Weapon Care Tips

Here are a few pieces of care advice for your LRP weapons .

Although this is not a definitive guide on weapon care, if you follow the below guidlines then you will find that your weapon's usable life will increase.

A few different weapons have slightly different ways to care for them, but there are several things you should do no matter what weapon you are using.

If you have any queries contact Trog. He can also put you in touch with folk who can repair your weapons on site!

General Care

Talcing: This applys to all Latex coated weapons (If you use Gaffa tape bound weapons, ignore this). You should rub talcum powder onto all latex portions of your weapon regularily, if you use a scabbard for a sword - pour a little into it. Talcum powder has a two fold effect, the most important is that it prevents rotting - Latex is a rubber so has a tendancy to rot when damp. Secondly, it keeps the Latex supple and soft, meaning it is less likely to split when you use it.

Putting talc on a weapon also has a safety bonus. If weapons are drawn quickly across a tender part of the body, there is a possibility of friction burns but talc acts as a 'dry lubricant' and helps to prevent this. As a rule of thum I talc my weapons whenever I stroke my hand down the blade and feel 'grip' - it should all be quite smooth.

Point up: Any weapon that has a 'point' on it (Swords, spears, some axes) should always be rested "point up". The point or tip of any weapon is the weakest point, if the weapon is stored point down it will bend and distort (Meaning you have a bent weapon for a start) . This bending also weakens the the foam covering the tip of the C.F. rod within - increasing the likelyhood of the rod ripping through during combat. In the same vein - never 'lean' on your sword with the tip down against the floor, again it will force the carbon fibre rod through the foam.

Keep it dry: Although your weapon won't (or shouldn't) shrivel up as soon as it gets wet, try and keep it dry. If you spend some time in the rain (Or as some do, the swamp) and your weapon gets wet, dry it at the first opportunity and then talc it. Don't try to talc then dry - your weapon ends up looking like a cooking utensil!

Tip from Dave: Don't leave it on the ground. I used to leave mine between the fly sheet and inner tent but soon discovered they got damp overnight. Now I try to hang them up in the tent somewhere.

Check and check and...: Check some more. Just like health and safety at most workplaces, your weapon is your responsibility. Check it often, make sure the foam isn't peeling away from the tip. Check that the head of your warhammer is still attached firmly after fights. This not only increases safety, but means that you're more likely to be able to fix it if there is a problem. There are several people at Mayfest who will gladly help with spot repairs, Laytex touch ups and sometimes even re-affixing foam to cores.

Specifics: There are only a few 'type' specific care rules, again this list may not be comprehensive, but if you follow these guides you increase the life span of your weapons.

Melee Weapons:

Tip and core checking: Your weapons should be made of a carbon fibre rod, coated in foam and finished in laytex (or occasionally gaffa tape). The foam is attached to the rod by means of an adhesive glue, this glue can come 'unstuck' and the core will become loose within the foam. As you can imagine this can be exceedingly dangerous. Checking this is fairly simple, grab the 'handle' of your weapon with one hand, then lightly 'wiggle' the blade/main section of the weapon. If the blade feels as though it's moving but the handle is not, the core may have come away. Get a ref to check the weapon for you, they will then tell you if the core is loose and may be able to point you in the direction of someone who can fix it.
The TIP of your weapon is the most likely area to come loose from the core, the method to check if the tip had come loose is far simpler - wiggle the tip lightly, does it move as though not attached to a pole? Then it may have come away from the core - ask a ref to check it. This one is a little easier to do an on site repair for, ask around and someone may be able to help.

Shields: Two points here, watch the 'padding' around the edges, if it feels loose or you can feel the edge through it then it is time for repair and if it has straps fitted to the shield check to see that the fixings, often nuts and bolts stay padded. While on the subject, keep an eye on the straps themselves as under the stress of combat they get stretched and can come loose. This is, I can assure you, very annoying in the middle of combat!

Peeling Laytex: Although the Laytex on your weapon is considered an aesthetic by most, if it starts to peel it can cause problems (not the least of which is your reputation amongst the warrior types plummets). When the Laytex peels or tears it is a very obvious process - there is a hole in your Latex. This is very easily patched up/repaired and many people will do a patch up job for you with no trouble. It only takes a few minutes to do and the repairee will rarely ask for reimbursement.

Ranged Weapons

Bows: The main thing to watch for on a bow, is cracking along the body of the weapon. This is a very rare occurence, but check your bow regularily for cracks and hairline splits. If the bow is cracked it can snap suddenly, injuring the user and anyone stood closeby.

Bowstrings: An occurence that is also very rare - fraying bowstrings. It it possible for the bowstring to get 'nicked' during adventuring, if this is not checked, the string can snap and lash the user or other nearby players.
To keep your bow tension (IE to make sure the string does not become loose) it is advised you 'unstring' your bow when you're not expecting action, at night or when having no intention of doing anything whatsoever.

Arrows: This includes crossbow bolts. Check your arrows after every combat they see use in. Specifially check that the head is still firmly attached, the flights are still attached and that the shaft (wooden stick) is not cracked. These can all cause harm to the target and will often make a using them near impossible anyway.

Some arrows have soft foam on the end that after a couple of years starts to deteriorate and go harder and dusty. When this happens go and get new foam put on.

Crossbows: Much like bows, you should occasionally check that the 'arm' of the crossbow is not cracked and that it is still firmly attached to the weapons body.

Thrown weapons: Most thrown weapons need only take note of the general care advice, but some thrown weapons may have a solid core (piece of rope, heavy foam, etc) - if your thrown weapons do have a hard core, check occasionally that the core is still secure and not pushing against the outer edge of a weapon.

Apart from the bits in this colour - they were added by Dave - this was written for us by Paul Drew. It is not comprehensive and we would ask others of you to impart your wisdom here! Thank you Paul