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Andrew W

Two Christmas seaxes, from bloom

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To celebrate my Christmas time off, I forged two seaxes from bloom (iron and steel).


81171797_457870245116951_4918363171741237248_o (1).jpg


I smelted the steel (right, in the photo above) back in March from powdered hematite ore ("Spanish Red"). I helped Mark Green and Daniel Cauble make the iron (left, above) at an SCA event in October, using Mark's "easy ore" (NC limonite).


Mark and I, feeding charcoal and ore into the smelting furnace:




First, I had to compact the iron bloom into a bar:


After doing the same to the steel, I forge welded the two together into a billet for the two blades:








I decided to copy two 6-7th century seaxes from a cemetery at Finglesham, Kent (UK):




I cut the billet in half and forged the blades (also, a chef's knife from 1075):




Lots of grinding...




...and ready to harden! Water got them hard enough to skate a file on the first try, so I didn't have to resort to brine this time.


They came out blessedly straight, which is never guaranteed with bloomery steel.




And the patterns started to show!




9 hours of hand sanding later (up to 1500), they're ready for a ferric bath.







For the handles, I used horn (like the originals).






And, finished!




The seax on the left is 35cm long; on the right 37cm.


I set the iron perpendicular to the blade's edge when I welded the billet, so the folds show as stripes on the sides of the blade's spine:







Edited by Andrew W
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Wow that’s a great effort. Wonderful grain in the steel too.

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Seriously nice! It's like looking at a surviving example from a thousand years ago. 



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I meant to ask, where'd you get that horn?  I've had a heck of a time finding horn that's not black.

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Those are awesome Andrew. I especially like the one without the break. 

What kind of horn is that?

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This is Asian buffalo. There's a horn seller on Etsy who will do custom sizes, and I talked him into listing 13cm long x 3cm diameter rolls. He should turn up if you do a search, I can't remember his shop name off-hand.

Crazy Crow sells 4" lengths, which is where I usually get it for normal-sized knives.

Edited by Andrew W
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