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Conner Michaux

Information on Seax knives

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I really want to get into the world of these blades, But ive got no idea where to start, theres so much information, Is there a good website that can tell me about Seax knives and Other European blades from that area in time? Thats between 1300-1500  hundreds right? Also, do seaxes have different names or are they actually different? for example, Ive seen Seax, Scram seax, langseax, long seax etc

Ive seen the facebook page the Seax files, but there are so many opinions i don't know where to start. 


I also want to start making seaxes, and I think that any other knife than something like Puukko's, Seax knives,  can be made with stock removal, but when I sketch up a seax, I don't feel like its going to be a real Seax if its made with stock removal. I need to buy some steel and work on forging.

Edited by Conner Michaux

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I’m going to tag along on this information journey. I love the aesthetic of the seax and will eventually try my hand at forging one when I’m ready to make something impractical instead of something I plan on being used. I say impractical because I am only familiar with seaxs that would be too large to carry nowadays. 

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1 hour ago, Conner Michaux said:

Is there a good website that can tell me about Seax knives and Other European blades from that area in time?

You are there right now. Seriously, this is the place. Mosey on over to the History sub-forum. The first four pinned topics are chock full of everything you need to know to get started down that path. The folks who have written these posts did so while doing the research you are trying to do. The authors have very graciously, posted their findings, and tons of information on design and construction.

There is also a great resource topic: Vikverirs Resource page, that has a major rabbit hole (or two) on it, for inspiration.

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I dont feel qualified to give mutch forging advice but seax just meant knive in the language of the time. Many examples of historical saexes are actually no different from a leukku (a big puuko).

Other examples basically looked like a single edged sword, they have a spearpoint design. 

Some frankish saexes had a curved saber type blade even. 

The stereotypical seax is called a broken back seax, this is probably what you envision. 

If you want to go the extra mile you could consider that many seaxes had a hard edge welded on a soft core. The seax was just any single edged knife and even the common farmer owned one so seeing them made of one piece of steel would indicate a wealthy man, those would also be very ornate unlike the common man's seax wich was often a simple leukku type with a wooden handle and a hidden tang. Altho regional variations existed and in Scandinavia the broken back model was very popular.

From tests i have done i have come to believe that the broken back model was more advantageous in battle by increasing your range with the straight edge. 

I have also heard a hypothesis that the point on the broken back seax made it easier to get in gaps in the armor. 

Oh and seaxes typically had long handles. Likely to increase chopping power and range by gripping the end of the handle. I also find it makes it alot easier to do finer tasks when you choke up on the handle.

A seax was a hybrid of a tool and a weapon and the Saxon tribe actually used them as their primary combat blade in battle, thats where the longseax likely developed.

I happen to be a massive nerd when it comes to the iron age tribes of germania and their tools, weapons and languages. Altho most of the info we have was recorded by the romans and can be taken with a few grains on salt.

you could actually say that a machete is a seax as well, the people who actually used the seax in history would most likely have done so if you showed them one. This means that you actually have a lot of creative freedom when making a "saex"

 

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34 minutes ago, Arian Siebrand said:

seax just meant knive in the language of the time.

I'm not sure that is entirely accurate, but I am no expert either.

The etymology of the English word "knife" has it's roots in old Norse mixed with old Germanic tribal languages, with multiple pronunciations, all relativly similar to the current form. Seax, or Sax as it has become shortened to over the centuries, I think is derived from the Irish and Welsh languages and referred to the blades commonly used by the Saxons. It is unknown why they were called Saxons, but it is assumed that they were named after the long, thin blades common to their culture, which they called Seaxes. These were later adopted by the people who they encountered.

This is only one hypothesis though. The construction and form of the Seax blade is ancient, stretching back to the European migration era, if not earlier. It was the most common form of weaponry in Europe for roughly 5 or 6 centuries, before it evolved into a single, and eventually double, edged sword. Seax may have been used interchangeably, in some languages, for a generic "knife", but the Seax, was a weapon first and foremost. Utilitarian blades purposely had different names. At least that's my understanding.

 

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Just go read the threads in the History subforum Josh mentions, it's all there.

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Thanks! I'll do some reading.

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