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:lol: If there's anything I've learned in nearly 20 years of doing archaeology, it's to never say never about what people did in the past! :rolleyes:

Well, you can say what they did, if you have evidence. The tricky thing is trying to figure out what they didn't. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence :)

 

That 5-pin grip system looks like some modern full-tang knives I've seen.

It's actually a pretty old method, going back to the bronze age (although perhaps a different rivet arangement). You'd be surprized at how modern some of the earliest knives look.

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To add to the issue of attaching blade to handle... I remain convinced that the wire wraps on the handles of blades such as those in the Arkeodok image collection serve to clamp the blade into the handle. I'll also say that it used to be a common conception that seaxes never had scales; people always used to tell me "...but seaxes never had scales! That isn't period!" And I used to scratch my head and look at the pictures in Du Chaillu, Vol. 1 , p. 208-209. Maybe they were just drilling those holes in the tang for practice. ;)

 

I think there's a value to sticking to a known set of historical limitations, such as what was specifically known to have come from a specific area during as specific period. I also think there's a value to keeping tradition alive and evolving. Not that I'm knocking the serious re-enactor, just that they're going to covet a different thing than a collector of art-objects inspired by history. Or something like that.

 

Nice score on that pinned tang, Jeff! Heh heh... pushing the envelope!

 

I'm going to have to play reconstructive seax-reproductionist for a couple blades so I can get back to authoritatively playing playful seax-maker. ;)

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Broadsaxes are the forerunners of langsaxes. They're shorter, can be wider and are generally thicker then the later langsaxes (10mm at the spine is quite common).

 

Here's an overview of the evolution of saxes:

 

From my reading of Norse/Viking swords found, they 'peened' the end of the tang to the pommel.

If this was the practice with swords, would they follow the same practice with seaxs?

As you said, unknown..but I would think that peening the handle to the tang would follow the Norse/Viking practice of weapon design.Just my thoughts.

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From my reading of Norse/Viking swords found, they 'peened' the end of the tang to the pommel.

If this was the practice with swords, would they follow the same practice with seaxs?

As you said, unknown..but I would think that peening the handle to the tang would follow the Norse/Viking practice of weapon design.Just my thoughts.

You know, I thought the same thing not long ago, and alot of reproductions do just that: put them together the same way swords were built during the same time period. Unfortunately, the artifacts show they were not generally done this way. I've yet to see a brokenback style sax with any indications of metal fittings, as far as I can tell, they were not peined, either. This seems to indicate that they were put together very differently than the swords of the day. Why? I don't have a clue, other than it is cheaper to just stick a piece of wood on for a handle than to make and fit all the parts generally found on swords of the times. Now there is a style of sax of the Frankish type that is found with a guard and pommel not unlike a sword, just simpler. This is not seen on other styles, with the exception of the full-sized Norwegian style single-edged swords.

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I have also seen reproduction of seaxs that have mixed styles of different times and places. Such as a broken back seax with a curved full tang handle that comes straight back off the spine of the blade. How important is this? That all depends. It could be very important to a reinactor who wants to portray a Saxon living in pre-Norman England or a Danish Viking. For someone who just wants a good heavy camp knife it might be of no concern.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say in a long winded way is to caution against trying to be historically accurate just simply for the sake of being historically accurate. It is seldom superior to the funtion of the blade and the artistic expression of the maker.

I really hope i'm not coming across as the 'seax police' here, that was not my intention. I'm in the process (they're tempering as I type) of making my first few seax, and it has not been an easy process. My approach has been to make one as accurate to the origionals as possible while at the same time giving myself enough room for artistic expression. In choosing a historic, ethnic blade, I've limited myself to working inside the particular artistic vocabulary of the origional makers. Bowie's are so much simpler, because any big knife with a point can be called a bowie. Not so with the seax. In order for me to call it a seax, it cannot have things that are not found on seax. This has required me to research this style of knife to the point that I have at least a good hunch as to what is appropriate and what is not. In answering this post, I simply have passed on what I have learned from this research, with the hope that if I'm wrong, someone would speak up and let me know. There is a whole heck of alot that I do not know about these facinating knives, and hope to learn. I've learned quite a bit about alternative construction methods by watching and participating in this thread, and for that I am thankful.

 

A clip point and a straight edge do not make a knife a seax, to me. But then, to each his own.

 

Just out of curiosity, were the Saxons named after their knives, or the other way around? (big, mean looking, heavy drinking, knife wielding pagans, not the kind of folk you'd want as neighbors, but the kind of folk you'd like backing you when the s--t hits the fan and blood begins to spill)

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Okay, that's it; by the power not entirely vested in me (apologies to Jake!), you need a fiery beard more than anyone yet who doesn't already have one. Send me a small picture of you and I'll do it. :lol:

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GEzell, couldn't agree with you more on the bowie knife. That's why I don't use the term. I've seen everything from those overly wide extreem clip point knive so very popular during the Civil War to knives that looked like they should be used to carve the Thanksgiving turkey call bowie knives. That is compounded by the fact that no one knows what the knife Jim Bowie had at the Nachez Sand Bar Knife Fight looked like. Seaxes do fall within certain perameters depending upon time and place. If you feel that you should honor a certain form and not mix styles because that is how you wish to express your art, fine. However, I feel that form should follow funtion even if the funtion is to be traditional which is different than saying that it has to be done thus and so because that's how it's always been done. (yessireebob, I can tap dance around a point with the best of them)

 

Doug Lester

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I'm with you, Doug. One of the reasons I became so interested in these knives was, now that I think about it, because of the construction. As a bladesmith, I overbuild everything. My tangs are over-sized, and my general philosophy has always been to make it 3 times stronger than it has to be, and that way there's no need to worry later... So the seax was a bit of a mystery to me, when I could see no sign of mechanical bonding of the handle to the tang. These guy's lives could depend on the strength of this joint, yet they saw glue, and glue alone as sufficient to make the bond. As I said, they must of had some really good glue to even consider the construction methods they used.

 

As for me, there will be hidden pins holding mine together. I cannot bear to do it any other way. At least they will not show, so it will LOOK authentic... We will know better, and sleep easier.

 

That is an impressive bit of tap dancing, regardless, and my hat's off to you.

 

Okay, that's it; by the power not entirely vested in me (apologies to Jake!), you need a fiery beard more than anyone yet who doesn't already have one. Send me a small picture of you and I'll do it. :lol:

I'm not worthy....

 

George Ezell

Edited by GEzell
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awesome discussion you guys. Thanks for sharing the pics and PDFs. I've learned a ton this evening and still can't believe that most of the handles in the zipped pictures were essentially glued on... but I can't see a different attachment method.

 

Still not sure what defines "sax" though. I guess I'll need to find more pictures and take some trips to museums... sounds like a plan :)

Edited by Kristopher Skelton
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Still not sure what defines "sax" though. I guess I'll need to find more pictures and take some trips to museums... sounds like a plan :)

It's hard to give a clear definition. But for me a sax is a collection of the types of knives that are typical for roughly 500-1100 AD (but mainly 600-800AD). Basically during that period, any knife would have been called a sax as I understand. However, I would call the smaller knives just knives, but that's my personal preference. At any rate, it's more easy to say which are saxes, then which aren't. If they are part of the standard sax typologies, then at least they're definately saxes.

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