Caption Contest – Vote!

The submissions from our Facebook caption contest were fantastic! We’ve chosen the top three and need your help! Which of these captions is the best?

Caption Contest

Which is your favorite caption?

  • "Cometh at me brethren!" (52%, 41 Votes)
  • "What are you going to do, stab me?" (46%, 36 Votes)
  • "John, I'm too smart to run into your blade" (3%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 79

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How to clean a fencing mask

How to Clean a Fencing Mask

It’s easy to clean a fencing mask! We’ve detailed our methods for keeping your mask in it’s best, lustrous condition. Remember that regular cleaning will make future cleanings fast and efficient.

How to Clean a Fencing Mask

Warnings: Manufacturers of fencing masks know the specifics of maintenance more than can be detailed here. Check for manufacturer cleaning instructions before considering any advice given here. It’s very important to never use bleach on fencing masks and bibs. Bleach will deteriorate the bib’s puncture resistance.

Washing: Use a large, clean bucket immerse the mask in warm water with a few capfuls of Rit Whitener & Brightener and a laundry detergent of your choice. Don’t use OxiClean as it will cause any exposed metal to instantly rust! Work the soap into the bib with a semi-hard plastic bristle brush until stains are removed. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out as much water as possible before air drying at room temperature. It may take a day or two, depending on the climate.

Stain Removal: Really stubborn stains (like rust, coffee, or blood) can be removed safely with the same spot removing technique we use on jackets.

the Mesh

Punch Test: Use your own or your school’s punch test to guarantee the strength of the wire mesh. The mask protects your face, and you should know if it will do it’s job. Punch tests are available at many sport fencing suppliers. Test as many points on the mask as you’d like, but we recommend at least 10 spots.

Cleaning the Mesh: Most modern masks are coated in a protective plastic or paint which may scrape off with use. Any exposed mesh may rust. Use a wire brush, steel wool, or abrasive cleaning pads to remove rust. Be careful not to spread the rust onto the fabric of the mask when cleaning. Coat those exposed areas with wax or Rustoleum paint to prevent future degradation.

Prevention & Post-Use Care

Separation: Separate your fencing mask from other equipment, especially steel weapons. Transport your mask separate and isolated in a cloth bag (a pillow case is perfect). Do the same for your jacket, pants, gloves, etc to keep all your equipment clean.

Air Dry After Use: Have a dedicated space in your closet or bathroom with enough hangers to air dry all of your equipment after use. It should only take a few hours to dry and will keep your clothes from growing mildew.

Special Techniques

Rust: Spot clean a fencing mask with the recipe we use on jackets.

Sweat Stains: Ivory soap has been around since 1879 and is a fine product. It’s incredibly good at dissolving natural oils making it useful to remove sweat stains & body odor. If you have some particularly tough stains on the mask’s bib, try hand-scrubbing with Ivory soap.

Odors: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) shouldn’t only be found in your refrigerator or cupboard. Add a cup of baking soda when soaking the mask to balance the pH of the water to make your detergent more effective and help remove odors.

Blood: Take extreme care with blood, even your own! Be considerate of the possible biological contagion blood presents (which is probably minimal), but more so people’s psychological fears of it. Spot clean a fencing mask as quickly as possible and properly dispose of any cleaning materials containing blood.

Map of Classical Fencing Schools


About Classical Fencing Schools

Classical fencing schools foster self-reliance, self-confidence, grace of carriage and movement, as well as courtesy, good manners, and a high level of etiquette. They also instruct a healthy all-around exercise and constructive release of the stress.

Classical fencing is the final development of European swordsmanship, which came into its full form during the late 19th, early 20th centuries. Classical fencing consists of three weapons, namely the foil, the épée (or dueling sword), and the sabre, and two primary schools: the Italian and the French. These two schools differ in their mental approach, weapon design, technique and form.

This age is distinguished by the art of the foil, which masters thought to be the fencing weapon par excellence. With this refined tool, the most sophisticated and artistic maneuvers are possible. However, the use of the sword as a deadly weapon was always borne in mind and the training was serious in nature. This distinguishes classical fencing from Olympic fencing.

Joining the Map

Classical fencing schools are spreading across the united states as interest grows and more instructors get trained. The map is filling in! This map is curated by Benjamin Arms and features established schools predominantly instructing classical fencing. We will not link your school if you principally teach Olympic fencing! Use the contact form below to submit your school’s information for review.

School Name:
Head Instructor (Include Professional Title):
Affiliation / Parent Organization:
Website / Information Page:
School Description (200 Character Max):
Address of Salle / Lessons:
E-Mail (For correspondence only, will not be published)
Captcha Verification:
How to clean a fencing jacket

How to Clean a Fencing Jacket

Fencing Jackets are traditionally made of white canvas and cotton batting. You may clean a fencing jacket easily, but find it difficult to keep lustrous. We’ve detailed our tried and trued methods below for keeping jackets in their best condition. Remember, regular washing will make future cleanings fast and efficient.

Prevention & Post-Use Care

Separation: Always separate your fencing clothes from other equipment especially steel weapons. Transport your jacket and gloves separate and isolated in cloth bags (a pillow case is perfect). Do the same for your mask, pants, etc. Keeping sweaty cloth away from steel prevents rust stains. Don’t rest your jacket on dirty surfaces between use. Politely request your opponent not rest his or her weapon’s tip on the ground to prevent transfer onto your jacket.

Air Dry After Use: Have a dedicated space in your closet or bathroom with enough hangers to air dry all of your equipment after use. It should only take a few hours to dry and will keep your clothes from growing mildew.

How to Clean a Fencing Jacket

Warnings: There are many manufacturers of fencing jackets who know the specifics of their garment more than can be detailed here. Check the manufacturers cleaning instructions before considering any advice given here. When you get a new jacket wash it before use removing any chemicals from the manufacturing processes, and any excess dye. It’s very important to never use bleach on fencing jackets. Bleach will deteriorate the jacket’s puncture resistance.

Washing: Machine wash the jacket alone or with other washable, white fencing garments (like underarm protectors or knickers). Use cold water unless you’re certain the jacket has already shrunk (or if you’d like it to). Cold water should not shrink the jacket. We recommend using OxiClean White Revive to clean and brighten jackets. If you have sensitive skin we recommend running the jacket again with a detergent of your choice after a wash with OxiClean.

Drying: Allot enough time after washing to hang and air dry the jacket. Air drying has the least chance of shrinking the jacket. If necessary use a machine dryer but on the lowest heat. High atmospheric heat may also shrink the jacket, so don’t air dry outside in 100 degree weather!

Soaking: Soaking the jacket can help remove stubborn stains and make machine washing more effective. Immerse the jacket in a cleaned basin, tub, or bucket with cold water and OxiClean White Revive according to their soaking instructions. Do not mix garments; soak one at a time! Use enough water to submerge the garment but not dilute the solution too much. Soak for at least an hour and repeat if necessary. If there’s some really tough stains and discoloration soak the jacket with a few capfuls of Rit Whitener & Brightener. Agitate the garment occasionally in the soaking solution by hand. Once the stains are gone or diminished follow the washing instructions above.

Stain Removal

Don’t Let it Set In! So you spilled your cappuccino on your fencing jacket? Don’t panic! You can fix it! Take the jacket off off and sponge up the liquid with a dampened paper towel. Get as much of the stain out by blotting only, don’t wipe, scratch, or smear! Wash the jacket as quickly as possible after blotting the stain, but do not dry until the stain is gone. Repeat soaking, washing, or spot removing prior to drying. If you dry a jacket with sweat or spot stains it “sets them in” making them far harder to remove

Stain Removing: Stains can be very stubborn and will tempt you to break the ‘no bleach’ rule. Don’t do it! The best technique we’ve developed requires sunlight, salt, and lemon juice:

Benjamin’s Spot Removing Technique
In a small bowl or ramekin stir together until mixed:
-1/3 cup room temp. lemon juice
-1 tablespoon salt
After blotting the stain (see above) and washing in OxiClean (see above), hang the jacket outside and expose the stain(s) directly to the sun. Using a spoon or eyedropper, bead drops of the mixture onto the stain until saturated. Set in direct sunlight and reapply the mixture as it dries. Repeat until the stain is removed. Rotate the jacket to keep the stain directly facing the sun.

Special Techniques

Rust: See above spot removing technique to clean a fencing jacket of rust stains.

Sweat Stains: Ivory soap has been around since 1879 and is a fine product. It’s incredibly good at dissolving natural oils making it useful to remove sweat stains & body odor. If you have some particularly tough collar or underarm stains, try hand-washing the jacket with Ivory soap.

Odors: Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) shouldn’t only be found in your refrigerator or cupboard. Add a cup of baking soda when machine washing your jacket and it will better balance the pH of the water making your detergent more effective and help remove odors. You may also clean a fencing jacket with detergents specified for athletic wear.

Blood: Take extreme care with blood, even your own! Be considerate of the possible biological contagion blood presents (which is probably minimal), but more so people’s psychological fears of it. Spot clean a fencing jacket with the above mixture as quickly as possible and properly dispose of any materials containing blood.

How to attach a leather foil button

How To Attach a Leather Foil Button

Leather foil buttons are the traditional point covering for fencing weapons. A strip of leather covers the blade’s nail head and a strand of tightly-wound waxed cord secures it in place. It’s a simple and elegant button made with with traditional materials. The lifespan of a leather foil button largely depends on use, but averages about six to eight months when fencing multiple times a week.

Leather foil button

What You Need

  • Pliable leather ~ 1/8″ thick, as wide as intended nail-head. Cut into a elongated & tapered diamond:

Cut outline for a leather foil button

Prepare Blade

Cleaning blade for leather button

Remove the existing button and the residue it may have left behind. Use a scouring pad to completely clean the blade of rust and adhesives.

Fixture Blade

Fencing blade in vice clamp

Use a vice to hold the blade in place while you work. Use pieces of leather or cloth on either side of the vice jaws to prevent damage to the blade. It’s possible to do this without a vice but it will be more difficult to wrap tightly and securely.

Anchor Cord

Waxed thread for leather foil button

Anchored waxed thread on fencing blade

Anchor the waxed cord to the blade with a double knot just below the nail head. Trim cord about a quarter inch from knot.

Set Base Wrapping

Base wrap of leather button

Base wrap of leather button on fencing epee

Wind the waxed cord evenly down the blade about an inch. Larger nail heads should be wrapped about 1.5 inches. Once at the bottom, wind the cord back up to just below the nail head with even spacing.

Set & Align Leather

Aligning a leather foil button

Set the leather strip pointing towards you atop the blade’s nail head.

Loosely Secure

Leather button on fencing blade

Loosely tying leather button

Fold the leather over the nail head and wrap the cord from just underneath the nail head down to the bottom of the folded leather. Wrap moderately tight with spacing between each rotation to simply set the leather in place.

Tightly Secure

Tying leather foil button

Once the leather foil button is loosely secure so that it wont twist or immediately fall off, increase your cord’s tension and start tightly wrapping the button in the same manner as the last step. Continue wrapping until the point is completely secure. Test the fitting by trying to displace the button side to side. The button should not move or shift when wrapped tightly and correctly. Wrap the leather button’s sides as needed to give an even taper and transition from button to blade.

Tie Off

Finished leather fencing button

Finished leather foil button

Tie off the cord with a few double knots just below the nail head. Pull the knots tight so that the waxed cord sinks into the wrapping and squeezes off excess wax. Trim the cord about a quarter inch from the wrapping.

Finished!

benjamin-arms-greco-epee-crossbar-and-guard-rendering-02

Catalog at 50% Complete

With the additions of the French Poignard, Versatile French Foil, and Merignac Foil the catalog if now 50% complete at the end of 2016. These first 6 weapons were the “easy” ones with in-stock parts. The next 6 weapons will be developed and launched over the next half year. The pending designs for 2017 are as follows:

1st Quarter 2017

Italian Dueling Sword: New 3D printed crossbar and new spun steel guard all designed to match Aurelio Greco’s 1907 La Spada E La Sua Applicazione specifications.

3D Rendering of New Greco Crossbar and Guard

3D Rendering of New Greco Crossbar and Guard

French Dueling Sword (x2): Two French dueling swords (epees) for beginning and advanced fencers featuring a new larger & deeper guard.

Italian Dueling Sabre: Sabre with Parise-style guard, curved blade, and new steel grip backstrap.

2nd Quarter 2017

Southern Italian Foil: Italian foil built to the exact specifications of Masaniello Parise, including a new rimmed guard and crossbar.

Neapolitan Foil: A late Italian rapier / early foil featuring new crossbar with knucklebow and rimmed guard.

Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get notifications when each of these weapons is online!

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benjamin-arms-how-to-attach-a-point-darret

How to Attach a Point d’Arret

A point d’arret (pronounced point dah-rey) is an excellent and important addition to dueling swords. Point d’arrets affix with waxed thread to the nail head point of dueling sword blades to better simulate stopping power. They usually have three sharpened prongs, one of which aligns with the bottom edge of the blade. Point d’arrets have been mentioned and recommended by many fencing masters since at least the 19th century.

benjamin-arms-point-darret-kit-1

The primary target for the dueling sword is the hand and arm which may be difficult to hit with a rubber or leather tip. The point d’arret’s sharpened prongs catch the jacket or glove’s fabric to simulate penetration into the hand or arm. Point d’arrets are crucial to maintain the proper mentality of a sharpened sword.

What You Need

  • Point d’Arret
  • Waxed cord.
  • Vice with leather or cloth to pad vice jaws
  • Scouring pad to clean blade
  • Scissors

Prepare Blade

Cleaning an epee blade for a point d'arret

Remove the existing button and any residue it may have left behind. Use a scouring pad to completely clean the blade of rust and adhesives. Some blade’s nail heads may be imperfect and/or not perpendicular to the blade. This should be corrected by carefully filing the nail-head flat prior to mounting your point d’arret.

Fixture Blade

Epee blade in vice clamp

Use a vice to hold the blade in place while you work. Align the bottom of the blade’s ‘V’ cross section towards you. Use piece of leather or cloth on either side of the vice jaws to prevent damage to the blade. It’s possible to do this without a vice but it will be more difficult to wrap tightly and securely.

Anchor Cord

Waxed cord anchor for point d'arret

Anchored cord for point d'arret

Anchor the waxed cord to the blade with a double knot just below the nail head. Trim cord about a quarter inch from knot.

Set Base Wrapping

Base wrapping for secure point d'arret

Complete base wrapping for point d'arret

Wind the waxed cord evenly down the blade about an inch. Larger nail heads should be wrapped about 1.5 inches. Once at the bottom, wind the cord back up to just below the nail head with even spacing.

Set & Align Point d’Arret

Alligned point d'arret with epee blade

Set the point d’arret on the nail head with your favorite prong aligned with the bottom of the blade’s ‘V’ cross section. This bottom prong is utilized more than the others in dueling sword technique. Occasional remounting and rotation of the point d’arret to utilize all three prongs in this bottom position can help extend it’s life.

Loosely Secure

Loosely secured point d'arret

Wrapping a point d'arret

Secured point d'arret

Start looping the waxed cord over the point d’arret between it’s prongs and down the base wrapping on the blade. Wrap one rotation around the blade for each loop over the point d’arret to lock the cord in place. Alternate wrapping between different prongs of the point d’arret. Wrap this loosely though without slack to set the point in place paying careful attention to keeping the bottom prong aligned with the bottom of the blade’s ‘V’ cross section.

Tightly Secure

Tightly secured point d'arret

Once the point d’arret is loosely secure so that it wont twist or immediately fall off, increase your cord’s tension and start tightly wrapping the point in the same manner as the last step. Occasionally wind the cord only around the blade to lock down the loops over the point d’arret. Continue wrapping until the point is completely secure and until the cord has almost filled the gaps between the point’s prongs. Test the fitting by trying to displace the point d’arret side to side. The point should not move or shift when wrapped tightly and correctly. Wrap below the point d’arret as needed to give an even taper and transition from point d’arret to blade.

Tie Off

Tied off point d'arret

Mounted point d'arret

Tie off the cord with a few double knots. Pull the knots tight so that the waxed cord sinks into the wrapping and squeezes off excess wax. Trim the cord about a quarter inch from the wrapping.

Finished!

Back Online

We’re back online with yet a new version of BenjaminArms.com! In response to market volatility we’ve decided to stop producing custom fencing swords. Don’t worry, we are not closing! We will unveil 12 historically accurate reproduction weapons in the coming months, as well as some training accessories. Subscribe to our mailing list for updates!