Small Seax – EDC – Stone Washing

  • Steel –  3/16” 1095
  • Blade 3 1/2”
  • Overall – 8”
  • Scales – Desert Ironwood
  • Sanded to 320, used deburring wheel, polished
  • Etched in Ferric Chloride straight for about 40 minutes
  • Scales – Stabilized Spalted beech

Seax is an Old English word for “knife”. Traditionally the seax is a weapon consisting of a curved sword with a notched blade, appearing, for example, in the coats of arms of Essex and the former Middlesex. The Seax was a universally carried knife in Northern Europe. Also known as the Viking dagger, it was carried and used by the Saxons, Angles, Vikings and Germanic tribes. Viking Daggers, use probably dated before the fall of Rome and continues on into the early Middle Ages.

Small Seax – EDC – Stone Washing

It was about this time I decided to build a knife tumbler as a grinder attachment for stonewashing knives.

Stone Washing for Your Knives’ Finish is quite simple. You can actually do it by hand. Just put the knife in a container with media. I used stones I picked up from the side of the road.

The beginning tumbler is pretty simple. I mounted casters to a wood base. I had a cardboard shipping container some metal was shipped in that was about the right size, so I used it.

One end is capped and the other has a block of wood I cut to fit. It’s thick enough that the sides of the frame holds it in place. I used a course belt on the grinder to “drive” or turn the barrel. There is a wooden baffle to “flip” the media. The block of 2 x 4 in front was to keep it from possibly jumping off, but it didn’t seem to be a problem. The base is just clamped to grinder table.

You can also use a purchased tumbler. I’ve heard the vibrating type used for reloading or some that are used in polishing.

After just a few minutes in the tumbler this is the way the knife looks.

Design note for stone washing. In order to finish the scales, it’s nearly impossible to leave the etching on the spline. I should have added Jimping in front of the scales. This would have made a good border from etched to not etched.

A few notes on Stone Washing for Your Knives’ Finish:

You can put nail polish over parts of the knife you don’t want stonewashed. Remove the nail polish after you’re done stonewashing the blade with nail polish remover.

Try adding Spray a little WD-40 in the barrel with the rocks, or a little soap and water.

The longer you stone wash, the lighter the blade will be.

You can purchase tumbling media or use stones as I did. Different media gives a different texture, so you should experiment to see what you like. You can create anything, from a matte that’s finely-textures down to a rough or scratched-up look that looks tough and cool.

Knife 39 – Hunting – Larger Skinner – Etching with Ferric Chloride

Knife 39 – Hunting – Larger Skinner – Etching with Ferric Chloride is still one of my favorite designs. It’s a simple yet elegant. It a great looking knife in a very simplistic way. A traditional old style knife.

  • This one was made from 3/16” 1095 steel.
  • The handle is Cocobolo with an aluminum added spacer and firework.
  • Brass pins

I did this knife with all hand grinding (except for final hand sanding). I finally figured out how to grind straight and completely horizontal. As the knife curves, pull the handle end away from the belt ever so slightly. It only takes a little practice to get this right.

I made an aluminum spacer for this knife. After some fussing around I wound up epoxying the aluminum spacer to the blade. After the epoxy had cured, I was sanding it back flush and one side popped off. I found the other side easy to remove. I decided not to use the aluminum spacers for this knife because of this.


I wanted a dark etch on this knife so I set up with some Ferric Chloride. I used the Ferric chloride straight. After a 15-minute soak it came out with an even light gray color.

Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner
Knife 39 - Hunting – Larger Skinner

Etching with Ferric Chloride

To make the containers for the ferric acid I took 2 pieces of 3” PVC and plugged one end and added a cap on the top. I found this sand blast medium barrel perfect for a base for a bit more stability. Clamping it to the wall or a post will work as well. You just do not want it to be tipped over.

I have Used it full strength. Some knife makers suggest diluting it. It will take some experimenting to determine which works best for you.

The second container is for a baking soda mix to neutralize the acid after etching is complete.