Tools

It is worth complementing the electric gear with a small number of tools as well, to allow for maintenance or repairs at competitions.  These should ideally live in one of the pockets of the fencing bag.  Obviously, it is not worth getting tools which you don’t know how to use, but the QFA provides free armoury courses which will show you how to do basic testing and repairs, and also give you some suggestions as to how to build a fencing toolkit. 

·         If you have a pistol grip weapon, you must have an Allen (hex) key. 6 mm is the size for almost everything except LP pommels, which use ¼”, which is just different enough to be incompatible (as noted above, logic and fencing gear are totally separate). Long handled and T-shaped ones are great but you must have a single short L-shaped one as well, as it can be put in the breeches pocket at competitions so that you can tighten a weapon without leaving the piste.

·         A sturdy pair of pliers, usually the style called “multi-grips”, is very handy for many odd jobs, even as impromptu hammers.  The locking “vise-grips” are not useful and too fiddly. Cheap is the order of the day here.

·         A set of jeweller’s screwdrivers is good for electric tip repairs to remove the tiny screws, called “grub screws”.  It is only the 2mm or 1.5mm flat head screwdrivers that will be used, though a 4 mm flat head is useful for bayonet plugs and sockets. Again, cheap is fine.

·         A sharp utility knife is also useful. Again, look for cheap ones, generally the style with blades which snap off in sections to renew the end.

·         Cloth fibre tape and electrical tape should live in every foilist’s bag if they have an electric foil.

·         A lighter can be useful for some repairs too.

The last two items are fencing specific and thus expensive; decide when and if they are needed.

·         A test box allows you to check the electrical function of the weapons.  A basic one can be made out of parts from Jaycar, so if you are so inclined speak to a coach at club to learn how. Otherwise include one in your next order of something else. A multimeter’s resistance scale will do this job too, and older analogue meters are preferred for this over cheap digital ones, but any multimeter will do.

·         Weights and gauges are used to test that foils and epées conform to the rules for making the touch. Foil needs a 500g weight, and epée needs a 750g weight and an epée gauge (there is no gauge check for foils).  These are only needed once your child is competing regularly, and even then many competitive fencers survive without them. Epéeists are more likely to have their own. You can’t really use any other weight to do the job, so unless you can mill a piece of metal to the required shape and weight you’ll just have to buy it. If you do, get a combination weight, which has a 500g section for foil and an additional 250g piece to convert it to an epée weight – even if only one is needed the other might one day be handy, and you will hopefully only buy one weight in your life.

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