Tom Kuhn Flying Camel Classic appearance

Hi, TK fans!
I just picked up this Flying Camel Classic, and was wondering about it’s appearance. It’s more of a satin finish than glossy, and the laser engraving isn’t darkened like all the other Flying Camels I’ve seen. Can anyone enlighten me?


Okay not an expert opinion. Here are my thoughts on the finish - different production runs. My old Flying Camel was not glossy and purchased late 80s early 90s - the later one bought when BC was in business was glossy and slightly different - out of the two types in my collection the non-glossy is my favorite.

Someone else will have more info if BC Brad Countryman handled the production on the earlier TK Yo-yos when he ran Hummingbird Yo-yos. There may be a change in production overtime. Hope this helps.


Agree w Luke on the timing. In the late 80s when TK was in transition and BC was doing more of the construction you had some variation, test-pieces, and one-offs. Seems like one where they may have been experimenting w finishes and didn’t stain the engraving the way they do on typical production versions. Cool piece.


Thanks for the input!

First off, congrats on picking up a beautiful Flying Camel. That’s a great example of an SF-era Flying Camel with a wonderful level of detail on the laser carving and an excellent natural finish.

SF era Tom Kuhn No Jives that are laser etched (Mandalas, Flying Camels, promotional) almost always have a natural finish. Stamped No Jives (Standard 3-in-1, Diamond Specials) almost always have the glossy finish. Your Flying Camel has the standard finish for a laser etched No Jive.

There are a lot of variation in the application of the laser on Tom Kuhn Yo-Yos. The overall size of the etching, the depth of the etching, and the detail vary from run to run. The color of the etching is not a stain. It is the result of the laser burning the wood. The color is generally pretty consistent as maple burns darkly, most of the time. The reason this one is light could be due to the laser settings (too fast, or too low powered) or the piece of maple used might not have burned as easily.

Maple is a great wood for yo-yos, but there’s a lot of variation in how the wood reacts to things like lasers or gloss finishes. Here’s a photo showing the color variations in some of my No Jives:

I have a few old Tom Kuhns with very light etchings like this one, but not as light. I’d be interested to see the other side.


Thanks, Chris. Here’s the other side:


Saw this set of Mandalas and I thought of your Flying Camel.