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How to Adjust Your Yo-Yo String Length

Another beginner oriented post from the book project of mine, Learn to Throw: A Beginners Guide To Yo-Yoing. This article covers the importance of string length and how one should go about adjusting the length of their string appropriately to fit their height.

String length is very important; if a string is too short you won’t be able to put an adequate amount of energy into your throw and your yo-yo won’t spin as fast or as long, making it difficult to learn tricks as their complexity increases. If the string is too long you won’t be able to focus the time your yo-yo is spinning on learning tricks. You will instead be focusing on trying not to smack the yo-yo on the floor. That’s why you have to adjust the length of your string. The proper way to do this is to unroll the yo-yo all the way and let it rest on the floor in front of you.

Hold the string straight up from the yo-yo (you don’t want any slack in the string) and fold it over right in front of where your bellybutton is.


Tie a slip knot into the string like you learned earlier and cut off the original loop and excess string carefully with a pair of scissors. (You might want to have a parent do this for you.)

(Slip Knot Instructions)


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What is a Yo-Yo?

Another excerpt from my book I’m hoping to publish in September of 2009, Learn to Throw: A Beginners Course In Yo-Yoing. This topic covers what exactly is a yo-yo? And goes over the parts of today’s standard yo-yos from the ball-bearing yo-yos to the simple plastic trans-axle yo-yos. It’s an essential piece of information that any yo-yoer should know assuming they wish to explain issues or fixes about specific parts of their yo-yo with other hobbyists. Ultimately, as with any other hobby one picks up, whether it be playing an instrument, learning a sport, or simply learning how to yo-yo, every beginner must pick up the names and uses of these essential parts to their yo-yo.

What is a Yo-Yo?

by Michael Montgomery

A yo-yo is a toy with two symmetrical sides and an axle in the middle connecting those sides. There is a string attached to the axle and depending on how it is attached it allows the yo-yo to travel down and back up the string or to sleep when it reaches the end of the string. There are a few types of yo-yos out there that you’ll encounter throughout your journey to becoming a master yo-yoer. The first of which is a fixed axle yo-yo; the second is a transaxle yo-yo with; the third and most common shape is the butterfly shape with a ball-bearing transaxle.

Wooden Fixed Axle Yo-Yo
Wooden Fixed Axle Yo-Yo

The fixed axle yo-yo is by far the most simple design; it consists of two halves (or hubs) and an axle connecting those two hubs. The yo-yo has a string that has been folded in half and twisted tightly to hold it in its screw-like shape. The yo-yo’s axle sits in the very end of this twist, where the string was folded in half. This way the tension in the string wraps the string around the axle, keeping it on the yo-yo, but also allowing the yo-yo to sleep since the string is not actually tied onto the axle like some of the first yo-yos were. Most yo-yos of this variety are made of two hubs pressed together on an axle, a simple three part toy. However modern versions of the fixed axle yo-yo are a little more complex, often involving a solid, non-spinning, wooden ‘transaxle’ that sits on a threaded axle which the hubs of the yo-yo are then tightened town around by use of the threaded axle and a nut, both sunk into the hubs to allow the tightening.

Transaxle Yo-Yo
Transaxle Yo-Yo

The second type of yo-yo is a transaxle yo-yo; it holds a very similar design to the modern fixed axle yo-yo in that it has a separate sleeve around the axle that the string is attached to. The axle in this model of yo-yo is typically smooth and often lubricated. The sleeve or transaxle typically had a groove in it where the string is supposed to sit (typically double wrapped around the axle). This groove keeps the string from slipping between the transaxle and the wall of the yo-yo, causing the yo-yo to seize up, typically making the incapable of sleeping. The transaxle yo-yo also incorporates the now important response system. A response system is the method by which the string in the yo-yo is bound up, allowing it to return to your hand when you tug on the yo-yo. Typical response systems for the transaxle yo-yo are a design called a starburst. A starburst design on a yo-yo is a pattern of raised areas emanated out from where the axle (or transaxle) is seated in the yo-yo. Though some fixed axle yo-yo’s use this technology they often don’t require it, as the tension in the string alone typically allows those yo-yos to return. When dealing with transaxle yo-yos however, the string tension often has nothing to do with the yo-yo’s ability to return when tugged up simply due in part to the fact that the string isn’t attached to the main axle of the yo-yo, but a sleeve around the main axle, so the tension in the string that could have been used to make it return by providing surface friction is lost to the transaxle.

Ball Bearing Yo-Yo
Ball Bearing Yo-Yo

The third and final type of yo-yo you’ll encounter is called the ball-bearing transaxle yo-yo. It incorporates everything from the previous two up until this point except that instead of a simple sleeve around the axle of the yo-yo, you now have a ball bearing seated in the transaxle’s place. The ball bearing transaxle severely reduces friction in the yo-yo, allowing it to sleep for what was before unimaginable times. However with the reduced friction you start to need more and more effective response systems to make the yo-yo return. Some manufactures keep to the starburst design, but close the gap of the yo-yo significantly, without doing so the string wouldn’t effectively touch the starbursts and the yo-yo wouldn’t return. More commonly with these ball bearing yo-yos you see manufacturers using a rubber sticker that sits around the bearing on the inner wall of one of the hubs, this sticker degrades with use (so it eventually must be replaced) but is a very effective way of making the yo-yo return to your hand. A recent trend in response system technology has been to use a rubber o-ring as the response system, this is done by making a groove into the inner wall of the yo-yo around the bearing, similar to the sticker, the o-ring is then pressed into the groove and is a very effective and a longer lasting alternative to the sticker pad technology.

Thank you for taking the time to read this excerpt from the book Learn to Throw: A Beginners Course In Yo-Yoing. If you have any comments about this particular essay I’d be happy to hear them so please leave them in the comment field below!


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How To Tie a Yo-Yo Slip Knot

This is another beginner oriented yo-yo how-to post. You’d be surprised how few beginners that I teach actually know how to tie a loop on their string, let alone turn the loop into a slip knot. So in an effort to cover our bases I’m taking the excerpt from my book (which I’m hoping to publish in September 2009) Learn to Throw: A Beginners Guide In Yo-Yoing, on how to make a slip knot for yo-yoing.

It is important to know how to tie a slip knot. This is the knot used to attach the yo-yo to your hand. To tie a slip knot:
1. Fold over the string approximately one inch from the end of the string. The string will now be doubled up in that one-inch segment.

2. Make this doubled-up string into a loop.


3. Push the end of the fold through the loop.

4. Pinch the fold in one hand and the end of the string (as well as the length of string next to it) in the other hand and pull tight.

5. Now that you’ve tied the loop, open it up using your thumb and index finger.

6. Grab a bit of string just beneath the knot that forms the loop.

7. Pull the bit of string you are pinching through the loop.

You now have a slip knot! All you have to do from here is put your finger into the slip knot loop you just made and you can start yo-yoing!

Hope you enjoyed this how-to, if you have any questions or concerns please leave them as a comment.


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Strings and Things

Spent the day working on string related projects though I did attend the Gem County Economic Development Association this morning and as it was my third attended meeting they voted me in as a member.

Now back to the string. Found out how to make yo-yo strings and I’m looking into making an automated setup to produce large quantities all at once. I’ll only be making one of these ‘machines’ initial until I iron out the kinks of having no clue what I’m doing. I made two amazing one toned strings and made one two-toned string however it was too coarse for freestyle play.

That’s all I have to say today for business related stuff. I did figure out how to do a square-knot thanks to Kelsey buying hemp strings and a video on how to make said knots. They’re coming out pretty good so far, I’ll add a picture to this post later tonight or tomorrow.

Take care!

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Community Building

Spent today working on building the website which has been taking a bunch of my time. I finished picking a font to use for the logo and have the forums set up. I’ll be adding a chat room soon as well once I find a good one I can embed into the website. I’m considering adding an ecommerce package to TwinePitched in order to fund the project; however I’m worried about it drawing a negative backlash from other stores and their communities.

I know I need a method to raise funds to make the quarterly magazines which will ultimately produce. I’m definitely going to be seeking advertisers for the website and the magazine and will be most likely selling subscriptions to the magazine with the ‘pay up front’ incentives to help bring in enough money to print out a run between 250 and 500; depending on the amount of people subscribed, I’ll make 30%-50% more magazines to sell during the quarter leading up to the publication of the next magazine.

That’s what I’ve got so far for today’s daily post. I’m going to try and get a few hours of sleep under my belt; I’m going to the Gem County Economic Development Association meeting today (Thursday) from 8am to 10am to find out more about local projects and get input on a few of my own.

Take care friends and if you have any thoughts on the magazine/community site this post was about please leave them as comments, I could use any suggestions you have to give! 😀

P.S., Though it’s small today, the first day I promoted the site to anyone we had two people register for the forums. I’d like to have between 35-50 by the end of the month with a 30% increase on the end of the month total each month until we reach about 500 members.

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My 1A performance at Tri-Cities

A few years back (I believe it was 2007) I attended John Bozung’s contest in Tri-Cities on the 4th of July. I believe I got second place at this competition but I could be wrong. I know I won $50.00 though!

I performed the freestyle to “Denial Twist” by the White Stripes.

Freestyle Winners: 1st. Sterling Quinn, 2nd. Michael Montgomery, 3rd. Jared ???
Freestyle Winners: 1st. Sterling Quinn, 2nd. Michael Montgomery, 3rd. Jared ???


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Michael Montgomery at the Tri-Cities Yo-Yo Competition

This was one of the last competitions Michael Montgomery competed in before focusing his attentions to the behind the scenes aspects of the yo-yo industry. From developing yo-yo related products like shirts, books, guides, and yo-yo’s themselves; to organizing the Idaho Yo-Yo Championships, running a handful of companies and even more websites. Enjoy the video!

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Matthew Lewis 1A 2005 National Yo-Yo Contest

This was Matthew Lewis’ first ever national yo-yo competition freestyle! He did really good for his first time as well, I believe he placed somewhere in the 30’s. He doesn’t yo-yo anymore but really should! He was one of the original Idaho Yo-Yo Crew members. He is now serving our country in the United States Air Force and is currently in training in Wichita Falls, TX.

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Side Project City

Lately it seems the entrepreneur in me is trying to have more fun with my hobbies. I’ve been wanting to put together a yo-yo site for a long time now, mostly as a hobby. One of my friends, the guy who is helping me make the drafting design of my yo-yo, Bradley Raley, is putting together a website called yo-yo power ( that is the basic idea of the hobby-like site I’d like to have.

So, considering I own and have this odd knack for turning my hobbies into websites I think I’m going to follow his inspiration and make a hobby website out of twinepitched just like he’s doing with yo-yo power. I would change a few things to meet my needs; I would have a simple trick catalog available, maybe a chatroom, a weekly blog and a few other fancy wordpress technology applications.

I guess we’ll just see how this develops! 🙂

(I told you guys I would be trying to make the daily post, I didn’t say they would be ‘uber inspiring’! haha)

Have a great Monday! If you have any thoughts on this let me know!

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The Social Media Advocate

Lately I consider myself to be the local Advocate and cheerleader for social media in Emmett, ID. There is a lot of potential for it to help the local economy by connecting local businesses to each other and to their customers in a more intimate way than they currently have, which would help people get what they need and want more easily, which would make them more likely to spend their money in our town.

Social Media use in Emmett would also increase the need for our politicians, business owners, and citizens in general to be far more transparent. They wouldn’t be able to lie to a group of people and get away with it as easily, or worse, build a following off of those lies without being corrected. At the very least the use of social media (like twitter and facebook) would speed up the communication between the residents here and the amount of wasted time from inaccurate communications would be cut drastically.

Unfortunately in our town there are a few common misconceptions that 1. social media is too difficult to use 2. that it is only for the younger generations 3. that it will download viruses to your computer and 4. that in general, social media is the devil. The misconceptions are so strongly ingrained into the minds of the adults and families of our town that the virtually limitless potential of social media and it’s positive aspects in our community are wasted before they even get a chance to prove themselves.

So, being that I am one of these weird anti-muckrakers, I feel that I will take this little title ‘the social media advocate’ and write a few articles to educate the community on values of social media, the pros and cons, the things to avoid, how to protect yourself, and how our community could benefit from using social media appropriately and safely. I will also be writing articles to the parents of our community encouraging them to get their butts on MySpace and Facebook. There is never something more sobering to a parent than to find out their sons or daughters are posting illegal activities on public websites, and if they are connected to their child’s accounts, this STUPID activity will most likely stop.

These are just some thoughts of mine. I hope I can get the articles into the paper here in town. Even if I have to pay to do it I’d like to get them in the paper. It means that much to me.

If you have any thoughts on topics for other articles please let me know, any help I can get to start to chip away at the conservative, stone wall exterior to the minds of this community I would greatly appreciate!