There is always MAINTENANCE that needs doing

When we are splitting our time between family, school or work, fencing, and other activities; it can be hard to find time to do all the little things that we know we should be doing.

Seeing how many tip screws we have left, repairing stitching on garments, cleaning rust of our blades, checking calibration of electrical equipment, and update our repair kits are all great things to do! 

Love your gear and your gear will love you back!

my kit - an example

So, I have multiple tool kits of varied supplies. The tools needed for rewiring blades are very different from what I want when I'm on the strip at tournaments. This kit on the left, unpacked on the right, is my everyday load for when I'm at practice or at the club. It has the supplies to fix bigger problems than I would need at competition..

I keep three different styles of micro flat head screw drivers for tip screws and one very small phillips head for sockets and body cords. An Altoids tin and small ziplock bags for screws, springs, tips, etc is a great way to keep them contained and when open can be used to catch pieces when disassembling your weapon... especially when you are doing it sitting on the floor between bouts!
Superglue to replace any small breaks or loose bits. You never know when a wire might pop out of the channel on the blade and need to be stuck back down before getting broken.Lock-tite (or superglue) is a good addition to any and all screws to keep them from working their way loose when you are fencing. In epee, the socket in the bell is a great candidate for some lock-tite, as those screws cannot be tightened without disassembling the whole weapon.The lighter is important for making sure that the wires from the blade are totally stripped down to the metal. Sometimes there is a clear plastic coating on the wire that stops it from registering contact.
A wrench for tightening the barrel of the weapon.Electrical tape is always a good addition and can be the short term solution to many different electrical issues that you might run into.A good set of shims is important so you can make sure that your repairs are achieving the desired goals.The stack of washers is a personal favorite of mine that was a solution for calibrating spring tension, more on that later.
The multi-meter is the most important tool in the whole kit. It can tell you a whole bunch about what's going on with your gear, especially when you are trying to chase down a mystery problem that is being difficult.The multi-meter can measure many different kinds of electrical current, but here we are mostly looking at the ohms meter. Ohms are a measure of the electrical resistance of a circuit.Using this will show you if your wires and switches are in good shape, clean, and functioning correctly. It can also be instrumental in determining where there are problems if something isn't working correctly.

My favorite secret weapon!

the multi-meter

There are many different devices available for testing your electric, competition equipment. Most are fairly simple and feature two or three little lights that your gear plugs into, depending on the specific tester, you will see different combinations of lights based on the makers specification. These are easy to use, but also tend to be a little more expensive and they generally give non-specific information about the equipment's function.

I, however, like to use a multi-meter for testing equipment. An inexpensive, analog multi-meter will cost somewhere between $10 - $18. The tool will measure all kinds of different electrical systems, so has many uses outside of fencing as well!

Listed below is how to use this device for testing your fencing equipment.


A multi-meter will have a dial to select what kind of electrical energy you are measuring or what kind of test to run. For fencing, we'll be testing electrical resistance, which is the check for complete electrical circuits. On the device you will be selecting Ohms, which is the measure of resistance.

Maximum Ohms

With the multi-meter set to ohms, and with the probes separated, not connected, or connected to a broken circuit, you will have perfect resistance. That is to say that there is no electricity travelling from the positive to the negative probes. With epee, an unpressed tip will be an open circuit. In foil, the depressed tip will show this result.

minimum ohms

Here, the probes are connected, allowing electricity to pass unimpeded from the positive to the negative. This is showing that we have a closed circuit. This is how a point in epee will register, it is how foils show when the tip is not being pressed. For sabre, this is what you want to see for connection from your body cord socket to the blade.