At a Glance
- Length 97cm(blade) + 34cm(hilt)
- Weight circa 1150g
- PoB 7.5cm
Why you would buy
- Occupies a unique niche (superlight feder)
- Durable construction which will last
- Excellent for casual fencing and reduced protective gear
- Threaded tang
Why you wouldn’t buy
- Delivery time can vary
- Flex could use slight improvement for the space this tool occupies
- Threaded tang
The Long Version
The Fechtschule Feder is a result of nostalgia from Bloss’ head cutler, Marek. In the early days of HEMA, protective gear was not as developed as it was today, and manufacturers built lighter and more flexible weapons as a result. Some miss those days, or just prefer to have an option to fence in lighter, less restrictive equipment. Bloss seeks to answer that demand with this weapon, and while there is a little room for improvement, it suits the purpose well.
I ordered a pair with a group and collected them at AWMAC 2019, a convention in Sydney. The whole 4 day event these were in constant use, and eagerly being passed around to all who wanted to do some “chill longsword.” Light gloves, mask, and light jackets or even hoodies and shirts were in use most of the time these weapons were in play, and no injuries resulted so far. I received a knock to the back of the hand wearing BlackArmoury’s “Maitre d’Armes” gloves, and the sensation was much like being flicked by a foil blade.
This is the star of the show. The weapon is furnished with a diamond-section blade, which transitions at the schilt into a flat section. The mass distribution is extremely smart, so much that incidental hits to the hands are painful but not particularly dangerous in light gloves. It has a static flex of around 10 kilograms. This is equivalent to ~50% more flexible than the most common models of Regenyei Standard, and 100% more than an Ensifer. Between the pair I ordered, there is a disparity in flex of about 1 kilogram (about one foil’s worth of flex, so not excessive, but noticable). Most of the flex of the blade is happening in the last half. In a perfect world, we would be looking at the last third, but this is already a cut above the average feders on offer.
The tip is rolled, and will be familiar to most users of common feders on the market. Bloss also offer a spatulated tip, which if I were ordering again today, I would opt for. This is mostly a matter of personal preference.
The hilt has a threaded tang, with the spinning-top shaped pommel being held on by a kind of hex-nut. This has a tendency among some users to come loose with use, as is normal for threaded designs, but I personally did not encounter the issue. One other customer I know of has secured the hilt with lock-tite, but I will stick to just tightening the assembly if it comes loose.
The grip comes in two variants: Leather wrapped or cord. My order came default with leather wrap, but if I were ordering again today, I would order the cord wrap. The leather wrap lacks stitching, being held on by glue alone, and will have a tendency to open up at the seam. The grip is ellipsoid in shape, comfortably slim, and waisted at the middle with a riser.
The crossbar is extremely lightweight and thin by HEMA standards. I had serious concerns about the durability of such a thin part, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the durability. With regular use the cross has kept its shape wonderfully by some material magic. The crossbar is a simple and elegant hexagonal section, with a swell at the tang.
Why You Wouldn’t Buy It
This is not the tool for your standard competition. It is also not an “all-rounder” fencing weapon. It is built for a specific purpose, and should primarily be in use with other weapons in its class. If you don’t know anyone with a similar style of weapon, it may be best to order two (and I did).
I would not recommend this particular weapon for a shorter fencer (say, 165 centimetres or shorter) – However, Bloss do all their work to order, so I encourage the buyer to get their weapon sized to them.
Being made to order, the delivery times can vary. This is nothing new to most people in HEMA, but I would recommend against buying if you are on a tight schedule and need them for prizes, provided competition weapons, or to run a class.
The stock crossbar is 26 centimetres, which may be narrow for some tastes. Check with the manufacturer for options.
Why You WOULD Buy It
This weapon opens up more options for fencing. You can quite safely use it in very light gloves, but I would recommend something like the common Fait D’Armes gloves with fingertip protectors or similar.
The blade is lively, forgiving, and durable. The “floppy” feeling is minimal, and the edge has held up very well. I would expect a good couple of years heavy use out of it.
Even if you don’t intend to play in light gear, a light feder will let you fence and drill for longer without tiring.
All up it is a great, currently unique product at a good price point.