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Thread: Non-FIE Epee advice

  1. #1
    Senior Member JacoKierkegaard's Avatar
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    Non-FIE Epee advice

    I'm finally looking at getting my first weapon, and I'm looking for advice. I'm definitely on a tight budget, so I'm looking at non-FIE, entry level stuff. The two I've been looking at the most are the Absolute standard epee and the StM that is sold on this site's store.

    Any advice on the comparative qualities of these two? Should I buy something else? If so, remember the key here is BUDGET. I know this isn't exactly the best sport to get into for a broke college student, but... well, that's me.
    - Will

  2. #2
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    in my experience, and i've not used either in a long time, but this is my experience:

    both are cheap.

    the STM feels pretty good, like an actual fencing blade. but it will break pretty easily.
    the AF will last for a lot longer, but it feels like a you're swinging around a steel club.

  3. #3
    That Guy Craig's Avatar
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    I've seen a bit of a difference than what noodle is saying.

    In my experience:
    The AF silver base line epee blade will take a kink faster than an StM.
    The AF "elite gold" epee blade will last about the same as the StM.
    The StM's feel a little better, lighter. I'll pick up a couple of them and test out weights at the office this morning to let you know.

    Craig

  4. #4
    Senior Member CvilleFencer's Avatar
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    The Absolute epees are rebar, with no feel or balance to them IMHO. Normally, a very stiff, heavy blade is pretty quick to snap and in the handful of these we have had go through the club, none have lasted more than a couple of months. StM's feel much better, closer to what the "normal" balance point should be on an epee. However StM blades can be a little spotty and they will kick up if you don't have good distance timing.

    One thing to remember with fencing gear, especially blades, is that it is easy to get sucked into a false economy. You can't afford much so you by cheap cheap stuff that you replace every other month. Compare that with someone who saves up and buys a good blade like a Vniti or LP and fences with it for years and you realize it is the good blades that actually save money.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member wahrman's Avatar
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    I'll have to second that. It's tough when you just don't have the money but if you really want an epee blade that will last, Vniti. I personally don't like the feel of them but they are tough. $120 for a blade that you will use for years vs a $50 blade that will last a few weeks or months.

  6. #6
    Senior Member magic_moose's Avatar
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    I'll third it.. With the price of blades, points, wires, and hassle, an FIE blade is true economy.

    As the saying goes, "I can't afford to buy cheap stuff".
    Last edited by magic_moose; 04-22-2009 at 02:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JacoKierkegaard View Post
    I'm finally looking at getting my first weapon, and I'm looking for advice. I'm definitely on a tight budget, so I'm looking at non-FIE, entry level stuff. The two I've been looking at the most are the Absolute standard epee and the StM that is sold on this site's store.

    Any advice on the comparative qualities of these two? Should I buy something else? If so, remember the key here is BUDGET. I know this isn't exactly the best sport to get into for a broke college student, but... well, that's me.
    My approach is to spend the money for one really tough FIE blade, and then buy a couple of really cheap blades for my spare/backup weapons.
    - Wisdom is the knowledge of how much you don't know.

  8. #8
    Senior Member fencerchica's Avatar
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    For a nice-handling, relatively inexpensive, and more or less durable non-FIE epee blade, I would recommend you check out the LP non-FIE. It's a little floppy in the up/down direction, but other than that it's pretty nice for the money. (I use Vniti FIE myself, which at ~90 a pop I think is very accessible, price-point-wise)

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    I agree with CvilleFencer and the others on the "false economy" aspect--I spent a few years going through cheap blades and spending less money more often, but a year or two ago I "wisened up" a bit and bought a couple of decent blades. I haven't regretted it.

    As for the answer to your actual question, AF vs. StM:

    I've used one of the AF blades and watched a teammate use another. As Cville said, rebar. Mine was the stiffest blade I've ever had and had no feel. That being said, it has refused to die and I still use it as a knockaround practice weapon. More often than not I use it just because I want to see it break so I can justify replacing it, but no matter how mean I am to it (and my poor teammates... :-P), it hasn't broken yet--it's even loosened up quite a bit and isn't so bad as a practice weapon that it throws off my game when I pick up a decent blade.
    The one my teammate used broke a month after he bought it in a grazing hit that caught a fold in my jacket.

    I've never personally owned an StM, but we have quite a few of them in the school armory and it's my observation that they kink up pretty quick. I've seen a few of them break, too, but it's hard for me to know how long they've been knocking around in the armory being abused by new college fencers.

    I own one of the LP blades and it's certainly the most durable option...I've yet to see one of those break. Of course it's also the most expensive of these three. They're very hard to kink, but on the other side of that, once you do kink one, you'll have a h*** of a time getting it out. I also echo what others have said about their floppiness--I rarely use mine these days because I like having actual point control. If you like flicky attacks though...

    I'm getting too long winded here for someone who doesn't ACTUALLY really know what he's talking about and is reiterating a lot of what's already been said (by people likely more qualified), but I just thought I'd share my experience.
    Wenn Fechten einfach wäre, würde es Fußball heißen!

  10. #10
    Senior Member TBean's Avatar
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    Don't go Absolute - your team mates will thank you. Those things could be used as an ultra-light baseball bat. Seriously a team mate with a light hand has one, and I still wince every time I see it.

    LP is a durable, long-lasting blade. I have had them break, but only in the tang with a french grip and after a long, useful life. LP is also very lightweight, and some people don't like the vibrations you feel in your hand if you beat a lot - just so you know. Kinks are a bear to get out of the blade, but even with the kink they don't break easily - I've been waiting six months for one with a bad bend to go - still waiting.

    Cheap blades are a false economy, but if you really must go the route the StM is a better option.
    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally take a look at the results. ~ Churchill
    I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. ~ Rita Rudner

  11. #11
    Senior Member JacoKierkegaard's Avatar
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    Yeah, I went with the StM. I'm going to be away from the club this summer so most of my practice will be against a hanging golf ball, and I've landed a pretty good job for the summer so by the time the StM wears out I should have the cash to replace it with the LP non-FIE or one of the less expensive FIE blades.
    - Will

  12. #12
    Senior Member RebelFencer's Avatar
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    If FIE is completely out of the question then I would recommend STMs. They have the best feel of any non-FIE blade I've used. Now, if you can fork up a little extra money and get a Vniti FIE then you will have a blade that is likely to last longer. It's been said, just reiterating.

  13. #13
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    StM's are the only blade I've ever used on a regular basis. Mine have a few weird kinks in different places (one blade it's near the foible, another has one at the forte), it's cosmetically unpleasing, but they haven't snapped yet.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DangerMouse's Avatar
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    There is another cheap option. I bought a Balestra branded blade a few months ago after skeptically arguing with the woman that it wouldn't last me more than a month. After a few months of off and on usage, it is still perfectly straight and intact. Not bad for a $30 wired blade.

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    I think the Dinamo blades from Triplette are a little better than the StM, if you're in that price range. All our club blades are Dinamos, and they last pretty well. They're also pretty soft, which is nice for 12 yo kids starting, but not so nice whey you're strong enough to throw the tip around a little.

    I was switching over to non-FIE LPs, but then broke two in a row. One french grip tang, and one got bent backwards and took a really nasty kink that never came out and broke within a week. Another one just did the same thing, bad kink in the foible from a backwards bend. So I don't know, they're pretty nice if you fence absence of the blade, but they're not as bulletproof as I'd thought.

    K O'N

  16. #16
    Senior Member TBean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K O'N View Post
    I was switching over to non-FIE LPs, but then broke two in a row. One french grip tang, and one got bent backwards and took a really nasty kink that never came out and broke within a week. Another one just did the same thing, bad kink in the foible from a backwards bend. So I don't know, they're pretty nice if you fence absence of the blade, but they're not as bulletproof as I'd thought.

    K O'N
    Bent backwards - Dude no blades are going to survive that kind of treatment long, even an FIE-blade. Figure out what in your technique is causing your blades to bend like that when you hit, and your blades will last longer.
    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally take a look at the results. ~ Churchill
    I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. ~ Rita Rudner

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBean View Post
    Bent backwards - Dude no blades are going to survive that kind of treatment long, even an FIE-blade. Figure out what in your technique is causing your blades to bend like that when you hit, and your blades will last longer.
    Excellent thought! Let's see... I picked up the epee... and then... yes... that's it! I see it now! It's the way I extended my arm, see? Right there. That's the problem. I extended my arm, and I handed the damn thing to a twelve year old beginner. That's the flaw in my technique. Thank you! I feel ever so much better now. Dude.

    Dinamos hold up under repeated bad bends, backwards bends, etc, pretty well. They're soft and need to be hand straightend, but I bought twenty of them two years ago and probably have fifteen or so still in the club bag, that's what? Uh, say 100 weeks x 3 practices / week x 2 hrs of fencing / practice, call it 600 hours of fencing. Not bad for a $25 epee blade. They're ugly as heck by now, kinks and so on, but they last a frighningly long time after they get a kink.

    I like the LP for a more experienced fencer, but for a club epee it's not such a good choice, I don't think.

    K O'N

  18. #18
    Senior Member TBean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K O'N View Post
    Excellent thought! Let's see... I picked up the epee... and then... yes... that's it! I see it now! It's the way I extended my arm, see? Right there. That's the problem. I extended my arm, and I handed the damn thing to a twelve year old beginner. That's the flaw in my technique. Thank you! I feel ever so much better now. Dude.
    I did not mean to offend, I was attempting (and failing) at levity. I am sorry you took it the wrong way. However, when you used I in your post I incorrectly thought you were saying that you did it. Also I clearly missed the part where you let everyone know that are a club-owner talking about weapons that are shared by everyone. I apologize for my error, but maybe you could see how it would be made.
    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally take a look at the results. ~ Churchill
    I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult. ~ Rita Rudner

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    Quote Originally Posted by TBean View Post
    I did not mean to offend, I was attempting (and failing) at levity. I am sorry you took it the wrong way. However, when you used I in your post I incorrectly thought you were saying that you did it. Also I clearly missed the part where you let everyone know that are a club-owner talking about weapons that are shared by everyone. I apologize for my error, but maybe you could see how it would be made.
    Oh dear, I fear I've come off to acerbic again. Sorry.

    Anyway, you're right, the little buggers have their hands too low when they hit, we need to work on that.

    K O'N
    not with LP epees we don't, though

  20. #20
    Senior Member EdGardner's Avatar
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    Another vote for StM.

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