April 2015 Parent’s Corner: Stenciling of Fencing Gear
If your child is relatively new to fencing, you’ve probably noticed some of the older kids have their last name in blue letters on their fencing uniform. The name is typically on the back of the fencer’s jacket or lamé, but is sometimes on the one leg of the fencer’s knickers. If the name is on the fencer’s back, then often there’s a USA as well.
When you first buy fencing gear for your youth fencer, it’s likely your child will want to get their name on their back because they see it on the older kids. For many kids, it’s the first time they will have a personalized piece of gear with their name on it, which certainly has a “cool factor,” and may help them feel like they are now really part of the fencing community.
RFC does this uniform stenciling as an in-house service, which is especially convenient because:
- RFC charges less than the equipment vendors
- The turnaround time is usually just a couple of days
So, what are the rules regarding names on the gear? The rest of this article will focus on the rules, a bit about the stenciling process, and explain some of the options for the stenciling.
Many parents just assume that it is part of the rules that you have to have your name stenciled on your gear to compete outside the club, but that’s not exactly true. If the competition is in the US, a name is only required when fencing at large national events where you register directly on the USFencing.org website. If you registered your child for the event on askfred.net (see Nov 2014 Parent’s Corner), you don’t need a name stenciled on their gear. Most youth events in Canada don’t require a stenciled name (or USA) either, but if you plan to compete in Canada, it would be good to check with the organizer if your fencer doesn’t have stenciled gear.
There’s really no specific requirement for youth fencers to have their name if they are not competing in the large national tournaments. Even SYCs (Super Youth Circuit tournaments – see Oct 2014 Parent’s Corner) don’t require a name.
Now that I’ve said that, I’m not trying to convince you to not stencil, I’m just letting you know it’s not required for most youth fencers. Most will want it anyways as it is part of the fencing tradition – and that “cool” factor I mentioned before.
If you do get your child’s gear stenciled, the rules are very specific about color (dark blue), location (on the back of the jacket or lamé, or on the trailing leg of the knickers), and size (about 3.5” high in all capitals).
The Stenciling Process
At RFC, we use an airbrush and a permanent fabric dye that doesn’t impact the conductivity of an electric foil lamé or saber jacket. The stencil is cut vinyl adhesive lettering from a local sign shop and looks like this when applied to a garment just before the airbrushing:
Unfortunately, these stencils can only be used once because the vinyl stretches and rips when removed after the airbrushing, and doesn’t stick well enough for a second use. The single-use vinyl stencil is the majority of the cost the club charges for the stenciling.
Some parents choose to stencil a leg of the knickers instead of the jacket or lamé. If your child is considering changing weapons, or if your child is growing fast, stenciling the leg can be a good option as the same knickers are used for all three weapons and knickers usually last longer than jackets or lamés.
When you are ordering new gear for your child, just tell the RFC front desk when placing your order that you’d like the gear stenciled as well so we can order the vinyl stencil as well so it’s ready by the time the gear arrives. Make sure to let them know the following:
- Stencil location: Back or Leg (if it’s the leg, whether you fencer is left- or right-handed)
- USA or no USA
- Exact spelling of the fencer’s last name
Also, please have your child try on new gear before leaving it to be stenciled, and make sure their name is somewhere on the gear to be stenciled, such as on the tag inside the garment.