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Well... despite the title of this thread, I do know the Sax is not an African design.

My brother is moving to Africa in a few months, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

A few weeks ago he purchased a Savage Long Range Hunter rifle, the week after that he bought a Range Rover.

 

Obviously the next thing he will need is a knife capable of taking care of, well whatever chores might happen to go along with a plains game rifle and a Land Rover.

 

So I imediately knew I had to do a Sax, mostly because I haven't yet had the pleasure of doing my first one. Maybe second, but not sure I should cound my first since it has a RR spike handle...but that is a different story.

 

Anyway I sat down to sketch it out and after a bit of fiddling, this is what I have: (Handle is drawn "transparent" to allow me to fit the tang into the image.)

 

JDS SageBrush BladeWorks 'African' Short Sax.jpg

 

The drawing is full scale on the paper so I didn't think to put measurements on it. As currently drawn;

Blade is 7 inches tip to guard/ferrule

OAL is right at 12 inches. Edge to Hump on spine is 1.75 inches.

 

The notation on wood choice (Afromosia aka African Teak) is my nod towards the blade's destination, it also happens to be georgeous and nearly as hard as steel.

 

I am actually quite happy with the design so far, but I am debating a couple items,

Layer count in the edge (288 or 576)

Twist counter-twist or twist and split for cores

Brass vs Nickel Silver for furniture

and Oval or Octagonal cross section for the handle and furniture.

 

Ok so thats more than a couple...

 

I welcome any and all advice or suggestions, especially if your beard is blazing when you give it!

 

Thanks,

James

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I like it! It's more inspired by a sax than an actual sax, but that is totally okay. If you'd like it to be a little more saxish make both the handle and the clip a little longer, and drop the point a bit. It looks like a very good useful knife as is though.

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5160/L6 could be a tricky combination for the pattern welding. Are you doing this by hand or do you have a press or trip hammer? My advice would be to go with 1080/15N20, easier to stick together and less likely to trouble you during hardening.

 

Look closely at Anglo/Saxon broken backed sax and most of them seem to follow some clearly defined rules. For example: Split the length of the blade into thirds and the "hump" on the spine usually falls on the line 1/3 from the tip and 2/3rds from the handle. The edge has a subtle belly and the widest point falls directly across from the "hump" on the spine. The line from handle to "hump" on the spine is straight and the line from "hump" to tip is often straight as well. The clip can have some curvature but, when it does, it is usually over a small area, close to the "hump" and the rest of the clip is straight. I've used Microsoft Paint to modify your drawing so you can see what I mean but, the blade is not split up into 1/3 - 2/3 because I kept to your original length and width.

post-34940-0-86754500-1372375474.jpg

 

~Bruce~

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Bruce is correct on all counts. Your design is nifty, but it is in no way a seax.

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for this style pattern welding I think a 32 layers is a bit high for the twists that is if you are going for that Viking/saxon look. On most of mine I use 7,9 or 11 layers for the core bars but any layer count up to 20 or so looks good beyond that, can still look good just not what I think of as this style ....

MP

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Thanks to all for the feedback!

 

for this style pattern welding I think a 32 layers is a bit high for the twists that is if you are going for that Viking/saxon look. On most of mine I use 7,9 or 11 layers for the core bars but any layer count up to 20 or so looks good beyond that, can still look good just not what I think of as this style ....

MP

The initial billet is already welded with 8 visible layers (L6 is doubled). So it will be simple enough to take your layer advice just by stopping there and drawing them out for the cores.

5160/L6 could be a tricky combination for the pattern welding. Are you doing this by hand or do you have a press or trip hammer? My advice would be to go with 1080/15N20, easier to stick together and less likely to trouble you during hardening.

 

Look closely at Anglo/Saxon broken backed sax and most of them seem to follow some clearly defined rules. For example: Split the length of the blade into thirds and the "hump" on the spine usually falls on the line 1/3 from the tip and 2/3rds from the handle. The edge has a subtle belly and the widest point falls directly across from the "hump" on the spine. The line from handle to "hump" on the spine is straight and the line from "hump" to tip is often straight as well. The clip can have some curvature but, when it does, it is usually over a small area, close to the "hump" and the rest of the clip is straight. I've used Microsoft Paint to modify your drawing so you can see what I mean but, the blade is not split up into 1/3 - 2/3 because I kept to your original length and width.

attachicon.gifpost-34940-0-86754500-1372375474.jpg

 

~Bruce~

I used a power hammer during open shop night at a local blacksmithing school to weld the billet thus far but will go back to hand hammer for drawing, folding the edge billet etc. I taught myself to forgeweld with random pieces of scrap steel before I knew better, so I got fairly good at welding stuff that other smiths later told me can't be welded.

JPH's book "The Complete Bladesmith" specifically recommended this combination for various effects, which is why I went with it.

 

My 5160 is from Texas knife supply, but my "L6" is a section of lumber mill bandsaw blade. The mill believed it to be L6 but it may be either L6 or 15N20 or ?.
I have done several HT test pieces, which were tested to destruction and 4 completed mono steel knives (working on the 5th) from the bandsaw steel and in every case HT as L6 produced the results I was going for, so for convienience I was simply calling it L6. Perhaps Lumbermill Blade (LB) would be a more acurate reference.

 

 

On the design: Thanks for the input. I will definitely straighten out the blade lines, and probobly thin it edge to spine so I can get the length ratios closer to the 1/3 - 2/3 mark.
I will also make the handle longer, but I am trying for a thinner overall handle shape close to Matthew Parkinson's fine example:
http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=26647

Will repost the sketch once I have a chance to make the adjustments.

Bruce is correct on all counts. Your design is nifty, but it is in no way a seax.

Nifty is a good place to start, lets see if I can earn a bit more! :P

 

I conceed that it is more seax like than true seax, though I hope to correct that.

However, if I may be so bold, "in no way a seax" is going a bit far.
My initial concept was based on a 7th C seax posted by Jeff Pringle
http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?showtopic=12492&page=4#entry117298

With that blade for context, I assert that I'm not that far afield.

 

Now back to work. Day job unfortunately, I'd rather be jumping back on the design sketch.

James

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I really like your design and your thought process, so this is just another thought and not a criticism...

 

You might want to run it by your brother and see if he is comfortable with the idea of going point-first into a semi-solid target without a guard between the handle and the edge.

 

I know them Vikings were a tough bunch, but most modern combat/hunter styles will offer some protection against "grip slippage".

 

Just thinking out loud.

 

Don

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You may be so bold. :lol:

 

I wouldn't call that one Jeff posted a true seax either, except in the sense that the word "sax/seax" just means "knife" in the old Germanic languages. ;) No matter, it is inspired by the right tradition and I typed that on my phone before I was fully awake. Can't do smilies on the phone, and even then I thought it might be a little abrupt, sorry.

 

Don raises a good point too! I had not considered that about possibly wanting a guard for dispatching African beasties. I once had to regrind the point of an old Puma blade the owner of which had used it to finish off an ostrich. Chipped the heck out of the point for some reason. Leands a new meaning to the phrase "Tough old bird," eh?

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I really like your design and your thought process, so this is just another thought and not a criticism...

 

You might want to run it by your brother and see if he is comfortable with the idea of going point-first into a semi-solid target without a guard between the handle and the edge.

 

I know them Vikings were a tough bunch, but most modern combat/hunter styles will offer some protection against "grip slippage".

 

Just thinking out loud.

 

Don

Thanks!

And yes, I believe you are correct to doubt that will be enough of a guard as it is...

 

On the one hand, I really want to make this in a historic style, a more than less true sax. On the other hand, historic sax basically have no guard, which could be problematic for the use to which this knife will be put.

 

I think I will exagerate the shoulder in that front ferrule a bit more and then repost the sketch later tonight specifically asking for feedback on that issue.

James

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Really quickly, I'd like to point out that a finger gaurd may not be necessary on a traditional seax. The fact that they never evolved on these blades over the course of the hundreds of years they were used I believe is evidence to this. Proper technique may be part of this, but I've always found seaxes pretty intuitive knives. Seaxes were/are efficient cutting tools and animals, even large African animals are quite squishy compared to modern steel. Just saying, could be very wrong.

Edited by Luke Shearer

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You may be so bold. :lol:

 

I wouldn't call that one Jeff posted a true seax either, except in the sense that the word "sax/seax" just means "knife" in the old Germanic languages. ;) No matter, it is inspired by the right tradition and I typed that on my phone before I was fully awake. Can't do smilies on the phone, and even then I thought it might be a little abrupt, sorry.

 

Don raises a good point too! I had not considered that about possibly wanting a guard for dispatching African beasties. I once had to regrind the point of an old Puma blade the owner of which had used it to finish off an ostrich. Chipped the heck out of the point for some reason. Leands a new meaning to the phrase "Tough old bird," eh?

Carefull, that kind of permission could go to my head... :o

 

Truthfully I wouldn't have called it a traditional sax either... but it is histerical, er historical. :rolleyes:

 

Tough old bird is right, Sheesh.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on how to give some protection while keeping the overall impression of a historic piece. :huh:

 

My tablet that I use for a camera froze up on me yesterday :angry: :angry: :angry: and still haven't figured out what is wrong with it.

I will repost the design sketch as soon as I either fix the tablet or find a different way to transfer the image.

James

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Put enough texture on the handle and you won't need a guard, even for a dedicated stabber. This in and of itself makes me suspect some of the originals had carved or otherwise textured handles....

 

Another thought.... Vendel period saxes sometimes had an odd type of guard, like this...

DSC04488.jpg

(Taken from this thread)

 

I've seen 2 or 3 of these type things on old saxes. They could, in theory, serve as a guard of sorts, at least to keep the hand from slipping onto the edge. I've never seen one on a brokeback seax, but, it's not entirely impossible that such a thing would be on one. In fact, there is a surviving sheath or two that might indicate such a thing. It would be far less out of place than a crossguard, anyway....

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Well here is my updated sketch, sorry for how fizzy it is, had to take a pic with my phone. I think I have the blade proportions better, and I think they work very well, but am not sure they are quintesential Broken Back Seax quite yet. I left the original blade tip in the sketch for a point of comparison in the changes.

 

I didn't extend the handle in the drawing mostly because I didn't want to redraw the butt cap, but I plan to add another inch of wood between the ferrule and butt cap.

0630131559.jpg

I also added the runes to my concept, but I haven't yet decided where or if I should put them on the knife. Suggestions?

 

Once I move to the forging stage, I will start posting updates under Show n Tell as a WIP...

 

Thanks again,

James

 

Edit to realign the time space continuum, thingy...

Edited by James Spurgeon

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Edit: Removed double post; aka browser hiccup...

Edited by James Spurgeon

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A brief note on bandsaw steel from the lumber yard. I've been a bandsaw filer for nearly 12 years at a pine mill. In my experience, if the blades are stamped "Uddeholm" or now "Uddeholm strip steel" then it's 15N20. If it doesn't have the Uddeholm stamp, I'm not sure what kind of steel it is. I just know it doesn't hold up as good in a sawmill. It has been hinted to me that it is L6 - a wonderful circular saw steel, but not quite flexible enough for bandsaws - Again in my own experience. I have a quantity of each as well as plenty of circular saw blades. Once I finish an order and collect for it, I'm considering having some samples sent off for analysis. Hope this helps.

 

I look forward to seeing how this project turns out.

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A brief note on bandsaw steel from the lumber yard. I've been a bandsaw filer for nearly 12 years at a pine mill. In my experience, if the blades are stamped "Uddeholm" or now "Uddeholm strip steel" then it's 15N20. If it doesn't have the Uddeholm stamp, I'm not sure what kind of steel it is. I just know it doesn't hold up as good in a sawmill. It has been hinted to me that it is L6 - a wonderful circular saw steel, but not quite flexible enough for bandsaws - Again in my own experience. I have a quantity of each as well as plenty of circular saw blades. Once I finish an order and collect for it, I'm considering having some samples sent off for analysis. Hope this helps.

 

I look forward to seeing how this project turns out.

I appreciate the information.

I only have about 7 feet of a 40 foot band at the moment. I've used about 3 feet, but I didn't see any stamping on any of those pieces.

A fellow smith in our local guild has the other 30 feet minus however much he has already turned into corn machetes...but where would I look for the stamp, just in case?

Thanks,

James

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On the older blades, it has always been on the inside of the blade within a few feet of the butt weld (the place where they weld the steel together to make it a band). On the blades I got into my shop last week, Uddeholm is now placing their mark every few feet along the outside. You couldn't miss it on the new ones but you'll have to look for it pretty closely on the older ones. I'm on vacation this week, or I would try to get a pic of the mark so you could get an idea. I'll see if I can come up with a pic of an older one for you tomorrow.

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I once had to regrind the point of an old Puma blade the owner of which had used it to finish off an ostrich.

 

Now that's something you won't hear on just any old knife forum.

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