in whatever way he could.

The problem was that Steve was not set up for a full run. The few he’d made for me were really difficult, and he was pretty burnt out with SPYY nearing the end of its run. Colin Leland had been making great wooden yo-yo’s for a couple years, and in 2012 his craftsmanship had really come into its own. Steve, Andre, and I asked him if he’d be ok making a yo-yo with specs he didn’t set, and he’d love to. And as we got to work, he ended up revising and improving the way the axles and screws went in. I was amazed the project came together, and elated that I got to actually release a wooden signature yo-yo. I wrote a little thank you note to go with the yo-yo and imagined that was that.

The fixed axle scene started to expand, though, and players kept telling us that they liked them. We did the initial version and, though SPYY evaporated in the summer, another for winter 2013 in red oak. We switched to white oak and TMBR’s innovative “wood-thread” axles for 2014 and again in 2015, then did a run of “eH-xotics” for 2016. Every year, they have gotten better and better and better. And every year, it has been more and more gratifying.

I assumed it had run its course, but I can honestly say that I think this year’s is the best incarnation yet (yes, I say that every year). We decided to go with ash and maple, with walnut axles again. They are slightly bigger and wider, and for the first time, feature a really nice lip. The added size helps both for spin time and for landing weird Varials and flip-tricks, and it Shoots the Moon like the Death Star. Colin’s attention to detail is incredible, and his use of sustainably sourced woods and plant-based, 0 VOC finishes should resonate with anybody who can dig the fact that every part of their yo-yo was once alive.

I’m immensely thankful to have been part of this incredible yo-yo culture, and the fixed axle subculture, specifically. And I’m in disbelief that we’ve been able to continue to tweak this model and release it to awesome players everywhere. To Steve, Andre, Colin, and everyone who has played any version of the eH, it’s really meant the world to me. And I hope you dig this one as much as I do.


Going to be picking up a maple :slight_smile:


Something I’ve wanted to do for awhile…the 2018 eH is going to be my only yo-yo for 2019 :smiley: If I had the extra cash I’d buy 2 to have a backup. But with a baby now, it’s harder and harder to find the time to yo-yo, but fixed axle has been giving me more time. Pesky binds take too much time :joy:

Looking forward to spending time with one yo-yo next year!


Looks great! Is there release info for this anywhere?

({John15}) #4

Man, these are some [seemingly] insignificant details that I can fully appreciate. I’d love to add one of these to my collection, and to shred it!

Question: are they still made in Canada?

(Jim Honaker) #5

I seen on Facebook @ed1 mentioned mid-next week on @YoYoExpert. I seriously can’t wait. I very recently started playing with my Legend Wing and what to dedicate some serious time to fixed axle.


Fix axle is always better around the babies, they are quite, Mom also appreciates this as well.

(ed) #7

No only the original SPYY eH’s were from Canada. Every production release has been made by Colin in Oregon. :slight_smile:


I like the 2018 Eh, but after playing with it for a while, these are my thoughts:

  • For me, personally, I find the lip is a definite turn-off. It pokes at my hand and I find I really prefer the smoothness of, say, a BC Apollo or the TK Clean Machine. I just wonder… why does this lip need to be here at all? This is the one thing I’d change, if it was made for me.

  • The largeness of the wooden axle, due to the wood threads, makes it have kind of an unusual feel in play, like a very large bearinged unresponsive, if that makes sense … maybe a C bearing vs. A bearing kind of thing? Traditional wood axles, and even the TK wood sleeve style, tend to be quite narrow so this feels like a jump in axle size. I don’t think it is a bad thing per se … but it feels sorta vaguely ponderous in spin as a result?

  • Leading from the above, this is a big yo-yo. Not just the axle, but it’s quite sizable as you noted. I like that part!

  • I don’t think I am a huge fan of the whole TMBR wooden thread design, overall. I keep reflexively checking tightness and I’ve had it come apart unexpectedly in play 5+ times with rather comical effect. (One time while I was walking down the street, that was weird.) Now, I chalk all this up to me sucking, believe me, but it kinda stresses me out. I don’t mind adjusting the cap and the threads to make sure the gap is right as I play, but I don’t really enjoy monitoring and tweaking that aspect of it?

I don’t have tons of wood axle experience, I have used a BC Apollo / Rainbow and a bunch of TK No Jive 3-in-1s (imperial and butterfly), as well as a BC Fireball and a Proyo II. These are my thoughts based on comparing it with those models.

(Spinworthy Glen) #9

I find that a bit odd seeing as probable every unresponsive yoyo you have has a lip (rim).

I don’t see how the wooden threads themselves would make a difference. Do you mean the diameter of the axle that the string goes on?


Yes, the axle. Looking at it more closely though you are right, it is about the same size as the TK wood sleeve.

It may be slightly larger but nothing too dramatic. So perhaps the “large” feel is all about the overall size?

(Spinworthy Glen) #11

It looks about 7-8mm which is fine. Mine are 7mm.

Possibly the large feeling is its size… Not sure as I haven’t thrown one myself.


Kind of, but metal yoyos are all cups, they never have flat sides. (Except for the Sherpa, I guess?) They are always “cups”. Wooden yoyos are usually flat on the sides, so I find my hand wanting to either find a cup (nope), or a smooth flatness (BC Apollo, Clean Machine) and there’s this odd… protruding rim instead. It just doesn’t feel right? Poky where it doesn’t have to be?

What purpose does the extra rim serve on the 2018 Eh, I wonder?

(Spinworthy Glen) #13

I believe it would enable extra width without the weight.

(Spinworthy Glen) #14

I have a Baldwin that this has happened to a few times. I’m afraid to use it now and I’m too scared to tighten it right up. Still, I Think the wooden thread axle idea is really cool and an example of excellent craftsmanship.

I’m not a fan of having to tweak things too much either. I just want them to work from the outset.

(ed) #15

I mean… what “purpose” does a yo-yo serve? :wink:

The larger diameter and wider profile give it some added stability over its predecessors. They also contribute to spin time, but that’s not really my main concern with a yo-yo like this. The lip allowed us to have a bigger, chunkier yo-yo with more inner wall (all of which are great for balance tricks, flip catches, and planet hop/moon regens) while keeping the weight nice and low.

When I first saw the wood-thread axle system, I didn’t think “wow what a clear improvement this will be over brass set-screws or hex nuts”. I thought “omg that is too COOL”. I love that it allows Colin to make yo-yo’s which are 100% organic - not like “organic” like the shape, but literally made of stuff that was alive. Stuff which will decompose someday. Yeah they are tougher to break in, tougher to make, and until you get the feel of them they can come apart, but I like them and they play GREAT for the kinds of tricks I like to do. As you noted, the actual diameter of the axles is right at the standard for most fixed yo-yo’s, and TMBR actually has made wood-thread axles with different widths (thinner for more spin-based tricks and more stall or loop-based tricks).

And, while it’s certainly true that the more experience you have with them, you can minimize the come-apart phenomenon, I also believe that a giant aspect of playing wood/fixed is paying attention. You have to be able to tune and tweak. You have to have a sense for the condition of your axle and string. The relative humidity. The more you play, you lose your anxiety about that stuff - it’s just stuff you’re conscious of.

A yo-yo like this isn’t going to gel with everybody. In a lot of ways, it’s a literal counterpoint to the “best practices” which have been so clearly established with bearing yo-yo’s. Playing fixed axle, you have to contend with the question “why would I intentionally make this harder” every time you throw down. Everybody has a different answer for that, and while this yo-yo might satisfy some of said answers, it’d be unrealistic to assume it works for everyone.


Oh nice that’s a cool property of this I hadn’t considered. Like wooden OneDrop “side effects”.

Given that I’ve had 5+ cotton strings break on me (and cotton/poly) on a variety of wood yo-yos where the yo-yo goes flying and slams into stuff, that’s definitely true. It’s less so for modern poly strings, for me anyways, I have good results with modern poly strings on wood axles. This whole “you can’t use poly on wood, it’ll melt” line of historical advice is a bunch of :poop: in my experience.

Overall I like the Eh, but I do think I’d prefer one without the lip. Since a large proportion of people reading this topic probably have one or more, is anyone interested in trading my 2018 Eh for a slightly older Eh model, same basic design and weight (I got the heavier of the two models sold on YYE, and I actually wouldn’t mind if the whole thing was just a tad heavier still), just without the lip? I have zero preference on wood type, just want the weight to be the same or a tiny bit heavier?

Doesn’t need to be new, can be pre-loved. Mine is in very good shape, only has a bit of hand patina from ~4 hours of play and very minor scrapes from the accidental disassemblies when thrown. Nothing I’d even consider a real “dent”.

(ed) #17

Word up. Although note that all poly is not created equal. It may be hard to believe, but the poly from just a decade ago was very different. There were essentially zero boutique “craft string” makers selling through retailers before G String and a bit later, Kitty. And before YYN “Highlights” upped the standard of the poly available, I ASSURE YOU, the thin, shiny type 6 polyester strings which were out there would both melt into a rough ProYo or Russel axle leaving a weird streak in the wood AND ignominiously snap after a few minutes. I don’t know that cotton was better due to its properties or if it was just thicker, but there IS historical basis for the adage. I will note that I have never seen that phenomenon with Slick (50/50) type 8 string or with the thicker, stiffer modern poly I’ve used. And regardless of whether it’s due to conditioning or tactile sensation, I will still go for type 10 cotton for wood every time.


I do actually agree that cotton feels better on the hand!

Unfortunately the last 5 times I tried (and this was with new cotton and new cotton / poly I bought from YYE less than a year ago) I delivered wood yo-yos into walls and floors at high velocity multiple times :frowning:

And let’s not even talk about my poor titanium rootbeer Luftverk Daytona, to which I applied the logic of…

Oh, this is a slimline responsive, I heard you use cotton/poly on those, let me try this brand new bag of cotton/poly strings I bought from YYE on that!

… and then later delivered a Daytona to the walls and floor of my office at extremely high velocity :sob:

So, yeah. Never again for me. Never ever. No cotton in any form. Too many bad times.

I do get a little bitter that a lot of old-timer wisdom such as “you can never use poly on wood!” isn’t re-evaluated in light of today’s equipment. Yes, yes, there is a lot of timeless stuff in yo-yo that is what makes it cool for sure, I agree! But there is also plenty of room for new more betterer advice, too :wink:


Try the one drop long cut blues on your fixies! Trust me!


I did, and… I didn’t like it. Sorry!