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I don't expect that to be possible. One reason is that heating the metal will expand it, but the expansion is very very small. This works for very close tolerance metal rings over metal axles, but not for metal over wood. Second, if you heat the ring, it will cool very very rapidly, giving no time to slide it in place. Thirdly, it won't slide smoothly, and get stuck along the way (if it doesn't completely deform out of shape first), burning marks along the way. Fourthly, when it is in place, it will burn away a lot more wood (if at that point it hasn't completely cooled down already) then any shrinkage will compensate during cooling, so it will be quite loose.

I must respectfully disagree, until I get a chance to try it myself... :)

 

This method was used to put the iron ring on old wooden wagon wheels, so it has been used for metal over wood. I do not know how the second and third points would be addressed, I admit the low mass of the ring may case it to contract rather quickly, and it would have to be placed with haste. The wood would need to be very, very dry, as it will swell with moisture. Fourthly, a quick quench once the ring is in position should stop it from burning away too much wood.

 

I'll have to dig for it in my collection of old knife magazines, but this method was used by Mr Randall on a knife made in to 40-50s. His knife has a ivory handle, with a silver ring around the handle near to end. According to the article, it was placed by heating the metal and slipping it into position. The ivory closest to the ring appeared darkened from the heat, and had numerous small cracks in this area (this may help illustrate my reluctance to burn in tangs, some materials do not fare well after heating). It can be done on a small scale, and has been done in recent times. I'm not sure if this was the method used on the Jesswang langsax, nor am I sure that I'll be able to pull it off should I attempt it. I haven't heard a better theory proposed.

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@peter johnssonposted this on FB today and I know a bunch of interested folks here don't book the face, or even if they do, it is rare. So I saved the photos and copied the text with the links and bro

I love how a single find can destroy the conventional wisdom.  Because every other seax handle that survived until now was long and mostly undecorated, we assumed they all were.  And here's a short on

It's a swedish sax, a very different breed than the English and continental types which had the ridiculously long handles.  It's not the only one of this type to have a decorated handle either, it's j

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may not be an ideal source found a couple of pics from the carolingian period utrecht psalter a lot of weapons in evidence, and what looks like a few seaxes if people can find a way to zoom in. its a realistic sketching style so the weapons are probably pretty true to their actual appearance.

 

http://libraries.slu.edu/archives/digcoll/mssexhibit07/images/utrecht01.jpg

http://libraries.slu.edu/archives/digcoll/mssexhibit07/images/utrecht04.jpg

http://libraries.slu.edu/archives/digcoll/mssexhibit07/images/utrecht02.jpg

 

sorry if these are already covered.

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  • 4 months later...

finally got some work done on this heffer. blade is pretty much done. pattern came out WEIRD.

 

overall

IMG_3966.jpg

closeup

IMG_3967.jpg

 

more pics if i ever actually finish it. wrought iron bolster is a go, thinking maple or ash for handle, black sheath or maybe just natural with beeswax/burnished finish and can't decide between red bronze and yellow brass fittings on the sheath. any opinions would be appreciated cause i can't form one to save my life.

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Thanks George - this clears up a lot of speculation on handle size and shape. are these to scale?

The document does not say... but I suspect they are.

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I'm not sure if it is appropriate to revive this thread with a question, but I've been enamored with the sax Peter posted in post #12 for a while. I have attempted to find some dimensions for this piece (length/width) and failed. So, I figured I ask here if anyone knows. I can see in the photos that the drawing has the thicknesses labeled, but the length/width eludes me.

 

 

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So I downloaded the photo, printed it out and scaled it off the pencil.

I come up with tip to shoulders length of 22.25" (56.5cm) width at tang of 1.375" (3.5cm) and width where the back breaks of 1.675" (4.25cm)

 

Does that sound accurate for the time period?

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Joshua, I am still hoping Peter will chime in, as this doesn't seem to be one of the langsaxes covered in Untersuchungen an Langsaxen aus niederländischen Sammlungen... Perhaps you could send him a private message, as he's had the opportunity to take measurements. The only issue I have with your measurements is that seems like more taper than is typical, this might be due to foreshortening from the photo being taken from a slight angle. Langsaxes typically have around 1/8 inch taper, give or take 1/16th...

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Thanks guys.

George, I sent him one via fb the other day, but never heard back. I just checked and it seems like it never went through, so I sent another one.

 

The width at the tang end also seems a bit wide to me and I approximated the width at the break by "filling in" the missing edge with a French curve.

The angle of the photo will make things a bit longer than reality. I think I have enough to work with and start.

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Does anybody have any information on this sax, maybe @peter johnsson or @Jeroen Zuiderwijk? I can only find it in a couple of pictures, based on the other items in the pictures I'm guessing it's about 26"-28" but it would be great to hear some more info.
 

990p.jpg

515853156ab759ff37341d3c8a1f7f21.jpg

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I'd like to resurrect this thread. There is quite a bit of great information here that I have relied on heavily. Langsaxes of northern continental Europe are my primary interest for making blades. I attached a picture of my first attempt at a langsax in near-finished state, based loosely on the one found at Jesenwang. After this picture, I applied a cord wrap over the copper rivet and waxed the cord wraps. It seems that the grooves should have curved to meet at the end. The cord wrap, copper rivet, and copper hilt plate are all ahistorical elements, but I'm willing to make some aesthetic deviations for the sake of putting my personal look on the sax. The blade was 1075 steel, ~ 25 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 0.25 inches thick (no distal taper) with a ~ 6 inch tang. The total handle length was 9 inches made of walnut. Unfortunately, I tempered the blade at 450F, and after almost two years of good use I broke the edge while chopping wood.

I'm about to make my next attempt based on the langsax from Godlinze shown/described in Westphal 1997 (Grab 101, Figure 8). The blade will be 1075 steel,  ~18.5 inches long, 1.75 inches wide, and 0.25 inches thick (no distal taper). The handle will be 8.5 inches long and once again made from walnut. I have not yet decided between a 6 inch partial tang or a full tang. Based on Westphal, it seems that continental langsaxes generally only had partial tangs. I see that GEzell posted a figure that shows iron fittings on the hilt and a full tang for an Anglo-Saxon langsax. Are there finds of continental langsaxes with metal plates in the hilt and full tang as well? Or have only partial tangs been found on the continental langsaxes?

I have been considering tempering at 550F or possibly even 600F to create a blade that will take more abuse. I was wondering if others who have made langsaxes also temper at ~550F?

I'd like to make something historically plausible that also incorporates elements of my own style. Any comments or critiques of my first attempt or current plan would be appreciated. Also, I would never have found the great Westphal paper (I listed it below) if not for Jeroen mentioning it in this thread. Can anyone recommend additional papers, books, or other printed materials showing and describing the archeological record for continental langsaxes? Any language is acceptable.

Westphal, H. 1997. Untersuchungen an Langsaxen aus niederländischen Sammlungen. Berichten van de Rijksdienst voor het Oudheidkundig Bodemonderzoek. 42: 407-424.

You can find the full publication here: https://collectie.huisvanhilde.nl/pdf/bROB42.pdf

IMG_0308.jpg

Langsax_Jesenwang_Germany.jpg

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As far as I know, that Anglo-Saxon seax is the only full length tang I'm aware of (for a langsax, they're fairly common on broadsaxes).

As far as tempering, I'm not that familiar with 1075.  I recently made one of 80crv2 steel and tempered at 550° for a hardness in the mid to upper 50's.  I think that was about right for a 26" blade...

There is a group on Facebook called "the seax files", I highly recommend it if you do the Facebook thing.  Recently there were photos posted of the Jesenwang seax, and there are some good resources in the files section.

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@peter johnssonposted this on FB today and I know a bunch of interested folks here don't book the face, or even if they do, it is rare. So I saved the photos and copied the text with the links and brought them over here. The FB translator leaves something to be desired, but you will get the point.

Peter said: 

Just look at this very recent find of a seax with intact grip!!!!

Found at a site in the western outskirts of Västerås, Sweden.

 

Pic 1.jpg

 

Pic 2.jpg

 

Pic 3.jpg

 

Pic 4.jpg

The text from the archeological announcment was translated as such:

Seax with intact handle

Short sword from the Iron Age found in Skälby in Västerås

The archaeological survey in Skälby continues to offer unexpected findings. A short-term or combat knife dating to the 700-900th century AD was recently found in a well.

- The unique thing is that the beautiful carved handle in wood is so well preserved, says Louise Evanni, project manager at the Archaeologists.

It is the second find in a short time made in a well at the site where a prehistoric residential area and a younger iron age pit consisting of twenty graves are dug out.

The short-term, a so-called ′′ scramasax ", was found at the bottom of one of the wells. It is around 40 centimeters long and was deep down in the mud when it was found. Similar short swords have previously been found in rider graves in Västmanland and were probably used in close proximity.

- But it is unusual to find such in the housing context. They were part of the personal equipment and very prestigious items. They often have a case of suspension devices and we may have also found some of the case but it's a little too early to say yet, says Louise Evanni.

Read more about the bargain:

https://arkeologerna.com/.../kortsvard-fran-jarnaldern.../

Photos: Acta Preservation Center and Archaeologists

 

So, I guess we now have a pretty good idea of what these handles looked like during that time frame. I know what the next handle I make is going to look like!

 

 

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I love how a single find can destroy the conventional wisdom.  Because every other seax handle that survived until now was long and mostly undecorated, we assumed they all were.  And here's a short one that's carved and not a straight thin piece!  Sort of like when we thought there were no decorated metal seax mounts, and then the one from the Staffordshire Hoard showed up.  Sure, statistically speaking that and this are outliers, but they certainly did exist, because, well, they still do... ;)

 

As I said down in the other place this appeared, I now feel much better about the handles of the Maldon Foes Petr and I made way back before we knew much about these things.  B)

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It's a swedish sax, a very different breed than the English and continental types which had the ridiculously long handles.  It's not the only one of this type to have a decorated handle either, it's just extremely rare for the handle to survive in such a pristine condition.

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Yeah, the sax/seax/baltic war knife/Gotlandic knife/scramasax/etc. family is a large and diverse one, with many little quirks to keep 'em separate.  It's just cool to see such a nice one. B)

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Yeah, the sax/seax/baltic war knife/Gotlandic knife/scramasax/etc. family is a large and diverse one

As is wont to happen with a form that predominates for several centuries........

That's what truly fascinates me about this subject. Even though the shapes and geometries differ throughtout the typology, these many forms occurred, and reoccurred, over some 500+ years, and are all still recognizeable as the "Seax" or "Sax"

 

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What a great find! It is amazing to me how the wood managed to survive so well.

It is nice to see that modern seax makers were on the right track with making fancy carved handles.

 

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