I finally cashed in the birthday money I've been hoarding for the past few years and purchased a Heavy Duty Ball Winder from Nancy's Knit knacks. As you can see, this baby is about as SOLID as they come.
I love the position of the handle -- so much easier on the arm compared to traditional ball winders and it rides very smooth. I didn't splurge for the electronic handle, but it can be added on anytime (hint, hint family).
I wound about 25 balls of yarn this afternoon just to get the hang of it. I did get a few wonky balls (user error) but once I figured out what I was doing wrong it was a "cake" walk.
Practice makes perfect and not to worry, there's plenty more unwound yarn where that came from so I'll get lots of opportunity to use it again soon. In the meantime, hauling all those unwound skeins of yarn out made me realize I'd better get knitting!
Any ball winding tips and tricks you want to share? I'm all ears!