Why low profile?
In foamsmithing, the phrase low profile when refers to boffer weapons that make use of more compact and lower volume designs. While a sword can certainly be low profile, the term more typically refers to thrusting weapons, as stabbing tips are traditionally bulky components.
Advantages of low profile designs:
- They’re lighter
- The more maneuverable in combat
- They have a more realistic appearance
- There’s no outer layer of soft, breakable foam to deteriorate before the rest of the weapon
- No fucking flop! (Where the mass of the open cell foam moves off to the side during an angled strike)
For years, the conventional approach to building stabbing tips was to apply a large volume of open cell foam on a base of bluefoam. This led to fairly bulky, round stabbing point. Since then, innovations in materials and techniques over the years have led to the production of smaller designs, especially for daggers, spears, and javelins. The primary new material for stabbing tips is no longer the traditional open cell foam (which could have included nerf footballs, couch foam, computer packing foam, etc.) but now is a form of Ensolite, usually in the form of “Marine Foam”, Stadium Seat Cushions, or Yogamat. Ensolite is a very spongy closed cell foam that lends well to a lower profile stabbing tip using the principle of progressive resistance.
Another innovation is the inclusion of a swatch of leather or plastic capping the weapon after it has its first wrap of foam at the tip. Place this disc on the end of the core (depicted to the left) after a base of foam has been built flush with the end of the core. This technique spreads the force of the impact of the core to a wider surface area, allowing more absorption by the stabbing tip foam. In conjunction with the Ensolite, these two imrpovements make very safe, lower profile weapons that look better and are easier to use.