Seax knives – the Viking knives of the modern age, are one of the multipurpose utilitarian tools that are still widely used till now, as they were in the ancient north. Northerners relied on this long dagger for various purposes and not just combat; these blades had no trouble harvesting seasonal crops, chopping up foods or vegetables, and hunting prey.

Seax knives come in many forms, are known by many names; the names differ in various lengths that these knives come with. Derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, “sax” translating to the sword in modern English, were actually better preferred than swords in close-combats. Due to their convenient length, better mobility, and the element of surprise, make these blades are more desirable in multiple applications.

These historically rich daggers were also found to be in German villages, Scandinavia, Saxons, etc. apart from the Vikings, they were in hype till the 11th century from the 5th.  Seax knives are a pretty interesting knife; to begin with, their origin, history, design, all are rich in worth, warranting the fascination of knife collectors from all ages. Follow this post to know more about this quirky yet legendary blade of the ancient warriors.


Overview of Seax Knives

Seax – pronounced as SEE-AXE knife was a Viking era knife; used widely in the north European region. So, the name also has an old Anglo-Saxon origin. The word “sax” from which the name of seax knife originated, translates to “cut” in old English and “dagger” or “scissors” in the Scandinavian language.

However, these knives get associated with the Anglo-Saxon roots more often due to the assumption of “seax” coming from “Saxons,” the Saxons are known to have been one of the preliminary originators of the present-day Seax knife models. The knife is also known as many other names, as sramasax, langsax, scramasax, etc. depending on the area and type of the knife.

In the Nordic countries, where livelihood was based on farming and raising livestock, a large part of the whole situation was based on tools. To ensure efficiency and expand their capabilities, the Norsemen relied on various instruments made or made or modified by them; this intriguing long-bladed knife is such as innovation that transpired from them.

The seax knife was basically an EDC knife for the northerners, the blade resembled swords to a significant degree, but they were too short in length to be called swords. Another distinguishable feature of the seax was that it could be carried horizontally around the waist. It was lighter than a sword and more portable to carry around, so it was easily one of the favorite choices for Viking warriors as a last resort weapon. These long daggers were designed with a single edge, popularly fashioned with a reverse tanto point. That specific grind was preferred for its strong piercing ability and tactical functionality along with utilitarian usefulness.


Different Types of the Seax Knives

As I’ve said in the aforementioned clause, you’ll find plenty of names and designs for seax knives. Such types are mainly based on the length, weight, and tip of the blades, also with different areas of expertise. Few models are not utilizable in the present day, and few are still reigning. Let’s have a look at the varieties of these amazing Viking seax knives.

Long Seax: Perhaps one of the most used designs of seax knives, popularly known as Langsax, measuring 50-80cm in general. These models also come with a pointy tip and an angled back, known as the broken back; it also fashions a single straight edge. There are noticeable grooves on the handles of this model.

Short Seax: Modern-day seax knives are descendants of this Kurzsaxe model. It’s the shortest of all types, measuring only about 18-24cm in length and 22-32mm in width. It usually comes with a sharp spear point with a spine that transitions smoothly from point to back.

Narrow Long Seax: Narrow long seax knife was possibly the longest version of the seax knives. This also features a clipped point with a piercing tip, while the length of a narrow long seax knife ranges between 50 to 80 cm, but as the name suggests, the width is fairly narrow in comparison, only 30-43mm.

Narrow Seax: Narrow seax knives, aka Schmalsaxe, were generally used for ceremonial and ritualistic purposes, or as a symbol. With their high visuals, sacred or insignias personal to clans and brotherhoods were common. They’re a little larger than the short seax, being 24-38cm long, while the width is about the same as short seaxes.

Light Broadseax: The Leichte Breitsaxe – similar to the narrow seax model in length but much broader, as the name suggests, measuring between 36-43mm wide. Another thing that differs this knife from the narrow version, is the point. Unlike the narrow seax, it has both sides of the blade curved towards the tip in the center. And less decorative in design too.

Heavy Broadseax: Schwere Breitsaxe to the natives is sort of the larger model of the light broadseax knife. With fashioning similar design in the grind and tip of the blade, only bigger. The length goes up to 37-50cm and 43-52mm broad.


How to Choose the Best Seax Knife

Size & Weight: Seax knives come in a large range of length and depending on the weight also varies. The lightest version would be the short seax which weighs only around 5oz, and on the heavier side, we get long seax, and heavy broad seax, which weighed around 1.35- 1.75 lbs. the overall length of the knife comes between 26-94 cm including the tang and the variation of models.

Blade Length & Material: The length of the blade spans between 18-80 cm. From its period of origin, the seax has always been full tang, which stays hidden inside the handle. Which gradually enhances the strength and balance of the knife making it a berserker’s ideal knife. The angled spine is usually accompanied by the tapered or full ground edge. At present, seax’s blades use premium grade high carbon steel or pattern welded Damascus steel as the construction material for superior performance.

Handle: All the seax knives fashion an unusually long handle, proportionate to the length of the blade. Since the blades were initially designed for fighting in battles, a strong grip was prioritized, along with the range. Thus, the handles were designed long to that. The hidden tang toughens up the build twofold.



Q: How was the seax knife made?

A: Norsemen locals used to hand-forge the blades from carbon-based metals, without any exclusive finish. However, the knives wielded by upper-rank holders were crafted by fine knife smiths and forged elegantly. Present-day seax knives rely on upscale high carbon steel and Damascus steel for a premium look and performance.

Q: What’s the purpose of the unique broken-back blade design?

A: The broken back design of the blade’s spine is another key feature of a seax. This atypical design entails an angled spine that gradually transitions towards the blade’s tip, whereas the edge remains straight. The distinctive angle on the backs provides convenient leverage upon maneuvering the knife also ensures optimum advantage while penetrating with the point.

Q: Where to but the best seax knife?

A: Many renowned knife manufacturing companies have come up with their versions of the seax knife and modernized it with positive changes. You can choose to look from Emerson, SZCO, Condor Tools, Poshland, Windlass Store, etc. for their widely selling seax knives, or you can choose to custom forge it from any bladesmith that offers the service, or yourself perhaps, your call entirely.


Common Uses of the Seax Knives

Seax knives were one of the main weapons wielded by the great Viking warriors. The knives were used equally at home and outside. Their thick demeanor and long size made them as versatile as they come. Seax knives were useful in harvesting, chopping foods and meats, skinning animals, hunting, slaying down enemies in the battleground, and so on.

Interestingly the seax knife was carried horizontally near the hips, housed in a leather sheath. As the seax features a single edge, it was kept facing upwards and the blunt edge downwards, so the blade doesn’t fall off by ripping the leather. Carrying this way made the knife come off almost as incognito and able to surprise the enemy to gain an upper hand and save their skin. Nowadays the seax knives are excellent to use in hunting, bushcrafting, and as a collectable too!



Seax knife is not only hyped because of its Viking history, the knife has more stored in it. It’s a perfect package stacked with rich variety and quality, making it still one of the most adored historical weapons to have adapted into the modern version.

Viking seax knives come in a LOT of versions to choose from, accustomed to the need of us and had been for our ancestors. Few are designated to be used in chores, few strictly in combat, and few showcase the striking aesthetics to be used as decorative pieces. Rendering knife enthusiasts from many parts of the world to pursue the well-crafted seax as collective models.

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