Medieval adventures

Making Needles with a Seax

I have a theory that Anglo-Saxons were very skilled at making things with minimal tools. Most people had a seax (knife) of some sort. It set me to wondering if you could make a nalbinding needle with only a knife and an antler? I had forged a warriors seax previously and decided to give it a try.

I started with a piece of antler. This time I didn’t bother soaking it first to soften it.
I guess I did use a hammer to strike the back of the seax. I could have used a piece of fire wood or a stone and it would have had the same effect. I did saw the antler… cheated again. It would have split just as well had I not used a saw (but I would have wasted the antler tip that I use for making knives).
It was pretty easy to split the antler this way.
I then split each piece up further into something about the size of the needle I wanted.
I was surprised at how well it split along the grain. It took only a few minutes to get a handful of blanks.
The seax was sharp enough to cut the antler down into a needle shape.
Using the knife as a scraper kept the needles flat and smooth.
…more scraping…
Continuing with the scraping it was easy to shape the needle.
The sharp, pointy tip of the seax made it easy to drill a hole by rotating the blade.
The hole was easy to make.
Rounding off the head of the needle by carving.
One needle ready for final smoothing. It was a quick process, maybe 15 minutes?
I used a stone to ‘sand’ the needle. A final scraping with the seax made it very smooth.
A collection of needles all made at the same a seax.