Please click below for a PDF document of instructions on how to set up and maintain the Leon Paul point that is fitted to this blade.
What is the SR-71?
We wanted to combine the best attributes of traditionally forged epee blades and the more durable Leon Paul V-blades. In short, a lightweight, low -vibration, perfectly balanced blade with great point control and an incredibly long lifespan.
How was it designed?
We started by examining all the major characteristics of the most popular traditional blades and through this process Leon Paul were able to define how the SR-71 should respond over a series of fixed tests. We sampled the Kolobkov-Pro, a traditional BF and the Viniti. We measured the weight, balance point, rotational stiffness and the bend along the length of the blade. Using this sample data, we set about creating the SR-71 to combine the best characteristics of these blades. The finished product has the same bend profile and stiffness as a BF with the centre of gravity of the Kolobkov-Pro. Because of the Leon Paul V design it is far more long lasting than a standard forged blade and shaves 10g off the weight of a standard forged blade.
How is it made?
A traditional blade takes metal and stretches and shapes it by forging it with hammers at a very high temperature. A Leon Paul blade takes a flat piece of steel and forms it under extreme pressure without heat. The press used to make the blades can exert a force of up to 400 tons! Manufacturing the blades in this way means they last 3 to 5 times longer than a standard FIE epee blades. This process is far more consistent than traditional forging methods and means that we can make identical blades consistently. The tang is a separate cast piece that is braised onto the blade. This new tang is designed to add more weight to the forté area of the blade and bring the balance point back towards the hand. The blade now has a double bend, making its cross -section more like a W than a V which increases lateral stiffness in the forte for improved parries.
How was the blade tested and signed off for production?
A wide range of athletes from the world's top fencers through to club fencers tested the blade. The US Men's Epee Team and European and World 2011 silver medallist Bas Verwijlen are some of the fencers that worked on the project. We also had samples out for testing in clubs in England, Italy, France and the US to maximize test data. The blade's double -bend design went through more than 15 different development stages with fine tuning on each section of its length to ensure the finished product is as close to perfect as possible.
Why is it called the SR-71?
When the Leon Paul design team started the project, someone said they wanted to create the next Blackbird. Something that was so ground breaking that people would want to put a poster of it up on their bedroom wall. The name just stuck ever since!
"The SR-71 blade has surely lived up to the pre-production advertisement! Slightly heavier than the regular Leon Paul blade, but lighter then a BF. The weight has been moved back to the guard area which gives the blade the characteristics of the BF, yet with all the advantages of the Leon Paul. "Leon Paul has done it again! The SR-71 is the now the blade for me". Walt Dragonetti 2009 Veterans Epee World Champion
I am really excited about the new SR-71 blackbird epee blade. Leon Paul took a lot of my suggestions and I believe they have built the first new world class epee in a long time. I was very happy with the pre-production blades and I am very excited to get my hands on the final version.