Minimal Striking Surface
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Author:  Wafer [ Fri Apr 07, 2017 7:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Minimal Striking Surface

The Book of War does not explicitly state what the minimum dimensions of a striking surface must be. The rules we are given are these:
4.1.1. Striking surface: Padded surface of a weapon designed to make contact with a combatant during combat. Only the striking surface of a weapon may score a hit.

4.5.1. Two and one-half inch rule (6.35 cm): No surface on a striking edge (sword tip, arrow/bolt head, spear head, javelin head, etc.) whether designed for stabbing or not, may readily pass more than one-half (1/2) inch (1.3 cm) through a two and one-half (2 1/2) inch (6.35 cm) hole. The weapon tip is exempt from the two and one-half (2 1/2) inch (6.35 cm) rule, rule 4.5.1, if the weapon has a semicircular tip with a minimum one and one-half (1 ½) inch (3.81 cm) radius.

Effectively, then, the minimum striking surface dimensions are determined by physics. The weapon and its striking surface should have the integrity to not break too quickly, the weapon must end up delivering safe and reasonably nice strikes, and the weapon's striking surface can't fit through too small of a hole.

So, veteran foamsmiths of the Bel boards, what is your advice to reasonably experienced foamsmiths regarding building a weapon with minimal striking surface? In particular, what width, length, and depth of striking surface would you suggest for different weapon types and weights?

Author:  Thurat [ Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Minimal Striking Surface

It really is objective, but you should consider how a weapon can be used, and at what length it would be safe to swing.

For a blue, I'd say 6-8" is about as small as you can get away with. Hammers tend to have a good amount of courtesy padding, so I've seen them pass with 4" of striking. The width of the head extending past the sides also makes the bladed area more obvious; if there isn't a clear point where haft ends and blade begins, the weapon will likely fail, as any user that picked it up could have trouble discerning what is or is not safe to strike with.

Getting into reds, I've seen min-reds with about 12" of padding pass just fine. They're kind of min-glaive styled. For full glaives, I shoot for 28-36" of padding. Less than that makes me personally uncomfortable. I've seen pole-hammers pass with 12" of padding, but only a couple, and they were quickly retired. Hafting was a huge issue with those hammers.

It's hard to pin down, but I hope that helps.

Author:  Wafer [ Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Minimal Striking Surface

Definitely helps! Thank you. I had not even considered what a difference a hammer head would make.
Could what you said about hammers be assumed for axes and maces too? And does an omni-directional striking surface make a difference here versus a flat blade?

Author:  Thurat [ Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Minimal Striking Surface

To a point I'm sure omnis make checkers less anxious about small amounts of striking surface, but aside from hammers I've never really seen any exceptions.

Just ask yourself: would I feel safe if someone were swinging this at me? Would I be confident that their strikes were with the blade, and not the haft?

Author:  Wafer [ Sun Apr 16, 2017 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Minimal Striking Surface

Thanks again for the insight. Strange that hammers are such an anomaly.

Author:  Thurat [ Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Minimal Striking Surface

That's just my personal observation. I'd think probably because they're so rare, and most people visualize hammers as, by nature, having a relatively small head. I can't really say for certain

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