Natural Sgian Dubh, Scottish knife, skene dubh, Scottish gift, wedding gift,
groom gift, best man gift, mens gift
The Sgian Dubh is a ceremonial dagger that is traditionally worn (tucked into
the sock) as part of Scottish Highland dress along with a kilt. The translation
in Gaelic is knife or dagger for "Sgian" and black for "Dubh".
This knife is part of my well established range of Natural Antler Sgian Dubhs.
The antler came from a stag that roamed the hills above Lairg, Sutherland. This
is an extremely rugged part of Scotland and I'm sure it makes the Stags and
their antlers extra tough! Antler is one of these materials that is a joy to
work, approximately the working hardness of Oak, it responds well to careful
working with both machine and hand tools. My wood Sgian Dubhs tend to be very
exacting in their shape where as antler, due to its flowing curves can offer a
more natural handle which is exactly what has been achieved in this knife. I
have been getting more and more requests for a more natural finish on my Antler
Sgian Dubhs. For this new range i have done as little finishing on the antler
handle as possible to keep the natural look but, enough sanding to remove any
harsh edges or lines and make the knife ergonomic to hold and comfortable being
worn. Colour-wise, Antler tends to be predominately creamy white, sometimes
with tones of pinkish brown and even some green.
For a professional finish i have used some local Scottish Wych Elm as a centre
to lock the knife tang and the outer scales together. This particular piece
came from a tree that grew near Forres, East Coast of Scotland. Wych Elm is the
highland cousin of European Elm, ranging from light to mid and dark browns,
often with streaks of green and a golden iridescence. This piece is
particularly dark making an eye-catching contrast with the Antler.
To finish and protect the handle I could not use polyurethane varnish as this
would turn the antler yellow. So in this case i first apply a sealer of Shellac
and Cellulose Thinners only to the wood centre, this brings out the colour.
Then i apply two types of industrial wax, the same as used on my antler kilt
pins. This gives a hard wearing finish and an attractive sheen not dissimilar
to a polyurethane finish. The blade is Stainless Steel and measures under 3.5"
to comply with UK knife laws. I have left the blade unsharpened as Sgian Dubhs
are mostly ornamental. It comes complete with an attractive embossed black
leather sheath and a black presentation box.
The Sgian Dubh measures:
Overall Length 176mm x Width 28mm x a max Depth of 21mm
Blade Length 86mm x Width 25mm
As with all my pieces i have applied my company logo "UBC" with pyrography, in
this case on the bottom rear of the handle.