Why always steel blades?

Why always steel blades?

Post by John E Mas » Sun, 30 Oct 1994 05:56:15


I been thinking as of late that steel isn't really the best metal for
fencing. It doesn't naturally bend well, and as a result it suffers from
metal fatigue quicker than other metals. It would be nice if someone
found a metal-compound or alloy than would stand up to more stress.
Perhaps some copper compound, copper is too weak, but it could be
combined with a stronger metal producing a more flexible (i.e. better for
flick shots) and durable blade.

Later,
John

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by David Glass » Sun, 30 Oct 1994 09:03:57


Quote:

>Subject: Why always steel blades?
>Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 20:56:15 GMT
>I been thinking as of late that steel isn't really the best metal for
>fencing. It doesn't naturally bend well, and as a result it suffers from
>metal fatigue quicker than other metals. It would be nice if someone
>found a metal-compound or alloy than would stand up to more stress.
>Perhaps some copper compound, copper is too weak, but it could be
>combined with a stronger metal producing a more flexible (i.e. better for
>flick shots) and durable blade.
>Later,
>John

There was some discussion of this in the FIE some years back after a fatal
accident during the World Championships in Rome.  For whatever reason the FIE
opted to stick with steel -- for now anyway.   I had a student who was getting
his degree in chemical engineering (or was it *molecular* engineering? :-)
that used to talk about one day "growing" non-metal blades as single crystals
... or something like that.

David Glasser  
fencing master %DFB:BLZ/LLZ Bonn  NFF:BSI/BF/NSS Bergen

Sit tibi copia, sit sapientia, formaque detur,
Inquinat omnia sola superbia si comitetur.

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by DollarW » Mon, 31 Oct 1994 02:38:01


Steel is probably the cheapest metal to manufacture blades from; that's
probably why they continue to use it.

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Cole Lars » Tue, 01 Nov 1994 06:25:04

How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...


: I been thinking as of late that steel isn't really the best metal for
: fencing. It doesn't naturally bend well, and as a result it suffers from
: metal fatigue quicker than other metals. It would be nice if someone
: found a metal-compound or alloy than would stand up to more stress.
: Perhaps some copper compound, copper is too weak, but it could be
: combined with a stronger metal producing a more flexible (i.e. better for
: flick shots) and durable blade.

: Later,
: John

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Mark C. Ort » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 02:40:05

Quote:

> How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
> could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...

The USFA (medical committee, I believe) has been working with ASTM for
the last couple of years to investigate composite materials for blades.
I don't know how much success they've had.

--
      Mark C. Orton
      employed by (but not speaking for)
      Pulse Communications, Inc.

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Desiree Michele Fulfo » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 04:41:31



: > How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
: > could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...

Carbon fibre and composite resin blades were tried several years back.  
Two main detractions: 1. The blades tended to splinter along the fracture
edge, rather than break cleanly which was of concern to the fencer being
hit (!), and 2. Many fencers complained that these blades lacked
"sentiment de fer" and felt "dead" in their hands.

Not that the technology is inherently lacking, but it looks like a lot
more work needs to done, aside from cost considerations.

 Ed Mou.

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Joseph Korma » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 04:52:31

How about a plastic? Sure if it breaks, it'll splinter, but it would
flex better than steel, wouldn't rust (big bonus!) and should cost alot
less. Besides, I'd like to get a 'Tupperware' blade! (Would the boxes
then go 'burp'?)

-Joseph

: How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
: could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...


: : I been thinking as of late that steel isn't really the best metal for
: : fencing. It doesn't naturally bend well, and as a result it suffers from
: : metal fatigue quicker than other metals. It would be nice if someone
: : found a metal-compound or alloy than would stand up to more stress.
: : Perhaps some copper compound, copper is too weak, but it could be
: : combined with a stronger metal producing a more flexible (i.e. better for
: : flick shots) and durable blade.

: : Later,
: : John

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Morgan Bur » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 04:45:03

|> How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
|> could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...

Yes, and penetrate a mask mesh rather easily, too.

-- Morgan Burke

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by No one of Consequen » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 10:39:55

                Hey there fencers.  Here's a general question for you
epee-ists out there.  First,  any opinions for fencing a lefty who hugs the
side of the strip and uses quick strong attacks.  Second, how wise it to
attack said individual diagonally (from the opposite side of the strip).
Third;  Do any of you find it beneficial to keep a deeper/wider stance with
the feet.  ie bending the knees and squatting more to get a little more dist
ance.  Finally, and this is probably going to get some interesting debate,
which grip do you find most effective (dare I say best).  (French, German,
Visconti etc.)

                                                Michael J. Opferman
                                                IUP Fencing Club

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Desiree Michele Fulfo » Wed, 02 Nov 1994 13:33:54

: How about a plastic? Sure if it breaks, it'll splinter, but it would
: flex better than steel, wouldn't rust (big bonus!) and should cost alot
: less. Besides, I'd like to get a 'Tupperware' blade! (Would the boxes
: then go 'burp'?)

Just don't store your wet fencing clothes with your blades.  Get a
fencing bag that has a separate compartment for your weapons.  I stick
mask and weapons in such a bag; my blades have yet to rust.  I never
clean/sand/steel wool, or otherwise maintain them.  No moisture == no rust.

Ed Mou.

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Kelly Ringwa » Tue, 01 Nov 1994 01:51:06

Quote:

>How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
>could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...

I've seen a carbon fiber foil blade, but I don't know where they're going with
that.  For my part, it wouldn't feel the same without a steel blade.
Regards,

Kelly

 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by William John M. Christ » Fri, 04 Nov 1994 07:16:46


Quote:

>>How about composits - Kevlar and carbon fiber maybe?  A broken blade
>>could be designed to go all fuzzy and fibrous maybe...
>I've seen a carbon fiber foil blade, but I don't know where they're going with
>that.  For my part, it wouldn't feel the same without a steel blade.

In Kendo the shinai are traditionally made with four cut pieces of
bamboo.  There are however shinai made from carbon fibre.  They're
roughly ten times the price (probably $250 to $300 Cdn by now) but aren't
affected by temperature and humidity as much and last (I've heard) for
about ten years.  Kendoka can go through two or three shinai a year
(depending on how active they were) so there's definitely savings there.  
Another benefit is that their edges don't tend to flake off so much like
bamboo will do, however when the carbon fibre does break the pieces are a
little more dangerous.  Granted the weight, heft and hit of a carbon
fibre shinai is not much different from a bamboo hit.  Whereas switch
from metal to carbon fibre might make the feel different.
--
"Never in the field of human | Will Christie | "He must be talking about our
 conflict has so much been   | #6382 Chinook |  liquor bills."  --Unknown
 owed by so many to so few." | 666th AW IHHD |  Canadian Spitfire pilot,
 --W. Churchill, Sept. 1940  | Ladder  Admin |  shortly thereafter
 
 
 

Why always steel blades?

Post by Jeremy B Willia » Sun, 06 Nov 1994 15:50:48

Depends.  Are you quick?  Wait patiently for him to begin his attack, and
hit his hand on the way in.  This works better if you're one of them
northpaws I hear tell of.

Quote:
>Second, how wise it to
>attack said individual diagonally (from the opposite side of the strip).

This works quite well, as long as you are also left-handed.  Effectively,
you are circling to his non-weapon side.
If you are right-handed, this is a different situation, and I have no
idea, except to recommend that you fence left-handed as all right-
thinking people do (-:

Quote:
>...  Finally, and this is probably going to get some interesting debate,
>which grip do you find most effective (dare I say best).  (French, German,
>Visconti etc.)

Let's see if I can remember what I've been told, and what I've figured out...

French:  Doesn't aid strength or any particular moves.  If you're really
desparate for reach and have taken many years of piano lessons, you can
use "the French advantage."  It's easier to be disarmed, and you have to
grip tighter in first or second position.  More tiring to hold.  Useful
as a remedial device for point control (I have no idea why).
I prefer French for foil.

Visconti: The best pistol grip for a beginner, and the easiest to hold
properly.  May be uncomfortable in some hands.  Favors wide actions and
too tight a grip (then again it may be the people I know who prefer it).
People who prefer Visconti tend to move either to German or Belgian.
Visconti hurts my hand in foil, but I don't seem to have that problem
with epees or right-handed foils.

German: Kind of like Visconti.  Favors strength.  Good for beats and
blade takings.  Point control easier than Visconti, but not as good
as the others.  Range of motion may be restricted.  People who use
German grips tend to migrate to Russians.  After having trouble
against fencers using this grip, I'm experimenting with it.

Russian: Not as restrictive as the German, and easier to control.  Not
as good at augmenting strength either.  Kind of like a cross between the
German and the Belgian.  I'm not terribly fond of it, but I know many
people who are.  It feels like it's always slipping out of my hand.

Belgian: Probably the best at point control of the grips I'm familliar
with (barring the French).  Some minor restriction on range of motion.
Allows for fairly secure grip without the necessity of clamping down.
I prefer the Belgian for epee.

American: I've only seen this grip once, aside from drawings.  It's
kind of like a blocky, elongated Belgian.  This thing appears to have
the same relationship to the Belgian that the German has to the Visconti,
so I would guess it improves point control (!) over the Belgian and
strengthens parries, beats, and takings; it looks like it would have
motion restrictions similar to the German.  As far as I know, these
aren't made in lefty versions.

House brand (Santelli?): There's a grip that a mail-order company in
New England (or was it New York?) makes.  It's kind of like a Russian,
but with rounder, broader, flatter appendages (I think they're all in
the same places).  I've only seen it once, but it looks like it's
worth a try.

--J
--

Epee-9