Pool noodle is dead.
I saw it coming, we all saw it coming. Inner diameters/cores began getting thin, outside diameters began to shrink. The foam went from a robust 1 lbs. foam to something that you could fill a couch with.
To top it, the foam got flimsy and the Amtgard V8 rules got stringent. Companies like Warlord Sports stepped up and started supplying quality sticks and foam to the masses, making everything from speed sticks to heavier foamed weapons for the more physically active games.
But, what do you do if you want to just build yourself one of these sword instead of buy it from someone else?
When I first started playing Amtgard, I used a loaner weapon for the first two weeks I played. It wasn’t great, but loaner weapons aren’t supposed to be, they are made to get you hooked. From that moment on, I built my own weapons. I bought a supply of good noodle, went online to figure out the better ways of building them, and set out testing different designs.
After several years of play, I ran out of the old noodle and tried to build with the lesser brands that have been out. Using my old build methods, I went out to the park to play and proceeded to blow out my stick on the first swing.
This wasn’t going to work.
One of the players at another park was marketing a sword based on similar designs that Warlord was putting out. Heavy foam made up the entire weapon. Taking it apart, I found that it was a single piece of foam, folded over the tip and down the other side. It was then contact cemented in place and taped. This sword lasted me about 4 months before I started to notice a problem. Taking it apart again, I found that the fold on the stabbing tip began to tear away at the tape line and the contact cement also began to degrade. I cut off the bad section of the foam and replaced it with cut pieces of what good foam I had left, fixed the contact cement and spiral wrapped it.
It worked, but I have to watch the tip for wear more than I like. Seeing my other weapons not made out of the same stuff starting to fizzle, I began looking for alternatives. Being told in every forum and group that I should buy the Duratube or Aethertube for my weapons, I began searching only to find out that these were brand names from Warlord.
I have nothing against Warlord, I plunked down the money for a Duratube tough stick and have enjoyed using it the last few times I played, but I am a crafter and I like making my own stuff and I really don’t like buying premade. Yes, you can buy just the tube from Warlord, but I want variety in what I purchase instead of building what they already have for sale.
So, I began my search today for a foam supplier, local to saint Louis so that I can pick it up in a truck instead of paying shipping and amiable to working with a small buyer. I sent an email to a company with the spec’s of what I was looking for and they wanted to quote me for a price with a minimum 25,000 piece purchase.
We haven’t spoken again.
As my quest continues, I will update this blog with more info.