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Thread: Who makes what now?

  1. #1
    Senior Member remise's Avatar
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    Who makes what now?

    Just mildly curious as it appears that Uhlmann is outsourcing to Asia, is Leon Paul the only vendor that makes their own stuff?

    Where does PBT get their stuff from?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member yeoldearmourer's Avatar
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    Fence for Fun used to make Unlmann stuff but Unlmann and Allstar now outsourcing to China but still changers higher prices. PBT I believe is Hugainan base. Paul makes all there stuff. American Fencers makes some of there items.
    Tim Loomis
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    Senior Member stealingophelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeoldearmourer
    Fence for Fun used to make Unlmann stuff but Unlmann and Allstar now outsourcing to China but still changers higher prices. PBT I believe is Hugainan base. Paul makes all there stuff. American Fencers makes some of there items.
    im fairly certain not all Allstar/Uhlmann gear is from china, as a matter of fact my 2005 kit is from germany, FWF is german as well

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    Senior Member Durando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeoldearmourer
    Fence for Fun used to make Unlmann stuff but Unlmann and Allstar now outsourcing to China but still changers higher prices. PBT I believe is Hugainan base. Paul makes all there stuff. American Fencers makes some of there items.
    That would certainly explain the crap épée wires I've bought both in Germany and France. Used to be there was ceramic insulation beneath the cotton thread--not anymore!

    I stupidly pulled a little too hard while straightening a wire the other day and some of the insulation came away. I wired the blade anyway, thinking that the ceramic coating and the glue would keep the weapon from grounding out. Wrong!

    So, armourer, I defer to your experience: what sort of wires should I buy in the future? (I'm not replacing my German points.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jjefferies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Durando
    That would certainly explain the crap épée wires I've bought both in Germany and France. Used to be there was ceramic insulation beneath the cotton thread--not anymore!

    I stupidly pulled a little too hard while straightening a wire the other day and some of the insulation came away. I wired the blade anyway, thinking that the ceramic coating and the glue would keep the weapon from grounding out. Wrong!

    So, armourer, I defer to your experience: what sort of wires should I buy in the future? (I'm not replacing my German points.
    There would not have been ceramic insulation under any of the cotton sheaths. Ceramic is much too fragile for wires. Possibly what you are thinking of is a shellac coating. My experience has been that what are termed "French" wires are double wrapped in cotton thread. "German" wires have a layer of shellac or some other painted on insulation over which is a cotton thread sheath. The cotton is necessary to give the glue something to hold onto.

    My personal preferences have swung quite a bit recently. I started off using "French" wires, switched to german and am now switching back to "French". There are several reasons:
    1) I've been bitten badly recently with faux/fake "German" wires. They were sold to me as German but they definitely were not.
    2) The contact points on "German" wires are down in a square indentation. The square is due to a much older failed design that was to fix the problem of epee tips getting out of adjustment. It didn't work and the last blades I wired up for the Cal club were a real pain because of mis-alignments between the cup and the contact spring.
    3) the shellac insulation is a pain to remove when connecting the wire to the contact posts. It is very easy to cut the wire while scraping the shellac off. Acetone alone doesn't seem to do the job.
    4) the "french" wires seem to be a bit more robust but that could be just my imagination. And the contacts themselves are out in the open rather than down at the bottom of a pit.
    J Jefferies

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    Senior Member jjefferies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stealingophelia
    im fairly certain not all Allstar/Uhlmann gear is from china, as a matter of fact my 2005 kit is from germany, FWF is german as well
    The problem is that you really don't know. Likewise my Uhlmann gear (clothing and mask) are german made. But my understanding is that the former german suppliers of Uhlmann are going to be selling fencing gear under their own name, FWF?? (this because of/or the cause of Uhlmann turning to chinese suppliers). Anyway I will have to be aware and look very closely at Uhlmann/Allstar gear in the future for possible drops in quality. It's not just chinese made gear that concerns me but also quality issues with east european gear. I'm very fond of STM FIE epee blades as a reasonable compromise between price and quality. But I wouldn't have one of their "N" blades due to experiences of my salle mates. And I'm seeing more problems with epee tips than in the past. I've actually gotten several epee tips which won't fit all the bases I have. Which can make for difficulty when you try to carry spares to tournaments. This was not a problem in the past.
    J Jefferies

  7. #7
    Senior Member yeoldearmourer's Avatar
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    The very best epee wires on the market is PBT wires. One the two contacts are solder and not crimp like the Uhlmann wires Which alouds for you to reusing the cup by replacing the wire and solder it in. Crimping the wire alouds for corrosion to take place.There was a old saying that Uhlmann consider quality first and Allstar was for the highest dollar value they could get. Allstar in order to make money is outsource alot to China.

    Used sandpaper to remove the shellac I pick up a small handed sander from my local model the belt is like a 1/2 wide works great
    Last edited by yeoldearmourer; 03-28-2006 at 05:07 AM.
    Tim Loomis
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  8. #8
    Senior Member shlepzig's Avatar
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    PBT wires

    Based on Tim's comments (and some of the other armourers) I have switched to PBT wires and have not had a bad wiring job since (at least not where the wire has failed for my indelicate handling).

    For the shellac on my part I find that a second pass with the match after I burn off the cotton insulation takes the shellac right off and a short pass with a bit of scotchbrite to get all the ash off and I am left with a nice clean contact.

    I may now find out what I am doing is complete madness from those more experienced than I.

    Shlep.

  9. #9
    Senior Member penguin_2000's Avatar
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    Does quality in german epee wires differ greatly from their foil counter parts? I'ver never had any problems with german foil wires.

    As for the insulation, I scrape off the cotton with my fingernails or a small knife, heat with match, and polish with steel wool... never any problems. The only stuff I've had a tough time with is the Absolute fencing wires... had to use the corner of a file, but again, no big deal.
    Never do today what can be put off until tomorrow.

  10. #10
    Senior Member yeoldearmourer's Avatar
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    The nice thing about PBT epee wires they work well with german tips. I have had a bad batch of german foil wires had to resolder were the wire came into the cup. Go to stench the wire and it would pull out of the cup
    Tim Loomis
    Ye Olde Armourer MASTER ARMOURER
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  11. #11
    Senior Member CvilleFencer's Avatar
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    Just a small point, but I do not recommend burning the insulation off. Just use a razor blade or some emory paper. It does not take much at all to overheat that thin copper wire and make it brittle. Matches are better than lighters, but still not a good idea IMHO...

    I use German wires pretty much exclusively. If you are carefull putting it all together you should not have much of a problem. I have started getting them from FWF but I used to get them from Lagenkampf/Uhlmann or sometimes from Absolute if I need them quick. Do not buy the Absolute "german" style wires as they are really crap, although a lot of their other house brand stuff has gotten pretty good in quality.
    Just another lost soul saved by the (hit) First Church of EPEE!

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  12. #12
    Senior Member fencerbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjefferies
    And I'm seeing more problems with epee tips than in the past. I've actually gotten several epee tips which won't fit all the bases I have.
    The German-style points supplied from the factory by STM are not interchangeable with Uhlmann parts. The plastic skirt of the StM tip and the Uhlmann cups do not have any clearance and the contact between them is twitchy. Look at the difference between the StM cups and the Uhlmann cups and you can understand why.
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    Is the only place to get FWF points is directly from their website? Any American vendors selling them?

    Do any other designs/makes put a varnish coating on their wires?

  14. #14
    Posting Hound Purple Fencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiwf
    Is the only place to get FWF points is directly from their website? Any American vendors selling them?

    Do any other designs/makes put a varnish coating on their wires?
    Fencing Post is starting to carry FWF.

    The german wires I carry now have a varnish-type inner coating....but it's red, so you can actually TELL when it's gone. You have to burn it off, tho...if you try and sand it off, you'll probably sand through the wire.
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    Senior Member fencerbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Purple Fencer
    Fencing Post is starting to carry FWF.

    The german wires I carry now have a varnish-type inner coating....but it's red, so you can actually TELL when it's gone. You have to burn it off, tho...if you try and sand it off, you'll probably sand through the wire.
    It does sand off, mostly successfully. That is why I use the very coarse Emery cloth. The only one that I have really had trouble sanding off is the 30 gauge point to point wire that I refit Foil cups with. I believe the insulation is Kynar.
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    Where do you get your wires?

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    Senior Member MyraTrue's Avatar
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    One the two contacts are solder and not crimp like the Uhlmann wires Which alouds for you to reusing the cup by replacing the wire and solder it in.
    I've definitely found myself soldering wires into old cups. Durando:
    Used to be there was ceramic insulation beneath the cotton thread--not anymore!
    Now, interestingly enough, I've been able to make epee and foil wires using magnet wire (Thank you Radio Shack), which is insulated with a ceramic layer. We were out of wires before a major tournament at one point, and needed them NOW. So we used old cups and raided my magnet wire stash to make new wires. I never had problems with the insulation (ceramic) on the wires, they held up amazingly well. The biggest problem was getting the ceramic coating OFF. But getting them soldered into the cups was a real job.

  18. #18
    Senior Member fencerbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyraTrue
    I've definitely found myself soldering wires into old cups. Durando:

    Now, interestingly enough, I've been able to make epee and foil wires using magnet wire (Thank you Radio Shack), which is insulated with a ceramic layer. We were out of wires before a major tournament at one point, and needed them NOW. So we used old cups and raided my magnet wire stash to make new wires. I never had problems with the insulation (ceramic) on the wires, they held up amazingly well. The biggest problem was getting the ceramic coating OFF. But getting them soldered into the cups was a real job.
    The Kynar insulated point to point 30 gauge wire should be available at your local Radio Shack. It is actually quite strong and more resistant to stretching than typical Foil/Epee wire.

    I am confused. You talk about CERAMIC insulated magnet wire. I always though ceramic materials would be rigid and not bend. My long ago experience with magnet wire was with wire that was insulated with very hard, temperature resistant but flexible varnish like material. Or is this a problem of semantics?
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    Senior Member MyraTrue's Avatar
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    Fencerbill, you might be right that it's a shelac of some kind, and not in fact enamel (not ceramic, it's been a week of 2-4 hours a night, sorry). What ever it may be, the magnet wire packs from Radio Shack (the green, red, and... is the third guage gold?) hold up nicely to abuse. The reason I've ended up with magnet wire was simply need, and I was pleased that they held up so well.

  20. #20
    Senior Member fencerbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyraTrue
    Fencerbill, you might be right that it's a shelac of some kind, and not in fact enamel (not ceramic, it's been a week of 2-4 hours a night, sorry). What ever it may be, the magnet wire packs from Radio Shack (the green, red, and... is the third guage gold?) hold up nicely to abuse. The reason I've ended up with magnet wire was simply need, and I was pleased that they held up so well.
    Hadn't previously though of using the magnet wire, perhaps I will try it. I have been very satisfied with the Kynar wire but the stripping is difficult.
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