Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Dirk blade into sax? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2020 10:36 am    Post subject: Dirk blade into sax?         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I've recently wanted to add a sax to my collection, but also need to rein in my spending. It occurred to me that my old Crazy Crow kit-built dirk (which I've wanted to be rid of for a while) has a blade profile much like a broadsax. Do you see any potential here? Or is it just going to look like a chunky dirk blade with a sax hilt? I'm particularly unsure about the beveled false edge.



 Attachment: 435.11 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Fri 06 Mar, 2020 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't. I used one of the same blades, along with some brass mounts, a pommel cap and guard, to make a dirk well over 30 years ago. I also have a couple more laying in a drawer in my shop. Mine are cast and I assume yours is also. For the time and effort trying to re-configure the blade, you could probably grind one out of a piece of leaf spring that you would like better. And there is no telling what you would find once you started grinding on the casting.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Sat 07 Mar, 2020 2:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Huh... honestly, if it's such a junk blade, I'd rather just shelve the idea until my budget looks good enough to buy a decent one.

Well, it was worth asking Happy Thanks for the advice.
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Sat 07 Mar, 2020 7:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mine, as best I can recall, cost less than $20 - quite some time ago. It was not marked but the two I bought later were marked "India." May be perfectly OK I just would find it hard to justify the work for what it might turn out to be in the long run.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Sat 07 Mar, 2020 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a thought: How about I start by turning the false edge into an un-swedged broken back? That wouldn't take too much work, and it would hopefully reveal something about the steel quality. If it turns out to be poor, no big loss -- it's not doing me any good as is.
View user's profile Send private message
Andrew Gill





Joined: 19 Feb 2015

Posts: 117

PostPosted: Mon 09 Mar, 2020 5:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd have a go at doing a broken-backed seax, Dan.
If the blade is usable, great! If not, well at least you haven't wasted much beyond some time.
And, depending on how much metalwork you've done, you may have learned some useful lessons for your next attempt.
One's first few knives seldom look pretty, so it's worth trying something that won't cost an arm and a leg.

Actually, if this blade is cast, there are many inexpensive or free sources of medium-carbon steel (rotary lawn-mower blades, old vehicle leaf-springs or leaf-spring stock and some large circular saw blades and old files, to name a few). These can be annealed in a fire and made into very passable blades by cutting out a blank with a hacksaw or angle grinder, which can be ground or filed to shape. You can then send it away to be professionally heat-treated, or even try to do it yourself using a charcoal fire (I've done it in a barbecue, though it is a bit hit-and-miss under such rough-and-ready conditions). It is much more work than buying a ready-made blade or blank, but considerably cheaper, and very satisfying.
View user's profile Send private message
Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,239

PostPosted: Mon 09 Mar, 2020 8:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Why not Dan. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2020 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Huzzah, I have broken its back. Not bad for less than an hour's work, although it still needs a lot of cleanup.

Still not sure about the steel quality. It seems... harder than mild steel, softer than a Windlass. No pitting of the kind that I'd normally associate with castings, but my experience with casting flaws only relates to bronze.



 Attachment: 219.11 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Thu 23 Apr, 2020 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just wanted to let you know, I haven't abandoned this project. It's just that filing out the handles for hidden tangs is easily my least-favorite part of cutlery, so I'm only spending about 10 minutes or so a day on it. But making noticeable progress nonetheless. Also evened out the broken back and re-polished the whole thing to a satin finish.

In the meanwhile, does anyone know where to get an appropriate pommel?



 Attachment: 175.53 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Joel Chesser




Location: Oklahoma
Joined: 23 Oct 2003

Posts: 721

PostPosted: Thu 23 Apr, 2020 12:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really like it, well done! It's a very cool trash to treasure project.. Happy
..." The person who dosen't have a sword should sell his coat and buy one."

- Luke 22:36
View user's profile Send private message
Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 564

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2020 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pommel plates would likely have been a flat piece of iron, much like the bolster. You could use brass for color continuity in your case. Most sax/saex of the broken back variety would have had a grip of 30-45% of the blade length, generally. There is also little to no evidence of metallic fittings for broken backs, and only a few earlier specific Continental or Scandinavian examples show metal fittings--not counting fittings from the Staffordshire Hoard, which has nothing else. Looking up 'sax' or 'saex' on myArmoury or bladesmithsforum.com will give you loads of info and drawings and photos of the real deals.

However--you could try to tweak it to look like one of the Valsgärde saxes. If you google that term, you'll see lots of interesting examples of a long, bent-back blade with a shorter grip and sometimes metal fittings. The scabbards are also pretty fancy, and might be fun to try as well. I've seen one or two of them in person, and they're slim and dangerous looking.

An even better option might be to make a 'fantasy' piece inspired by historical examples. Make it totally your own, and do whatever you like! Just enjoy the piece, and be proud that you breathed new life into it. Burning the tang in might be faster too, if you have a good clamp or a vice and a torch.

Be sure to post your finished piece! It's looking good so far.

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2020 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joel Chesser wrote:
I really like it, well done! It's a very cool trash to treasure project.. Happy

Thank you!

Kai Lawson wrote:
Most sax/saex of the broken back variety would have had a grip of 30-45% of the blade length, generally.

Hm... according to my measurements, the tang is a hair under 30 percent of the total length and 42 percent as long as the blade. Rounding out the blade and tang junction would make it longer.

It's interesting, and a little strange, about the lack of metal fittings, but looking at photos of originals, you seem to be quite right. I'm not dead-set on giving it a metal guard and pommel -- the guard in the photos was just lying around. However, I do think it needs at least a washer to secure the tang. The blade's just too big and point-heavy for me to believe glue alone will hold it, even if washers are rare or non-existent with broken backs.

Thanks for those pointers, and the encouragement.

Kai Lawson wrote:
An even better option might be to make a 'fantasy' piece inspired by historical examples. Make it totally your own, and do whatever you like!

I've thought about just that. It's already a bit of a fantasy piece in conception -- the reason I wanted one is because I was re-reading The Lord of the Rings last year. The mahogany grip is pretty unlikely, for starters, and since yesterday I've been going back and forth about whether to start over with an ash one.
View user's profile Send private message
Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Likes: 7 pages

Posts: 564

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Your call, of course, but why not go with what you have? Your blade isn't bade, but the specific fuller and overall shape aren't the most historical thing ever. If LOTR is part of the inspirational impetus for the project, then check out Petr Florianek and Gullinbursti on Facebook and his website. He does lots of really well done LOTR/Hobbit themed knives, swords, pendants and projects, and they all have a really cool real world quality to them.

I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't go the more historical route, but you can absolutely make a fantastic piece by combining specific stylistic elements and letting your mind wander. There are no rules. It doesn't have to be weird and impractical to be part of your own high fantasy adventures. If you do this, I would encourage you to check out some of the saxes found in the Netherlands, as some of them have simple little pommel caps with a garnet on either side that look good and flow well. Also definitely check out the Staffordshire Hoard stuff for shapes for pommels or caps. The Thegns of Mercia living history group have done a speculative reproduction of a sax based on the Staff Hoard fittings.

Pommel cap inspiration ideas:
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.20786.html

http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.19185.html

https://i.pinimg.com/236x/60/10/00/601000eb09f858d94e0bd752befbe21d--merovingian-gold-wire.jpg

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/41/c7/4d/41c74d9fc8921e606ccc6de1e11fe189.jpg

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
Likes: 50 pages
Reading list: 1 book

Spotlight topics: 5
Posts: 8,256

PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2020 8:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Dirk blade into sax?         Reply with quote

Dan D'Silva wrote:
Hello all,

I've recently wanted to add a sax to my collection, but also need to rein in my spending. It occurred to me that my old Crazy Crow kit-built dirk (which I've wanted to be rid of for a while) has a blade profile much like a broadsax. Do you see any potential here? Or is it just going to look like a chunky dirk blade with a sax hilt? I'm particularly unsure about the beveled false edge.


Just a random thought about the handle materials: Maybe you could use cow bone cuts into thin plates for end caps ?
( Cow bone can be had from butcher shops as shank meat, and used after slow cooking the beef shank which is very tasty beef for a stew .... the bone later cleaned. )

The end caps could be made like a sandwich of thin brass/Bone/brass for a guard and at the other end as a pommel ? Or just use bone without metal plates ?

The diameter of these pieces could be very close to the diameter of the handle but swell slightly ? In any case this might be an idea for a different project as you are already doing something else. Wink

The end pieces could have some file work on the brass and the bone ?

The cow bone could be used in one of two ways:
A) A flat side of a large bone cut and shaped into a flat oval plate.
B) A bone of a diameter close to the handle cut as a section of bone and used between the brass ( or could be mild steel ) plates ...... The inner diameter of the bone filled with epoxy putty to fit closely around the hidden tang ?

Obviously epoxy is not period material but it would be completely hidden from view in any case.

These sub-assemblies of forward and rear guard/pommel or maybe better called collars/bolsters(?) could also be pinned together in some way ? In any case many ways to make something interesting, if not really historically accurate: A lot depends on one's goals, skill and patience. Big Grin

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
View user's profile Send private message
Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 241

PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2020 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Staffordshire Hoard material is very impressive. And the chunky top pommel caps from Staffordshire and Nijmegen are very inspiring, though I think hollow cloisonne is... more than a little beyond my skill level.

A sandwich guard and pommel sounds appealing. It would resemble a lot of contemporary sword hilts in that way. I dislike working with bone, but I have some spare holly which would provide a similar contrast, and a small thick piece of bar stock that could make a pommel cap. Hm... this is starting to get fancy.

Thanks again for the great ideas!
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Dirk blade into sax?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum