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First Knife- Seax WIP


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Hi everyone, this is my first post and the beginnings of my first knife. I don't have a forge right now, so it is a stock removal from a blank of 5160. The blade will be 11'' long and the handle will be 4.5''. I am going to use black and white ebony for the hilt and pin it with 1/4 inch brass rods.photo (1).JPG My design photo (3).JPG The cut-out knife. Tang flares out a little, but I'll grind it down later.

Edited by garrettbuck
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Welcome Garrett! Looks like you have a good start. I look forward to seeing it finished!

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As a seaxophile, bare with me as I make a few suggestions...

 

I've never seen an original seax that had a perfectly straight edge. Some are extremely close, but the hint of a curve will help give it authenticity... this is where most of the reproductions made today miss it, and it really does make a huge difference in the aesthetics. In fact, studying the originals one very rarely sees a straight line anywhere, instead they are usually a study in gentle curves.

 

Another noticeable feature of the Anglo-Saxon style seax is the blade widens in profile from the hilt to the break, sometimes a lot, sometimes barely, but it is there 99% of the time. This also, though it will be subtle on a longer narrow blade, will make a huge difference in getting that original seax 'vibe' and look. It will also shift the balance forward just as bit...

 

For a blade of that length, the handle should be much longer, I personally would want a 7-8" handle for a 10 inch blade, as seen on the 'seax of Charlemagne'. Evidence points to these blades having long handles, or at least long in comparison to modern and contemporary knives.

 

Last but not least, full-tang seaxes of the brokeback variety did not exist historically. Please consider a blind whittle-tang as a more historically accurate alternative. This will also affect the balance of the knife... in my experience a seax should be point heavy and give the holder an almost irresistible urge to chop something...:) Roughen up the tang, degrease it, use the best epoxy you can, and you will have to destroy the handle to get it off.

 

It is your knife, feel free to disregard my suggestions, as none of them will make it a better knife... but they will make it much more like the seaxes our ancestors used.

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Not to argue with the Order of Fiery Beards . . . but seeing as this is your first knife, I'd focus more on geometry and heat treatment than historical accuracy. Follow Mr. Gezell's advice, he's a fine craftsmen, but don't fret over it too much (this time). That can, and will come with skill.

 

That said, throw some curves on that thing! :D

 

Looking like a great start. You've come to the right place; if you can grow as a knifemaker anywhere, it's here.

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Thanks for the suggestions, George and Alan, but I'm not going for extreme historical accuracy here. I had to cut it out, so I wanted it to be all straight lines to make it easier. I'm actually basing the design off of a Kris Cutlery seax because I like the shape. Maybe I'll make one with curves when I make a forge!

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KRSSCR_2_l.jpgI based the blade shape off of this knife. It kind of reminds me of a type III Anglo- Saxon langseax, but shorter.

Edited by garrettbuck
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A blind whittle-tang is probably better known as a hidden tang that does not go the entire length of the handle... I've been reading a lot of archaeological material lately and I'm starting to pick up on their terms... the term 'whittle' tang goes back a long ways (at least to Chaucer) for describing this type of construction.

 

That seax from Kris Cutlery is one of the better ones as far as blade shape goes, it also has a slight curve to the edge for the last third of the blade...:) It is subtle, but it is there.

 

planche2.jpg

 

Number 21 from Princes Street is very similar to your's in size and style, I've always liked that one and made one similar to it myself. It is a good example of the subtle curves and change of width I've been talking about, they radically change the aesthetics of the blade even though they are barely there... (I think this one's curve and widening is about a 1/16 of an inch, a tiny bit goes a long ways)

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A blind whittle-tang is probably better known as a hidden tang that does not go the entire length of the handle... I've been reading a lot of archaeological material lately and I'm starting to pick up on their terms... the term 'whittle' tang goes back a long ways (at least to Chaucer) for describing this type of construction.

 

That seax from Kris Cutlery is one of the better ones as far as blade shape goes, it also has a slight curve to the edge for the last third of the blade... :) It is subtle, but it is there.

 

planche2.jpg

 

Number 21 from Princes Street is very similar to your's in size and style, I've always liked that one and made one similar to it myself. It is a good example of the subtle curves and change of width I've been talking about, they radically change the aesthetics of the blade even though they are barely there... (I think this one's curve and widening is about a 1/16 of an inch, a tiny bit goes a long ways)

Yes, I see what you're talking about. Thanks for the clarification!

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Garrett,

 

My first seax, in hindsight, was poorly proportioned. George has given you some great advice (very gently and with a great deal of tact!) After you have seen images of the actual artifacts, often enough, it becomes obvious how devious the original smiths were. Most of them do not have a straight line on them and, yet, they fool the eye.

 

There is a very healthy bladesmithing and blacksmithing community in the Seattle area. Getting access to a forge, and skilled advice, should not be too difficult. Also, it would be a good way to gain skills far faster than possible working on your own.

 

~Bruce~

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  • 1 month later...

photo 1.JPGphoto 2.JPGphoto 3.JPG

I apologize for the quality, I took the photos on my phone.

 

Sorry for the long wait, school has been murderous and I'm still trying to get my hands on some tools that I need. I tried some beveling with both a file and a grinder. In the end, is a full flat or a scandi grind more historically accurate?

 

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  • 1 month later...

photo (5).JPG

 

 

Ok, so I've ground it down to what seems to be an acceptable full flat grind. Granted, it looks good to my untrained, inexperienced eyes, so feel free to give any suggestions. The tip got a little overheated, so I'm planning on normalizing it before going on with the polish, sharpening, smoothing, etc. I also got a little overzealous with the grinder and notched the edge a bit near the tip, but I can't really fix that without removing half the knife. I've also added a slight curve by the tip of the blade, as George suggested.

attachments (1).zip

Edited by garrettbuck
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That has potential...:) At this point you will want to draw-file the blade smooth and sand it to about 220 grit before heat-treating. This will make it much easier to finish once it is hardened.

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