> I finally got a clear-visor saber mask from Blue Gauntlet. There is a
> material-covered metal strip or bar or whatever, sticking out from the
> top, going straight back. Is this to be bent down or left as is for some
It's to be bent down, behind where the back of your head will be when
you're wearing the mask.
> Also, the back is just 2 thin elastic strips connected by velcro. What
> of any back of the head padding? Would just sewing stronger material to
> the straps & maybe putting a towel or something in back, held by the
> straps, work?
It is not usual to have any padding at the back of the head. When I say
"not usual," you may read that as "I have never seen any mask anywhere,
live or in photos or as a diagram in the rules, which had padding
there." (The strap is now mandatory, however.)
> By the size chart, I needed a large but it is a bit big. I was thinking
> that also a towel or other back of the head padding and stronger &
> tighter back straps might make it fit more snug & stable. I assume that
> a medium would have been too small though; going by the chart on the
> site. Is a loose mask ok or does it need stabilizing, tightening up as
> it were?
Perhaps it seems too big because you have not bent the metal tang down
yet? That tang in combination with the elastic bands are supposed to
keep the mask on. Mine wobbles a little, but it's still in contact with
my cheeks/jaw, which is good enough. I can also get it on and off
without having my glasses go too wonky each time.
With the tang down and the straps in place, it shouldn't wobble too
much. If it's loose it'll distract you and, I'd imagine, provide less
protection. Regular masks can be squeezed a bit to fit the face more
snugly, but I don't have any experience with clear-visor masks. Ask around.
Which leads me to this: usually fencers buying equipment have some
knowledgable friends, clubmates, or a trainer who can offer answers and
advice. You sound like you're studying fencing alone in the desert
somewhere, depending on mail deliveries from the Acme Company for all
your equipment (masks, sabers, roller skates, anvils, electric fans,
etc.). Is there no one there to help you (e.g., let you try their mask)?