Need to restock on non-fie epee blades

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by jkormann, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    It's that time of the season again when I need to restock on epee blades. Plus this topic hasn't been brought up for a few months.:D

    I usually buy StMs but have heard their quality recently has gone down. We've gone through three recently purchased StMs, a tang break and a couple on the foible. Any other blade suggestions? I was looking at the AF Excalibur as an alternate.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Tomas N

    Tomas N Podium

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    We bought a batch of AF blades last year. Our college club's president made the order without consulting me. The blades were awful, taking permanent bends almost immediately. The AF brand tips were also bad, getting stuck or crunchy in record time. I like AF for a lot of things, but not for blades.
     
  3. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    The whole class of $25-$45 epee blades is quite suspect, IMO. I've never seen any indication that any cheap epee blade is any better than any other cheap epee blade. Some of them have good runs, then the next batch is literally coat hanger quality.

    For hours fencing/dollar cost effectiveness, and minimal maintenance, you're probably best off with wired Vnitis. $113, which is what? Two or three cheap blades. I guarantee the Vniti will outlast two or three cheap AF Chinese made blades. No question.

    Vniti is heavy and gets floppy and who cares. It's a club blade. It actually incentivizes people to buy their own stuff, and when they do a BF or LP will feel great, light and alive and stiff. The big thing about Vniti is that they never break, they last bloody ages. Years. No bad bends, nothing. They're the ideal club blade. Yes, it's more up front, but then your work time is cut way down and next year you won't be buying three more $40 epee blades, yet again. I have some Vniti blades in regular use that are eight or nine years old. Floppy as hell. It's fine. Want a better epee? Buy one.
     
  4. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    That's the trick. Some students use my Vniti, or LP (going on nearly 20 years) and want their own. Then sticker-shock at the FIE-stuff and use the StM / Dynamo / vendor as the price-point. Pointing out the $/year value will nearly get the response they may not be doing this in two years for various reasons (graduation, college, family, etc). It's hard to argue since I took a 5-year break when unable to find a local club.
     
  5. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    So this is two separate problems:

    What should you buy to replace club blades? IMO, Vniti, for the reasons I gave above. I have a mix in my club because I like having some light LP blades on french grips, and I buy used stuff on ebay, but for one or two broken blades, I think making Vniti the default makes a lot of sense. They last ages and cut your work down a ton.

    What should your students buy? Whatever, I don't care. This is what an StM FIE costs, this is what an LP non-FIE costs, this is what an LP Fusion costs, etc. get what you want. I'll put it together for you if you like.

    I don't try to talk them into one thing or another, I just don't care enough. Get what you want. The point of the Vniti as a club blade is that it's durable. I don't recommend them for someone's personal epee.
     
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  6. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    And I should have been clearer. This wasn't for club blades, but for people at club for whom I armor.

    I do like your idea of using Vniti as club blades.
     
  7. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Oh, ok.

    I guess I'd just point them at various options and leave it up to them. An LP non-FIE is $89 and shipping, that's a pretty good deal IMO. But in the end people buy what they buy, I don't get too wrapped up in it. You want a crap epee blade for $45 instead of a good one for $89, ok. Enjoy your crap epee blade.
     
  8. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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  9. DangerMouse

    DangerMouse Podium

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    My experience is that all non-FIE epee blades suck equally except for the LP. Get whatever is cheapest and buy in enough bulk that you could have just bought a single FIE blade.
     
  10. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    If all the arguments come back to price, then there aren't many suggestions to make. Buy the cheapest blades you can find, and plan on replacing them as needed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  11. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    There are epee blades that can sometimes be found at a price point between the usual crappy non-FIE blades and FIE blades. You might want to take a look at blades that used to be FIE approved but are no longer, i.e: FIE-N blades.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  12. Steve Khinoy

    Steve Khinoy DE Bracket

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    I disagree with the prevailing sentiment, which is to go for the Tiffany DeBeers FIE Platinum blades because they are better and will last longer.
    The blades may last longer. The tips and wires may not.
    If you aren't a highly technical fencer, you may not feel the difference between one blade and another.
    If you hit like a berserker, your high-prices blade may not last, and its point may require repeated maintenance.
    If you are buying for yourself, and you don't have a lot of experience, buy a cheap blade and use it until someone puts a weapon in your hand, and you say "Ah...at last!" Before you've fenced a lot, even that feeling can be misleading.
    Buy cheap.
     
  13. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur Made the Cut

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    I agree with Steve.

    But don't apply the "Buy cheap" logic to buying your mask or anything else that protects you. You may have to fence that berserker he mentioned.....
     
  14. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

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    Do whatever you want, of course, but an LP or Vniti is hardly a luxury item. Addressing your points in order:

    Modern factory glue jobs are pretty good. LP and Vniti glue jobs regularly last the life of the blade at my club.

    The difference in quality is probably more evident and important to a beginner. I can fence with anything; bad bend, ok, fix it, on guard, fence. It's not going to throw me off. A beginner having one more thing to think about can find a crappy blade with a weak spot that he has to step off the strip and fix after every touch to be a terrible distraction.

    Vnitis last forever. For hard hitters with crappy distance the argument for a Vniti is stronger, not weaker, than for the median fencer.

    Look, it's not that much more money. A crappy blade is still going to be $40 or something. An LP is $90, a Vniti is $110. If you fence for years it will save you money. If not you can actually sell a decent epee on ebay for about half the new price. No one is going to pay you anything for your two year old AF rainbow blade Chinese special, it's not worth the cost of shipping.

    Anyway, as I said at the start, do what you want. If someone wants to buy a crappy blade, have fun with it. But at least let's be clear about what they're doing: They're buying a crappy epee blade that will likely take on bad bends immediately, will not be nice to fence with, will have no resale value if they quit, and will cost them more per touch than a better blade would, all so they can save $40 or $60 up front. That's what you want? Great, have fun.

    While you're at it there's an '89 Yugo for sale down the street for $200, you should look into that, it sounds like a great deal.
     
  15. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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  16. EspadaMK

    EspadaMK Made the Cut

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    In my experience a standard non FIE LP blade will last at least as many years as an STM blade will last months, they are also incredibly forgiving in the hands of beginners. I have recently given a blade away which was 20+ years old and the only reason I stopped using it was that the tang was not threaded and I needed a threaded tang and I was feeling too lazy to cut a thread and was heading down to the that part of London anyway.
     
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  17. InFerrumVeritas

    InFerrumVeritas DE Bracket

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    If you don't like the above options, then just race to the bottom. I am 100% convinced that any granularity between the non-FIE epees is just there to increase profit margins. Just get that $25 blade and move on.
     
  18. jfarmer

    jfarmer DE Bracket

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    If I could find a vendor for them I would. I actually liked the StM FIE-N epee blades....
     
  19. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    Blue Gauntlet says they have them in stock. That's the only vendor I could find.
     

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