So your average Larp sword is £70.* It’s one of the biggest investments when you first come to the hobby and I guarantee no matter how bad it is in retrospect you are going to always have a soft spot for your first sword. Here is a quick guide on how to keep it swinging a little longer.
- Pull your blows – This is when you pull back as the blow connects so you don’t hit your opponent too hard. As well as sparing them the bruise this also puts let impact into your blade which jars the core less.
- Never force through – Locking blades and pushing through to break an opponent’s block is going to put way too much stress on the blade. Have a firm but loose grip and once you’ve been blocked pull out.
- Dry your weapon – Rain happens. If water seeps into knicks in your foam’s latex then it will start wreaking havoc with the inside. This can cause glue to come away from the core and make you weapon unsafe. Spare your weapon a thought when you are towelling off after practice
- Never tip down – When you rest a weapon on the floor you do so by the hilt, never the blade tip. This can force the core out of the weapon and make it unsafe. This goes for storing your weapons as well.
- Never stab – People are kinda like the floor – if you put undue pressure on your weapon tip the core will force through and puncture. Unlike the floor this is more likely to end in a lawsuit so avoid.
- Patch up problems – If something has torn your blade’s latex and isoflex then putting something over that will help keep the water out and stop the tear getting worse. The best way is to replace the broken layer but isoflex is not easy to come by in small doses; you could consider getting together with a few friends to make the spend worth. Alternatively consider something waterproof and adhesive like electrical tape. Make sure all edges are flush to the weapon especially if the part of the blade with a problem is a striking surface.
- Not in direct sunlight – Larp weapons don’t tan well; in fact their colours fade and their foam can get damaged. Try to keep weapons in a relatively shady spot.
- Not in direct heat – Heat is another thing that can cause foam decompression and make a weapon unsafe. Don’t store weapons on radiators and in glaring midday sunshine.
- Think about your sheath First of all you need to be tall enough and have your sheath at the right angle; this prevents your weapon from trailing along the floor and wrecking the tip. Secondly make sure the entry is not rough cut leather as this will stress the hilt and the tip when it goes in and out.
Weapons die. It is a sad, sad truth and I have killed so many that one manufacturer knows me as Sword Breaker Rosie. Here are some sure signs your weapon is on it’s way out:
- I can see the core. Abort. Simple. Dead. Dead Dave. Dead.
- The foam twists more than it should When you lightly twist the foam of the weapon it twists to easily this may mean it has come away from the core. This means it’s likely the adhesive holding the foam to the core is giving up the ghost.
- The blade has more flex than you would expect and than it has shown before It is possible to snap the core and the sword hold it’s form. Snapped carbon core is like a sharp knife waiting to happen so get this check asap.
- The latex on the outside of the blade is peeling Nobody wants a smack from peeling paintwork. This is an easy fix by someone who works with weapons but does need to be seen to.
- The foam is pressed in very easily If part of your foam goes in way too easily this is called a foam decompression. Normally a sign of light/heat/shitty foam. If this leads to being able to touch the core in a new way that weapon is likely gone.
- There is a split in the foam along the edge of the blade This leads to the core. Stick it back together with something like evostick and this should be fine.
- The weapon just feels wrong/it makes the wrong noise when you swing it Sometimes you might not know exactly what feels from but if you train a lot with a sword and you are noticing a difference go get it check.
If you notice these get your weapon to a weapon’s checker as soon as you can. Most systems offer a person who can do this for you. If in doubt use a different sword – it is always easier to replace a sword than a person. Just think: if this sword has another heavy jolt will it cause the core to come out?
Finally: a word to the wise: Your larp sword looks like a sword. We have had a member of our society confronted with police dogs and tasers (I shit you not) because his kit involves a balaclava and a katana. He was walking to practise and got confronted with the cops. When you are carrying your sword make sure it is in a non-aggressive position preferably sheathed, covered, hidden or bagged. Ski bags are perfect for this as they have great length and are sturdy.
*Yes they come cheaper. Yes I am planning another post about how and where do swords and other weapons 😀