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I Forge Iron

Inspired by the The Sittingbourne Seax - Forge Along w/ Pictures

Matthew Paul

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Historic knives and tools have always interested me. After much field time with my modern rendition of a broke back seax, I have decided to attempt to dimensionally recreate The Sittingbourne seax, as close as I can. This seax was heavily decorated and forged from iron, and although I do have iron, I will be attempting this first blade from A36 and 1095. I am more concerned with getting the technique down with this blade, and later on I can progress to using Iron with a steel insert. Although, from what I understand The Sittingbourne seax did not have a steel insert, but I could be wrong.

More information on this blade can be found on the British Museum - Here

Here is a photograph from the above URL:


The only dimension giving was the overall length. So, using a little math I measured the scaled image on my computer screen and came up with what should be the actual dimensions of this blade, shown below.. The blade will be forged from the 1"x1/2" A36 (replacement for Iron) and then slit and have a 1095 insert welded in. So, here is what I'll be starting with.


So, here is the start. I'm not sure how the welding of this bit will go. I may have to alter how I slit it and weld. The welds are taking fine, I have not had issues of that.. It's just that I need to adjust the material a bit more I think. (I ended up not compensating for the taper/clip on the tip when I forged the 1095 insert. I'll have to keep that in mind on the next one)

It started by tapering the 1/2x1" stock.


Then I brought the clip back some more.


Forged it out a bit more and started the tang.


More progress..



Slit and the bevel forged.



Slit opened up.


Cutting edge forged and notched.






So the 1095 edge was welded and I did not get pics of that as I was more worried about making it happen than taking photos. Once I started to draw the knife out I remembered to take some. So here is a shot of the cutting edge welded in and the blade starting to get drawn out.


And here is the blade all drawn out and ready to be cleaned up a tad with some files and then go on to be hardened and tempered.  Its a tad short, but now  know for the next one to use a bit more of the A36. The blade s very thin between maybe 9/64" and tapering to about 3/32" or so - It should be light and cut well.




Here it is after a little cleaning up with some files and a stone - Ready for heat treating.



I heat treated it, stoned it to 8000 grit and carved a nice apple wood handle for it. Thoughts?
I like it, nice and simple.





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 Beautiful work ! I appreciate your excellent progress photos ,and it looks like you have some other neat projects in the works as well.  I do like the simple,rustic end result. When you do the next one,will you create a more elaborate hilt for it? The inlay on the original blade suggests at least to me personally that the hilt may have been equally grand. Keep up the lovely craftsmanship!

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