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Tim Tracey

Seax in progress, advice welcome

12 posts in this topic

It's been quite some time since I've been active here, and I see I've missed a lot of good work. So of course I'd come here for the best advice I could hope for. 

I've been on a seax kick recently and have discovered I've been doing it fairly wrong. Mainly in regards to proportion. So a posting on a Facebook page reminded me that Peter Johnsson has done a fair amount of research on the his topic, along with George ezell, and Jeroen Zuiderwijk, and others. So I thought, why not ask here? Seems like a no brainer. 

This is my latest one I started on. Close to the Wheeler type IV, I began, on great advice of the previously mentioned, to play with Peter Johnsson's proportions. I think I may settle on a 10:7 blade to handle ratio. 

The blade length is 7 inches, which would put the handle at, including any bolster or plates, 4 7/8. The blade is thickest at 3/8, at the break. This is only rough ground and will thin out a little with the final grind. 

This is where I'm at currently, so any advice is welcome. I'm not married to any ideas at the moment. Though I am leaning towards a simple Masur birch handle with no other hardware. 

Thanks in advance. 

-Tim 

 

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Edited by Tim Tracey
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Nice proportions on the blade!  Handles on these tend to be longer than what we're used to nowadays, more like six to eight inches, and rather thin.

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I know one of the issues that I have run into regarding handle length is, most blocks tend to be only 5" long.

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I have a broom handle socked away that I'm pretty sure is ash for just this purpose. Might be worth looking into?

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We discussed this the other day on Facebook, that the work Peter Johnsson has done with sword proportions could be applied to seaxes as a way to determine handle length.  Taking the Aachen seax as a basis (overall 53cm, blade 31cm), we determined that the blade to handle ratio is 10 to 7 for a seax of this size.  Thinking further on this, assuming that 3.5 - 4" is the minimum functional handle size, we can assume a one to one ratio on a 4" blade.  As the blades get smaller the handle gets larger, and we can assume on blades under 4" the handles would be longer than the blades.  As the seax gets bigger, the blade gets larger in proportion to the handle, with langsax handles assumedly topping out around 10 inches... I think a formula could be worked out from all this which I may tackle some rainy day.

I do love masur birch...

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So I kept playing with different handle lengths and I found that I liked a 6:5 ratio better. It also extended the handle length to about 6 inches, which falls into more historical dimensions. 

John Cook, Handle length isn't an issue to obtain. I have several boards I just cut what I need. 

This will need to wait a little while, I don't have a drill bit long enough to do the job. Once I get the stock I need, I'll make one and then we'll proceed. 

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So the blade is done. I had a mishap and knocked the blade off the work bench tip first into concrete, I ended up taking an inch off the total length to fix it. Luckily the piece of birch I selected for the handle was a perfect 1:1 ratio for the now 6 inch blade. 

 

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Great result! The only tip I can give for a future blade is to move the belly of the cutting edge more towards the front. So keep the edge in a downwards line fairly straight, and have it curve back upwards further near the tip. If you look at these examples, you can see that the lowest point of the cutting edge is usually within the last 1/3rd of the blade near the tip end.

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On 7/3/2017 at 7:27 AM, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

The only tip I can give for a future blade is to move the belly of the cutting edge more towards the front. So keep the edge in a downwards line fairly straight, and have it curve back upwards further near the tip. If you look at these examples, you can see that the lowest point of the cutting edge is usually within the last 1/3rd of the blade near the tip end.

I wish I knew that a month ago...........

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Thanks for the input Jeroen, and the link too. I see what you mean and the "belly" of the blade. Well the next one will be better! 

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On 2017-7-7 at 4:10 AM, Tim Tracey said:

Thanks for the input Jeroen, and the link too. I see what you mean and the "belly" of the blade. Well the next one will be better! 

I'm still improving mine. Patternwelding is up next :)

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I did try one recently. A Honeywell seax. It didn't go too well. 

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