Gear maintenance is an important part of being a Fencer. With the price of equipment being very high, although a lot of it will last for years, it does pay to look after your gear to ensure it will perform. This is particuarly important with Whites (as always, Safety First!)
Standard Masks (most designs except the Leon Paul Exchange Masks) should be wiped down after use. All Masks should be aired after use. For the lame on the Foil and Sabre Masks, it pays to ensure the lame is dry before putting away. If the lame starts going green, or for dead spots, it can be cleaned by rubbing with lemon juice on a rag.
When not in use, Whites (Jackets, Breeches, Plastrons, and Gloves) should be hung up to air. Most Whites are machine washable, but don't use strong cleaners or bleach. Do not tumble dry, and avoid hanging in direct sunlight. Always check the manufacturers instructions.
When not in use, Whites should be hung up to air. Some Fencers hang their Lames up inside out so that the lining can dry. It is advisable to fold your lame up in a towel when transporting, to avoid damaging the lame material (sometimes the lame material can catch on itself). Most Lames are machine washable, but don't use strong cleaners or bleach. Do not tumble dry, and avoid hanging in direct sunlight. Always check the manufacturers instructions. If you get dead spots or green spots on your Lame, spot cleaning with lemon juice on a rag can eliminate them.
General Maintenance of Weapons All of the weapons should be kept rust free. You can purchase Polishing Blocks for cleaning blades and guards. Alternatively you can use sand paper. Note: always be careful with the wire side of the blade, as you do not want to break the wire, or remove the insulation on it. If you have issues with the conductivity of the weapon, you can pull it apart and clean all of the contact points. For Foil and Epee, this would mean taking out the tips and using a polishing block around the shaft the goes into the barrel. Using a Metal File, or a rolled piece of Sandpaper to clean the inside of the Barrel - be careful of the contact at the bottom of the barrel (on the inside). For all weapons you can pull it apart and clean the part of the blade that contacts the guard, the parts of the guard that contact the blade and the socket, and the part of the socket that contacts the guard. Lastly, you can use the Metal File, or rolled Sandpaper, to clean the inside of the Sockets that the Body Wire plugs into. If the wire of your Foil or Epee has popped out of the grove of the Blade, then you will need to glue it back in. When you use your weapon, if it feels loose, or make a clicking sound at the guard, you will need to tighten the weapon. You can do so by using an Allen Key to tighten the pommel (for Sabres and post grips), or the nut inside the handle (for pistol grips). Foil Foils are required to have the tip isolated. That means applying Insulation Tape to the top 15cm of the Blade. To do this, it pays to tape just under the Grub Screws, and down the blade first. You can either cut a length of tape to put down the blade with the edge of the tape on one side of the blade, then folding the tape around the blade, or attach the end of the tape on a diagonal and wrap the tape around the blade until you have covered enough of the blade. Once you done the first bit, cut a piece to wrap around the barrel. Ensure the edge of the tape is inline with the edge of the Barrel. If your Foil fails a Weight Test, you can pull the tip out of the Weapon, and either replace the Spring, or stretch the Spring. Before putting the Grub Screws back into the Barrel, it is best to retest with the Weight (this saves you from having to pull it all apart again if it still fails the Weight Test). Note: Foils must always have two Grub Screws to hold the Tip in the Barrel. Epee The main thing that will go wrong with an Epee is failing the Weight or Gauges Test. If the Epee fails the Weight Test, then you can pull the tip out and either replace the spring, or stretch it. Retest with the Weight before putting the Grub Screws back in, otherwise you will need to pull it all apart again if it still fails. Failing Gauges means that either the Contact Spring is not at the correct level, or the Tip is not the correct Tip for the Barrel. If the Epee is going off with a distance greater than the 0.5mm Gauge, then the contact Spring is too long. You will need to pull the tip out, and screw the Contact Spring further into the Tip (do not screw the Contact Spring in too much, as it is easy to screw it in too far, and difficult to pull it back out). If the Epee is failing the 1.5mm Gauge, this means that the tip is not the correct tip for the barrel as is doesn't have enough clearance between the barrel and the head of the tip. Manufacturers tend to make their equipment as slightly different sizes from other manufacturers, meaning a Leon Paul tip may not fit correctly in a Uhlmann Barrel etc. Note: Epee must always have two Grub Screws to hold the Tip in the Barrel. Sabre Sabres are a lot simpler than Foils or Epees. this is mainly due to Sabres not having any wires or Grub Screws. If you have an issue with a Sabre, it will be due to rust. Pull the Sabre apart and clean all of the contact points (as described in the General Maintenance of Weapons), and clean the blade itself.
General Maintenance of Wires Body Wires are quite resilient pieces of a Fencers kit. It does pay to dry them after use, to avoid any long term damage to the plastic, wires, or pins. If your Body Wire is loose in the socket, it pays to stretch out the pins so that they maintain a continuous connection with the socket. This can be the issue if you find you keep White Lighting during a Bout. If you find that your Body Wire is not working at all, there might be a break in one of the three wires. This can sometimes be fixed by pulling the ends apart and reattaching the wire in the pin. Otherwise you will need to cut back the wires, strip the ends and reattach to the pins. Usually when there is a break in the wire, it will be at a high stress point. Commonly these are near the plug cases. If you find the wires are corroded, then you will do better by replacing the Body Wire - but keep the ends of the old one for replacement parts. Two-Pin The thin pin of the Two-Pin Body Wire is connected to the pin at the other end of the wire, 20mm away from the middle pin (furthermost away). The Fat pin is connected to the middle pin of the Three-Pin end, and the Crocodile Clip is connected to the pin, 15mm away from the middle pin. Three-Pin Three-Pin Body Wires are like for like at each end. This means the pin 15mm away from the middle pin is connected to the pin at the other end that is also 15mm away from the middle pin. The middle pin at one end is connected to the middle pin at the other end. The last pin, the pin 20mm away from the middle pin, is connected to the pin on the other end of the wire that is also 20mm away from the middle pin at the other end of the wire. Bayonet The tip of a Bayonet end of a Body Wire is connected to the middle pin of the Three-Pin end of the Body Wire. The cross bar is connected to the pin 20mm away from the middle pin. Lastly the Crocodile Clip is connected to the last pin of the Three-Pin end of the Body Wire, the pin that is 15mm from the middle pin. Mask Wires Mask Wires are just a Crocodile Clip to a Crocodile Clip.