Weapon Box

Do try this at home.

One of my hobbies is fencing, which evolved from a judged contest, where style was as important as hitting the opponent, to the use of electronic scoring machines. This happened in the fifties and sixties and led to the modern, fast paced sport of today. Do what it takes to “turn on the light.”

But the equipment is still primitive. Button switches in the tips of the epees and foils. Body cords and floor cords that tether each fencer back to a scoring box. Large two and three pin sockets to connect everything together. Imagine something designed in Russia in the Sixties and you wouldn’t be too far off.

Which is why I’m continually surprised that most fencers have no idea how the equipment works, or how to fix it when it doesn’t. Almost every time I go fencing I end up playing armorer. Usually it’s something easy. A broken wire. A loose handle. Sticking switch. Missing screw. Something is bent. Most of the problems can be diagnosed with a simple continuity tester.

So I built one. Actually, I built a handful, and gave them to those of my friends who seemed to need them most, not that it helped. Here are the instructions, in case you would like to build one too. Or you could buy one from Russia for 460 rubles (about $15).

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