The Emerson Seax — Viking Blade Design

The designs coming out of the Emerson Knives, Inc. shop are ever-evolving, and Mr. Emerson never lets any grass grow under his feet. He has maintained the original designs that launched the company (if it’s not broken, don’t fix it), to his credit. That said, he steadily releases fresh material, which is a boon for those who enjoy new things.

Enter, stage left, the “new” Emerson Seax (it is pronounced “Sax”, as in short for saxophone), introduced in 2018.

Emerson Seax folding knife.

While this design is new for Emerson, as Ernie points out, it is not a new concept, having been used back in Viking times. Ernie has been a fan of Viking weapons and tools for many years, and this prompted him to pay homage to this blade design, which was originally used by Vikings in a fixed blade configuration.

Emerson Seax Specs and Features

The Emerson version is a folding knife with an overall length of nine inches. To be clear, this is not a small knife, and when the user holds it, he knows that he’s holding a serious blade.

The blade length is 3.9 inches and features a V Ground chisel edge that is obscenely sharp. The first time I used it to cut some heavy plastic, it glided through the material as if it weren’t even touching it. I’m accustomed to very sharp knives, but this one deserves mention as being one of the sharpest. The style of the blade might be referred to as a Wharncliffe, and it has a swedge on the spine near the tip. The finish is stonewashed.

Despite its substantial size, the knife only weighs five ounces, which is less than many knives in the Emerson line that are not as large as this one. It has a sort of streamlined feel to it; the size is there, but it’s not bulky.

A comparison shot to show the size of the Seax versus the Emerson Commander. The Seax is not a small knife!
A comparison shot to show the size of the Seax versus the Emerson Commander. The Seax is not a small knife!

The materials used to build this knife are standards that Emerson often adheres to in their line of folders. Blade material is 154 CM at an RC hardness of 57-59, making sharpening a breeze. Blade thickness is .125 inches; stout, but not overly so. The locking liner is Titanium, with the off side being stainless steel. Standoffs hold this knife together, and do a great job of it, being both strong and allowing the knife to be cleaned quickly and easily. There is a clip for attaching the knife inside the user’s rocket, and it works very well, as expected.

Functionality

Some attributes from a user’s perspective are the thumb ramp that also serves as the Wave feature. The Emerson Wave will have this knife opening as it comes out of your pocket should you decide to open it in that fashion, and is probably the fastest way to open any knife on the market at this time.

Emerson Seax folding knife.
The large Seax folds into a small package for the pocket. It’s like having a straight razor in your pocket.

Unless someone comes up with an engineering miracle, it will likely remain so. If the user does not want the knife to deploy as soon as it exits the pocket, there is a thumb disc that works very well for opening the blade.

Toward the forward end of the handle, there is a choil/guard that prevents the user’s hand from slipping onto the blade. Combined with the thumb ramp and rough-textured G-10 of the handle, the knife is locked nicely into the user’s grip. The handle also has some nice architecture, which helps it to mate with the user’s hand comfortably and securely. The butt of the handle features a lanyard hole for folks who are so inclined, and it also comes to a sort of point in the event that one wishes to strike with this area.

Emerson Seax folding knife in hand.
The Seax feels lively and comfortable in the hand.

My impression?

Most of the Emerson knives that I’ve reviewed so far have been ones that I’ve carried for years, and so I’m intimately familiar with them, their strengths, weaknesses, and characteristics. Not so with the Seax — Emerson was kind enough to send this knife for a review (thank you, EKI!), and so I’ve only had this one for a short time.

Despite that, it’s plain to see that the quality of this knife is in keeping with the Emerson tradition, so no surprises there. The materials are among the best available, and the action of this knife is seriously nice! It’s extremely smooth on opening and closing, with an extraordinarily solid lockup. There is zero side to side wobble of the blade.

Also, Emerson uses a regular head screw for the pivot screws of his knives, so the user can adjust the pivot to his or her preference since some people like their knives to open faster or slower. As a bonus, the slot in the head of the screw is extra wide, so if your pivot needs adjusting and all you have is a coin or similar object, you can complete the task with something that is typically available. These are small touches, but they’re well thought out and mean a lot when you’re in the field without a toolbox.

The knife feels lively in the hand, probably due to its modest weight and streamlined design. I’d even say that elegant would be appropriate for this design. The long, straight edge reminds me of a straight razor, and for slicing, this knife is stellar!

Emerson touts this design as being useful for combat or utility, and I’m already confident that it is great for large cutting tasks, as it’s very efficient at slicing. For combat, I’d prefer to have something that is a bit more “stabby” because stab wounds are vital for putting down an attacker. That’s just my non-objective opinion. Still, this knife would fill the role of a combat knife well, and quite a few others have expressed similar opinions of its effectiveness.

Overall, the Emerson Seax has a lot to offer in a lightweight, sleek package that many people will undoubtedly appreciate. I have a number of friends who have owned this model from the time of its release, and they have been singing its praises from the gate. You should check one out.

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