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owen bush

how big do seaxes get ?

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Thanks for posting those Jeff! Yep, I've been wondering about the hilts on those too. If no pommel and guards, the hilts would probably have had similar lengths as sax hilts. But organic pommels and guards are a possibility too. The bone pommels and guards I've seen are sometimes a lot more bulky then the metal equivalents, so that could explain the longer tangs.

 

N.b. here's the long British sax I was talking about. Using the scales next to it, it measures out to 91cm, with a blade of 78cm and a tang of 13cm. Add an extra 10cm for the hilt, and you get to a total length of 100cm!

 

planche3.jpg

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Wow! Very good information thank you!

While we are into the subject, can those mesurements be applied to the broken back style?

I started forging one just before Owen started this thread...

 

Thank you!

 

Antoine

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Antoine, I´m not sure what dimensions you are thinking about.

Broken back seaxes are generally more narrow in proportion to their length than broad saxes and lang saxes.

 

They tend to have thick backs, and especially those that come close to sword size.

I attach two photos of the Beagnoth seax, the famous one on display in the British museum.

I think you can get an idea of just how thick the back is. I have not measured it, but it must be around 8 or 9 millimeters.

IMG_3248.jpg

IMG_3249.jpg

Edited by peter johnsson

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Thank you all .

I think that this is a wonderful thread .The whole ambiguity of exactly went on on the handles of these blades leaves a lot of breadth for interpretation and a lot of questions.

 

I have been "Sword" training now for a few months and my interpretation of how a blade works as a weapon is changing .

The possibilities of these "Strait Falx" type of seax with longer handles really opens up what these blades could be/do and there ubiquity and numbers seem to suggest they were affective for what ever role they played .

 

I'll post up what ever I am making in another thread as this one does not deserve to be smothered by pictures of a modern interpretation .

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Sax 6 - 74-90cm, Sax 7 - 72-96cm, Sax 8 - 102-106 cm. 9th Century, Norwegian. Illustrations from "Waffen und Gräber" by Jørgensen.

 

Now those are my kind of sax, Jeff. :)

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Now those are my kind of sax, Jeff. :)

 

I see what you did there. =]

 

Interestingly, only blade 1 of the "Sax 7" group shows any "nose dive". Blade 3 of "Sax 8" group might, as well, but i'm hesitant to say yes or no on that one due to the edge damage/corrosion.

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~

Actually, 2 & 3 of sax 7 and 1 & 3 of sax 8 all suggest forward curving as I see the spines. This, plus all five of them in the one case at the Kulturhistorisk Museum. There is in fact, one in another case there that's quite straight, and a couple in other sources I can think of and thus you may be taking my hyperbole a bit too literally. However, perfect straightness in this particular style of sax blades seems to be the exception rather than the rule. As far as other saxes, a couple of the Vimose blades, (Du Chaillu, The Viking Age, Vol.1,) from centuries earlier in Denmark exhibit some forward curvature as well. None of them curve upwards in terms of blade shape, though tip shape may do so.

 

I've made sax blades totaling about 30" or so perfectly straight, and I've also enjoyed just letting them curve a little. So happy! So free!

 

At 4-6", you won't need to worry about any warping of the sort unless you hit a real good learning curve. Instead, you should go hit some iron & steel and do some more of that nice inlay.

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~

Actually, 2 & 3 of sax 7 and 1 & 3 of sax 8 all suggest forward curving as I see the spines.

 

I don't at all agree about 2 & 3 of sax 7 or 1 of sax 8. Though, as I said about 3 of sax 8, I could see it going either way.

 

At 4-6", you won't need to worry about any warping of the sort unless you hit a real good learning curve.

 

Yes, I'd say this is a given. I'm very familiar with the point drooping properties long(ish) wedge-shaped blades of 10xx series steels combined with an oil quench (or just simply several normalizations, depending on cross-section, as you mentioned previously). Here's just a couple of blades of mine that started with straight spines and ended with something quite different:

4472_81221553450_525818450_1856952_2385846_n.jpg

 

What I'm interested in is how wedge cross-sectioned, long, heterogeneous blade constructed with shallow hardening edges and non-hardenable (or very very very shallow hardening) spine/body reacts to oil vs water/brine quenches. What can that tell us about quenching methodologies, materials, etc of the historical long blades we do see with varying degrees of positive and negative curvatures?

 

Instead, you should go hit some iron & steel and do some more of that nice inlay.

 

I day-dream of doing just that most of the time, but that's what I get for having a day job, a family, and living in an expensive city. I'm incredibly jealous of you guys who've managed to make a go of this amazing obsession! =]

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looking at these old blades in there present state really tells you nada about how they came out of the quench .

I regularly take heavy section thin edge blades and bash them strait again whilst they are meta austenitic .this would have been much easier to do with a mainly wrought construction .

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looking at these old blades in there present state really tells you nada about how they came out of the quench .

I regularly take heavy section thin edge blades and bash them strait again whilst they are meta austenitic .this would have been much easier to do with a mainly wrought construction .

 

 

you probably could have done it cold after a temper with a mostly wrought construction.

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"Then the fighting started in real earnest. Steinthor was always in front, hewing away on either side, but whenever he struck a shield, his ornamented sword would bend, and he had to put his foot on it to straighten it out."

 

Eyrbyggja Saga, Chapter 44.

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Is a spine thickness of 3/16" unreasonable for the Sittingbourne Seax? I am currently working on an interpretation of it. I brought it to the ship with me and I am current finishing the profiling by angle grinder, draw filing and rotary tool (not original methods in the least). I'll post some pics when I am able to.

Edited by Howie

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Having looked at the original last week, that's just a little too thin. It's more like 1/4." Of course, that's as seen through the glass. :(

 

Anybody got an actual measurement on it?

 

Here's my two pics of it, sorry the one of the spine is so blurry:

 

Sittingbourne 1.jpg

 

Sittingbourne 2.jpg

 

And here's one Jeroen took that shows it a little better:

 

09060267.jpg

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Thanks for the pics! Is there a distal taper on the tang as well? The pictures seem to suggest it. Maybe it is just the angle though. OK, it is close to 32cm; the blade is about 8" in length the handle will make it close to the 32cm.

Edited by Howie

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Yep, the tang is tapered, but it would be proximal taper since it's coming towards you. ;)

 

The blade has no distal taper until after the break in the spine, and then it's only a function of the grind.

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I'm finding out seaxes are more complicated than they seem!

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Thanks for the pics! Is there a distal taper on the tang as well? The pictures seem to suggest it. Maybe it is just the angle though. OK, it is close to 32cm; the blade is about 8" in length the handle will make it close to the 32cm.

Well, the handle would make it around 45cm. Mind that these had pretty long hilts. There's a good amount of information available in the lecture I did at Owen's forge-in last week:

http://1501bc.com/files/saxes/lecture_saxes_final.ppt

 

I'm finding out seaxes are more complicated than they seem!

I've been studying them for years now, and still continue to find them to be more complex then I previously thought regularly :)

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Thanks for the lecture Jeroen. I'll have to download it later when we get in port, the connection on the ship is too slow as it is :/

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On ‎4‎/‎14‎/‎2011 at 12:07 AM, Howie said:

Thanks for the lecture Jeroen. I'll have to download it later when we get in port, the connection on the ship is too slow as it is :/

Jeoren took that page down. I have put that up on Google Drive:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QQ4NLkfXFWwMeYxNq-dCa81iDRbpdo7T

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3 hours ago, Joshua States said:

Jeoren took that page down. I have put that up on Google Drive:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QQ4NLkfXFWwMeYxNq-dCa81iDRbpdo7T

Thank you so much! And thanks even more Jeroen! Such a wealth of knowledge! I actually have plans to start welding bars for my first seax tomorrow, so timing could not have been better! 

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It's also available in pdf format, at the facebook page "The seax files": https://www.facebook.com/groups/767422583312753/files/

It's starting to become quite a good resource for seaxes, despite the constant tendency of the group to spin off towards seax fantasy land, but continously being put back on course. There a good number of pdfs available for download there, and photos in the photo section. 

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Thanks! Alan first pointed me in the direction of your powerpoint, but I only managed to get 21 pages of it downloaded on my phone (after many failed attempts), and it took 3 hours for that to download, so I had to abandon it.

I've been making scale drawings of what pictures with scale bars I can find, so hopefully I'll do it some justice. My power hammer is still out of order, but I talked my friend into coming out of blacksmithing retirement to swing a sledge. Time to go shape some wrought :D!!!

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