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Zeb Camper

Broken back seax... Tear it apart fellas!

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I made this earlier today out of some 1075 I had laying around. I forged the fuller in and used a chisel to hot cut the border lines. The border lines look a little rough. This is like a paradigm piece for future pattern welded pieces.

So, what did I do wrong? 

20180729_162409.jpg

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Hard to tear sumthin apart that aint finished...................;)

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True! But I won't finish this one. I can't tell you why just yet. PM me if you wanna know. It's got a higher purpose outside of my shop first. 

I'm just wanting to know if this would pass as a historically correct sax? As in tang proportions and taper and what not?

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Zeb, I am not the Seax expert by any means, so I'm hoping one of them will chime in here. I can say that in all the reading and research I have done, I do not remember seeing a fuller that deep and wide on a short Seax. The narrow grooves, yes those I have seen photos and drawings of. I also think the edge needs a little more "belly" under the break. Like I said, I'm no expert, and my memory may be flawed, but those are the first impressions I get.

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OK Zeb, now ya went and got me curious, and I also am no expert on any blades, I just know

what I like as far as style and application...........

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If you want to be historically accurate (and I'm no expert either, I just happen to have studied a lot of these little buggers!), the fuller shouldn't extend off the tip.  The lines are a nice touch and are accurate.  The profile is fine, some did have a little more belly, some did not.  Tang length is not critical, handle length is.  I think you're fine.  Provided, that is, that the thickest part of the blade is at the break and it tapers a little in both directions from that point.  The reverse taper doesn't have to be large, but it is almost always there.  

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I think it looks great :)

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16 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

If you want to be historically accurate (and I'm no expert either, I just happen to have studied a lot of these little buggers!), the fuller shouldn't extend off the tip.  The lines are a nice touch and are accurate.  The profile is fine, some did have a little more belly, some did not.  Tang length is not critical, handle length is.  I think you're fine.  Provided, that is, that the thickest part of the blade is at the break and it tapers a little in both directions from that point.  The reverse taper doesn't have to be large, but it is almost always there.  

With broken back style saxes, the fullers and grooves DO frequently run off the tip (but not always). However, they occur on longsaxes, not the shorter ones. There are very few short broken back style saxes with grooves, none with fullers that I'm aware of. Also the arrangement is different: grooves in the top part of the blade and fuller, if present, in the centerline. Examples: Heusden, Little Bealings, Beagnoth. A single fuller surrounded by grooves, where the grooves come together before the end of the blade is a typical 7th century feature, mostly applied to continental broadsaxes, though also on some longsaxes, including anglo-saxon ones (but not broken back style). 

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26 minutes ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

 Also the arrangement is different: grooves in the top part of the blade and fuller, if present, in the centerline. Examples: Heusden, Little Bealings, Beagnoth. 

Thanks Jeroen! Like this one? 

And as far as the grooves on other broken back langsax's go, you are saying that the grooves never bordered the fuller? But they can stand alone?

Thanks!

5d7a21cb76afcd3f04274562537043db.jpg

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Posted (edited)

as Jeroen says, the fullers and grooves are a-historical for a smaller broken back, but I like them. My main suggestion would be to reshape the line of the edge at the tip into a smooth curve:

bb blade.jpg

it's a small change, but I think it would make a big difference...

Edited by jake cleland
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18 minutes ago, Zeb Camper said:

Thanks Jeroen! Like this one? 

And as far as the grooves on other broken back langsax's go, you are saying that the grooves never bordered the fuller? But they can stand alone?

Yup. The fuller is down the center, and when in combination with grooves, the grooves are in the part above the fuller. N.b. with the Heusden sax, above the fuller were at least 3 lines of inlaid counter twisted brass/silver wire. Only small sections of that wire survive. On top of that may have been grooves, or more wire inlay. 

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21 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

  Tang length is not critical, handle length is.  I think you're fine.  

Thanks again guys! Another question.. Is there a ratio for blade to handle length? How do you know how long the handles were? Thanks! 

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18 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

Thanks again guys! Another question.. Is there a ratio for blade to handle length? How do you know how long the handles were? Thanks! 

Handles for these saxes were over 20cm in length for blades of at least that length. This is based on the hunting knife of Charlemagne (22cm hilt) , and sax sheats, where leather part covering the hilt usually is already about 20cm. And also handles of other types usually are over 20cm in length. For broken back style saxes with blades shorter then 20cm I don't really have a reference (all complete sheaths are in general for blades >20cm). For these in general I keep the handle as long as the blade, with a minimum handle length to make it usuable. 

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Awesome! Thank you again!

I'll try to find some historic examples and take your advice and draw up a few designs tonight. I'd be thrilled if you guys would critique them.

I might end up making a bigger one for myself in order to incorporate a fuller. I really like the looks of the fuller. 

 

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Ok, so here is a sax that I used 2 langsaxs in order to make one that I liked.

It has a 36cm blade length (14 1/4")

The max width is 4 cm, tapering to 3.5 at it's narrowest towards the tang. 

The tang is undecided. The main influence of this blade has only a stub left. Measuring about 4 cm. I took scale measurements off another sax that suggests a 3.8-1 blade-tang ratio, which would give this sax a tang length of about 9.5 cm. However, I prefer the look of a 13cm tang. I know you guys say its not crucial though. 

The handle I have currently drawn at 20 cm. 

What do you think? 

 

 

20180801_214329.jpg

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And a question... I read that a certain sax was constructed of high and low carbon steel that had been folded over and over to create a pretty homogenous  medium carbon... This specific example was said to have had potential for full usable hardness, but with the retained amount of pearlite it was suggested that they may have done a "slack quench". I need to research what that means.

On to the question. If I took some low carbon wrought with high amounts of slaginess and 1095 (in higher amounts) and folded repeatidly, could I get something like faux sheer steel? I think I could...

One could perhaps use that in combination with regular wrought for a decent pattern welded torsion bar? 

And do I have permission to do a fuller in the middle? 

Thanks!

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A slack quench in that context means an informal cooling from heat rather than deliberately bringing it to critical and quenching for maximum hardness.

Otherwise, yes, yes, and sure!

Just make sure there are no swells or anything in the handle.  Straight and appleseed in cross section.

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Thanks!!!!.... After I fix my welding forge, I'll get started. 

Hey, so I know you can weld 6 inches at a time, but ive never done that... I can just keep flux on the whole thing in order to keep the steel behind the weld clean can't I? 

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Yes indeed you can! I can only weld maybe two or three inches at a time by hand, so I rely on the flux to keep things clean.  The critical part is making sure all the billets are the same width and that they meet perfectly flat.  If not flat and square, they WILL slide off to one side when you try to weld them.  If they're not the same thickness it causes problems when you forge it flat.  

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A scale drawing of another sax. I might make this one first I'm not sure. 

How long do you think the handle should be? 

I've got the blade at 23 cm and the handle at 15. 

20180803_155550.jpg

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If you look at contemporary illustrations, a blade that length would have a handle about the same length as the blade.  Make it 20cm on the sketch and see what you think.

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Alright... Here is the new design based almost solely on what I thought would look cool... The blade is 16" long, 2" at its widest, 1 3/8" at the narrowest. 

What do you guys think? 

I hope to make the edge steel next weekend and the following weekend I can finish the twisted bars. The weekend after that I might be able to weld it all together and start trying to make a blade from it. I'm gonna have to buy more gas soon!

20181111_220809.jpg

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Pattern is pretty spot on for a period blade, but it would be too wide. Broken back style seaxes generally don't go over 4cm, or about 1.5". At 16", you're in the transitional langsax length range. The proportions on those are different, with less increase in width. But that's speaking from historical seaxes.

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Thanks! I'll make some modifications to the drawing. It might be wise to make a wooden cutout to forge it to.

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