View Full Version : a seax design question


mstu
03-29-2004, 01:13 PM
Lots of great seax around here lately :p

I'm trying to do a seax now but it keeps wanting to turn into a bowie when I turn my back. The blade profile looks like it could go either way; the point is more or less in the middle, speaking top to bottom, and the sharp side curves up to it while the top edge by the point is flat for about 1/3 the blade length, rising to meet the spine. I haven't put a false edge on it (yet).

I like the sharp pointed seax design like in Don's post, but I don't want to cut this one as short as it would take to make it look like that, and the distal taper is already set so there's not enough metal at the point to reforge it easily. The handle is full-tang but otherwise open for redesign; I was thinking maybe curly maple scales without a formal guard, since the blade drops enough from the handle that fingers would stay comfortably out of the way without a guard.

So my question is, what can I do in the design or finishing stages, from where I am now, to make it look more obviously like a seax and less like a bowie? Or should I just go ahead and make it a bowie and try again on a seax?

J.Arthur Loose
03-29-2004, 02:25 PM
A pic would help... but it sounds seax-like enough. There so many different seax blades out there that it's hard to get too un-seax like. :)

Don Halter
03-29-2004, 02:58 PM
Ditto, seaxes covered a wide variety of styles....long skinny, high-arched back, low back, upswept blade edge, flat edge...they all fit in to the general style. Shhhhhhh.....All these bowie guys...they're really just carrying a modern seax:D .

Finish out the one you have and make another. When that's done, make another. There's no such thing as too much seax:p .

On handles, my personal preference is hidden tang, with or without any type of guard. I can't recall any pics I've seen of a full tang seax blade, but they're probably out there.

BrB
03-29-2004, 03:23 PM
I little bit off topic ...

I am just finishing today the last book by Bernard Cornwell about the tales of Arthur. This last book, Excalibur, states that the Saxons were named after their knives, seaxes, and I wonder if the saxons and vikings were from the same origin...
I know it may sound like a stupid question (mostly because I remember studing that in history class years ago) but please bear with me :D

J.Arthur Loose
03-29-2004, 03:29 PM
Saxons share the same basic culture as the Vikings... though technically, "viking," is a verb & a noun meaning "to go raiding," or "to be a raider". The Norse never really considered themselves vikings in the collective sense. The Saxons were European as opposed to Scandinavian... and once they settled in England they became the Anglo-Saxons... and yep, they were named after their big ol' knives. :)

BrB
03-29-2004, 03:44 PM
Interesting... the author always describes the saxons with horned helms, but I was pretty sure vickings didn't use horns. That's what got me confused.

Thanks for the history lesson.

mstu
03-30-2004, 12:07 PM
Thanks guys, I'll see what I can do and post a pic when I'm done (could be a few months yet, not much spare time lately)

J.Arthur Loose
03-30-2004, 12:17 PM
Jeff,

There's a *couple* of depictions of helmets or simply hats with horns, but they appear to be completely religious / ceremonial and early Celtic or Germanic. The Gundestrup Cauldron comes to mind. I can't think of any such depictions regarding the Saxons, so I'd guess the source is not a good one. Basically no one ever ran around wearing horned helmets...

Coutel
03-30-2004, 07:37 PM
Originally posted by BrB
I little bit off topic ...

I am just finishing today the last book by Bernard Cornwell about the tales of Arthur. This last book, Excalibur, states that the Saxons were named after their knives, seaxes, and I wonder if the saxons and vikings were from the same origin...
I know it may sound like a stupid question (mostly because I remember studing that in history class years ago) but please bear with me :D

Hi Jeff.

In England to the west of London is a County known as Essex, south of London is the County of Sussex, and there is also Wessex......

'***sex' (as in Essex) is I believe another spelling of Seax. In fact, the County of Essex have an emblem with large knives on.

So in translation, I would say they were known as the 'East Knives' and 'South Knives' etc.....(I dont know what happened in the north!).

Then there is another spelling of Seax/Sex as in "Sax".....ie.Saxons, or..knife people?

Here is a link to some brief history about Essex...
http://www.fotw.net/flags/gb-essex.html

Interesting enough, the depiction of 'knives' on the emblem do not look like familiar seaxs?...more of an arabian sword, but they are referred to as 'seaxes'.
There is also the reference of the possibility of Camelot being in Essex, today known as Colchester.

J.Arthur Loose
03-30-2004, 09:38 PM
Seax and Violence!!!!!!!!!!

:D

Frank J Warner
03-30-2004, 10:38 PM
Originally posted by J.Loose
Seax and Violence!!!!!!!!!!


Now that's a bumper sticker that would make the guy behind you on the freeway scratch his head!

-Frank J Warner

Roger Gregory
03-31-2004, 03:45 PM
The seax as an heraldic device seems to have become bastardised over the centuries into a notched and curved sword. I suspect that only the name and original intent remain and the charge (I believe it is the correct term) achieved its current weird design as a result of artists listening to badly told tales of curved swords from the East .....

Roger

BrB
03-31-2004, 03:50 PM
Very informative indeed.. thank you very much.

I wonder what did the knives from Wales (welsh knives? is that thr right spelling???) look like. I heard that this country was the only to sustain the British ethnics against the saxons... is that correct?

Jake Powning
04-01-2004, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by Coutel


Hi Jeff.

In England to the west of London is a County known as Essex, south of London is the County of Sussex, and there is also Wessex......

'***sex' (as in Essex) is I believe another spelling of Seax. In fact, the County of Essex have an emblem with large knives on.


I live in Sussex New Brunswick, south of Nunavut mabe... I guess the settlers wheren't versed in their anglo seaxon etimology. My guess with the north names in britain is that the north had a heavy viking influence so you got names like Norfolk and York that come from Viking influence.

As far as welsh knives go, I would imagine they would have had knives similar to la tene designs, I've seen a few of these and they are unremarkable not very distinctive just what you'd think of when you think utility knife, except for some of the anthro hilted ones but there is no evidence that this style survived to six or so hundred years till the seaxons came in force. when the seaxons enterred britain the contry had been a roman province for almost four hundred years so everything that was thought of as indiginous brithonic or celtic by the brits was heavily influenced by roman designe. the Cymric or welsh where probably using tools of roman design. by the time the seaxons where really comming in force around 600 AD the welsh where using tools and weapons that had evolved from roman implements but which where beginiing to become distinct. I haven't seen allot of archeological evidence from this period, I think it can be said that the britains where in a pretty bad way they had saxons jutes and angles to the east and Irish Pirates to the west, so they had to stay in the mountains, good thing for the snodon range or allot of us welsh boys wouldn't be here today.
hope that wasn't to wildly divergent from the topic.

mstu
04-01-2004, 12:20 PM
no worry on diverging, it's all part of the picture to me.

got this link yesterday from a post on SFI, it's hundreds if not thousands of pictures of Viking-era finds from Gotland and elsewhere. Good inspirational stuff, mostly in alphabetical order (S is good; seax, spear, sword, all in there somewhere)

http://www.frojel.com/_index.html

OldMan
04-01-2004, 01:19 PM
I was looking at the axes on the www.frojel.com site and got to thinking about their design. Does anyone know what advantage [or disadvantage] the bearded axe style might have over the more symetrical styles??

thanks,
dms

Jake Powning
04-01-2004, 06:16 PM
as a weapon it has a longer cutting edge so it would mabe deliver a longer cut, that wouldn't be an advantage for chopping wood, but might be advantageous for cleaving heads?:smokin

J.Arthur Loose
04-01-2004, 08:26 PM
It's lighter for the length of the edge, and you can hook it on stuff like shields or spear hafts...

There are accounts of Danish bearded axes hacking off horse heads with a single stroke at Hastings. :evil

Coutel
04-05-2004, 05:41 PM
Originally posted by BrB


I wonder what did the knives from Wales (welsh knives? is that thr right spelling???) look like. I heard that this country was the only to sustain the British ethnics against the saxons... is that correct?

Add Cornwall which is the far south west of England below Wales...remained Celtic .....(I am from Cornwall:) )

Roger Gregory
04-05-2004, 06:17 PM
Originally posted by Coutel


Add Cornwall which is the far south west of England below Wales...remained Celtic .....(I am from Cornwall:) )

I thought you lot called it Kernow .... unless you're really from Devon? ;)

Roger

Coutel
04-06-2004, 11:32 AM
Originally posted by Roger Gregory


I thought you lot called it Kernow .... unless you're really from Devon? ;)

Roger

lol...Devon is full of them 'foreigners' (even if its only the next County:) ).......