Vancouver's Tan Chen has launched an interesting new fencing business venture: Live Spot, a quick method for repairing dead spots on fencing lamés. In this post, I will walk through the use of Live Spot to show you how it works.
You will need your Live Spot patch, some scissors, a pen, a lamé with dead spots, and a lamé tester. I improvised a tester using a multimeter, alligator clip, and an uninsulated foil pommel.
Find your dead spots
Clip one of the multimeter probes to a good part of the lamé.
I put the other probe into the pommel and use the rounded butt of the pommel to drag over the lamé fabric. This gives a clean, broad point of contact, and makes it less likely that you will catch or tear the conductive fibers in the lamé.
Test your technique on a good part of the material, and verify that you get low resistance on the ohm setting. (Values down around 1.0 ohms are good.)
When you find a dead spot, the resistance will rise to a large value, and even go "infinite" (totally dead).
Mark the dead areas
Mark the dead spot with your pen. Then trace radial lines outward from the dead spot, to find where the resistance drops back down to good values. Mark that as the boundary of the dead patch.
You will end up with a map of dead areas. These are the regions that must be covered with the Live Spot patch. If they are too large, the vest might be a write-off. But small dead spots are easy to cover up.
Cover dead spots with patches
Cut your patch into pieces that will cover your dead areas, with a small amount of overlap so they connect well to the good parts of the lamé.
Peel off the backing of the patches, and stick them to the lamé. Press firmly all over the patch to ensure good adhesion to the fabric.
Use your tester to confirm that the former dead spot is now alive.
Repeat until all your dead spots are covered.
Works like a charm! This former junk vest is back in business!
It really works. I recommend it for bringing stainless steel lamés back to life. I would not bother with cheaper copper based lamés (the ones that tend to turn green around the collar), since they tend to fail through corrosion, rather than by broken fibers. But on expensive steel lamés, those first tiny dead spots can be frustrating, and force you to drop hundreds of dollars on a new one. Live Spot should keep it going for a while longer.