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First Langseax- Photo heavy


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This is technically my second Seax, but my first one broke soon after hardening.

The steel is from a leaf spring, the handle is Bubinga wood from some very good friends of mine, and the pommel piece is also from a leaf spring: my friend and I are planning a sword build (he's the lucky one with the big forge and property) and I'm supposed to do the handguard and pommel. The pommel on this piece I was originally planning to use as the handguard for that sword, but I decided it was too small and used it for this.

 

So here we go.

 

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Forging...

 

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Forging done, also showed next to my plans.

 

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Grinding...

 

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Finished grinding and starting on the bubinga handle.

 

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The rough wood handle, soon after burning in the tang.

 

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The tempered steel. Due to my small forge, I only managed to get the center third or so of the blade completely hardened, probably longer, but at least the hardening is in the cutting area. Took a long time of moving the blade back and forth in the forge to get it up to heat. I tempered using a propane blowtorch- the spine is a blue and the edge is about a dark yellow.

 

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...aaaand the pommel.

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The assembled and epoxied seax. I left it to set overnight, and will try to finish it today. More pics to come.

This took me about two days to do, with maybe four-five hours of work each day.

 

Suggestions and critiques greatly appreciated. This is my first sword, and was quite a fun project to work on. I think though, that I worked through the forging too quickly and some of the hammer blows were not straight on. This wasted a lot of steel in the grinding, which was almost completely done with an angle grinder.

 

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You're getting better! You have learned the importance of hammer control and possibly the importance of a properly-crowned hammer face: much less steel lost to grinding. ;) I fully understand the impatience of quenching before the whole blade is up to heat too. It gets really old standing there stroking it through the forge for what feels like hours, but untill you have a longer fire that's what you must do. Randal Graham used to do full-length katanas by stroking through a vertical gas forge of about six inches bore. Took him around 20 minutes of stroking to get the full 28 inches of blade up to critical, but he did it perfectly. The trick is not let any one place come up to critical before any other spot. It requires patience and good dim lighting. You'll do better on the next one if you don't want to redo this one. B)

 

A note from the terminology police, though: it's not a langsax, it's a broken-back seax (thus the Anglo-Saxon spelling as opposed to the Norse). Lansaxes are longer (24 to 32 inches of blade), sword-hilted, and have a scandi-looking tip, no clip or break.

 

Congratulations though, it's worlds better than your last effort! :)

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as they say in England "Your making pro gress"!

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Looking good! but that handle is a little blocky and unfinished, if you have a belt sander or something like that or even wood files and sandpaper I would give it more attention ;).

Alan, we need terminology police badges to wear around places, something with bold runes B).

Ja, that is what I'm finishing up today.

 

Definitely. "The Fiery Beard Patrol"

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You didn't mention the length....

 

You really should re-heat-treat the blade it the entire edge didn't harden. You will be a lot more satisfied with it if you do. I understand your desire to be finished with it, but I think if you take the time to make sure it is done right you will not regret it. Bladesmithing and knifemaking are mostly about process, each step needs to be completed to the best of your ability before you move on to the next step... this is critical to develop good craftsmanship. My advice is slow down and pay attention to the details. You have potential, if you will take the necessary time to develop it... you definitely have the drive! But all the drive without the discipline is not enough, there must be balance. Good fit and finish come from sweating the details, getting all the coarse scratches out before moving on to the next grit, taking the time to make not just a good knife, but a great one.

 

It takes time to get all the scratches out, but believe me it is worth it.

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You didn't mention the length....

 

You really should re-heat-treat the blade it the entire edge didn't harden. You will be a lot more satisfied with it if you do. I understand your desire to be finished with it, but I think if you take the time to make sure it is done right you will not regret it. Bladesmithing and knifemaking are mostly about process, each step needs to be completed to the best of your ability before you move on to the next step... this is critical to develop good craftsmanship. My advice is slow down and pay attention to the details. You have potential, if you will take the necessary time to develop it... you definitely have the drive! But all the drive without the discipline is not enough, there must be balance. Good fit and finish come from sweating the details, getting all the coarse scratches out before moving on to the next grit, taking the time to make not just a good knife, but a great one.

 

It takes time to get all the scratches out, but believe me it is worth it.

Unfortunately the epoxie's already set and its too late. Will do that on the next one.
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Here are some pics of the finished blade. I sharpened it as well, paper-shaving sharp.

By the way, does anyone know of a bladesmith here that knows the original Anglo Saxon or Viking language?

 

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I used wheat germ oil for the handle.

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As to the Norse/Saxon, languages, Icelandic is by far the closest thing to Norse spoken today. It is my understanding that nobody really knows how different modern Icelandic is, though Norse is about like King James to us. Most Icelanders can pick up one of the Sagas, even in the original Norse, and read 99% of it with only a few words that are unknown, or doubted. Saxon on the other hand is really old-old English. Starting soon after the Danish (Viking) invasion in the late 700's the Danish and Saxon languages started to blend into pretty close to what we know as Old English.

 

As for the seax, Great work, you're making a huge step in your abilitys. Keep it up, but don't become complacent. You mentioned things that you need to work on like hammer blows, and my advice is to take a very long time perfecting the blade in the forging process. Believe me I know the feeling of get it done, but quality work takes quality time. Also, tender love and care. Bpend time with your blades while making them, make each step as good as you can, and they will definately show it in the quality.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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