foil fencing swords

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distrominore741
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 7:19 pm

foil fencing swords

Unread post by distrominore741 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:25 pm

Hi I am trying to make a foil sword and I was wondering what kind of steel to use for the blade
and also what color i should temper it to
Thanks
Erik

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Darryl Ponder
Posts: 325
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:10 pm
Location: Minnetonka, MN

Re: foil fencing swords

Unread post by Darryl Ponder » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:01 pm

Erik,

Any steel you could forge at home into a long foil shape and heat treat at home would be very likely to break and cause injury under actual use.

I have never made a sword, foil or any other type of long blade, my experience is only with knives. However a quick Google search turned up that the steels used for foils are not carbon steels, but an alloy called a maraging steel. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maraging_steel and the second paragraph under "Uses". This would not be a steel easily obtained due to its use in Uranium enrichment or one that would be easily heat treated at home.

If you try and take a simple carbon steel and forge it into a small cross section, then heat treat it at home, if even a very small section becomes brittle during the process due to non-uniform heat treating or other reason, then when you use your foil you are very likely to have a thin, sharp piece of metal break off and fly with some force into something around you. It could be injurous, even deadly.

I would strongly recommend starting by making some knives, if you have not done that yet, and gain more experience in bladesmithing before attempting something such as a foil.

Regards,

Darryl

Martin Pansch
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:44 am
Location: Young America, MN

Re: foil fencing swords

Unread post by Martin Pansch » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:57 pm

This is tough for me to say as I am generally someone who wants to try to make EVERYTHING myself but as a former fencer I second Darryl's answer.

Besides the blade failing and launching sharp pieces out at warp speed think about when it would most likely fail... when you have just lunged for a touch. A proper foil should have the plastic safety tip make contact and then the top 2/3s easily bend upward in a significant curve. If the blade fails you now have a shorter but much sharper and stiffer sword in your hand and all your forward momentum is still aimed at driving it through your opponents chest. With professionally made swords this failure is rare but still happens. Our faculty advisor for our fencing club in college took a broken epee blade through the knee cap. For legal reasons and for your conscience you don't want to make a fencing blade that will actually be used. A wall hanger is fine and you can make it out of any steel. The price of buying a live blade is small all things considered.

distrominore741
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 7:19 pm

Re: foil fencing swords

Unread post by distrominore741 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:11 pm

Thank you for the information and the advice
if i make a foil it will be for a wall decoration Only but i would still like to do it right with the correct steel and tempering
one day I might look into foil making so I can do that
Thanks
Erik

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