“Home” Armoury

Post Lock down “pre flight” Checks from Andy Huckle’s Zoom Session. Original PDF used for this page is here.

Why check weapons?

What could go wrong?

  • Your fencing bag is likely to be a moist, humid place – not the best environment for storing metal/electrical equipment!
  • Blades will tarnish.
  • Bodywire cores will perish.
  • Point screws will tarnish.
  • Springs can tarnish/rust.
  • Mask Rubbers can perish.

Rusty Sword

How and what to Check?

Bodywire Visual & Physical Checks

  • Check for discolouration within the wire – sweat will damage the wire over time.
  • The inner core becomes brittle and can fail when stretched.
  • Give the ends a gentle “tug” if the wire feels “springy” the wire may well have failed
  • Also Check the LP plug for signs of failure – LP Plug inner can snap.
Bayonet Body Wire
2 Pin Body Wire

Bodywire Problems

Home Fixes

Bodywire wires are terminated inside the end plugs with a grub screw directly in the pin.

For Leon Paul “Rubber” end plugs housings it is fairly easy to remove the cover and tighten/reterminate the
wires.

For hardshell plugs it is more complex to disassemble and reassemble so it will take some time and patience – or a trip to the armourer!

Body Wire Internals

How and What to Check?

Foil Visual & Physical Checks

  • Check the point action is smooth.
  • Check the handle is not loose.
  • Check that the blade wire attachment to the guard socket is sound and on 2 pin plugs check that the guard socket connectors are not loose.
  • Check the blade is not tarnished/rusted
  • Check the tip tape to ensure you can’t see the blade through tears in it.

Epee Visual & Physical Checks

  • Check the point action is smooth.
  • Check the handle is not loose.
  • Check that the two blade wire attachments at the guard socket are .sound
  • Check that none of the guard socket connectors are loose.
  • Check the blade is not tarnished/rusted.
  • Check that the barrel is not loose or that a grub screw is missing.
Epee Checks

Mask Checks

  • Check that the Mask retaining bands (usually elastic) are in good order.
  • Check that the fixing for the retaining bands are secure.
  • Check that there are no dents or deformities in the mesh part of the mask.
  • Check that the rubber strip covering the side joint is:
    • Fixed to the mask all the way round.
    • Not perished / cracked.
  • Failure of this rubber strip is a MAJOR safety issue and will cause a competition referee to declare the mask illegal/unfit for use until repaired by an armourer.

I found some problems – What now?

Some problems can be fixed with at home…

If you discover that your weapon or bodywork has any faults from the visual/physical checks you may need to bring it to armoury but some issues can be fixed at home but you’ll need a few tools…..

You’ll need some basic tools:

  • Allen key 6mm and/or 1/4 inch.
  • Electrical Type Screwdriver.
  • Knife/Wire stripper.
  • 5mm/6mm/8mm spanner.
  • Larger Slotted Screwdriver.
  • Magnetic bowl/surface – optional but makes keeping track of grub screws etc easier).
  • you can use an old magnetic “L” plate or a cheap magnetic dish.

Home Fixes

Loose Handle

If you have a loose handle it will affect the electrical circuit of the weapon – “White” lights!

  • Grasp the Handle/Guard tight in one hand and use 6mm or 1/4inch Allen key to tighten the handle nut. It needs to be VERY tight.
  • If the handle is very loose or has been loose for some time, make sure that the blade wires are not pinched between handle and guard.
  • Older weapons will have 1/4 inch nut (usually a silver Allen key).
  • Newer weapons will generally have 6mm nut (usually a black Allen key)
  • Try to identify which nut you have – using the wrong key can be a BIG problem!!!

Tarnished/Rusty Blade

  • Storing blades in a moist/humid environment will result in surface rust.
  • It is easily cleaned up using:
    • Flexible sanding sponge (DIY Store).
    • Abrasive Block (Leon Paul).
  • Use all over the blade to remove the rust – try not to rub directly over the wires.
Tarnished or Rusty Blade

Guard Socket Connections

Blade wire is attached to the guard Socket

The wire(s) from the blade are insulated with plastic tubing and carry the electrical connection to the guard socket.

It is common that these fine wires break at the guard socket fixing point through normal use.

Check that the wires (shown) are securely attached to the guard socket.

If one needs to be re-attached:

  • Cut back the plastic sheath to expose 10-15mm of wire.
  • The wires are covered in a “fabric” coating which should be removed.
  • German Wires are also lacquered that will impeded the electrical flow – this can be removed using a flame.
  • Carefully reattach the wire to the guard socket using an electrical screwdriver (Leon Paul) or larger screwdriver and 8mm spanner (Uhlmann/Allstar/PBT and Epee).
Guard Sockets

Slightly more technical…..

Grub screws and tip tape


Epee

  • Grub Screws are always worth checking as they do go missing.
  • Replace using an SL1.8 Jewellers screwdriver.

Foil

Tip Tape – your tape should be in good condition (no bare blade showing through).

  • Fabric 24mm or 18mm Pro-Gaff type tape is the best to use – readily available online in many colours!
  • To replace clean off the old tape carefully (don’t just go over the top of the old tape).
  • Apply 150mm length of tape along the blade and fold round the blade as you go – it takes a bit of practice!

Tip Tape
How to Tapea Foil

The Next step – Home testing

Tools…

Simple (Cheap) Multimeter and/or basic LED tester – you need something that can tell you when you have a complete electrical connection. A pair of crocodile clip cables would also be very useful for connecting to the body wire/weapon This will give you a good feel for the electrical condition of the weapon circuit. Cost <£20

An alternative option is Leon Paul “Pebble” tester which just gives you a green light/red light indication of the circuit status but no notice of impending failure! These can be good for piste side but they do cost roughly double what the Multimeter and cable set would cost. Cost ~£36

Tools for Testing at Home

Have Multimeter will test…

What to test – Bodywires

  • With your multi-meter set to the Lowest resistance or “Ohms” (Ω) Setting – probably 0-200 Ohms.
  • Clip your probes between the matching pins (A to A, B to B and so on) on the wires as shown – a value of 2 Ohms or less is a “good” reading.
  • Give the wires a good “wiggle” the reading should be “solid”.
  • Any that read high (Well above 2 Ohms) or show no reading at all should be considered failed and will need fixing as previously described.
Body Wire Connections

What to test – Foil

  • First test a bodywire so you have a good working one to use for testing.
  • Plug the bodywire into the weapon
  • With your multimeter set to the Lowest resistance or “Ohms” (Ω) Setting probably 0-200 Ohms.
  • Clip your probes as follows:
    • Positive – Pin B
    • Negative – Pin C
  • Give the wires a good “wiggle” the reading should be “solid”.
Foil Tip

“Foil is Far” the Weapon circuit is on the pair of pins that are farthest apart – so testing a foil will use pin C (connected to Blade) and B (connects to wire) on the attached body wire.

At rest – the foil circuit would ideally read less than 2 Ω– more than 6 definitely needs attention. With the tip depressed the multimeter should read the same as when the probes are disconnected.

What to test – Epee

  • First test a bodywire so you have a good working one for testing.
  • Plug the bodywire into the weapon.
  • With your multi-meter set to the Lowest resistance or “Ohms” (Ω) Setting probably 0-200.
  • Clip your probes as follows:
    • Positive – Pin B
    • Negative – Pin A
  • Give the wires a good “wiggle” the reading should be “solid”.
Epee Tip

The Weapon circuit is on the pair of pins that is closest together – so testing an epee will use pin A and Pin B (which each connect to one of the blade wires) on the attached body wire.

At rest – the multimeter should read the same as when the probes are disconnected.

With the tip depressed the multimeter should ideally read less than 2 Ω– more than 6 definitely needs attention.