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Thread: The Seax

  1. #1
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    The Seax


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    Quote Originally Posted by koyote View Post

    do you need a scandinavian short sword? Well.... I know my answer


    I didn't want to hijack the projects thread, but I would like to explore the seax a bit more.

    I guess I'm working around to ordering one, but before I do I would like to understand this blade better.



    (pic stolen from koyoteknives web site)


    OK, it's just plain cool looking, but what is it designed for? It's an ancient design, and I kinda like that. I suspect that people who depended on their knives had a good reason for their designs.

    But it also seems non-specific--at least in my eyes--like a mutt. Don't look like a skinner. Might have some bushcrafter in it. Does look like it has a hint of fighter. A long version might be a good chopper. How would one, say 14" or 16" long, compare to a golok or machete? With the drop handle, it almost has a hint of Khukuri.

    They also came in little sizes. Why? Did Wharncliffe just re-invent the seax?

    I like to think I understand knives, but this one puzzles me. I think I need one just to use it, to understand it better.

    Chistof, what the hell is this?



    Last edited by Rotte; 01-20-2009 at 11:05 PM.

  2. #2
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    seax (or scramasax i think) was a utility knife for the vikings and primarily the saxons. longer, more spear-pointed versions were used for fighting, and the shorter, more wharcliff-esque ones were just general utility. i dont really know why that blade shape is what they used, but i guess it worked.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarberFobic1992 View Post

    i dont really know why that blade shape is what they used, but i guess it worked.



    That's what I'm talking about! This was the blade design of some of the fiercest warriors and most skilled shipwrights ever. But you look at it and say, "I don't really know why that blade shape...."

    Now it's a utility knife, now it's a little sword. This is a mysterious knife...

  4. #4
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    I'm thinking about a longer-bladed one, also.

    Here are some various seax shapes from englandandenglishhistory.com



    From what I've read, it ranges from a general purpose knife to a short-sword of sorts. The different blade shapes seem to come from different regions. I would imagine that each shape fulfills GP cutting for that particular region, and/or is aesthetically pleasing to that particular region.

  5. #5
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    I ordered this one from workingknives.com and I should have it tomorrow or Friday. I will try to give it a bit of a workout this weekend and post a mini-review.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by abiggs View Post

    I ordered this one from workingknives.com

    Hey Biggs, did we miss a picture? Or is this one of Koyote's sold through a dealer?

    Either way, please do a review. I'd love to hear your impressions.
    Last edited by Rotte; 01-21-2009 at 08:51 PM.

  7. #7
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    There's also all sorts of thicknesses, too.

    The one I'm doing most and calling the modern seax is a nearly straight edge, with just a touch of belly, mostly right near the tip. The slow corve of the spine is intentional, and not unheard of, but not the most photographed seax pattern. It seems the broken back extreme clip angle is most often shown in literature. You can even find bowie like clips in period pieces.

    I can't really speculate exactly on how the wharncliffe came to be, I know it was designed by the Baron Wharncliffe in the early 19th century and made by sheffield knifemakers as a folding blade design. But I really wouldn't be suprised if it came out of either a similar need or experience seeing straight edged seaxen.

    Most people would say it's not a proper modern skinner, but look at the american classic drop point- less belly than you'd find in many other knives. You do get a good combination of mass, blade breadth, and a fine point. An archery nut or woodworker would probably look at it and think it's a great survival knife, since it would do excellent work in long straight cuts and draw knifing, with a good drilling point.

    It should be easily blade batonable- the angle isn't as sharp as on a broken back spine (4th and 5th drawings down in the above posted image) and won't "shed" the baton stroke nearly as much.

    Obviously, a sailor would be right at home with it

    You do get closer to spearpoints on a lot of the longer ones, but not necessarily all. you still some points sitting at 70% to 80% down, well below the centerline.

    There was a developmental phase where the longer weaponlike seaxen went for very broad, thick spined, heavy blades. Almost a cleaver approach to a sidearm. Later on they developed more into something you could almost call a short backsword.

  8. #8
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    Rotte: I think he bought the one you posted the photo of from workingknives

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    Quote Originally Posted by wulfshrunting View Post





    Cool pic Wulf. To my relatively ignorant eye, numbers 1, 3, and 4 (from top) seem to typify a seax. That's the kind of shape I think of. A hyper-drop point verging on Wharncliffe.

    The bottom example almost looks like a Bowie!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by koyote View Post

    Rotte: I think he bought the one you posted the photo of from workingknives

    Good choice if he did. What's the blade length for this one?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rotte View Post

    Good choice if he did. What's the blade length for this one?

    I can't remember, though I'd like to say I could, I'm up over 150 sold knives and ... things are slipping. I think it's a 5.25ish blade.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Rotte;6415128]
    Hey Biggs, did we miss a picture? Or is this one of Koyote's sold through a dealer?

    Either way, please do a review. I'd love to hear your impressions.
    [/QUOTE

    He sold the one that I bought through workingknives.com. The picture posted in this thread is the same picture from the website so I'm hoping that is the one that I'm getting. I'll get a review up as soon as I get some time once I get the knife in the mail.

  13. #13
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    That should be the same one, I try and take photos of everything for documentation purposes, but sometimes forget. But it's not surprising to see photos on my website of stuff that would go to working knives.

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    So I'm interested in a seax, but I'm thinking about something a bit longer. Maybe 9", 10", or even 12". Something with a little 'chop' to it.

    I don't know why. Something about this blade shape makes me want to chop a little...or a lot.

    Any thoughts?

  15. #15
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    I'm working on that. I'm mostly trying to identify the blade profile I want to shoot for.

    here's a sampling from google:





    (this one is a bit odd, the traditional carry is horizontal, but edge UP)


    this one looks like me




    I'm looking at primarily small belly, low points, and a slim (but not too slim) taper. I'm thinking mostly in the 10-13 inch range on the blade, and I'm still debating a full tang versuse a peened through tang.

    I certainly want to make some, and I will. I'd prefer slightly different forging stock than I have right now, but I can run down to a friend's shop and use a powerhammer to draw it down a bit.

  16. #16
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    The bottom picture looks best to me. I like the curve. Harsh angles never did much for me.

    I like the look of that, but I also like the drop edge you incorporated into the one pictured above. The drop edge would seem to increase the versatility--hey, any time you can spare your knuckles....

  17. #17
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    If you go with the hilt design like that top photo an edge drop becomes less important, but if you go with the full tang style I like to do on choppers in general, I think the dropped edge is important.

  18. #18
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    Okay, here's a question, how about a seax styled necker, too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by koyote View Post
    Okay, here's a question, how about a seax styled necker, too?
    it would be a good option, but i think it would have a limited range of buyers with all of your other neckers. however, i think a seax/chopper would be a bigger hit.

  20. #20
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    I'm feelin' the seax chopper too.

    But I like the idea of a necker. Really, I have more practical use for smaller knives. IMHO, a necker is best designed with a seax or Wharncliffe configuration. The short blade of a necker limits your leverage. But with a seax type design you maximize that leverage or power at the tip. My current neckers have a utility blade/Wharncliffe shape and are surprisingly versatile.



    I'd go for a necker with a little style. Got dimensions in mind?

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