Mark Griffin said
I laugh when the novice (or mad and should know better) jousters say 'I'd never use solids'. Because, my dear fellow, you are already. What the F gets the balsa bit to you? And that's not going to snap.....except in unusual circumstances.
Indeed. Generally we use 32mm dia. Tasmanian Oak (Mountain Ash) dowel for our balsa lances down here, it is just as tough as its names suggest. We only split the first 6 inches of our balsa tips with a table saw and then tape the split end together to form a slight taper. The rest of the balsa tip is left solid. The weight of the balsa varies between very light and soft to very heavy and as tough as pine dowel.
These photos are from a tournament we held in Sydney at the end of May.
First photo is me going away from the camera and I have broken my balsa tip and also the main body of the lance. I was using an arret but no graper. If the main body hadn't broken my little buddy Phil, who I was jousting, said he would have been off the horse. But hey, can't unhorse someone with balsa
Posing with the broken bit of lance. In my wifes Michelle hand you can see the taped end on one of the balsa tips.
and another pass with the aluminium socket on the business end doing its magic.
You can see my arret in this photo. Even when I am doing balsa I use my arret on this harness and my 15thC harness all the time. Only way to be 100% comfortable with it.
All the fun stuff happens after the balsa tip is gone with these sort of lances. The big issue I have with them is slide. It takes a lot of practice, experience and skill to get that tip on target to smash through it and then drive the solid bit of the lance into the target. A lot of jousters can't do that and either get slide or they break the tip and deflect somewhere they shouldn't. Another uniquely balsa tip trick is the Double Tap, break the balsa tip on the ecranche and then lift the rest of the lance into the helm Only ok of course if agreed upon by each jouster and the armour and helms are up to it.