Latex Weapons vs Boffer Weapons

Someone early in this post noted something I just had to point out from my own experience as both a weapons maker and player.

Boffer weapons not lasting past 6 months ---> FALSE

Reason: Any weapon Boffer or Latex can make it past the 6 month mark, I myself had a one-handed boffer axe that I made that lasted 12 years and passed every single safety test.

Also if I might point out something I see common when people are attempting to justify Latex weapons, which is my short and simple point of view.

The prettier the weapon looks does not mean it is safer, 6 out of 10 times it means that it is more dangerous.

Now why for that reason of thinking? My own personal testing of them with full blown hits like someone new to it might do, and the simple fact that things that make it pretty. Like extra items to make parts look shiny and others not, run the risk of comming off and causing injury.... small bits added on to a melee weapon bad...

Now saddly as someone that is looking to reopen his LARP store again, will make my own latex designs to be sent to NERO for approval. Still my personal weapons will always be classic boffers. As to me they will always be safer.
 

Radendaren

pew pew pew lasers
Validated User
Welcome to the forums!

This isn't something you'd have any reason to know, but it's generally customary to start a new thread rather than reply to one which is years old (thread necromancy), simply because otherwise people end up replying to points made ages ago as if they were new.


To get onto the topic at hand though, I think there is a great fallacy in a lot of boffer vs latex arguments. If you look at the safety records of games using either style of weapon you will no doubt find very similar results: the vast majority of injuries will be caused by terrain and accidents not involving weapons.
The reason for this is that you simply have different rules for different weapons. A well-padded thrust safe boffer will allow the use of full speed fighting, without having to pull blows much if at all. A standard latex weapon is designed for pulled blows and no thrusting, and often avoiding face/neck shots (top of the head is generally fine however). It is possible to fight safely with wooden or blunt steel weapons - the rules are just different!
Incidentally, a lot of fuss is made about not thrusting with latex swords. Accidentally stabbing someone with one isn't going to kill them or even hurt particularly much. The reason for the prohibition is to protect the weapon, because the tip ends up becoming exposed, at which point it is unsafe to use for any fighting. Admittedly, yes, if you stabbed someone with one intentionally it would be quite painful for the target unless the blow was very carefully pulled.


Similarly, the lifespan of any weapon is incredibly variable. Sometimes the contact adhesive just doesn't take as well! I've known people to have 20+ year old latex weapons which are still fine, and others which fail within a year. Some of it is down to the skill of the maker, but environment and sheer luck come into it far more, in my experience. Ultimately weapons can easily be repaired, so it's not such a big deal as all that.
 
I primarily use and make boffer weapons. Latex ones, especially the professionally made ones do look much more realistic, but the foam is generally too thin and compressible. While I have seen and wielded some very cool and realistic looking boffer swords, latex is thinner and more realistic.

However I generally don't LARP as much as I just sword fight. Me and my buddies will typically make and use a bunch of different boffer weapons and just duel each other without armor or a costume or anything like that. Realism isn't as necessary in those circumstances as it would be in a full out LARP.

I guess boffer weapons are better for more combat based LARPing, general sword fighting, or practice dueling, while latex is better for more story or character driven LARPing, or in conjunction with a realistic looking costume.

My boffers can last much longer than a 6 months depending on the quality of craftsmanship. Some of the weapons I made have lasted me over 3 years so far, while some of my more unique and risque, or simply poorly made have broken or deteriorated in much less than 6 months. This partly has to do with how you take care of your tools. My weapons have lasted me a long time with infrequent battling periods. I gave several of my weapons to a friend who is a skilled fighter, but a less than skilled craftsman, he takes decent care of his weapons, but often fights with peers who are much less careful and skilled. Most of the boffer weapons I gave him have gotten lost, broken, or unusable since then, while my personal ones are in much better shape. I did have to retire my first ever boffer sword though, it was pretty decent, had a few patches here and there but overall served me quite well. Sadly it didn't meet the safety requirements, it didn't have quite enough foam, and what it did have compressed and it was starting to hurt.

Like I said, boffer for combat, latex for style.
 
So this is the first group of people I found that actually discusses the things I need to know so please excuse me if this is a bit off topic.
So I don't plan on LARPing, but I do plan on making videos. I already have a polypropylene bokken from my second semester of a stage combat class, but I'm looking to buy more swords to use. I would like them to last a long time and, although they were flimsy, no one's dowel lasted against mine during the first semester of training. So I was wondering if anyone knows if latex, foam, polyurethane, boffer, or any other kind of sword would be cheap and still be able to withstand so blows from a polypropylene sword. It'd mostly just happen during filming because practice would be with dowels.
Thanks for your help!
 

Mawdrigen

The Warrior Reborn
Validated User
Depends on if you plan on pulling your blows or not really. If yes then most larp weapons over here in the uk last pretty well, if no then... well you probably aren't looking for larp weapons!

In the uk one of the best manufacturers for reliability and length of life is Medlock try having a larp here http://www.larpkit.com as I know they stick his stuff

That said, i think you'd be better using larp weapon on larp weapon rather than a polypropylene sword as the harder plastic would sent, crush, or delaminate most larp weapons.
 
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Requiem_17_23

Mrglglglgl
Validated User
So this is the first group of people I found that actually discusses the things I need to know so please excuse me if this is a bit off topic.
So I don't plan on LARPing, but I do plan on making videos. I already have a polypropylene bokken from my second semester of a stage combat class, but I'm looking to buy more swords to use. I would like them to last a long time and, although they were flimsy, no one's dowel lasted against mine during the first semester of training. So I was wondering if anyone knows if latex, foam, polyurethane, boffer, or any other kind of sword would be cheap and still be able to withstand so blows from a polypropylene sword. It'd mostly just happen during filming because practice would be with dowels.
Thanks for your help!
I don't think you want a UK style LARP weapon. UK LARP typically uses featherweight props designed for thoroughly pulled touches - combat is semi-contact only, usually without grappling or shield-charging. The weapon consists of a fiberglass or graphite kite pole surrounded by about an inch thickness of LD50 foam coated in latex, which is then airbrushed to make it look like a weapon rather than a lump of foam. If you are even considering that the weapon might be damaged by any kind of routine blow, then you don't want to be slinging one of these works of art around. They also cost significantly more than a wooden bokken.
 
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Cain

New member
Banned
So this is the first group of people I found that actually discusses the things I need to know so please excuse me if this is a bit off topic.
So I don't plan on LARPing, but I do plan on making videos. I already have a polypropylene bokken from my second semester of a stage combat class, but I'm looking to buy more swords to use. I would like them to last a long time and, although they were flimsy, no one's dowel lasted against mine during the first semester of training. So I was wondering if anyone knows if latex, foam, polyurethane, boffer, or any other kind of sword would be cheap and still be able to withstand so blows from a polypropylene sword. It'd mostly just happen during filming because practice would be with dowels.
Thanks for your help!
The simple answer:

Boffers are dirt cheap. The old style, made with heavy duty PVC pipe, can be made for under $5 each. The more modern, low weight/high performance ones run much more, but even then, they're not too bad. They're also very durable if made right, I just found one of mine from over 20 years ago that's still in fighting condition. It's not pretty, or effective, but it has taken a lot of abuse over the years and it's still going.

There's some "midrange" places online that have high end boffers. They're rather expensive for my tastes, but some folk like them.

Latex is the most expensive, as you can't simply make it in most homes. You need some special equipment to safely handle the latex and certain tools make forming the blade much easier. It also tends to produce somewhat harder blades, and you can't stab with most of them. Durability, I assume that with good construction and maintenance they'll last a while, but they're not designed to actually take a beating. They're more meant for "tapping" in combat. But on the plus side, they look really good, and I'm told they film rather well.

So, if you want it to look good, latex is definitely the way to go. Especially if you're concerned with video, latex will look the best. If price and durability is the main factor, then definitely go old school, PVC boffers. They're much heavier than other kinds, and they don't look good, but they're cheap and they'll last forever with good care.
 

Vorpeseda

Somehow still alive
Validated User
The simple answer:

Boffers are dirt cheap. The old style, made with heavy duty PVC pipe, can be made for under $5 each. The more modern, low weight/high performance ones run much more, but even then, they're not too bad. They're also very durable if made right, I just found one of mine from over 20 years ago that's still in fighting condition. It's not pretty, or effective, but it has taken a lot of abuse over the years and it's still going.

There's some "midrange" places online that have high end boffers. They're rather expensive for my tastes, but some folk like them.

Latex is the most expensive, as you can't simply make it in most homes. You need some special equipment to safely handle the latex and certain tools make forming the blade much easier. It also tends to produce somewhat harder blades, and you can't stab with most of them. Durability, I assume that with good construction and maintenance they'll last a while, but they're not designed to actually take a beating. They're more meant for "tapping" in combat. But on the plus side, they look really good, and I'm told they film rather well.

So, if you want it to look good, latex is definitely the way to go. Especially if you're concerned with video, latex will look the best. If price and durability is the main factor, then definitely go old school, PVC boffers. They're much heavier than other kinds, and they don't look good, but they're cheap and they'll last forever with good care.
Um.... what equipment should I have been using when handling latex?
 
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