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omalley

yet another freakin seax topic

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it came up in one of the threads that got eaten by the forumbug, but does anyone have good examples of nordic straight backed seaxes? i'm still working on the nordic i'd posted for the mini maldon project, i've got the billet welded up and drawn out, and i'm doing the forgework tomorrow. i'd kinda like to know whether i'm making something wrong not TOO long after i irreparably mess the billet up.

 

i kind of imagine them as being a slightly simplified leuku with a longer blade and slightly more ornate handle, is that about the right idea?

 

thanks,

-liam

 

 

PS jeroen, i know you're in here because you're a bigger seax junkie than me, so if you could pm me a link to those seaxes you posted on that thread i'd appreciate it, i have the ones from the zipfile but there were a few i dont think i'd seen. thanks :):)

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Hey Omalley,

 

I just posted som info on the thread started by Owen: how big does seaxes get.

You may want to read there.

 

On those "true" saxes with straight back I have seen ones such as the monster I describe in Owens threas, but also ones of more modest proportions.

Several have been some 45-55 in blade length, width of some 4 cm, back thickness of some 0.65 - 0.85 with a gentle distal taper of a millimeter or two at a maximum.

Tang is stout and often some 12 - 15 cm long.

 

Then there are those later viking war knives that look like long slim, but stout bayonettes. I think they are a different breed than saxes. They seem to come frm the eastern side of the Baltic sea, or at least share eastern Sweden and the western Baltic shores as their "home land". They are some 45 cm long but only 2 cm wide, or so. They can be almost 1 cm thick at the base. A short knife grip and a very striking and typical scabbard with lavish bronze mounts and three carrying rings. The scabbard encloses the whole grip tha has a smll ring at the end where a leather thong is secured to enable the knife to be drawn.

 

Hope this is of some help.

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Like these?

W&GFig34s.jpg

Oh wow! Thanks for posting those. That just shows how big a gap in knowledge I still have in Scandinavian saxes :)

 

I've attached a few examples of other types that I've downloaded earlier (first is more a sword then sax though). In this document you can also find some examples:

http://www.arkeologi.uu.se/ark/education/CD/Cuppsats/Persson.pdf

 

SeaxStraightBack.jpg

 

swords_viking_age._63cm.jpg

 

skramasax.jpg

Edited by Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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well, thanks all for the help. i didnt get to see this til after i finished the forgework on the billet today, but the next one i do i'm going to more in line with these. the one i made looks more properly like the ones posted here. giving me great ideas for handles though, thank you all :)

 

IMG_2791.jpg

 

forgot to post the pic. its 8.5" blade length, 1.25" wide at the blade. you cant see the pattern because i'm a total camera newb (not that its anything that interesting). I normally forge a lot closer to shape but i'm not used to forging anything but monosteels, so to lessen the risk of separating the welds i elected to get it "about the right size" then try to file it down to shape. also not sold on the fullers, but they seem to be mandatory. appreciate any input. will post handle designs as soon as i have one worked out.

Edited by omalley

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hi Jeroen! The sax with bronze hilt parts is great, do you know the dating and provenance?

also, the pdf does not work for me, did you downloaded it?

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In roportions, that looks like a broad sax to me.

If you want to go along with historical types, that means you can make a plate or bolster at the front of the grip, or leave the grip completely without metal mounts. I would stay away from those fullers. If you want to do any decoration, scrape the outline of a broad fuller along the back of the knife, but skip the actual fuller itself.

Below you can see a broadsax from Chalon. The decorative lines stand out pretty clear, I hope.

DSC02250.jpg

You can also see the stout back of the knife.

It is about the same size as your blade, I think.

Below is an image of a broad sax with a "bolster" or grip plate. It is difficult to describe in words and unfortunately the image is very blurry. Hopefully you can get an idea of wha they lok like. The great thing with these (rather rare) metal mounts is that they tell us exactly what the cross section of the grip was like at the front towards the blade: as wide as the blade but very flat. Slightly egg shaped in section with a flat face along the back of the grip.

Underhjalt scramasax.jpg

 

Hope this helps!

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Bolsters from my example. They do not protrude over or under the blade

 

pippo2.jpeg

Edited by GBC

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Thanks Bruno!

 

It illustrates well how similar in shape these are. Looks like there was a commonly shared idea on how these grips should be shaped. This cross section is very common to see whenever there is a "bolster" in iron that is intact.

The example I posted is also a Langobardian, or Lombardian sax.

 

There are hilt plates of this very same shape on saxes displayed in the British museum as well, so it seems the design concept was not limited to those guys with long beards ;-)

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Here´s another one, although a type that is a bit more old fashioned: a narrow sax. Note the similar idea of how the forward end of the grip should be shaped:

DSC02314.jpg

 

And another one (also a narrow sax):

DSC02258.jpg

 

And another one (also a narrow sax):

DSC02274.jpg

 

Just some food for thought ;)

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that last one is interesting - the bolster seems to be made from a single strip and forged round the tang - possibly welded closed? or just forged up tight? i have thought of making a habaki like that, make a mock up tang of stainless, forge a piece of mild steel round it and forge weld the ends, no faffing about with machigane, and no thin brazed joint to fail. annealed mild should be pretty similar to work hardened copper in terms of strength/ shock absorbtion. there also seems to be a cross hatched pattern on the bolster. perhaps it had some kind of foil overlay? although the hatching seems a bit coarse for that, so perhaps it was decorative in its own right.

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hi Jeroen! The sax with bronze hilt parts is great, do you know the dating and provenance?

Nope. I downloaded it some time ago, but as I didn't include any information in the name of the file, there probably wasn't any information to it when I downloaded it. The only thing I know is that it's Scandinavian. It's most probably 8th century IMO.

 

also, the pdf does not work for me, did you downloaded it?

I downloaded it a while ago, but didn't check if the link still worked, sorry:) Anyway, for these situations it's great to have the wayback machine:):

http://web.archive.org/web/20070609181921/http://www.arkeologi.uu.se/ark/education/CD/Cuppsats/Persson.pdf

 

Omalley, I agree that it's a lot like a broadsax, perhaps even more a narrow sax. Regarding decoration, mind that on the originals the decoration is always confined within the upper half of the blade. With grooves, the upper usually follow the spine at equal distance and the lower the edge at equal distance. That to me indicates that they might have used scrapers with guides, using either the back or the edge.

 

Peter, the Chalon sax, both the upper and lower show the edge part as being a lot darker then the top part of the blade. Do you know if that's due to steel vs iron, hardening vs non-hardening or just a bevel resulting in a different shading?

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The great thing with these (rather rare) metal mounts is that they tell us exactly what the cross section of the grip was like at the front towards the blade: as wide as the blade but very flat. Slightly egg shaped in section with a flat face along the back of the grip.

B.t.w. do you know about the existence of this broadsax? It's in the Umler Museum, Ulm, Germany.

 

Img_2501.jpg

 

Img_2500.jpg

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jeroen, i was actually going for a kind of broadsax, i'd never heard of the straight backed nordics and i wanted to see what they looked like. i wasnt actually trying to make one yet. if this project doesnt go totally bolocks up i'll probably put that on the list for next after the leuku and wrought/15n20 laminate puukko i'm doing the design work on right now.

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Nope. I downloaded it some time ago, but as I didn't include any information in the name of the file, there probably wasn't any information to it when I downloaded it. The only thing I know is that it's Scandinavian. It's most probably 8th century IMO.

Scratch that, I just found the information. It's from Finland, length 63cm, blade with 4cm and dates to roughly 800AD.

 

Here's an automatic translation of the text:

"The foothold to uniting encouraged swords, skramasax. The sword type is called also weapon knives or cut knives. Skramasaxen is with sound and affixed totally 63 cms long. Klingan is approximately 4 cms broad and only some broader on the centers and is thereby suitable both as cuts - and splinter weapons. Sounding anticipating point avsmalnar precipitous from the spine against the edge and not however as a common knives. Analog with the spine and the edge runs to fire grave row straight grooves. Skramasaxar as been found bl.a. in Egentliga Finland and as is considered last of Finnish origin is shorter, klingan is considerably broader on the centers than the wide foothold and has straight spine and prone edge. Among the bargains from Pukkila in Isokyrö describes Hackman one skramasax (approximately 73,5 cms) with similar grave row grooves that on skramasaxen from Pörnullbacken, but with ingraverad djurornamentik the average grooves. The Pukkila bargain's sound divides itself also from the current skramasaxen through that klingan avsmalnar already from the centers. Moreover reminds the preserved splitters of the foothold more about cut knives from Ristimäki in pcs Karin's and Pitkäsmäki in Lieto. One skramasax (46 cms) from Kaparkullen in Vörå, beside Pörnullbacken, has straight spine and to be dated of Hackman to merovingertid. Skramasaxar has also been getupto Viskusbacken and Lövbacken in Vörå. Skramasaxen from Pörnullbacken can have connections with Gotland, there skramasaxar according to Edgren occurs in graves from vikingatid (900-talet), but only exception sensible in Finland. Skramasaxar from this period occurs also in Norway. The point shaped ovalerna on the foothold's “nesting boxes” should however can to give a guidance about was the uniting encouraged the sword from Pörnullbacken has been produced and about a more exact date. Probably can skramasaxen among other thing on the basis of the bargain circumstances be dated to early vikingatid, d.v.s. 800-tal. Photo Mikael country manor."

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(snip)

Peter, the Chalon sax, both the upper and lower show the edge part as being a lot darker then the top part of the blade. Do you know if that's due to steel vs iron, hardening vs non-hardening or just a bevel resulting in a different shading?

 

This is an artifact of the conservation of the objects.

Fabrice Cognot told me the same chemical was used to clean all the blades. A side effect was that it turned material with higher carbon content a darker grey.

It was strange being able to see all these blades and tell by a glance where the iron was welded to steel!

Some roman blades were really interesting that way.

I think every sax I saw had this dark streak along the edge. I am not sure if this effect would also mark out different structure after heat treat rather than simply difference in carbon content.

I think it was sulphuric acid that was used.

Edited by peter johnsson

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B.t.w. do you know about the existence of this broadsax? It's in the Umler Museum, Ulm, Germany.

 

 

 

Yes!

Its is great!

Really want to see that one...

Looks like a joint visit to München and Ulm should be high on the list B)

Edited by peter johnsson

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This is an artifact of the conservation of the objects.

Fabrice Cognot told me the same chemical was used to clean all the blades. A side effect was that it turned material with higher carbon content a darker grey.

It was strange being able to see all these blades and tell by a glance where the iron was welded to steel!

Some roman blades were really interesting that way.

I think every sax I saw had this dark streak along the edge. I am not sure if this effect would also mark out different structure after heat treat rather than simply difference in carbon content.

I think it was sulphuric acid that was used.

Sweet! They should use that on all saxes :)

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that last one is interesting - the bolster seems to be made from a single strip and forged round the tang - possibly welded closed? or just forged up tight? i have thought of making a habaki like that, make a mock up tang of stainless, forge a piece of mild steel round it and forge weld the ends, no faffing about with machigane, and no thin brazed joint to fail. annealed mild should be pretty similar to work hardened copper in terms of strength/ shock absorbtion. there also seems to be a cross hatched pattern on the bolster. perhaps it had some kind of foil overlay? although the hatching seems a bit coarse for that, so perhaps it was decorative in its own right.

 

Yes, it is interesting, isn´t it!

 

The blade is unusual: very thin and flat. Quite big: blade is 69 cm long & 5.5 cm wide, but only 0.44 cm thick at the base.

I have a nagging feeling it is much earlier than most anything else on this thread so far. It is a find without context, from a late 19th C collection, so it is impossible to date. The blade looks more like some swords from the Hjortspirng find from 350 BC.

A very unusual one.

 

The "bolster" or "guard" is similar to those sometimes found on saxes, however.

The criss cross pattern is scoring in the iron that secures silver plate!

It is a weapon of rather high quality. Very nice blade.

It is the only one I have ever seen with this little knob as a rivet peen block. Unique.

P1000499.jpg

P1000500.jpg

Looks a somehow like the rivet peen block on this knife (the big one, second from right) from the Illerup Ådal find. 3rd or 4th C AD?

IMG_3823.jpg

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i would like to make narrow or langsax, as it is not the dating i am familiar with, could someone please hand out some ideas on meassurements and general rules, jeroen gave me some great help, i would like ty give that snakes a try, but i also like the monstrosity of langsax. could you help me?

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Is it possible that some parts of hilt on narrow sax were ornamented in some way? inlay? engravings?

Edited by Petr Florianek

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Is it possible that some parts of hilt on narrow sax were ornamented in some way? inlay? engravings?

The preserved grips I've seen are usually leather over wood, and don't seem to have been decorated. The pommels and bolsters are ususally also fairly plain, though some british exampels have more ornate designs, cast in (gilded?) silver such as this one:

 

09060405.jpg

 

Most pommels are triangular or rounded, with a ridge mimicking the bolster. Here's such an example from Nijmegen, Netherlands:

 

0214214a.JPG

 

0214214b.JPG

 

http://1501bc.com/page/rijks_museum_oudheden2/11190115.jpg

 

B.t.w. this one also has engraved braided bands on the blade.

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its the one i will start with! Is there some with more clearly visible snakes? i would like to make it from wrought and some medium carbon steel and oaken wood. I barely remember that i saw some silver strips on some guards but i don know where it was

OAL about 59 cm, as i read somwhere else.

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