When people start learning about Viking culture, people often start thinking about their weapons and clothes. As for the former, most known Vikings loved axes and swords for combat. However, what about a Viking knife set?
It’s not uncommon to see people selling these knives as steak knives online, but did Vikings use knives at all? The short answer is yes, and they were essential for Viking culinary tasks and self-defense.
Knives were not only for adult men, and everyone used to hold at least one regardless of their age or gender. Do you want to know more about Viking knives and their history? This is the page for you! Read on to learn more about the matter.
What Knives Did Vikings Use?
Now that you know that Vikings used knives daily, it’s time to know what knives they used. They often used the same models for many things, so there’s not a lot of variety when it comes to types of knives.
Seax knives are the most common example of that and the option you are most likely to find when looking for a knife set. Vikings used seax knives for almost everything you can use a knife for, and that includes using them as steak knives and combat tools.
Aside from seax models, most Viking knife designs had a small tool blade shape with copper cutting edges. This type of knife was more similar to what we know as a Santoku knife but was slightly different and was called a Puukko knife.
There wasn’t any unique design or knife option aside from those in the Viking culture, so you shouldn’t expect to find more when looking for different alternatives on the market. Puukko knives aren’t that popular since people often go for seax ones.
About the Seax – Was It a Regular Bread Knife or Paring Knife?
As we mentioned before, seax knives were the most commonly used knives in the Viking era and are also the option you may find on the market. These partially serrated blades are made of sharpening steel, so always expect seax models to have a high-quality blade material.
Truth be told, seax knives weren’t exclusive for Vikings. Here are the main things you need to know about seax models:
Archeologists and historians have found traces of seax use all over Europe, and although they became famous for being the knives Vikings used the most, they were not exclusive to them, and other non-Scandinavian countries had them too. Why did they use them that much? Mainly due to their design.
It’s difficult to fit a seax knife under the category of a bread knife or a paring knife since they are much more than that. The best way to understand is to look at this knife’s versatile design that could work as a carving knife or a deadly weapon.
If you look for a seax knife set, you are most likely going to see similar-sized products, but seax knives have a wide range of sizes, and Vikings used some of them as short swords. Regardless of that, most of them were similar to long daggers.
The standard seax knife is at least a 10 inches blade with a single sharpened side. These knives are now often made of durable German stainless steel, but they have always been sharp with a thick and heavy blunt end that made them excellent for combat.
As happens with other Viking tools and weapons, Vikings often decorated their knives with runic inscriptions. Nevertheless, this was more common in seax knives used for combat or hunting. Metal inlays were also an option, but a rarer one in comparison.
Since people in the Viking era used to have a knife regardless of their age and gender, uses also vary a lot. You could, for example, use a seax knife to go hunting and skinning animals but also for close combat fighting or defending yourself from an unexpected strike.
Men often used seax knives mainly for hunting and fighting and saw them as a sidearm they could use as a backup if their primary weapon wasn’t enough for the situation. These knives were excellent if the enemy was wearing heavy armor, got too close to you, or if you broke your ax or long sword while fighting.
Despite seax models being suitable options for Viking women if they wanted a boning knife or a paring knife for culinary tasks, they often liked puukko alternatives better for the job. Nonetheless, when people started to use seax knives, they were a farming tool.
What Are Puukko Knives? Are They Similar to a Santoku Knife?
Puukko knives are way different from seax knives and more similar to steak knives and even a Santoku chef’s knife. They were also a traditional option in Nordic countries but were saved for cooking since they weren’t long enough to be used in combat.
However, this knife is widely popular in Finland, and using it for fighting was more common there than in other Norse countries. Do you want a knife set with options you can use as a carving knife or a serrated paring knife? Puukko options may suit you better than a seax model.
As for design, puukko knives are different from seax ones since they are much smaller. This knife’s blade often has a high carbon steel blade and a handle made of a natural material such as leather. Nonetheless, it’s common for modern models to use synthetic leather or another material for the handle.
Puukko knives were mostly made of crucible steel, which comes from limonite iron. This type of steel is almost exclusive for Finnish tools, so people in other countries often go for sharpening steel as they would with a seax knife or other steel-made items.
People looking for a set of six steak knives are better off with puukko knives since they are a better chef’s knife than seax knives. This option was ideal for cutting vegetables, and that was ideal for most Viking culinary tasks. We don’t think puukko knives are good enough to be used as a restaurant-grade knife or something similar.
Some Vikings used puukko knives for woodcarving or as stout knives since they are also decent for addressing those things. Maintenance is not essential nor complex for puukko knives, so they are an excellent option for beginners who don’t know a lot about knives.
Can People Still Get a Viking Set?
Absolutely! Getting Viking knife sets is not difficult at all, and they are within the range of almost anyone worldwide, so you could get one if you felt like it now. Naturally, most of them, even seax models, are adapted for cooking purposes, and it’s easier to find them like that than for a fighting purpose.
Both puukko knives and seax knives are available at online stores and websites such as Amazon, so you could look for them there if you want to check out different options there.
The Viking culture is one of the most mesmerizing cultures our world has had, and we can learn more things about it every day. It’s surprising to see how essential knives were to a Viking’s daily schedule, and although knives aren’t that important now, we can still use them for many things, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get a Viking knife.
Viking knives are excellent for people who often go camping or hiking and need a utility blade they can use for many things. We recommend you go for seax knives for anything not related to cooking since puukko models are better for those things.
What Knives Did Vikings Use as Steak Knives?
Most Viking culinary tasks involved using steak knives, or at least the closest thing they had to that. Although puukko knives were better for cooking, their blade is too small for cutting steak, so seax knives were better for it.
Naturally, this only applies to seax knives that weren’t long since the longest ones were mostly used as short swords. When a seax knife was made for Viking culinary tasks, it wasn’t that common to see someone using that knife for combat since they were smaller than the standard seax design.
Were Knives Common Combat Tools in the Viking Era?
The short answer is yes, but they weren’t a Viking’s first option. As most people know, Vikings loved using axes for combat since they were a better fit for their aggressive and fast-paced combat style. Long swords were also used for fighting, but not as much as axes.
Regardless of that, not all situations are fit for you to use an ax or a long sword, and not having a backup for those moments could lead to your death if you are in an actual Viking fight. Swords and axes are sometimes not enough for heavy armors or enemies who get too close to you.
Knives were excellent for those situations, so Vikings always held a seax knife with them to prevent any issue from happening while fighting others.
What Can I Use a Viking Knife for?
Although Vikings used knives for many things, we don’t think you want a knife to invade other lands or fight Vikings to death, so you can’t use them for many of the things they used them for.
Nonetheless, you can still use them for hunting, cooking, and as self-defense weapons. Apart from that, people often adapt modern Viking knives for those purposes, so you don’t need to worry about your knife not being enough for them.