Weapon Features and Variations
There are both the current wushu competition standards as well as Chen Family traditions.                                   
On the subject of lengths the 3 meter lau gar staff made of waxwood is very uniform
In many arts the optimal staff and spear handle height is at the user's eyebrows (so spear point extends further upward above the crown of the head), while sword and saber length is the difference between the top of the ear and the knuckles of the hand when the hand is hanging at the hip.
As readers likely know, Bagua Zhang and a few other arts use longer, thicker staffs, longer, heavier sabers and longer, heftier swords. None of these work very well in Chen style sets. Bagua Zhang also uses a double-headed spear which is really hazardous when doing the Chen style moves and spins.
I've seen Grandmaster Zhenglei do the usual 71 posture spear set with a spearhead on a lau gar staff. I do not know what he had in mind. The extra length and weight requires considerable diligence to make a one-handed move like Blue Dragon Reaches Out the Claw look powerful and graceful.
I have not read any comments from any Chen Family style grandmasters about graphite or other materials as opposed to wood, or even the different woods like oak and rattan. I would be thrilled to hear that anyone heartily disliked the very short and light toothpick staffs. 
I have only seen Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai do a fan set. Far from my favorite weapon, but for those who feel otherwise, it is probably worth noting in passing the choices of steel versus wooden ribs and the varieties of fan material (cloth versus paper or even a synthetic)
At various times Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei has done sword and saber sets with both stiff and flexible type blades. As far as I have seen, he has always favored a stiff kwan dao handle and blade.
Maces or batons are a tough topic. The actual maces are heavy and expensive. That would be okay I suppose, but in my experience they are also very dangerous even for an experienced student and for people around him or her. Usually, there is not much good that comes out of working with wooden weapons instead of steel, but in this case (and the Japanese shinei instead of a katana) there might be an exception. Even so, some comments about rattan versus oak would likely be in order.
As far as I know, none of the Grandmasters attach no special meaning to flags or tassels, let alone their number and color. I have no idea if they think the accessories are useful or an irritating distraction.
Lastly, there's a tendency lately to make longer weapons have screw-together handles. It definitely makes transportation easier, although, that said, I am not sure how many people haul their weapons around. 2013 Peter F. Zoll. All rights reserved.

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