Ultimate Melee Blade!

For those who live in areas where firearms are not an option and those that are smart enough to have a back up.

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kenning
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Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:49 am

Dear Zombie Hunters!

I'm a newbie in the zombie hunting business, so don't press me so hard if I get some Zombie facts wrong. My very first thread is about a cold steel weapon, that was used for centuries in the heart of Europe, but was quickly forgotten. Until today. And I think, this could be the ultimate self-defence, melee and anti-zombo weapon.

It is the Germanic SEAX. It is also known as "sax" or "scramasax". A certain type of the Sax is called "Longsax", a single edged sword used by German tribes from end 7th up to 11th centuries. And this one I consider the most practical and effective melee design you can imagine. But yes, it's just me, so let's give it a go.

A basic impression:
Image
(SOURCE)

Basic information:
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=15743" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/showth ... ting-saxes" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;!
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php ... 15369&st=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=14054" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now, what advantages does a Longsax have?

1). Very sturdy practical construction.
Original Longsaxes of 8th century could have complex laminated differentially hardened blades (yes, just like KatAnaS, despite the popular belief European blades were crap), there are even pattern welded ones. But the grips were simple,a wooden tube glued on the tang. Monosteel blades were also common. A very simple but effective design, made to be used as a heavy-duty cut-n-thrusting sword. It will not shatter even if extremely abused, unlike the most Katana grips.

2). Strong cut-n thrust blade.
Typical blade length of Longsaxes was about 20 inches, the grip was usually around 8". That's right, this one is a hand-and-a-half sword! Width of blade ranges from 1,5 to 2,4". The last third of blade starts to taper down to an acute point, distal taper at this part is even much more extreme than profile taper. Thickness at grip; 0,24-0,3", at 2/3 of blade 0,2-0,24" - so this is a pretty stiff broad blade, weighting around 1,8 pounds. The last 5 " of the blade are (according to survived specimens) pretty thin, perfectly suitable for cutting AND thrusting!

3). Multi-purpose sword.
Saxes were originally designed both as tools and as weapons. The Longsax however was a military blade, because of it's size and weight, but still a remarkably multifunctional one.
- You can swing it like a machete, with a gun or shield in your other hand. But unlike a typical machete it can thrust really good, is not flimsy at all. Thrusts can be useful if you push the blade in the throat of the Undead preventing him of biting you - bites are the "main weapon" of a walking Undead.
- Machetes need space to swing them properly, a hand-and-a-half blade like Katana beater or axe are much better if you're cornered in rooms or corridors. A Longsax combines the advantages of a Machete cutting power with a double handed axe blow.
- If you lost all your equipment and are cornered with no other chances to escape by a Zombie you can grab the Longsax blade spine with your left and push it in the mouth of a Zombie. It will prevent the Undead from biting and give you time to push the Zombie aside with force. This technique, known as "halfswording", is of great advantage when forced to fight in close range. Curved blades, flimsy machetes, axes and double edged swords are not suitable for halfswording, at least not in a stressful self-defence situation.

The Point of Balance is usually similar to a Machete, but due to its thick spine it will be around 2" from grip. So you can control it's handling by gripping the blade up and down the handle, it depends on what you're supposed to do. Gripped at the very end of the handle it becomes a heavy-duty chopper which rivals any japanese sword in cutting power. No secondary bevels at the edge (as seen at most Machetes), triangular cross section, pretty flat and thin edge - this gives you ultimate cutting power!!

4). Scabbard
The historical accurate scabbard of a Longsax is made from leather, hung like a sword at yout waist. The best thing about it - it was worn with its edge upwards, just like caucasian Shashka and Katana! Here an authentic example. Tis means you can utilize your Iaido-skills when encountered by Undead! If the scabbard is worn out, you can make one by yourself.

So what do we have now? The Longsax is an ancient single edged sword optimized for shield combat, melee combat and as a multi-purpose blade of a Germanic warrior. Stiff like an axe, cutting power of a machete, close range hand-and-a-half chopper, and finally a full scale sword when fought against many Zombies with a round shield (pretty useful when attacked by several Zombies). And even in worst situations it will probably save your life by turning it in an "horse muzzle" or metal bar pushing Zombies away with both hands. Finally, a monosteel blade with a simple glued-on grip is as inexpensive as you can get it.

Now some own experience. I own a Cold Steel Latin machete, and there are two serious limitations; a rather low thickness and singe-handedness. You can't "halfsword" it at all (bends, slips out of hand), and when space is not available for full scale swinging, you're owned. Two-handed blows are... pretty uncomfortable. I've handled wooden grips like Longsaxe's, and they are much much better - gripping and swinging works almost instinctively. I also chopped with an axe, and honestly can not imagine what to do if Zombie Apocalypse strikes back, and you're on adrenaline.

I think a Germanic Longsax of 8th century will be the best possible melee weapon when it comes to self-defence against living and undead bastards. It's design is proven by centuries on battlefield. Not only effective, it's practical minimalistic design makes it affordable to all of us. Of course, if you want some Runes on your blade or badass pattern welding, it will be expensive, but certainly not as expensive as a traditionally made Katana.


So please, feel free to give your 5 cents.

Good hunting!!!

Ken

PS: You'll have certainly recognized that my English is not that good. I'm not a native English speaker.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by res1cue » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:21 am

So I don't know much about seax's but most pictures I have seen of it include some kind of wharncliff like tip, but picture you posted is a beautiful spear point. Were historical seax's more like the one you posted? or more wharnnie like
Image


Also, any info on where to buy a reliable practical one?

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:59 am

res1cue wrote:So I don't know much about seax's but most pictures I have seen of it include some kind of wharncliff like tip, but picture you posted is a beautiful spear point. Were historical seax's more like the one you posted?
You surely mean the broken-back-sax. The spear point is a classical design of earlier continental Saxes, lie narrow-sax and broad-sax. During the 8th century the spine curved strongly towrds tip, the so called "broken-back Sax" was born, most of Saxes found in Britain and Ireland are broken-back types. Longsaxes, used by Alamanni, Franks and continental Saxons in 7th and 8th centuries had a spear-point.
res1cue wrote:Also, any info on where to buy a reliable practical one?
Sadly no, saxes are largely forgotten by sword manufacturers, and if not, they're not historically accurate. It is not a huge knife or a machete with a secondary bevel, it's something different. But what I praise it for - it can be made by those who has at lest some experience in blacksmithing! If Zombie Apocalypse strikes, there will be no Walmart, no tool supplies, no electricity - a Sax can be relatively simply made without much effort from steel stuff you can find at certain places.

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Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by GMScooter » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:23 am

Great info! Thanks. I didn't know about saxes before now.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by res1cue » Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:56 am

kenning wrote:
res1cue wrote:So I don't know much about seax's but most pictures I have seen of it include some kind of wharncliff like tip, but picture you posted is a beautiful spear point. Were historical seax's more like the one you posted?
You surely mean the broken-back-sax. The spear point is a classical design of earlier continental Saxes, lie narrow-sax and broad-sax. During the 8th century the spine curved strongly towrds tip, the so called "broken-back Sax" was born, most of Saxes found in Britain and Ireland are broken-back types. Longsaxes, used by Alamanni, Franks and continental Saxons in 7th and 8th centuries had a spear-point.
res1cue wrote:Also, any info on where to buy a reliable practical one?
Sadly no, saxes are largely forgotten by sword manufacturers, and if not, they're not historically accurate. It is not a huge knife or a machete with a secondary bevel, it's something different. But what I praise it for - it can be made by those who has at lest some experience in blacksmithing! If Zombie Apocalypse strikes, there will be no Walmart, no tool supplies, no electricity - a Sax can be relatively simply made without much effort from steel stuff you can find at certain places.
That's a shame.. I'd buy one. Is it typical for them to not have a hilt? Oh and do you know the average thickness of the spine?

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Sat Sep 24, 2011 11:37 am

res1cue wrote:Oh and do you know the average thickness of the spine?
According to historical examples:
kenning wrote:Width of blade ranges from 1,5 to 2,4". The last third of blade starts to taper down to an acute point, distal taper at this part is even much more extreme than profile taper. Thickness at grip; 0,24-0,3", at 2/3 of blade 0,2-0,24" - so this is a pretty stiff broad blade, weighting around 1,8 pounds.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by shoggoth80 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:13 pm

I was always under the impression that saxes/seax/scarmasax etc. were all arounder utility type tools, ranging from your basic utility/eating knife, up to short sword lengths. Designs vary, and I have had little opportunity to view historic examples. All the repros I see tend to have that reverse styled point (don't know the technical name), and having a cross guard does not seem to be a mandatory feature.
They were known for being rather strong cutting blades, yet still being able to pierce very effectively. That is just random stuff I have picked up via various forums and general research. Sources may or may not have been as accurate as I would like though. I think they were worn horizontal along the belly for the most part. I don't think the longer blades would have been though. Still, definitely a tool I would like to add. A seax, and a messer...

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by MikeM » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:33 pm

Looks like you feel about the sax the same as I feel about the langes messer. The German fecht books have always been my favorite primary sources for Western Martial Arts, and I think these great German weapons are in need of a major reveal.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by ForgeCorvus » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:54 pm

Just to share http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seax_of_Beagnoth (can't post the image)
This one is 28 inches long with a 22inch blade..... However if it was mounted like the re-enactment ones we used to make it would of been over 32 inches long

This is a 'broken-back' (its quite a narrow one), the one in the OP is a spear and the third type are called 'hog-backs' (which have a curved back edge). They're all quite thick and heavy for their size and are mostly single edged (although some broken-backs may of had both sides of the point sharp, if this was done these were probably for fighting rather then tools.)

ImageThis is one of my favorates (for a normal Seax rather then a Langseax).

But if you want a Langseax, try this Image
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by Storm Crow » Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:43 pm

Saying "seax" or "sax" (or whatever your preferred way of spelling it may be) is somewhat akin to saying "knife" or "dha/darb/dao" in the East. It's a term covering a lot of different blades. There are a number of common different tip shapes and the blade lengths can range from tiny to longer than a typical sword of the same time. Complexity, fanciness, patternwelding, etc. all vary as well.

That being said, I like certain broken-backed seaxes, which is the pattern ForgeCorvus has posted. You will notice that the other two patterns posted so far are different. They both (spear point, wharcliffe-ish) are also historically done points.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by NorrisUnleashed » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:20 pm

Image

This my wife and my own cold steel sax machetes. We both love them. Its a practical version to celebrate your Nordic, Germanic, Saxon heritage while busting zed skulls or slashing brush on the trail.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:47 am

@ ForgeCorvus
Awesome blades! Now start saving my bucks right now for a Sax... ;) I did planned one anyway.

@ NorrisUnleashed
Do you know how thick are their spines? How do they handle when gripped with both hands?

Here is something interesting, ATrim Courtrai Falchion test cutting. Falchions are supposed to be distant relatives of a Sax, same thick spine but a wide very blade with a thin edge, with no secondary bevels. And you literally see it's cutting power, 4 tatami mats didn't even required a two-handed blow! That's why I think German and Norse long- and broadsaxes are the best "urban swords" you can imagine. There is simply nothing impractical or dispensable at this sword.


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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by swordofthebreeze » Mon Sep 26, 2011 8:56 am

Great blade!

It's important to remember that they weren't abandoned, but rather evolved into a new "species" of blade. As metal craft became more refined, swords could be made longer without breaking. Weapons evolved to keep up with the continuing arms race with the other guys' weapons and armor. The Seax carried on as the falchion in many parts of Europe, and as the Messer family in the German countries. Messer simply meant knife, and their were variations like the kriegmesser (war knife) and langesmesser (long knife). These longer variations even developed complex fighting methods, often included in manuals of the day teaching the more centralized longsword combat.

My pick for a zombie destroying blade would be:
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/alb ... ark-II.htm
Image

This blade has an amazing balance, and is a devastatingly effective cutter. It's length gives more room to keep the undead at bay, and lends more power to strikes. The blade is actually somewhat similar to the Katana in a lot of ways, but made of better steel stock, less susceptible to bending, has much more complex hand protection, and is just cooler in my opinion.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:00 pm

Albions are my favs too!

But speaking of the Katana - there was such thing as Ko-Dachi, sometimes called Chiisa-Gatana, a short sword blade between 20 and 24 inch length with a full legth handle but a blade more similar to Wakizashi. Wakizashi were used one-handed, Katana and Tachi were generally too long to be used indoors, so Samurai and other wealthy members of their society picked a Katana which was somewhere in-between Waki and Kat if there was a need of having a sword which would be a effective self-defence sword.

The "Kriegs Messer" would be excellent when you're charged by many Zombos outdoors, a Landsknecht Greatsword would also perform excellent, but I think you need a compact back-up sword, not for "street battles" but rather your personal protection and survival.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by NorrisUnleashed » Mon Sep 26, 2011 12:14 pm

@ NorrisUnleashed
Do you know how thick are their spines? How do they handle when gripped with both hands?

About a quarter of an inch. The handle really isnt made to use two hands. I hope that helps.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by deMaccusweil » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:21 pm

There are a lot of very good manufacturers for custom Seaxes. What I would love to get my hands on, and seems to be much harder to find, is a spanish Falcata.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... %29_01.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
(Sorry, won't let me post the image :? )

It was used by the Iberian celts against the romans, who were so impressed by it they wanted it to replace the Gladius. They didn't because it required a lot more training. It was essentially a massive khukri with a recurved grip to stop it slipping out of your hand.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by Merovech » Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:42 pm

I would put a kukri machete against any seax for the title of 'Ultimate' Melee Blade.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by bonanacrom » Mon Sep 26, 2011 5:10 pm

The sax was never forgotten, they have been made continuously throughout time right to today.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by ArmchairWarrior » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:15 pm

In my wholly humble and uneducated opinion, the Bowie knife is right up there with the Kukri and Seax as one of the greats

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/c ... ely_16.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Like the Seax, it can be both a working knife, and a small sword when the need arises. Heck, some of the larger ones look like stunted falchions! According to the googling I've been doing on the original knife, the blade wielded by Bowie at the Sandbar fight was described by contemporary newspapers as "a large butcher knife".

Searching for "Early 19th Century Butcher Knife" yields many images all roughly this design:

Image

Simply sharpen the edge near the tip gets you this:

http://www.timbrownart.com/images/DSCF3616.JPG" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

If you were to add a simple guard to this knife, I'm pretty sure that it would be as close to the real historical piece as you could hope. With a butcher knife for a daddy, that kind of says something about the knife's ability to disassemble meaty objects. Of course, the amount of time spent doing this "research" adds up to a grand total of maybe a couple of hours tops, so I would take this with a heaping tablespoon of salt!

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by kenning » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:57 am

I must confess I'm a little biased towards pure cutting blades without any significant thrusting ability.

If we want to keep a Zombie deader as he is we must destroy his brain. Cutting the head off and kick it to a pulp is the most used method, if guns are not available. But there is an another method existing. If someone want to kill a human quickly (wars, massacres, suicide attempts) they usually shoot in the neck. The most effective suicide shot is a bullet fired in the open mouth - in both cases a essential part of the brain gets destroyed, the so called "brainstem" (and all what is around it).
With pure cutting weapons you will be able only to cut his undead head off. Zombos usually open their mouths when charging at you, so if you're well trained in thrusting attacks you might be thrust in his mouth, eye, throat, destroying it's brainsteam ot other important brain parts.
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Rapiers and longswords might be useful, but they simply need to much room for proper cutting and thrusting. Cut-n-thrust short single edged blade is the best solution I can imagine.

@ Merovech
A kukri is a pure cutter. It is good to have one as a back-up weapon, but I think it won't be the allrounder we need.

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by frogdude » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:29 pm

deMaccusweil wrote:What I would love to get my hands on, and seems to be much harder to find, is a spanish Falcata.
I have a Windlass Steelcrafts falcata (easily available here in the UK). There are horror stories around about the quality of Windlass and they don't seem to get much love around here, but the few i own are excellent and i can personally vouch for their falcata.
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by Gaston » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:35 pm

kenning wrote:It is the Germanic SEAX. It is also known as "sax" or "scramasax". A certain type of the Sax is called "Longsax", a single edged sword used by German tribes from end 7th up to 11th centuries. And this one I consider the most practical and effective melee design you can imagine. But yes, it's just me, so let's give it a go.
I think you might enjoy this, it's pictures of Viking Age grave remains and some reconstructions based on the findings. Several langseaxes in it, and a lot of attention to the sheath furniture and reconstructions:

http://www.lulu.com/product/file-downlo ... ght_834068_" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by ninja-elbow » Sun Oct 02, 2011 5:22 pm

My EDC knife, a Kershaw Leek, has a sax/warncliife style blade. This desing, as B-Crom stsated, has not been forgotten at all.
Image

Many custom makers make scramsax knives for fighting and utility. A image search on google produces many kinds.

I also own a custom sax named "Big Tooth", it was made by Tinker:
Image
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Re: Ultimate Melee Blade!

Post by ratz » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:42 pm

I always liked the WORD.... M E L E E

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