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Faye

Hammer in portfolio WIP

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Posted (edited)

As I am planning on attending the Big Sky Conference/hammer in this year, I put together a collection of knife designs that I hope to take with me to the hammer in as completed knives. I have no grand expectations for the small blade show, most of these blades already have places to go, but I would like to take a good selection of my best work to show and receive feedback on. There is one three finger EDC that might be Damascus, a fighter with an oval guard, a drop point ladder pattern Damascus, and a baby seax style knife that will be my kith entry. My biggest goal with these knives is to design them well before hand, and stick to the design as closely as possible throughout the making process (particularly on the handles). The drop point Damascus has already been forged and profiled, though not by me, while the other three exist solely on paper. I have drawn up some designs to the best of my abilities and submit them to the experts for review :) Thank you.

 

 

IMG_20200418_190501660.jpg

IMG_20200418_190540989.jpg

IMG_20200418_190523952.jpg

Edited by Faye
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Posted (edited)

I'm no expert, but is that a spacer on the seax? 

 

The blade shape looks great!

Edited by Zeb Camper

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2 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

is that a spacer on the seax

It is, but I suddenly get the feeling that seax's aren't supposed to have spacers...

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Traditional ones don't, except for the two that do... ;)

One is a simple iron plate, the other is gold and garnet from the Staffordshire Hoard.

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Posted (edited)

My understanding is that the staffardshire hoard one was a narrow seax from 7th ish century. There is no doubt later blades must have had similar fittings. We have the cumwitton (hope I spelled it right) seax with wire inlay, but I dont think it is a broken back (maybe it was) the hunting kinfe of charlemagne (Aachen seax) was a broken back, and had a silver ferrule or butt cap on the back of a long horn handle. I think a golden bolster piece (from either the staffardshire hoard or sutton hoo) decorated with gripping beasts may have also been mounted to a seax (though it was separated from its blade). 

 

I'm not sure which one Alan is referring to. I wasn't aware of a seax with a spacer right there. The biggest problem I would have (as someone who has become a bit of a stickler about history) is lack of evidence, and that it wouldn't have made sense for someone in that time to have a spacer right there without a through tang construction (no evidence on broken backs, but I believe believe some seaxy roman knives did). You're hiding most of your precious metal, or bronze, or brass, copper, or iron all the while weakening the structure of the handle leaving the resin to hold all that together.

 

I'm just trying to give a little historical insight. Its really mind over matter. If you don't mind; it don't matter!

 

On the critique of the shape, the handle seems a bit sharp for my taste. The same rules of flow don't really apply to the uniquely shaped blades. I see that you tried to translate the blade shape into the handle (which is good practice). I would suggest a little more subtlety and have the angle break at the spine to something like parallel to the blade edge and then you can incorporate a few swells here or there. This I must say is still not 100% accurate, but a liberty I take as we don't have too many examples of surviving handles on this type, and other types we can find a few examples of subtle contouring. 

 

Anyway, I hope I didn't come across as a know it all (I'm far from it). Like I said, it only matters if you mind. 

 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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Posted (edited)

So it is best to ditch the spacer, but if I go with an antler bolster does it need to be a through tang? I was looking at Mr. Carrillo's seax collection in his recent post and noticed that all multi piece handles seemed to have through tangs, but I am not sure if that's a historical point or just a style. 

On the handle shape, is this better? 

IMG_20200419_223350164.jpg

Edited by Faye
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Posted (edited)

I asked Emilliano last night on Facebook about those bolsters in a conversation started by someone else. I know he's a very knowledgeable dude. He said he didnt know of any evidence that these bolsters existed.

However, its somehow become the norm among makers to use organic bolsters like that. I even did it once. So, nobody's gonna beat you up for it. The pine resin they used back then (I'm told) was more than capable of holding a 1/2-3/4" bolster to a piece of wood. And IIRC, there may have been a manuscript depicting a broken back seax with a bolster.... I'd have too do some digging. 

 

This shape looks much better! 

 

 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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I just hopped back on Facebook and saw the conversation has evolved. I dont want to speak for anyone, but that manuscript painting came up and sure enough it looks like stacked handles!

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Awesome, thank you Zeb.

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Make the freakin' Seax the way you want to make it and the heck with what they did 1000 years ago. Or rather, what we know they did because that  is all we have found and most of what we have found didn't actually have a handle on it anymore. It is always possible that there were metal spacers/bands on many of these and they were stripped off for salvage value.

The Jesenwang Seax had 5 silver bands in the handle. You could call those "spacers" if you like. It depends on how "historically accurate" you want to be, versus how artistic you want to be.

 

Now that my little rant is over, I like the three designs.

Observations & Questions:

The clipped point blade (pic #1) says 10" long and the handle looks equal to, or longer than the blade. Is that right? 

I think the break in the baby Seax starts too soon. I seem to remember something about the break typically being some fraction of the length of the blade, but I may be insane.

In any case, it looks too centered to me.

Is the dropped point a full tang or partial tang design?

 

Here is a photo of a smallish Sax.

Small seaxes.jpg

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Posted (edited)

The shorter the seax, the less lengthy the point side of the break seems to be. But, I totally agree with Joshua, do whatever you want! I just hand out free information and opinions (especially on this sub-forum). But, there's no right or wrong; just what suits you best. 

 

I had to come back and add that the broken back is all I'm focusing on with what I'm telling you. There are other topologies (like the jessenwang langsax Joshua mentioned) with ornate fittings and ornamentation, but for the broken back with it's short hidden tang; I just dont think they were going too crazy with the stacked constructions much past ferrules, caps, or bolsters. 

 

Check out some scandanavian, or seaxes from the mainland around germany. Loads of cool stuff was being done with through tang designs.

 

Edited by Zeb Camper

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Joshua States said:

The clipped point blade (pic #1) says 10" long and the handle looks equal to, or longer than the blade. Is that right? 

The blade and handle are both 5" long, yes. The tang is going to be a hidden tang design.

I do want to be reasonable historically accurate on the seax, especially because it might go to some who really knows the difference. So here is the altered blade shape. IMG_20200420_223621013.jpg  

Or something more like this...IMG_20200420_225400123.jpg

 

 

Now that I actually took the time to put my idea together and get the ball rolling, I received an email announcing that the hammer in is cancelled. However, since most of these knives already have destinations, I am going to continue on.

Edited by Faye

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Look at this one. Notice the ruler. 

 

So, you have some wiggle room on what's accurate in this blade range. I would say either of your designs fit.

 

 

20200421_074409.jpg

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I believe it was @J.Arthur Loose at the 2012 Artic Fire event who said “We make things that should have been, not ones that could have been”

 

I always took that mean you should feel free to embellish and  design outside of what we see in the historical record. It would be as if we were the natural progression of makers. 
 

I find it odd that nobody gets all hung up about “historical accuracy” like Seax makers.  

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54 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

I find it odd that nobody gets all hung up about “historical accuracy” like Seax makers.  

 

Many sword makers do too, but I think it's because when the modern rebirth of the seax came about, nobody knew what they were doing and thus presented some really ugly clunkers that bore no resemblance to anything anyone would call a "seax."  I was guilty of that myself!  There's nothing like the fervor of a new convert, pretty much. :P Now, lo these 16 years or so since the renaissance of the seax, things are much better.  I have always loved Jul's statement you quote above,  of course.  These days I only fuss if there's something glaringly off in the lines, or if someone adds a ricasso, choil, or guard.  That's like putting a knuckle bow on a Viking sword, it just doesn't work. ;)

 

Faye, I like your concepts.  Carry on! 

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3 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

   There's nothing like the fervor of a new convert, pretty much. :P 

:D:ph34r:

 

It helps to know what you're doing before you take too many creative liberties though! Maybe once I figure it out!

 

 

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I’m glad you caught the digger Zeb. Nobody will ever accuse me of having 

4 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The fervor of a new convert,

Because I’m irreverent to a fault. 

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I know this is Faye's thread, so I wont dwell any more on it. As for why I chose to take this path of "reverence" I suppose isnt so relevant. 

 

She asked for information to which I gave my best answers. I even said "its mind over matter" said "do whatever you want". 

 

Somehow I feel like I'm percieved as having something I dont. I've got nothing but love to give, or that's what I've always tried to do. I dont mean to impose.

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@Faye

When I think of a broke back seax, I go to George Ezell.

For me, he has the spirit and form captured. The handle joins the blade cleanly.

Attached is just one photo I saved from an older post.

 

Gary LT

 

BCCA942C-8AC2-4DCC-B269-9688F321F066.jpeg

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Oh Zeb.….love ya man. 

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Posted (edited)

My two cents on the conversation, from a naive youngster, I think that historical accuracy is primarily important if the end product is intended to be historically accurate. Therefore the biggest problem is a product that claims historical ties whilst not complying with history. Names have ties with history. If someone made a knife that had the blade of a seax, a D guard and Bowie handle, and they called it either a Bowie or seax then they have labeled it inaccurately and connect something entirely different to something with rather defined traits. However, if they were to give it a different name without previous ties then there are fewer issues.

For me on this knife, I want to call it historical accurate. 

I would also like you guys to know that I have no issues with anything you have said or suggested. I whole heartedly appreciate the information and philosophy, and I have not made any changes to the design that I did not agree with after some consideration.

All that aside, I went to the shop today and forged out the edc and the seax the way I wanted them, using the second blade shape from my last post for the seax knife. 

Edited by Faye
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Here is a picture of the blades forged out. The top one is the ladder pattern Damascus that was already forged and profiled. I have quite a bit of profiling to do on the others, I tend to forge large, but my excuse on the edc is I tried some patterning. I think I determined that my attempt at patterning was unsuccessful though.

I was going to try to forge the  clip point today, but I am considering doing a puuko instead. Yesterday I had a friend ask if I would like to make one and since the clip point doesn't have anywhere to go I can do it another time.

IMG_20200422_203912452.jpg

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Thank you Alan, that is a good presentation. 

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Yep. I think there's a link to that in one of the Seax topics in the History forum.

 

Faye, I have a suggestion that may help you with your forging. I always work from a drawing and I make a template of the blade out of 1/8" flat steel to forge to.

Make a photocopy of the drawing, cut out the blade shape and use superglue to glue it to the flat steel. Now cut and grind out the blade profile to finish the template.

Keep the template at your anvil while forging. Draw the perimeter on your anvil using a soapstone or white charcoal pencil.

Hold the forging over the soapstone outline to see where it needs to move.

There's kind of a photo demonstration here and a video of it here.

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