Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Pieter-Paul Derks

The Mortlake Giant WIP

Recommended Posts

I am currently working on something that I think the people on this forum will enjoy: A huge longseax loosely based on a find from the Thames at Mortlake, although I am not really trying to make an accurate copy.

 

 This beastie is forged from agricultural spring steel, I might do a "Proper" multibar Damascus version in the future.

 It is 105 cm overall length and weighs almost 1500 grams before fullering and fine grinding. 

Obviously I was inspired by the many excellent seax threads in the history subforum, I can't believe some of those are almost 10 years old, Those are the threads got me hooked to this forum as a 14 year old.

 

 

I am not totally happy about the profile yet; I think I must make the point a bit longer, but I am open for any suggestions.

It is heat treated and I’ve done a fair amount of grinding, the next thing will be grinding/scraping some fullers.

 

I also have a question about distal taper on these very big seaxes. My version tapers from 11 to 5mm at the break, because of a cold shut in the steel near the tip. Are the originals of this size distal tapered like this? Or do they maintain the 10mm thickness all the way to the break like smaller seaxes?

 

 

The Inspiration: number 4 on the picture

planche3_zpsfbb2a625.jpg

 

As forged:

IMG_20191116_153643.jpg

 

IMG_20191116_202036.jpg

 

 

 

The almost obligatory menacing selfie with a big blade

IMG_20191116_212416.jpg

 

 

My (t)rusty heat treating setup.

IMG_20191119_145647.jpg

 

 

Where I am now, heat treated and ready for fullering.

IMG_20191120_144206.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks good!  I agree the tip may need a little length.

I have not seen the Mortlake in person, but the bigger ones I have seen (Sittingbourne, Battersea, others in the British Museum and the Museum of London) have no taper.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't seen any originals of this size close up and only maker later period swords but from a sword-making point of view, I think that at this length, without distal taper it would handle about as well as a crowbar. I wouldn't mind the distal taper you have. It will still be a very blade-positive chopper.

Edited by Lukas MG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking good and interested to see more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/21/2019 at 5:45 PM, Lukas MG said:

I haven't seen any originals of this size close up and only maker later period swords but from a sword-making point of view, I think that at this length, without distal taper it would handle about as well as a crowbar. I wouldn't mind the distal taper you have. It will still be a very blade-positive chopper.

 

This is my opinion as well, after swinging the blade around a bit. It actually handles quite nicely and still hits with brute force.

My plan is to fit a very long handle, and I think it will truly be a fearsome weapon then.

 

My guess is that these really big seaxes were mostly meant for short duels, rather than real battlefield use.(spears are better for open batlle anyway.)

but in a 5 minute duel, a 3 or 4 pound blade would be effective and I really wouldn't want to be the guy on the recieving end in such a situation.

 

On 11/20/2019 at 8:18 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Looks good!  I agree the tip may need a little length.

I have not seen the Mortlake in person, but the bigger ones I have seen (Sittingbourne, Battersea, others in the British Museum and the Museum of London) have no taper.  

I think I might make the next one with less taper and see how it handles.

 

 I wish I knew a guy in the museums, holding an original seax would answer a lot of questions I have about handling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're not too far from Jeroen, and he has an impressive set of reproductions of documented specimens.  Assuming he'd let you play with them, of course.  

 

Here's the spine of the Battersea seax, #6 in your picture.  Sorry I couldn't get any more directly above it, that case is rather tall.

 

battersea spine.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's a little hard to tell from the picture but the Battersea Seax looks really thick at the spine and it seems not to have much or any taper to it.

 

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.  It's about 3/8" / 8mm and has no taper at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That battersea seax is real beauty too, the thick spines are one of my favourite things on seaxes, a shame that they are so hard to see in the museums.

I might indeed take up contact with Jeroen one day, I am also really interested in his bronzecasting work.

 

When I go to London next year ( Owens hammer-in B)) I might need to spend a few extra days there and visit some of the museums again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Yes.  It's about 3/8" / 8mm and has no taper at all.

And it's very convex, so much so that the spine is actually thinner then the middle of the blade. It weighs 1138 gram, which is a lot for such a relatively short blade.  The Heusden seax which I reproduced is a more flat grind, and 7mm at the spine. Otherwise the dimensions are comparable.  But my reproduction of that one only weighs 680grams including the hilt. So the profile of the section matters a lot. The original has a fuller and grooves, so would have been even lighter.

 

With these seaxes, mind that a lot of the weight distribution is achieved by the very long tip. Eventhough the spine might be without distal taper, it's only about 2/3 of the blade length, after which both the thickness and with of the blade taper to the point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did a lot of grinding and fuller scraping last week and I have a lot of hand polishing in my future.

 

I just thought it would be fun  to give a quick update.

 

I tweaked the profile and it looks a lot better now, and I have also scraped in 3 fullers, two on the face and a single centered one of the other side.

The whole blade is ground convex to the edge, something that I see on historical seaxes but rarely on reproductions.

 

The only real problem I have with this blade is that it is rather soft, In hindsight it would probaly have been better to water quench this steel (probably 1045 equivalent.)

On the other hand I think it is still within historical hardness range and the blade flexes fine and cuts soft targets without damage.

 

This is the first time that I fullered a long blade, and I am surprised how much stiffer it makes it, it really doesn't want to flex at all now and would be great at thrusting through light armor.IMG_20191201_163822.jpgIMG_20191201_163925.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool. That thing is a beast. Cant wait to see it finished. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...