My Take on the Sgian Dubh–First Try

Over a year ago, someone suggested that I make something on the pattern of the Scottish sock knife, known from ancient times as the Sgian Dubh (pronounced “ski ‘n do”). So, after reading up on it, here is an attempt.

The “sock knife” allegedly had its origin as a combination utility/defensive blade, that was carried in a pocket on the inside of the coat, or on the inside of the sleeve in the armpit area. Then, the custom was that when entering a friend’s house, any concealed weapons would be exposed. In this case, the Scotts were wearing the traditional kilt, which left the calf of the leg exposed. So, the knife and sheath were removed from the coat, and stuck in the top of the sock, while visiting friends.handmade knife, sgian dubh, with sheath DSC00385
I’ll be the first to admit that this knife may not be very true to the traditional definition of a Sgian Dubh on many of the finer points, but it should perform the function.
This knife is made from a 14-inch Simonds file, oven tempered. Another knife had been made from the front portion, and this was the left-over, including the file tang.  The tang extends through the handle, all the way to the thong tube. I had to trim the tip off of the tang to clear the way for the thong hole. The bolt and guard (if it can be called that) are brass, and the mortised slabs are walnut Dymondwood.

The blade is 4 inches long, 3/16-inch thick, and 1-5/16-inch wide. The file teeth on the spine provide a comfortable degree of jimping, for thumb traction.  The knife weighs about 6.7 ounces, and the wood-lined leather sheath comes in at about 1.7 ounces.  The friction fit between brass and leather is mild, but enough to keep the knife from bouncing out easily.



About christophersknifeblog

I am a knifemaker and dealer, and live a very diversified life in the mountains of central Idaho. I love nature, agriculture, and homesteading. My knifemaking motto and advertising slogan is, "Knives Built for the Bush." I intend them to be efficient, durable, comfortable, functional, graceful equipment for life's challenges and opportunities. My website is Please visit!
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4 Responses to My Take on the Sgian Dubh–First Try

  1. MikeS says:

    I bought the sgian dubh you made, and have been very favorably impressed by it. It keeps an excellent edge, carries well, and fits my hand wonderfully. I carry it in my off-hand jeans pocket when not working, and in the cargo pocket of my duty fatigues when working as a courthouse security deputy sheriff. I like its looks, and find its spine throws sparks well with a magnesium firestarter. Thank you!

  2. RW Brannon says:

    What is the price of this blade? Would be interested in this Sgian Dubh!

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