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Hello everyone,

 

This here is my first ever attempt at making a blade. It's forged out of 1095, 17 1/2" in length overall, with a 12" blade. What do you think of the overall blade geometry? My thought is the tip is too pointy, and I need to grind the break down to a steeper angle. Also, is the tang too wide? I think I'm probably going to burn on a simple wooden handle.

 

First Knife

 

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This is just my opinion, I don't really stress historically accurate stuff. I think that the tang needs to have a taper. As for the point, if the blade is sufficiently thick, it's okay to have it acute. I like the overall silhouette. A good taper from break to tang, and break to point. I would like more belly, however. I can't see the taper of the spine, but what I like is for the break to be the thickest part of the knife overall. Essentially, the taper goes in all directions from the break, like it's fanning out. This is my personal take on what I find aesthetically pleasing in a seax, I still need to put a handle on it:

 

gPOBkAx.jpg

 

I would have liked to make this thicker, though.

Edited by Wesley Alberson
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A straight edge on a broken back seax is really not historically accurate. Even those with the straightest edges seem to have a bit of a belly to them if for no other reason than it's easier to forge them that way. Can't really see from just the side view but broken back seaxs have a distal and proximal taper from the peak of the spine. Wesley's blade shows that.

 

As Wesley pointed out, the tang should have a taper to it. It will make life easier putting it into the handle whether you roach it or burn it in. The shoulders of the tang seem to be pretty square with the blade which introduces as stress riser that could result in a broken tang down the line or even during the quench.

 

It also looks like you left a few dings in the blade like in the middle about 2-3" up from the tang. That comes from hitting the blade too hard during forging and moving the steel too much. A very common mistake. I have a seax that I made early on that forced me to grind the blade rather thin and still didn't go away. It still works in the kitchen. Just go a little slower moving the steel and avoid a hammer that has a domed face.

 

Doug

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Thanks! I will taper the tang, put some belly in the blade, and round out the shoulders a bit. I worry that the blade may be a little thin. At the tang it's .187" and at the break it's .147" So overall it's tapering from the tang to the tip. Here's a shot of the spine...

 

IMG 5351

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It's rather thin. The hunting knife of Charlemagne is quite thin too, about 3-4mm I believe, but most are noticeably thicker then that. So if you still have to remove metal to remove the last hammer marks, you end up with something that's too thin for a sax. As for the overall shape, here you have a nice overview of the variation:

 

http://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/b/bb/Seax_Blades.jpg

 

The Sittingbourne sax is one of the straightest, but still has some belly of you look carefully. And notice the shape of the tangs and transition from blade to tang.

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Hi Alan, unfortunately I don't see any way to make the pictures bigger. Regardless of the size I upload them, it resizes them in the post. However, if you click on the picture I believe it will show the full size image.

 

-Jeff

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Any thoughts on handle material? I was hoping to use boxwood, however that stuff seems just about impossible to find in the US, and if you can find it, it's really expensive. What would be a good, readily available inexpensive substitute? I was also considering adding a bronze bolster.

 

-Jeff

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Ah, Apple strikes again! :lol: That last picture looks decent, profile-wise. Seax tangs are usually huge, as you saw in that link from Jeroen.

 

As far as handle wood, yeah, boxwood is the only wood that looks like boxwood. i've never found any in handle-blank size myself. Hard maple is good if you want crisp carving detail, and I'm partial to osage orange as well if you don't try to carve it, it eats blades for breakfast. Any fruitwood will work fine, though.

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It's rather thin. The hunting knife of Charlemagne is quite thin too, about 3-4mm I believe, but most are noticeably thicker then that. So if you still have to remove metal to remove the last hammer marks, you end up with something that's too thin for a sax. As for the overall shape, here you have a nice overview of the variation:

 

http://www.vikingage.org/wiki/images/b/bb/Seax_Blades.jpg

 

The Sittingbourne sax is one of the straightest, but still has some belly of you look carefully. And notice the shape of the tangs and transition from blade to tang.

This was very helpful, thanks Jeroen. I have been wondering about Seax geometry myself.

As for the transition from blade to tang, it looks like there are two distinctive styles. One makes use of very square shoulders, the other has a much more rounded shape. There must be two different ways of applying the guard/bolster fittings (historically speaking) on the different tangs. Can anyone speak about that?

Edited by Joshua States
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This was very helpful, thanks Jeroen. I have been wondering about Seax geometry myself.

As for the transition from blade to tang, it looks like there are two distinctive styles. One makes use of very square shoulders, the other has a much more rounded shape. There must be two different ways of applying the guard/bolster fittings (historically speaking) on the different tangs. Can anyone speak about that?

 

There's very little indication there were bolsters (though some indications for it are showing up, but no metal ones so far), certainly no guards on these saxes. For a fully organic hilt, it's simply a matter of burning the tang in until the transition is completely inside the hilt. So the shape of the transition doesn't really matter. The differences are more likely due to whether the step was forged in, or ground after forging. I do both. Sometimes I already have a nice transition, and I just leave it as forged. Other times I take a file, and redefine the step, which creates a more angled transition.

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Ah, Apple strikes again! :lol: That last picture looks decent, profile-wise. Seax tangs are usually huge, as you saw in that link from Jeroen.

 

As far as handle wood, yeah, boxwood is the only wood that looks like boxwood. i've never found any in handle-blank size myself. Hard maple is good if you want crisp carving detail, and I'm partial to osage orange as well if you don't try to carve it, it eats blades for breakfast. Any fruitwood will work fine, though.

 

Big fan of fruit woods myself too. Make sure to use a long hilt if you want to be historically accurate (over 20cm), and no bronze bolster (horn one may be possible). If you don't want to be historically accurate, then anything is possible ;)

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Big fan of fruit woods myself too. Make sure to use a long hilt if you want to be historically accurate (over 20cm), and no bronze bolster (horn one may be possible). If you don't want to be historically accurate, then anything is possible ;)

20 cm or more regardless of blade length?

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As far as handle wood, yeah, boxwood is the only wood that looks like boxwood. i've never found any in handle-blank size myself. Hard maple is good if you want crisp carving detail, and I'm partial to osage orange as well if you don't try to carve it, it eats blades for breakfast. Any fruitwood will work fine, though.

I have purchased boxwood from these guys, but you will want to order a decent quantity considering the price of shipping....

 

Other than the thickness, I think you have done a pretty good job on the profile. My advice is to study as many of the originals as possible, there are many variations in proportions, some wide and stout, some long and pointy. Studying the originals will give you a feel for what makes a blade an angled-back seax and not just a regular old knife.

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