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Hearth Steel Seaxes WIP


Aiden CC

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On 11/13/2022 at 4:03 PM, Gary LT said:

Aiden, I really like both and especially the handle with risers, gotta keep the idea in mind for in the future.

are you planning any sort of pommel? 
Gary LT

Thank you! I plan to leave it as is, I may play around with bolsters and pommels too with this kind of handle.

 

On 11/15/2022 at 8:30 AM, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

These are great! very simple but super pleasing.

I like the leather handle the most, must be very comfortable.

Thank you as well! I do like the feel a lot. I think without the risers the handle would feel a bit small, but it is just right with them. I definitely will keep them in mind for the future as well.

 

I'll put something together about work on a few blades when I have more photos, right now, most of what I have been working on is sheaths:

 

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This first liner is an experiment with goat parchment, which hopefully will be fairly rigid and cut resistant. 

 

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Some more sheepskin liners, this time glued instead of stitched to keep a lower profile and protect the stitching better. Not shown is the hair being trimmed down and the edges skived.

 

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The liners, especially the parchment, make it much easier to do this kind of seam, and you can pull everything tight and shape it without worrying about cutting the stitches.

 

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I've been practicing drawing knotwork, time to actually put that into practice!

 

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This is where they stand now, with the edges sanded just needing final cleanup. I've been nervous about decorating sheaths in the past, but I'm fairly pleased with how these first few attempts have come out. It seems like ornamentation in general was ubiquitous on all aspects of these blades, so I've been trying to get better at leather carving, along with making grooves/fullers. You can also see a set of rivet bosses on the right as well. I made these ones by brazing a rod to a disc, but in the future I may play around with casting some of these, especially if I make a few with engraved patterns to use as masters. I also realize that the broad sax blade snuck in on the right, but that's for another day!

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I got the sheaths all wrapped up!

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I decided to redo the sheath for one of the broken back seaxes and I’m glad I did. The ornamentation is based on the back of some sheaths, I still need more practice before I could confidently base something off of the front. I also am working on a more ornamental rivet boss to use as a master for casting. 
 

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And finally, another big one. This batch of hearth steel was very well behaved, I’m excited to see how it finished out! This is a seax styled after the Honeylane find, scaled up slightly. 

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In a bit of a switcheroo, the broken back seax that seemed very promising needs to be scrapped and the broadsax blade I was worried about turned out to be alright!

 

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This blade is two flavors of wrought iron with a very low sanmai edge. I have found that in cases like this the iron around the edge I see actually picks up quite a bit of carbon, so it can be hard to find the edge at first by etching. Not so much on this one, but some blades will start sparking like steel before any of the core has even been exposed. I was worried that the blade was too narrow (37 x 4.2 cm) but in a quick literature review I found a light broadsaxe that had similar proportions. 
 

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The handle is all wrapped up (:P) as well. I decided to try out and under wrap on this one, though I’m not sure about the historical accuracy of that detail. I liked how the last risers turned out, so I decided for more on this one, though out of twine this time instead of leather. Also, the leather now completely enclosed the core. I’ve seen a few very nice looking handles done that way so I figured I would take a crack at it! This one just needs a sheath and it’s done. 

 

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Finally, I decided to try out casting some rivet bosses from bronze. Once I figure out how to make bronze nails I like to match the color, these will replace the soldered brass bosses I have been using. I also have some pattern wire in the mail to try out making fancy washers like you see on a lot of originals. 

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I've been watching the progress on various social media ad these are all great pieces. Love them all.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

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The broad sax is now finished! 
 

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It feels surprisingly agile for the width and thickness of the blade, possibly due to the long handle. I think I’ll use end caps on wrapped handles going forward. 
 

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I also finally settled on a way to make these rivets. These are soldered together from rod and pattern wire. 
 

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I also forged this kurzsaxe, I want to improve my groove scraping abilities, so this will hopefully have two narrow grooves on each side. 

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  • 1 month later...

Rock on!

 

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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  • 2 months later...

It’s been a little while since I’ve worked on a seax, but I recently have been experimenting with pattern welding with phosphorus iron and a broken back seax seemed like a good application for it. 
 

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The pattern welding consists of four twisted bars which I squished down to 3/8” after welding to widen the bars. 
 

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The goal was to make a blade shaped after the Honeylane seax, so the stack needed a fair bit of width. The bars are: hearth steel, wrought iron, patterned bars, wrought iron. 
 

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I made this pattern a while ago because this particular blade has a fairly difficult shape (at least for me), so I find it helpful to be able to frequently check the profile as I go. The edge ended up getting forged fairly thin, so I went ahead and quenched before doing any grinding. 

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I always love the profile of the honeylane seax, such good lines.

Forging to a pattern is such a time saver for me that I make them for every knife, no more going back and forth for adjustment.

 

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22 hours ago, Pieter-Paul Derks said:

I always love the profile of the honeylane seax, such good lines.

Forging to a pattern is such a time saver for me that I make them for every knife, no more going back and forth for adjustment.

 

Patterns are something I always say I’ll use more of but often don’t manage to. I made this one after missing the mark on another attempt of this blade. I also love the lines on this seax, though it makes it a challenge to forge! Maybe I’ll make a few more for the other historical shapes I plan to make soon. 

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Not a ton of time for knives the next few weeks, but the pattern welded seax will be a gift and needs to be wrapped up soon, so I got the knife finished, just needing a sheath now. 
 

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The handle is made from horn. Unfortunately the piece I had wasn’t quite enough for this large enough for my original plan, so I added a bit of bend and flair to it. 
 

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The phosphorus really does make for good contrast. My earlier pattern welding using only carbon content had a gradient between the two components rather than a sharp line like here. 
 

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And here it is! In the future, I may try including some of the hollow part of the horn and using a butt-cap/inlay or more horn to fill the void at the end.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread is such an epic. If this was 1000 years ago, it would make good fodder for a saga.

The Saga of Aidensmith.

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“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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On 3/27/2023 at 7:42 AM, Joshua States said:

This thread is such an epic. If this was 1000 years ago, it would make good fodder for a saga.

The Saga of Aidensmith.


It certainly has been a journey! I’ve been trying to make pieces with some “story” to them and that most recent seax is actually the “Clopton” part of a “Carley-Clopton” set. 

 

Not too much progress here, but I got the sheath done for that seax:

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The sheath is parchment lined leather with fairly basic brass mounts. The tooling is based off of geometric designs I liked on an original. 

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  • 3 months later...

After some major failed projects I decided to take a bit of a break from hearth steel and work with more predictable steel. This past week though, I decided to start finishing the hearth steel blades collecting dust half finished! 


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A fairly close copy of the Honeylane profile, this is a shape I’ve been trying to get right for seven years. There are still some tweaks I’ll make on the next one, but this is my favorite yet! I forgot to take pictures, but this is now glued into an oak handle with a horn bolster. This billet actually came from part of a failed sword blade. The longer part of that blade will become a broadsax with some reforging, but I don’t have a photo of it yet. 
 

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This might be the hearth steel blade that’s spent the longest in a drawer. It’s 8 fold material and wrought wagon axel, and I decided to scale down the handle shape from broadsaxes and langsaxes evidenced by their full tang versions. The leather wrap confirmed to the contour quite nicely, which was part of why I wanted to try this on a smaller scale. This is a short-sax, but still has a substantial feel. 

 

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Those are both beautiful! I love the organic looking patterns that come with the hearth steel.

Why do you think Honeylane profile is difficult to reproduce?

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On 7/22/2023 at 6:49 PM, Ryan Hobbs said:

Those are both beautiful! I love the organic looking patterns that come with the hearth steel.

Why do you think Honeylane profile is difficult to reproduce?

Thank you! I find the Honeylane profile difficult because it is a very wide, thick, blade that needs to taper down significantly in width to the handle. This makes it difficult to make a pre-form that will end up looking good once forged down; if you make a rectangular blank and weld on an edge bar, forging it down narrow will distort the line between the edge and body. The same applies to sanmai, but you get a distortion of the height of the weld line. These are mechanically fine, but IMO don't look great. What I have tried recently is to either forge the profile taper into the bars before welding, or rely more on grinding.

 

The latter is essentially what I did here. This blade was actually made from part of a failed single edge sword blade (the other half became a light broadsax, soon to appear here), which gave me the room to cut out a lot of the shape and then tune it up in the forge. I would have to check it against my template, but while it is close, this blade is a little wide at the base due to some adjustment to the shoulders, and maybe a hair narrow at the widest point. Another possibility is that it's just very difficult to make an exact replica of any profile, and this is just one I have paid close attention to!

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  • 1 month later...

There won’t be significant progress on knives from me for some time, but two more of these blades have been wrapped up since my last post:

 

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The handle on this short sax is a bit of an experiment, I wanted to see what a leather wrap would be like with a handle that has a “shoulder” like the full tang broadsax/langsax examples suggest. Maybe not for everyone, by I like how it came out :D  

 

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Next is this broken back seax, inspired by the Honeylane blade. The handle is horn and oak. I wanted to try out a mouth band for the sheath, as originals often seem to have had them (decorations absent along the margin and mouth). 
 

Thanks for looking!

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What an epic ride.

“So I'm lightin' out for the territory, ahead of the scared and the weak and the mean spirited, because Aunt Sally is fixin’ to adopt me and civilize me, and I can't stand it. I've been there before.”

The only bad experience is the one from which you learn nothing.  

 

Josh

http://www.dosgatosdesignsllc.com/#!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdJMFMqnbLYqv965xd64vYg

J.States Bladesmith | Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/dos.gatos.71

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JStatesBladesmith

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