So, looking to get a little medieval are ya? Don’t blame you for that one bit.
No better way to do that than with the Germanic Scramasax, also known as the Seax, or Sax. Similar in use to the Kukri of the Nepalese, these knives were basically the everyday tools that these farmers, fishers, and carpenters would use.
Whether you are looking for a Seax to be a cosplay character, or you are interested in getting a true-to-form ancient working tool, this list will have something for you.
None of these tools are toys though, each one of these knives is a sturdy tool or a collector's item, depending on what you are wanting it for.
So, in honor of my Germanic ancestors, I have compiled a list of the best Seax Knives your greenbacks can buy.
Toferner is a relatively new company that started in 2011 with only 3 employees. Since then they have been growing and now have 10 employees. At least they did last time I read their mission statement.
What sets Toferner apart from most other cutlery manufacturers is that these guys are true to form hands-on blacksmiths, not manufacturers. With the advent of modern technologies in metallurgy and machining processes, you can say most knife manufacturers are machinists.
Not this crew, each one of their products is hand-made. Hours of heating, beating, shaping, tempering, and sharpening go into each knife. Assuring that when your product is delivered that you get it is unique, you have a true one-of-a-kind item.
The Baldr is made from 14260 spring steel which is renowned for its durability, is full-tang, and period-accurate. With a leather-braided grip and hand-made pommel, you’ll feel like you are stepping back in time with this Seax.
The rough finish and etching on the blade are just a great aesthetic finish. While you may just want to add this to your collection you could use this knife with no fear of it breaking or bending.
Not to mention it shares its name with a Nordic God.
Okay, so remember when I brought up the fact that the Seax and Kukri were similar in usage by ancient peoples?
That those knives were their everyday carry for farming, hunting, hacking, and a cutting?
Well, the Ex Gurkha Khukuri House is a group of Nepalese blacksmiths that still make the Kukris that are still being used by the British military Gurkha units, the Nepalese army, and law enforcement.
And the really interesting takeaway is Nepal has had and still has a caste system that has survived to this day. The Kami and Biswakarma are the castes that have passed down their art of blacksmithing since before the first samurai’s sword was ever made.
When you pick up a knife from the Ex Gurkha Khukuri House you will be holding in your hand-craftsmanship that stretches back to before B.C. became A.D.
Their knives are made to be used.
And beautiful to boot. This Seax in particular has an 8” 5160 steel blade and 5” Rosewood handle, really just making it a piece of eye candy in addition to its functionality. The leather sheath is gorgeous to boot and brings out her eyes.
Another amazingly well-made and just dare I say it, gorgeous, short sword. I mean knife.
Also made by a Nepalese blacksmith who has a great eye for aesthetics and an appreciation for Nordic culture. With a blade length of a whopping 18” of 5160 steel and an oversized rosewood handle that is 7” in length, this blade is a machete that's ready to do work.
This Long Seax comes with a gorgeously crafted leather scabbard, which while it isn’t true to the era of the knife, is still of the highest quality.
Poshland is a knife maker that hails from London, so a bit closer to the original home of the design. The guys and gals over at Poshland take their craft seriously because every Seax they send out the door is checked to ensure that it has a work-ready sharp edge.
European artists work differently, I can say this from personal experience. Americans generally tend to take advantage of their speed and efficiency. Europeans take immense pride in ensuring every customer is getting what they want and the quality of their craftsmanship.
So while this Seax would look right at home on a cosplayers belt, know that you would be getting a work-ready knife. You could take this out hunting with you on day one.
And you really can’t beat the price on this one.
This is another highly stylized Seax import. While this knife has all the stylization and aesthetics of a Nordic knife, the manufacturers hail out of El Salvador.
Condor Tool & Knife has a whole selection of historical knives and tools up to and including hand-carved wooden spoons. This knife is made from 1095 high carbon steel with a hickory handle.
The sheath that comes with this product is made with distressed dark brown leather. Both the handle and the sheath are decorated with knotwork giving it a distinct look that screams Nordic.
The rough finish on the blade gives this knife an authentic appeal like it was handed to you from a sweaty grimy medieval blacksmith in exchange for some of your year's harvest.
SZCO Supplies is an importer and manufacturer of a wide array of different knives, swords, and cutlery. But when you are in the market for a style of knife such as a Seax sometimes importers are the way to go.
Check out that Nepalese-made Seax for instance.
When hunting for a tool that is this uncommon you will be hard-pressed to find many blacksmiths or manufacturers that create usable quality products. This particular Seax hails from Pakistan, and for the price, it is quite high quality.
An overall length of 15.5”, made from Pakistani steel with a full tang and a wire-wrapped handle, this blade has a heft to it that the others on this list do not. While not as embellished as the Baldr above, the bronze guard and pommel and authentic leather sheath give it a truly authentic made-for-use ‘feel.’
You won’t beat the price for this quality.
Cold Steel has its fingers in just about every industry that uses cutlery that you can imagine, from a chef’s kitchen to a movie set. So it’s not a surprise that Cold Steel has a few Seax Knives just, I dunno, laying around.
Known for their consistently high-quality craftsmanship the Chieftan’s Seax is no different. This is lang seax, which Vikings used, that could also be a machete, depending on what judiciary you are talking to.
One man’s dagger is another man’s farm implementation.
Or a raiding tool.
Either way, this seax is made with high carbon steel, comes with a scabbard that is correct for the early middle ages, and the leather of both the handle and scabbard are a rich brown. Which contrasts nicely with the brass accent from the pommel.
Today, the Seax is widely associated with Vikings, likely because of popular culture and its media.
Before the Vikings were raiders made famous by their battle prowess, they were simple farmers and fishermen. In fact, many historians believe that the people who would be later referred to as Vikings actually began their aggressive expansion due to a lack of viable farmland.
The Seax, or Scramasax, had long been a tool of these people and eventually saw its use expand into warfare. So there are many different types of Seax available, ranging from sizes and styles more suitable for hunting to the long seax, which was made for the raiders and chieftains.
Despite the brutality they brought with them, they also brought wealth and commerce, due to their accumulated wealth from raiding they developed a bit of what you would call ‘purchasing power.
Because of their commerce and widespread traveling they were responsible for a lot of cultural diffusion during their reign.
The history of the nordic people is a study in and of itself, this is because so few documents survived their era. Most of what's written about these romanticized raiders are largely interpreted from the writings of their victims.
For instance, the Vikings didn’t call themselves Vikings. The Northmen went by many names, likely because their raiding and traveling took them all over the known world and into contact with many peoples.
One of the names these raiding peoples were known by was the Varangians, similar to the Valyrians of the Game of Thrones series who also were originally farmers and fishermen, before dragons.
I suppose the Viking Longships were the Northmen’s dragons.
However, if you, like myself, have a deep desire to know more about these enigmatic ancient pirates, you might be surprised to know that they also had quite a few poems that described their culture, worldview, and religious pantheon.
It was collected in a book called The Poetic Edda.