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My Latest project


Joshua States
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So all of my fun projects have been on hold while some commissioned work took all my time. Then I was travelling alot and shop time was scarce. Now I have agreed to produce a special knife for a benefit auction (why? please don't ask). So I am trying to make a seax based on the Nijmegen Seax. It seemed somewhat popular around here lately and I happened to have a piece of PW steel that fit the size requirements. This has to be done and shipped by the end of December.

The target form.

 

Nijmegen Seax.jpg

 

Being that this is a PW blade, it is not a reproduction of the original seax. It's not even historically accuate for period PW design. I'm really focusing on the shape and fittings. Here is the rough forging with some additional grinding needed to complete the patterning.

 

Forged.jpg

 

Here is the rough grinding so far. It still needs a litte profiling, but the blade length is right at 33cm. Width at the base is 3,5cm

 

Rough ground 1.jpg

 

Wednesday will be layout and drawing the finished design.

 

Edited by Joshua States
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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

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Go man, go!

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"The way we win matters" (Ender Wiggins) Orson Scott Card

 

Nos, qui libertate donati sumus, nes cimus quid constet.

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On 10/11/2022 at 5:20 AM, Brian Dougherty said:

Are those wood dog's head hammers hanging there in that 2nd to last pic?

Nope. Those are some sort of high impact plastic mallets my wife uses for shaping thin sheet

 

https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/bossing-mallets.html

Edited by Joshua States

“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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Today was mostly spent running errands and I had little time to devote to the drawing.

Thanks to various posts by @Jeroen Zuiderwijk and @jake cleland, and a wonderful WIP by @Aiden CC, I have been able to suss the dimensions of the blade (I think)

It seems to me the original is 33 cm blade L, 3 cm blade W (at base) and 6mm thick (?) with an OAL of 45 cm. I am close to that at 32,8 cm, 3.5 cm. and a whopping 7,5 mm thick and 45,5 cm from blade tip to tip of tang. The thickness will come down a bit in the grinding both pre- and post-HT.

What I don't know is the handle shape and the thicknesses of the bolster plate and pomell cap. Also whether that 45 cm is to the top of the peen block or the edge of the pomell cap. I'm betting on the top of the peen block. Another thing I don't know is what the fittings were made of.  There was a link in a post by Jeroen in a thread back in 2010 to a museum in the Netherlands, but the link is broken and a search of the museum's website found nothing on the Nijmegen Seax. It's worth noting that a Google search fo this blade mostly shows hits to this very forum and a few cheesy replicas on Fleabay......

 

Anyway, I enlarged the only photo I have of this blade and took some scaled dimensions. The pommel cap appears to be approximately 13% taller than the bolster plate. So, this leads me to believe the handle flared larger toward the back, either on a straight line or a slight hourglass shape. It might have been something slightly different (straight back and curved belly?) Who knows at this point. After taking another look at the photo. It does appear that the bottom edge of the pomell is further from the bottom edge of the bolster than the top edge of the pomell is away from the top of the bolster. This leads me to believe the handle had more of a wedge shape where the heel came down more than the top went up.

 

I'd like to take a look at some of the other pieces from finds in a similar time period, but I confess, I don't even know what century this is dated to. So, it's difficult to start looking through all the files I have. If anyone can guide me along a little, I would greatly appreciate it

 

A preliminary drawing (that I already know will change) shows a sketch with the hourglass shape. I hate it.

 

Pelim sketch V2.jpg

 

I will lose the curvature on the top and make it a straight line taper with less rise and drop the heel a bit more.

The 3-part handle will be a piece of burl wood between two pieces of walrus ivory. The fittings are going to be either wrought iron (heavily etched), or maybe some "copper alloy" that I sand cast. I may go a little Jessenwang and throw some silver between the ivory/wood.

 

Edited by Joshua States
Boken R key on laptop
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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

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  • 3 weeks later...

Got back to this and another project and am working them in tandem. The blade survived the quench (short video) and I moved on to straightening and finish grinding.

After the tempering at 550F

Post Temper (1).jpg

 

Then I decided to go with bronze hardware and I cast a few plates.

three plates.jpg

 

A bit of saw cutting and file work.

Filed guard.jpg

 

Then I hot-fit the guard.

Hot fit guard (1).jpg

 

This is the blade at 220 grit with a full convex grind.

220 grit convex.jpg

 

Edited by Joshua States
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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

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I've had some time to work on the handle. I got some walrus ivory and some stabilzed walnt burl and set to work fitting the pieces to the tang and blind pinning them all together. I'm using pieces of vulcanized paper for the index cards.

 

Blind pins 1.jpg

 

1/16" Steel pins get dilled in the mini-mill

 

Blind pins 2.jpg

 

Transferred to the wood block

 

Blind pins 3.jpg

 

Eventually, the whole thing locks together on the tang.

 

Fit up.jpg

 

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

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Then I use a threaded rod to hold eveything together fo roughing the handle shape.

Handle roughing (1).jpg

 

Fit the pommel cap

 

Handle roughing (4).jpg

 

Full view at this point

 

Handle roughing (3).jpg

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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

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I made templates for the bolster and pommel cap today and ground them to shape. Then I set about shaping the handle to them. 

Still a ways to go, but it is at 220 grit.

 

Bolster/guard on the rough handle wth the blade.

 

Front Bolster.jpg

 

Front after grinding down.

 

Handle at 220 (1).jpg

 

Heel end.

 

Handle at 220 (2).jpg

 

The temporary assembly for  citical checks and evaluation before continuing.

 

Handle at 220 (3).jpg

 

When you take the photo of the Nijmegen seax and blow it up, you can draw lines and evaluate the geometry. If you take a straight line that connects the top of the pommel cap to the top of the bolster and extend it, you will see the spine of the blade starts to taper downward fairly quickly. Doing the same with the bottoms of the two fittings, you will see the edge drops below that line as well.  I think I have a little too much drop on the edge and the drop on the spine starts too late. I will have to do some profile grinding of the blade to get the shape right.

 

Edited by Joshua States
  • Like 3

“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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Today I set myself to making some changes. Comments, criticisms and suggestions are welcome as always.

I adjusted the profile and straightened out the spine. Then I reduced the edge belly and pointed the tip a little more.

 

Profile check.jpg

 

I finished the blade to 400 grit.

 

400 Grit (1).jpg

 

400 Grit (2).jpg

 

Then I reshaped the handle a little and sanded it down again to 220. This will get hand sanded to about 800 or so.

The newest version without the final peen block.

 

New Pofile (2).jpg

 

 I think I still need to reduce the handle/guard plate on the underside.

 

Guad closeup.jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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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

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Good job on the blade profile, and I agree about the bolster.

To me, the whole handle looks too wide and not quite long enough, but that's just an opinion. On later seaxes no part is wider than the blade, but the Nijmegen is its own beast.

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15 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

the whole handle looks too wide and not quite long enough

Yeah, I know the feeling. I keep checking the photos and doing the math to get the sizes right.

 

Edited by Joshua States

“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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Today was a lot of work and not without some frustration. I took the handle up to 800 grit, only to reveal a small interior crack in the ivory.

Handle with some wax.

 

Handle at 800.jpg

 

Small crack

 

Small Crack.jpg

 

15 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

not quite long enough

 

Just to give a visual on this.

 

Gip Size.jpg

 

Now you have a sneak peek at the patten. Yes, I etched the blade today. The photos aren't geat, so I have a little video of the etched blade.

I also have a couple of pics of the blade and handle as of tonight. Tomorrow I will work on the peen block.

 

Partial Assembly (1).jpg

 

Partial Assembly (2).jpg

Edited by Joshua States
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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

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That damascus looks great, I love the chatoyant laddered edge.

 

I also think the handle is a bit too wide/ high, I would try to make it even with the lines of the blade.

I don't remember if it is the case for this particular seax, but I know that some of these type have a bit of a radiused spine, maybe to flow seamless into the handle/bolsters.

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I should have included the close up of the bolster. The top definitely needs to be tighter.

 

Bolster close.jpg

 

If we take that photo we are all familiar with, at the beginning of this thread and enlarge it, what do you see?

Snippit 1.JPG

 

I think this shows a reduction in blade width, probably fom sharpening over the years. The curvature suggests that they were not able to get all the way into the bolster, and the bottom of the bolster protrudes below the edge. I think this is the original form. What do you guys think?

 

“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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Loving the pattern in the steel, and I think the bit of forward “kick” in the handle is a good touch. 
 

As for the original profile of the blade, I’m not entirely sure about it having gone out that far. The concavity could come from a bit of nosedive or be a design feature slightly exaggerated by wear and corrosion. It could be perspective, but it appears to widen slightly on the spine side as well. Japanese blades have a bit of “fumbari” where they get wider and thicker in the section before the habaki. European swords do this a too, though in thickness more than profile. It can give the blade a more substantial look if done carefully and I would imagine also impacts the dynamics. 

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On 11/12/2022 at 4:58 PM, Joshua States said:

 

If we take that photo we are all familiar with, at the beginning of this thread and enlarge it, what do you see?

Snippit 1.JPG

 

I think this shows a reduction in blade width, probably fom sharpening over the years. The curvature suggests that they were not able to get all the way into the bolster, and the bottom of the bolster protrudes below the edge. I think this is the original form. What do you guys think?

 

Yeah, that's wear from frequent resharpening. It's one of the few seaxes that I've seen (and this one handled) that clearly shows a significant amount of material removed by sharpening. It made the section even more convex then it already was. 

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Jeroen Zuiderwijk

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11 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

Yeah, that's wear from frequent resharpening

Do you agree that the bolster/guard plate originally extended below the edge, or was the blade actually wider at that point?

“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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On 11/12/2022 at 11:46 AM, Aiden CC said:

I think the bit of forward “kick” in the handle is a good touch.

Well, I drew lines from top of pomell cap to top of bolster plate, and another one from the bottoms of both pieces. Extending them along the blade shows the drop and a kink where the handle meets the blade.

 

Lines 2.jpg

“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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