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Sax and a hunter/skinner WIP

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This is my first post on the forum, and by way of saying howdy I thought I would post some pictures of my latest work. (I'm not real good at forums, so hopefully the pictures show up.) I've been making knives on and off for about 15 years, if you start counting from the first knife-shaped object I made. Started forging blades about 8 years ago. I moved to a new place last spring, and have only lately started getting my "shop," such as it is, back together. These are the first blades I've forged in about 3 years (made a lot of knives from factory-made scandi blades in between.) After cruising through posts on the forum, I caught the sax fever, bad. So naturally that was the first piece. Once I had that one forged, I started on the sort-of skinner blade.

The first picture is after I finished forging each piece. Dollar bill added for scale. The sax has an 8-inch blade, the skinner is about 4. The second pic is after rough grinding, heat treating, and some finishing. They are only sanded down to 100 grit and not sharpened yet, but I must say that both pieces came out with the nicest convex grinds I've ever done. I use a Kalamazoo 2X48 grinder and cheapo aluminum oxide belts, not the best setup but it works for me. Both are forged from 3/16"X1" 1075/1080 from Admiral. (That's what they call it, maybe they don't know which it is.) Did a full quench in vegetable oil heated to about 135 degrees F, measured with my highly calibrated fingerometer, and tempered to a purple color with a propane torch on both blades. I usually go for the "soft-back draw" effect, but for some reason the color came out evenly on both, even though the torch was applied to the spine.

I'm not super thrilled with either blade, but it sure does feel good to get back to forging. The skinner ended up with a very fine crack in the spine, about an inch back from the tip, running about 3/8" into the blade. I believe it was caused by quenching the tip in cold water while trying to heat the blade up evenly. I was going to scrap it, but decided to keep going to see what would happen. I thought the tip might break off when I hardened it, but it didn't. I'll finish it eventally and do some testing with it, possibly to the point of destruction.

The sax blade is probably not too historically accurate. I feel like the blade should widen progressively towards the tip. The tang doesn't look much like the originals either. I ended up shortening the tang by a couple of inches for a hidden tang handle, and now kind of wish I had left it long so I could rivet it over a steel butt plate. I should have put more time into the finish forging. Particularly, I wish the clip came out more sharply defined. The biggest problem with it came from my wobbly improvised grinder stand. Every time I got to the tip, the grinder wobbled slightly and the edge came out slightly off center at the tip. You have to carefully sight down the blade to see it, but it bugs me. Didn't seem to be a problem on the other blade, aparently because of the length. A sturdier grinder stand is definitely in order. I still had fun making it though, and will probably finish it with a simple handle, as I imagine some Saxon farmer's working knife to be.

I've also started work on a spear-pointed sax with a 12-inch blade, inspired by an original from the Netherlands, and a little 4-inch broken back sax that is small enough to be legally carried. I don't suppose there is any cure for the Sax Fever, just a lifetime of treatment. Next thing you know, I'll be pattern welding...



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Welcome to the forum, and the addiction...:)


Nice job on both of them. For the seax I'd like to see just a bit of curve to the edge, otherwise it is perfect.

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Here is a picture to illustrate the subtleties of broken back seax design! Notice that there are not usually any straight lines to them but, rather a series of arced lines. The widest part of the blade, both width and thickness will be at the break of the blade. The thickness will taper from the break to the point and from the break back to the handle.




When it comes to pattern welding - those old Saxon smiths were right bastards! They set the bar pretty damn high.



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Welcome to the forum! A pleasure to see someone who crits his own work! (I'm too scared to post pics of my attempts at seaxes...(until I get them right!) We all aspire to great works, some like me, take longer...

Now Show us some more!

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Thanks Bruce, that picture does a great job of showing the subtle curvature involved. I thought that the edge might curve up a bit on mine when I quenched it. Maybe it would have if I had edged quenched it, but I mostly just do full hardening now, seems to lessen the chance of warping or cracks. Next time I'll try for a curvier blade.

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Dan, welcome! I sent you a private message. I have a pretty complete shop (for a garage), with kiln and Parks 50 and other heat treating oils, as well as a pretty good grinder (that I will sell to you for a third of what it cost, since I am going to buy a KMG, but it has to wait until someone buys that messer that I made). If you ever want to heat treat something here, you can come by and use the stuff.


Not a lot of us in CT. You, me, Matt Parkinson and company at Dragon's Breath Forge, Mace Vitale, Sam Salvati comes through, Shawn, and David Loukides. I think that is it (sorry if I forgot anyone). Everyone on the list is a lot better than me at their chosen specialty.


Keep the posts coming!



Edited by Kevin (The Professor)
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