Inexpensive fencing gear-any help?

My wife and I have recently taken up fencing (foil, eppee, and all that good stuff). She is a neophyte, and I am taking it up again after a 19-year haitus.

Anyway-I have a foil which I purchased 19 years ago. That’s all the equipment we have between us besides what our class instructor provides. We are interested in persuing this beyond the classroom and would like to buy our own stuff and join a local club. Do any of you fine Dopers know of a good (read inexpensive) source for weapons, masks, gloves, and jackets?

Thanks in advance for any help.

-Denis, formerly posting as P.T. Smegma

I’m not sure safety gear is something you should skimp on.

I used to fence maybe 15 years ago. If things have not changed too much, the best deals are for used gear. Spread the word via fliers at your local fencing clubs, Y’s and colleges (with fencing programs, of course) that you’re in the market for gear. There are always a few people who are dropping the sport, trading up or looking for some fast cash.

If you insist on new equipment, Triplette (sp?) Arms usually had the best prices.

I second Triplette . They have various price levels of gear and they are funny and nice to boot.

Have fun with fencing - I’d love to get back to it again someday.

Stuguy pretty much nailed it. Seek used equipment thru flyers and networking the local clubs looking for people who are dropping out of the sport. Ebay can be useful, if you know what your looking for and can weed the crap form the good. is where I buy most of my stuff. Dollar for Dollar your going to get the better equipment from him.

When it comes to fencing equipment, you get what you pay for and sometimes not even that. Used equipment is only worth getting if you know how to evaluate it. You do not know how to evaluate it, by your own admission. A failed mask can mean blindness or death. A failed weapon can mean injury or death for the person you fence against.

Checking a mask is easy. Just get the proper punch and make sure it holds up.

As for the rest: it’s just heavy cloth. That means it’s going to be fine as long as there aren’t and obvious rips/worn areas. Fencing is really very safe, even with used equipment. Schools routinely use the same equipment for 15 years on end, and nobody ever gets hurt. The only thing is to make sure you have a good quality blade with no kinks or obvious stress points. A broken blade is dangerous. I worked as an armorer for my college team for a couple years, and the only piece of equipment that couldn’t be repaired and used was a broken blade.

Ask around at clubs, and buy the cheapest gear you can find that still fits and isn’t obviously worn (if you don’t mind somebody else’s sweat). And then invest in two good blades–one electric and one practice. It will save your sanity if you don’t have to repair broken epees (and especially foils) all the time. Also, if you get a lame, check to make sure it’s conductive all over. If it isn’t, and the price is right, get them to gently wash it with some slightly soapy water, and test it again. If it isn’t perfect, don’t get it; you’ll go nuts trying to repair it.

One other thing I should add: if you are going to go the new route, check to see if your club has any special deals; you can sometimes save a few buck by buying things through them, since they can order in bulk.

Thanks for the advice, Dopers!

I do believe my wife and I will go the route, since we do want new equipment and the prices look very good.