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Thread: Ok, I'm an idiot

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    Senior Member Slacker's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm an idiot

    I'm not real new to the sport, but I have not yet had to repair a foil blade. I've watched the Chinese video ad nauseum- how hard can it be? Apparently, harder than I thought. Tell me, exactly, how to bend the tang to maximize your touch. I had been told, in general terms, that the tang is bent slightly downward and toward the inside line, so when the weapon is held in sixth,the bell is on the outside line, with the blade pointing toward the inside line, to the center of the target. After 4 YEARS of fencing I was told my blades are bent exactly opposite of what they should be. The point is deflected off the lame from this angle, not closing the point. The only instance the blade would be bent that way would be if I am fencing another lefty. So, tell me, do fencers choose their weapons based on whether the opponent is left or right handed, have I seriously been fencing incorrectly all this time, and should I bend the blades so they point toward the outside line when I take fourth???? I'm working on them tonight, so prompt advice would be appreciated... once you've stopped laughing at me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker View Post
    I'm not real new to the sport, but I have not yet had to repair a foil blade. I've watched the Chinese video ad nauseum- how hard can it be? Apparently, harder than I thought. Tell me, exactly, how to bend the tang to maximize your touch. I had been told, in general terms, that the tang is bent slightly downward and toward the inside line, so when the weapon is held in sixth,the bell is on the outside line, with the blade pointing toward the inside line, to the center of the target. After 4 YEARS of fencing I was told my blades are bent exactly opposite of what they should be. The point is deflected off the lame from this angle, not closing the point. The only instance the blade would be bent that way would be if I am fencing another lefty. So, tell me, do fencers choose their weapons based on whether the opponent is left or right handed, have I seriously been fencing incorrectly all this time, and should I bend the blades so they point toward the outside line when I take fourth???? I'm working on them tonight, so prompt advice would be appreciated... once you've stopped laughing at me.
    whichever hand you use, a "correct" cant is down and inwards towards your off hand. if you're having trouble hitting a 4 riposte with a closed line, either you're doing it wrong or you have a much larger cant than you should.

    i'm a righty in epee, have a pretty large cant on all of my blades, and i don't have a problem putting the tip on when i'm doing it correctly. including against lefties.

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    D'accord, Noodle. Thanks

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    Senior Member erooMynohtnA's Avatar
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    You're a lefty, so you're going to have to remember to reverse most directions you see.

    Richard's right handed, if I recall, so it's possible he just had a momentary brain lapse and thought your blades were for a righty. Although I think that's probably not the case.

    I've fenced with a blade canted the incorrect direction before, and it's not really a big deal if you're used to it. It's not ideal, but it's my opinion that you're probably going to fence at about the same level.

    Edit: Dave Neevel is a really talented armorer, and he can answer any question you may have. He's always been very friendly to me, and I always come away about three times more knowledgable after I talk to him.
    Last edited by erooMynohtnA; 06-05-2007 at 03:06 AM. Reason: Additional Thought

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    Unconfirmed introspective's Avatar
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    Foil preparations

    To the best of my recollection, if you're right handed for example, you're supposed to hold the weapon by the grip and angling it slightly to the floor, use your left foot and slide the foil under the foot until you create a slight arc in the foil. Be sure to keep the wire side facing outward and bend on the other side. Then just know that after awhile the metal will soften and you'll have to replace it and that's why it bends upward. Once you see that happening, just have to replace the blade.

    Silvousplait - if there are any corrections, avail yourself

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    Bend vs Cant

    The bend is in the blade and is limited by Article m.8 to "...less than 1 cm; .." It must be in the veticle plan and near the center of the blade.

    Use you foot as discussed bit I personally do not believe that the bend is from the friction/heat. If you have a decent blade (Maraging Steel) the melting point is something like 3575 degrees F. Can't imagine generating enough heat to amke a differnce in the malabilty of the steel.

    The cant is at the tang. No Article that I have read is apropo.

    I place my weapon (sans bell etc...) in a vice where the forte meets the tang-tang up. I like a lot of cant, inward and downward. All my blades are maraging, thus strong., thus hard to cant. I went to the local machine shop and had a Johnson Bar made. It is about three feet long and has a 6mm hole that fits over the rear of the tang. I can dial in a very precise cant with it.

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    Senior Member SJCFU#2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H Man View Post
    The cant is at the tang. No Article that I have read is apropo.
    Look at M.4, subparagraph 2:
    The grip must be able to pass through the same gauge as the
    guard. It must be so made that normally it cannot injure either
    the user or his opponent."

    This may not specifically address the cant of the tang but it does imply a limit which can vary from grip-to-grip. Too much cant for a given grip will result in the grip extending beyond the edge of the guard and being unable to pass through the gauge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by H Man View Post
    Use you foot as discussed bit I personally do not believe that the bend is from the friction/heat. If you have a decent blade (Maraging Steel) the melting point is something like 3575 degrees F. Can't imagine generating enough heat to amke a differnce in the malabilty of the steel.
    You don't need to melt it.

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    My point is that friction between your shoe and floor cannot generate enough heat to soften maraging steel.

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    From wikipedia on steel:

    "Carbon and other elements act as a hardening agent, preventing dislocations in the iron atom crystal lattice from sliding past one another"

    Wouldn't ANY heat increase affect the individual iron atoms causing dislocations in the crystal lattice "more likely"? This would translate to an increase in ductility or malleability? The reverse would be why blades become more brittle when cold. The effect could be very small, but still exists.

    I'm just curious. I'm not an engineer or metallurgist.

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    Senior Member rory's Avatar
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    The main reason for using your foot and the floor is so if the blade breaks, you don't stab yourself in the hand/eye/throat/gonads.

    You can set the tang ("cant" for Americans) using a ring spanner ("wrench"). Put the ring over the tang and squeeze the end of the spanner in towards the forte of the blade. Easy, even on maraging blades.
    "First, second, third, dead f***in' last." - Greg Glassman

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    Maraging steel has no carbon.

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    Senior Member erooMynohtnA's Avatar
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    1. Not true, it has very low carbon
    2. That doesn't contradict anything anyone said if it were true.

    In an abstract sense, heating steel will make it easier to bend. However, given the coldest maraging will be when you're fencing is 50 degrees, and the hottest can get is about 120 degrees under foot. You get a difference of about 70 degrees, which is about 10% of the difference between the lowest temperature you'll use it and when steel's crystalline structure starts reforming.

    10% is a notable difference, certainly. And I've known some better fencers than I who swear upon warming up their blades before they fence. However, I think it's just superstition. I've never broken a cold blade by bending, and I've never felt a warm blade was any easier to shape.

    While flex may increase slightly at warmer temperatures (but I don't think it's within human perception), malleability is what you're looking at, and that may not have a direct corrolation with heat (flex may also not have one, I don't know). Just flexing a blade doesn't put a bend in it. You have to flex it slightly beyond the point of elasticity to keep a bend.

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    Senior Member D'Artag-NOT's Avatar
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    Make it easy on yourself and contact Purple Fencer to arrange to have your blade worked on.

    Also, I'm always wary of Wikipedia as a final, definitive source on anything since any idiot--perhaps a deranged fencer--can edit its entries.

    Just my two cents.
    "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never . . . never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." Churchill, 1941

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    Quote Originally Posted by erooMynohtnA View Post
    1. Not true, it has very low carbon
    2. That doesn't contradict anything anyone said if it were true.

    In an abstract sense, heating steel will make it easier to bend. However, given the coldest maraging will be when you're fencing is 50 degrees, and the hottest can get is about 120 degrees under foot. You get a difference of about 70 degrees, which is about 10% of the difference between the lowest temperature you'll use it and when steel's crystalline structure starts reforming.

    10% is a notable difference, certainly. And I've known some better fencers than I who swear upon warming up their blades before they fence. However, I think it's just superstition. I've never broken a cold blade by bending, and I've never felt a warm blade was any easier to shape.

    While flex may increase slightly at warmer temperatures (but I don't think it's within human perception), malleability is what you're looking at, and that may not have a direct corrolation with heat (flex may also not have one, I don't know). Just flexing a blade doesn't put a bend in it. You have to flex it slightly beyond the point of elasticity to keep a bend.
    I agree with all you say above, with the one modification that maraging steel has only trace amounts of carbon.

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    Anthony, thanks for the advice. I've tried using a vice on my FIE blades, and I just don't have the strength to bend the tang at all. I will seek out Dave's expertise sometime. As for the whole temperature thing, I thought about heating the blade like a horseshoe and pounding it, but what a lot of work that would be!

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    If your not strong enough to cant the blade, if you heat the unwired blade (I put it infront of my Fireplace, but I was canting in the winter. ) that will make it easier to mold.

    However, I use a vise, and a 5 foot long pipe over the blade for leverage on the bend. (My father does a lot of Electrical Work, so I use one of those eletrical wiring metal pipes, it works really well!.)

    DISCLAIMER: I would highly recommend having someone who's canted weapons a lot do your first, or more, cant's, while you watch, so you can get a feel for it. It is easy to pop the blade off of the tang if you have it too far down in the vise, and you can put the bend too low on the tang, so that it doesent let the grip meet the guard.

    Hope that helps!
    ~Vince

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    Quote Originally Posted by rory View Post
    You can set the tang ("cant" for Americans)...
    request clarification plz.
    are you saying that "set the tang" = "cant" or are you saying "tang" = "cant"
    because one sounds right and the other is definitely wrong; i'd like to preclude misunderstandings for the newer audience

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    Senior Member brtech's Avatar
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    Nope, it's "set" = "cant". You can put a 5 degree set on the tang.

    We'll, maybe you cant but he can set it

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    Senior Member erik_blank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    If your not strong enough to cant the blade, if you heat the unwired blade (I put it infront of my Fireplace, but I was canting in the winter. ) that will make it easier to mold.
    Folks:

    I would STRONGLY advise against using any kind of heating to allow for easier bending of the blade/tang. These blades are forged and then tempered to allow for a sepcific malliability to the metal. Heating the metal to the point that you are changing the ductility/elacticity may adversly affect the overall strength of the material and lead to premature failure of the joint between the blade and the tang. How? By heating the metal and allowing it to cool too slowly, the tempering can be changed so that the elacticity becomes greater, reducing the tensile strength of the metal and allowing for a failure due to tightening the pommle nut 'too much' for the new tempering. (ever see a low grade bolt come apart when you tighten a nut too much?)
    Conversly, if a tang is quenched and cooled too quickly the metal may become brittle and snap from a shock (like a strong beat) when it is under tension.

    Further, I would strongly urge people that don't know what they are doing to get help the first few times they go to work on their baldes. (I DO NOT mean to be rude or snyde here - ignorance is not a sin, simply a curable disorder )

    I have seen blades break from people weakening the metal by placing too much of a "set/Cant" to the tang, then bending it back 3-4 times before geting it 'right.' The blade then failed at the bend point within a few weeks. (Failure due to micro-fractures as they repeatedly exceeded the elacticity of the metal)

    OK, I've prattled on too much here... Big things - don't heat the metal to bend the blade, once bent, don't try to 'undo' the bend.
    "Rub her feet!" - Lazarus Long, Time enough for Love, Robert A. Heinlein

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