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Schlager Test Report

>>> James Crouchet <jtc@io.com> 01/13/96 11:35am >>>
Greetings From Don Savian Dor?, Heavy Rapier (Schlager) marshal for

I am posting this information for those who are interested. These are the
results of several tests conducted over the past month. If you do have
an interest, please feel free to comment to me at jtc@io.com.

A few of you may get two copies because you are listed in two places.
I figured better two than none.

Feel free to distribute this to anyone who might be interested.

One more note: If Don Thomas of the East reads this, I would like to get
your new e-mail address -- the old one no longer works.


                          SCHL?GER SAFETY TESTING

These tests were designed to compare practice schl?ger blades with
other fencing blades commonly used in the SCA and against various
protective gear to provide data on which to base safety regulations for
the use of practice schl?gers in the SCA.

                              BLADE FLEX TEST

It has become apparent that different schl?ger blades flex with different
amounts of pressure. Though there is a rating system (0= Lightest to 3 =
Stiffest) many blades are not marked and those marked are inconsistent.
One source, Malcolm the Scott of Scotty Armory, explained that the
blades come from several different forges in Germany and that even
within one forge they are not always consistent. This test was designed
to give us enough data to allow us to build a consistent rating system for
practice schl?gers.

In addition, one of the major concerns about practice schl?gers has
been over the amount of blunt trauma they will inflict, relative to other
fencing weapons. By charting the flex of other weapons we were able
to gain a basis for comparison.

METHODS - This test was conducted by gripping the hilt of a weapon,
placing the point against a spring scale and pressing until the blade
flexed about 6 inches from true. We discovered that once a blade flexes
past the first 2 to
3 inches the amount of pressure does not increase appreciably (perhaps
one pound) until the blade reaches a bend of 18 inches of so. Our
measurements were taken in this "plateau area". In addition, we had a
practice schl?ger break during another set of tests we were doing, so
we re-measured the flex after breakage and listed that on the chart as

RESULTS - The following chart shows the results of our tests. Some
weapons, particularly those with permanent curves in the blade,
required more force to bend  in one direction than in the other. We
expressed these two numbers as a range (i.e. 4 - 5 Lbs.).

Weapon    Date      Weapon     Force to Flex
Number   Tested      Type         In Lbs.
  F1    01/07/96     Foil           3
  F2    01/09/96     Foil           3
  F3    01/09/96     Foil           3
  F4    01/11/96     Foil           3
  F5    01/07/96     Foil           4
  F6    01/07/96     Foil          4-5
  F7    01/09/96     Foil          4-5
  F16   01/09/96     Foil          4-4.5
  F8    01/09/96     Foil        4.5-5
  F9    01/09/96     Foil        4.5-5
  F15   01/09/96     Foil        4.5-5
  F18   01/09/96     Foil        4.5-5
  F19   01/09/96     Foil        4.5-5
  F10   01/07/96     Foil        4.5-5.5
  F11   01/09/96     Foil           5
  F12   01/09/96     Foil          5-5.5
  F13   01/09/96     Foil          5-6
  F14   01/09/96     Foil          5.5
  F17   01/09/96     Foil        5.5-6
      Average Foil                 4.5

  D1    01/07/96     Dagger        2-3
  D2    01/07/96     Dagger        2-3
  D3    01/09/96     Dagger        2-3
  D4    01/09/96     Dagger        3-4
      Average Light Dagger         2.8

  D5    01/11/96   Prier Dagger    8-10
  D6    01/09/96   Prier Dagger  9.5-14
  D7    01/09/96   Prier Dagger     11
  D8    01/07/96   Prier Dagger   12-15
      Average Prier Dagger         11.3

  E1    01/09/96      Ep?e       5.5-6
  E2    01/07/96      Ep?e         6-7
  E3    01/09/96      Ep?e         6-7
  E4    01/09/96      Ep?e         6-7
  E5    01/07/96      Ep?e         6-9
  E6    01/09/96      Ep?e         6.5
  E7    01/09/96      Ep?e       6.5-7.5
  E8    01/09/96      Ep?e         7-7.5
  E9    01/07/96      Ep?e         7-8
  E10   01/09/96      Ep?e         7-8
  E11   01/09/96      Ep?e       7.5-8
  E12   01/07/96      Ep?e         8-9
  E13   01/11/96      Ep?e         8-10
      Average Ep?e                  7

  M1    01/09/96    Musketeer      14

  A1    01/11/96    Antir Rapier+   6

  S1    01/07/96    Schl?ger        9
  S2    01/09/96    Schl?ger(2)    10.5
  S3    01/07/96    Schl?ger       11
  S4    01/07/96    Schl?ger       12
  S5    01/09/96    Schl?ger       13.5
  S6    01/07/96    Schl?ger       16
  S7    01/07/96    Schl?ger(3)    26
      Average Schl?ger             14

  S6*    01/07/96  Broken Schl?ger  23

 + Antir Fiberglass rapier, 5 years old. They now make them stiffer.
 * This is the same blade as S6, above, after 4.5 inches broke off the
end.  (2) The numbers in parentheses indicate this number was stamped
on the Schl? ger blade.

CONCLUSIONS - Most practice schl?gers we tested fall in the 9 to 16
pound range. The notable exception to this was a blade that registered
about twice that at 26 lbs. Most of the fighters who have inspected the
26 lb. blade  (this includes Dons, Cadets, non-scarves and various
marshals of fence from a variety of kingdoms) felt that it was too stiff to
be safe. Those looking over the 16 lb. blade felt it was marginal.

Another observation was that the lighter schl?gers have about the same
flex as the stiffer ep?es, and schl?gers of medium stiffness equate to
musketeer blades. Although we have no proof that the stiffness of the
blades correlates to the likelihood of inflicting blunt trauma damage it does
seem logical to assume they are related.

We also noted that when one of our blades broke the stiffness
increased markedly. With the loss of only 4.5 inches from the end of the
blade the flex rose from 16 lbs. to 23 lbs. -- an increase of 7 lbs.

RECOMMENDATIONS - I believe we should set a limit, not allowing the
use of blades that require more than 15 lbs. to flex. Given this limit I feel
the only areas where we need to worry about additional blunt trauma
are the head and neck. In addition, any blade that breaks or is cut shorter
should be re- tested for flex before being allowed back on the field.

                               PUNCH TESTS

This test is designed to determine what sort of material is necessary to
prevent a blade from punching through a fighter's protective garments. I
checked with Tivar to find out how the original punch tests for foils were
conducted. Using the same methodology I recreated those tests with
schl?ger blades. This was done on two separate occasions and at the
second one Robin of Gilwell assisted me and also provided broken foils
and ep?es for comparison.

METHODS - To perform the tests the material was laid out on soft
ground. The tester knelt and gripped the blade in both hands (wear
gloves) about a foot from the end of the blade with the blade end
projecting downward so he could deliver downward stabs. He then
delivered several forceful blows to the material, trying to punch through
it. This method should deliver a blow that is more forceful than any blow
a fighter might face on the field. Thus if the material holds up to this test it
should be adequate on the field.

One of our schl?gers broke during testing, allowing us to perform our
tests with an actual broken schl?ger. I have been told by several
sources that schl?gers break flat and even and in fact when the blade
broke it was indeed flat and almost as strait as a machine cut. Because
the corners were somewhat sharp we performed additional tests to
determine if that would be a problem.

Alternate testing methods were used to gather additional data. To
determine what protection a single layer of trigger provides we grasped
unbroken practice schl?ger blades by the hilt in a standard fencing grip
and thrust at the cloth. To test the reliability of the HTM rubber rabbit
blunts we are using as protective tips we placed one on a practice
schl?ger, unmodified from how it came from the manufacturer (a slightly
pointed tip) and then thrust against 1 layer of trigger (to keep the tip from
sinking into the ground) laid on soft ground.

RESULTS - In the special tests we found that one layer of trigger
provides very little protection as even a thrust of medium strength with
an untipped schl?ger penetrated easily. The Rabbit blunt, however, was
not penetrated in our tests in spite of the slightly pointed blade (as from
the seller) and very hard thrusts.

In the material punch tests we found that an untipped or broken schl?ger
could penetrate 4 layers of trigger, though it would not do so every time.
Penetration occurred about 1 out of 3 to 1 out of 4 hits.  With 5 layers of
trigger we did punch through once using our stiffest blade, but could not
repeat it with the other blades. Six Layers was proof against the

By contrast, we were not able to penetrate 4 layers of trigger with a foil
and only once with an ep?e.

I have also heard of "old trigger" and "new trigger". Supposedly, the old
trigger was stouter and the new trigger is thinner and less resilient. By
chance the first test was performed with new trigger purchased in 1995
to conduct the test, and the second test was performed with old trigger
Don Robin had left over from a garment he built years ago. Both were in
-new condition. The results of the two tests were virtually identical, even
to the single penetration of 5 layers by the stiff schl?ger. While this does
not prove that there are no variations among different manufacturers it
does show that in this case there was no significant difference between
old trigger and new trigger.

We tested leather as well, testing both 3-4 oz. leather and heavier 4-5
oz. leather. Both were suede, not top grain. The 3-4 oz. was not
penetrated by the foils and ep?es, but the schl?gers did penetrate a
few times. The 4-5 oz
. leather was not penetrated by foils, ep?es or schl?gers.

The shape of the end of the schl?ger blade also made a difference in
how easily the blade penetrated. the four blade ends were:
 1 - mostly rounded, but with a slight point (many blades come this way)
 2 - fully rounded ( some blades come this way)
 3 - broken end, flat but slightly sharp on the edges
 4 - end cut flat and lightly filed to remove burs and sharp edges.

Blade end #1 penetrated the most easily, as one would expect.
However, blade end #2, the rounded end, also penetrated fairly easily.
The flat broken end  (#3) did not penetrate as easily, nor did the #4, the
flat smooth end. The main difference between #3 and #4 was that the
sharper cornered #3 end scarred the materials more -- actual penetration
was the same.

We were concerned about the sharp corners of end #3 so we
conducted tests striking at an angle so the sharp corner would hit the
material first.
Scarring increased, indicating that a fighter might have been scratched
through a single layer shirt or similar clothing, but actual penetration
DECREASED markedly.

Stiffness of the blade also seemed to play a part in penetration. Given
the same type of blade end, the stiffest blade penetrated most easily.

CONCLUSIONS - From the punch tests it is apparent that while 4 layers
of trigger usually stops foils and ep?es, 5 layers is needed to reliably
stop an untipped or broken schl?ger. The idea that one layer of trigger
will stop an untipped schl?ger is clearly an unfounded myth.

The fact that a stiffer blade penetrates more easily would seem to be
one reason for limiting the stiffness of blades allowed on the field.

The sharp corners on a broken schl?ger blade may cause scratches
and other superficial damage to a fighter, but should not be a factor in
serious or life threatening injury.

The flat, smoothed blade end (#4) seems to be the safest of those we

Schl?gers, whether untipped or broken, clearly penetrate more easily
than do broken foils. While a foil that has lost or punched through it's
rubber tip is not particularly dangerous, a schl?ger that has lost it's tip is
a real hazard.

The HTM rabbit blunts hold up well. Although, like any tip, they will
eventually wear out the thick rubber in the head (we measured it -- 1/8
) should protect well for a long time.

RECOMMENDATIONS - Five layers of trigger or 4-5 oz. leather would
seem to be a reasonable standard for impenetrable material to use with
schl?gers, but a better idea would be to punch test each garment
separately. The use of a
"testing square", a piece of cloth or leather made from the leftovers from
making the garment and have exactly the same number and types of
layers, would be acceptable. If the testing square passes, the garment
should be considered to have passed.

HTM rabbit blunts should be the standard tip for use on schl?gers.
Before any other tip is passed by the marshalate it should undergo
similar extreme testing. Under this tip I recommend a strip of 4 oz. leather
be used to tighten the fit and to help insulate the rubber from wearing
against the metal blade end. The tip should be inspected separately as it
is so critical here. A good inspection would be to examine the tip for
wear, then grasp the blade with one hand, the tip with the other and give
it a few firm tugs to assure it will stay in place.

Schl?ger blade ends should be required to be cut flat, then LIGHTLY filed
to remove sharp corners and edges. Rounded and pointed blade ends
should be prohibited.

The stiffness of schl?gers allowed on the field should be limited, in part
to reduce the risk of penetration from an untipped blade.

	Don Savian (James Crouchet) jtc@io.com

Blade Flex Testers:
	Don Savian - jtc@io.com
	Don Robin of Gilwell - rudi3964@utdallas.edu
	Don Alaric Greythorne
	Lord Collin Bevins, Cadet to Don Iolo
	Aethelyan of Moondragon - moondrgn@bga.com
Punch Test Crew:
	Don Savian - jtc@io.com
	Don Robin of Gilwell - rudi3964@utdallas.edu
	Don Alaric Greythorne
	John Hidalgo

Additional Blades Provided By:
	Armory of the Barony of Bryn Gwlad
	Do?a Gwenneth - sescott@mail.utexas.edu
	Lord Antonio Bastiano, Cadet to Don Alden
	Lord Otto, Cadet to Don Savian - otto@bga.com
	Lord Dave de Menthe
	Lord Collin Bevin