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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 24 Aug, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject: Hard fact reccommendations sought for a commission of a seax         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I am very excited about an upcomming commission with Tod of Tods stuff. I am shooting for the most historically accurate 10-12 inch seax with a date as close as possible to 1100. I know this would be a very late period seax but I am hoping to find something to fit into my current era of interest. 1050-1150.

At this point in the commission (the very beginning) I find myself drawn to an iron spine with steel edge construction of the blade as opposed to a pattern welded design. I believe that both methods would be correct to the era. I will also have some type of geometric copper, brass, or silver inlay.

I would appreciate any guidance on this matter- as Tod also reccommended that I place a post seeking advice, and I know that there are some very smart people here. . . .

I do have one question right out of the gate. Do you guys think that wood, bone, or antler would be the most appropriate grip material. Tod told me that bone often looks very nice. Is this something that can be said based on historical specimen were all perishable matter is long gone.

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Aug, 2007 1:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What area are you interested in? As that will influence your options greatly. Around that time, there were mostly broken back type saxes, and mostly in the UK. AFAIK around that time there's none in Scandinavia, and not many in mainland Europe. The construction of the blades is usually pretty complex, but a steel edge on an iron (wrought iron would be best, if you have the availability) would seem quite reasonable. For hilts, only wood, with the tang glued into the hilt. The hilt remains on various saxes, including the tang lengths suggest pretty long hilts (>20cm) were the norm. Inlays are very rare. So if you want to go for inlays, you have to reproduce a single example of such a sax, or it won't be a historically accurate reproduction. Two examples I can think of that are close are the Sittingbourne sax (10nd century) and the Honey Lane sax (9-10nd century).

Sittingbourne sax:


Honey Lane sax:


If you haven't downloaded it yet, I've got a bundle of sax information here:
http://1501bc.com/files/information_about_saxes.zip

The only completely preserved example of a broken back sax is the one ascribed to Charlemagne, of which you can find information in the zip-file.
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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Mon 27 Aug, 2007 4:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeroen Zuiderwijk wrote:


If you haven't downloaded it yet, I've got a bundle of sax information here:
http://1501bc.com/files/information_about_saxes.zip

The only completely preserved example of a broken back sax is the one ascribed to Charlemagne, of which you can find information in the zip-file.


thank you ![/b]
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Aug, 2007 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jeroen,

I want a seax as close to 1100 as I can get. These two seaxes are beautiful- Tod has mentioned the honey lane example. I like this seax- but if it is possible I would like to incorporate SLIGHTLY more complex inlay- at least with two or ideally three metals- copper, brass, and silver. Perhaps this is too much to hope. . . .
The Sittingbourne example is really neat but the inlay looks highly complex and certain sections look missing so a smith would have to make up something to go in the missing sections.

I am also thinking of bone for the handle as this may well be accurate. At the same time I am not opposed to wood- probably box wood. Though horn and antler are two other options.

Peter Johnsson wrote at some point that reinforcing bands or caps on the bottum of the grip of metal could be seen as accurate. He even had a sketch- I don't know if it was his- showing a seax with small studs of some sort on the grip= an interesting option.

I want to thank everyone with any help on this matter. I will leave as much wiggle room as possible for the smith- I just have to rule things out because for me the worst thing that could happen is for me to have a beautiful new seax that I discover down that road has a gross inaccuracy.
Thanks,
Jeremy

P.S. I am imagining that nearly all seaxes of my period had a decorative "fuller" on the blade. Very thin- I don't know how deep.

P.P.S. Now that I have looked at the above examples I do not believe they have fullers though it is difficut to tell given the corrosion.
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Aug, 2007 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I am also thinking of bone for the handle as this may well be accurate. At the same time I am not opposed to wood- probably box wood. Though horn and antler are two other options.

Of all the examples I've seen with hilt remains (which are quite many), all of them are wood. Considering wood has a much smaller chance of survival compared to bone, horn and antler, if the latter were used, I should have come accross some examples by now. I've seen bone being used in the same period as scales on knives, but these are very different designs, and not really related to saxes.

Quote:
Peter Johnsson wrote at some point that reinforcing bands or caps on the bottum of the grip of metal could be seen as accurate. He even had a sketch- I don't know if it was his- showing a seax with small studs of some sort on the grip= an interesting option..

Is this a Swedish sax? Keep in mind that those are very different from the ones found in the rest of Europe. Also to keep in mind is the different types of saxes. The early narrow sax type for example frequently had metal bolsters and pommels. But in the later broad saxes, these disappeared (sometimes only a bolster, but frequently just wood remains). Broken back saxes are at the end of sax developement. The only one with a metal component I've seen is the sax of Charlemagne. All other broken back saxes have no metal components associated. Unfortunately, no other broken back saxes I've seen have organic hilt remains either, unlike the earlier sax types. If anyone has seen broken back type saxes other then the Charlemagne example with hilt remains attached, I'm very interested in seeing pictures.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Aug, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again everyone,

It looks like at this point I may be looking for a seax based on the honey lane example- because I have not been successful at finding any seaxes of the 11th c. and into the 12th. I am hopeful that something will show up.

Maybe wood would make the most sence even though I like the idea of bone as it would contrast well with the blade. I still would really like to incorporate two metals into the inlay and unfortunately the honey lane example appears to only have copper or is that a brass inlay.

What kind of two- metal design inlay would be authentic?

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the link Jeroen!

Firstly, I really appreciate any help/advice you guys have given to the benefit of my little project.

Jeroen, the pictures are superb- this is a great resource! Most of the seaxes are much earlier than my current project target date (1050-1100) but looking at all the seaxes gives a more full sense of the weapon and it's development. Very cool indeed- it seems I am developing a thing for this ubiquitous war knife known as the seax/ long seax/ scramseax.

There was however within these pictures, one exceptionally beautiful 11th cent. seax found in Germany. This example has a beautiful silver inlay of spiral type shapes running the full length of the blade. (Sorry guys I am not good at attaching pictures or I would post a picture of it) Sad

In any case, I am wondering if the design found on this German example (blade length is 10-12 inches- the same length I am looking at for my seax) could be applied authentically to a classic broken back seax like those found in Ireland/UK, and France. (Ex: the honey lane example and others)

And further- if this silver inlay would be valid could a single line or very simple addition of a line or lines of copper and/or brass- like those seen on the honey lane example.

I have come to understand that in quality reproductions of the seax one must rely on extant historical matter along with some level of speculation and educated guessing. I want to keep all of my guessing based on hard data. I do now feel more comfortable with a bone grip- especially because there is an example in Jeroen's file- though of a much ealier period.

But am I taking things too far with my reasoning about the inlay above. I know this would look cool- really cool, but I must abandon any idea that is moving too far away from that which is most authentic.

Any thoughts?
Jeremy
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Thanks for the link Jeroen!

Firstly, I really appreciate any help/advice you guys have given to the benefit of my little project.

There's still a huge lack of accurate sax reproductions IMO, so I do whatever I can to support accurate reproductions Happy

Quote:
Jeroen, the pictures are superb- this is a great resource! Most of the seaxes are much earlier than my current project target date (1050-1100) but looking at all the seaxes gives a more full sense of the weapon and it's development. Very cool indeed- it seems I am developing a thing for this ubiquitous war knife known as the seax/ long seax/ scramseax.

There was however within these pictures, one exceptionally beautiful 11th cent. seax found in Germany. This example has a beautiful silver inlay of spiral type shapes running the full length of the blade. (Sorry guys I am not good at attaching pictures or I would post a picture of it) Sad

Is it this one?


That one is one of the smallest broken back saxes I've seen. The blade is only roughly 5 inches in length.

Quote:
In any case, I am wondering if the design found on this German example (blade length is 10-12 inches- the same length I am looking at for my seax) could be applied authentically to a classic broken back seax like those found in Ireland/UK, and France. (Ex: the honey lane example and others)

And further- if this silver inlay would be valid could a single line or very simple addition of a line or lines of copper and/or brass- like those seen on the honey lane example.
The tricky bit with decoration is that each one I've seen so far is completely unique. I've not seen two broken back saxes with similar decoration on them.

Quote:
I have come to understand that in quality reproductions of the seax one must rely on extant historical matter along with some level of speculation and educated guessing. I want to keep all of my guessing based on hard data. I do now feel more comfortable with a bone grip- especially because there is an example in Jeroen's file- though of a much ealier period.

But am I taking things too far with my reasoning about the inlay above. I know this would look cool- really cool, but I must abandon any idea that is moving too far away from that which is most authentic.

Any thoughts?
Jeremy
In my own reproductions I try to stick as much to originals as possible, and vary only in the natural variations due to handcrafting (as they are reproductions, not exact replicas). I do try to make sure that with those variations are within the range of finds. In case of decorations, I prefer to reproduce the exact artifact with the same decoration (as best as I can), or else pick a non-decorated example. If applying different decorations, the chances of errors are just too high IMO. The problem also with decoration is that it's the first thing to catch the eye when you look at a reproduction. So I rather have no decoration if it may be wrong (even when no decoration is incorrect as well), so that it doesn't draw away from the rest of the reconstruction.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Aug, 2007 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy, I personally think you would be making a mistake if you go with a bone handle. From what I understand bone handles are rare in the extreme. If authenticity is your main concern, you can't go wrong with a wood grip. Just my $.02
A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Aug, 2007 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Jeremy, I personally think you would be making a mistake if you go with a bone handle. From what I understand bone handles are rare in the extreme. If authenticity is your main concern, you can't go wrong with a wood grip. Just my $.02


I am appreciative of Robin's comments on the issue of grip material. What are others thoughts on the plausibility of grips made of bone or horn, or even antler?

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Leo Todeschini
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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2007 3:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all the advice you are providing for Jeremy and myself and I would just like to put a specification together and see if there are any glaring problems with it.

The Seax is to be representative of a late period (circa1050on) English dagger of about 12". The blade will be wrought iron with a scarf jointed steel edge and it will have some wire inlay decoration. The handle will be in box wood with no metal work at all.

Although rare, decoration was around so my preference is to accept that this is to be a reproduction/heavily inspired by....of a knife with decoration.

I have some further questions and any input would be gratefully received.

If I excute wire inlay and/or metal infilling of a pattern is there any reason not to have two metals, as it was certaily used in seaxs from only a few decades before this target date in (presumably) the London area.

Was Inlay work generally executed on one or both sides of the blade and if one side, was there a common convention?`

Many thanks


Tod
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Tod for posting,

Hopefully we can get some good information about the inlay question. I am not really oppossed to a reinforcing iron cap for the top of the grip as I believe there is some evidence of this. I am not sure, however, how the cap would be fastened. I am thinking small rivets but I do not know of what position the rivets would sit. If you Tod or others feel this is something to reconsider in the spirit/goal of authenticy I am all ears.

So I guess the question remains to either go more conservative for a reproduction/inspiration of the honey lane example with the single metal (brass or copper) inlay.
Then there is the other option in which I will either find an historical example or mix the inlayed decorations from two or more pieces from the same rough era and the same rough location into a two metal decorative inlay.
And the grip material is still in debate- everyones got an opinion!!!! The problem is that my interest in the seax is new found so my own knowledge is limited. Now, if you want to talk about a reproduction of a 11th or 12th c. sword I am on firmer ground.

Thanks everyone,
Jeremy
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Tue 04 Sep, 2007 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

This is just a bump to encourage further discussion on this thread. I am hoping especially if anyone fcan answer the question as to whether decoration/inlay was typically applied on one or both sides of the blade. Does anyone know if the honey lane example has one or two sided decoration.

THanks,
Jeremy
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2007 12:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Hello everyone,

This is just a bump to encourage further discussion on this thread. I am hoping especially if anyone fcan answer the question as to whether decoration/inlay was typically applied on one or both sides of the blade. Does anyone know if the honey lane example has one or two sided decoration.

THanks,
Jeremy

Unfortunately you rarely get to see both sides, so I can't answer that. The only one I can be sure off is the Beagnoth seax, which has inlays on both sides. The inlays on each side are different though. The common shown side has the runic inscriptions, the other side just has geometrical patterns.
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2007 4:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am hoping that others will have more information on the issue of one or both sided inlay,

I am a bit frustrated in the real dearth of information on the issue. It looks like I may be in a situation in which guesses have to be made or one feature from one seax and one from another employed in a single example.

I have read others refer to "geometric shapes" and "triangles" when refering to the inlayed decorations but I have never seen these depicted or photographed. Is there any more information out there? Specifically, some pictoral or drawn examples of historic inlayed designs would be enormously helpful.

I cannot move forward with this project untill I have more information.

Thanks,
Jeremy
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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 05 Sep, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
I have read others refer to "geometric shapes" and "triangles" when refering to the inlayed decorations but I have never seen these depicted or photographed. Is there any more information out there? Specifically, some pictoral or drawn examples of historic inlayed designs would be enormously helpful.

This is all I've got:



 Attachment: 15.4 KB
batterseaseax.jpg

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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Thu 31 Jan, 2008 11:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

Well I received some pictures from Tod of my seax in progress, but I couldn't figure out how to get them to show up. They did appear on the post but would not open. I am not good at all with computers.
Sorry,
Jeremy
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