Wood axles and breaking in?

Hi everyone.

So I’ve heard that fixed axle yoyos with wooden axles need to be broken in otherwise they can be ruined quickly.

So what I want to know is this; can I simply start playing my new OUT yoyos without having to worry about preparing the axle in any way? Or do I need to use some sort of breaking in technique to prepare them?

I don’t really want to mess around with my yoyos too much, I like to keep things simple.

A fixed axle doesn’t need any maintenance. I do break the axle in a bit to remove any rough spots. To do that I get a piece of the thick cotton packaging string about 2 feet long, wrap it around the axle a couple of times leaving equal amounts of string extending from either side. Hold the yoyo between your knees and pull the string tight then pull back and forth about 6 inches 5 or 6 times. I’ve had mixed results waxing the string. Get too much on and it becomes very responsive. Use sparingly if at all.

Nothing will happen if you don’t however.

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I usually just throw a couple/few sleepers, and let them die out. Rewind the yoyo, throw another one. Do that a few times. That’s all I do to break them in, when I do it. Most times I just start playing them.

Like JHB said, usually it’s just to smooth out rough spots on the axle, playing them will usually take care of that.

Walnut axles REALLY do not need much at all. Birch, hemlock, maple, and other woods can be rougher and more porous and easier to burn the Line Of Doom in on a hard throw. Walnut is hard and slick enough that you’ve got to go REALLY hard to scorch them.

I remember I scorched the walnut axle on this Irving Pro on this throw. Stoked to hit the trick, bummed to mess up the axle! But that’s how it goes!!!


You’ve stated that you are interested in stalls, moons, regens, and such. If that’s still the case, you don’t really need to worry about it so much. If you want to go for hitting 1a tricks, a good strategy might be to pick a heavy yoyo with a walnut axle, and concentrate your 1a efforts on that yoyo.

Ed, that was awesome! At least it was bittersweet. If you had messed up the trick, it would have been just bitter…

I am very particular about finely sanding the yoyo walls and using dowels that are free of rough spots during my assembly process so that there isn’t much risk of cutting strings. Also, I test each yoyo with several strong sleepers before packaging. The downside of my non take-apart design is that it is more tedious when removing tangles, but the upside is that they’re always ready to play without any tweaking.

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Man Ed, hadn’t seen that video for some time, not sure if I ever watched the slo-mo part at the end.  First time through wasn’t sure you threw it hard enough to scorch the axle.  Then in the slo-mo you can see just how quick it was spinning ;D

I didn’t think so at the time either. I ended up being able to sand the scorch mark through the gap and salvaging the yo-yo (though it wasn’t 100% the same). You could smell it and everything though - my kids thought it was cooler than it was lol.

No Jive axles are way easier to burn, and Russells & ProYos are even worse. You really need to cure those or break them in if you’re not just going to be doing light stall stuff or casual Planet Hops.

Haven’t burned any No jive axles (that I know of), bad about checking them. Just crushed one last night though over tightening it.

But I still have a box of ProYo sleeves. I bought a ProYo in the mid 90’s, because we “had to have one” for the contest that was coming up in our town. Played that a ton, and bought up a bunch of sleeves when the local cart was blowing them out.

Would it be possible to get some walnut axles made for a No Jive?

It’s been tried. Wood is pretty brittle for the slightly wider No Jive axle. Leaves the wood pretty thin and prone to cracking even before you install it (and VERY crushable). But sure possible.

Maybe the way to do it would be to get rid if the metal axle, and just make a solid walnut axle to glue in permanently…

Then you have a Hummingbird instead of a No Jive :wink:

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I put a wood axle on one of my 80’s Butterfly’s and it needed no breaking in.
Note; because you are cutting the axle you can make it any width you need.