View Full Version : Scottish Sgain Dbuh

04-10-2003, 04:33 PM
Can anyone point me at sources that cover Sgain Dbuh's. Most of what I have found on the net are sites that want to sell you replicas. I would like to see images of different traditional Sgain Dbuh's. As well as get some idea as to the possible size range.

Chuck Burrows
04-10-2003, 07:13 PM
Scott correct spelling is sgian dubh (also seen as skene du, sgian dhu, and variations of those. (literally knife black)

Here's some info from the Scottish Swords and Dirks book I mention in the book thread.

To my eye this one of the most elegant knives I've ever seen - just pure line/form. If you scale the grip at around 4" long that would make the blade about 7", which is quite a bit larger than any modern sgians, but definitely shorter than the dirks of the period.

Probably start something with the following statements but here goes anyway!:rolleyes:
Note the mention about there being no sgians in worn in the stockings in any of the known portraits prior to 1745. I've looked at 100's of photos of the portraits in my studies of the Hielanders and their close kin the Wylde Irish and I have never seen any either.
Study the facts about King George IV "discovering" his Scottish roots (the Sobieski Brothers part of it in particular) and it will explain a lot of the nonsense surrounding the Hielander's "semi-mythical" history. (for instance most current clan tartans are not evident in any of the portraits of the Hielanders pre-1820 or so and in fact in many of the portraits the Hielander, usually a laird or chieftain, is wearing anywhere from 2 to 4 different tartans with none matching the modern day patterns)


04-11-2003, 01:30 PM
Then I don't feel too bad about my non-traditional "traditional" sgian dubh. It's going to be a bit too big to wear as a stocking knife, unless you are a mutant ape like me. About 1.5" across and overall length should end up about 10". Here's a scan of the blade after heat treating. Sorry about the quality of the scan, but my digital camera is still with my bother-in-law after his trip to Italy.

Jan Dox
04-19-2003, 03:49 AM
The sgian dhu's I've seen mostly have handles between 3.5 and 4.5" and blades between 3 and 5".
Blade widh around 0.8 to 1.25".
The shapes are mostly narrow symmetrical spearpoints (single edge) but I like the more "utilitarian" types with a bit more belly the most .
Handle materials could be anything: antler, horn, wood....


Mike McRae
04-22-2003, 08:58 PM
Here are several sgian dubhs that I have made recently. (I just attended my hometown Highland Games, which is my biggest show of the year, so there are hardly any of these knives left.)
The one in the center is a copy of the sgian auchles in Wallace's book and is in the post above. These average about 7" overall, which is pretty typical of the sgians that have actually come down to us through history...and there weren't very many.


J.Arthur Loose
04-22-2003, 09:51 PM

I really like that one on the bottom.

Although the achlaus is quite pretty.

Scottish knives Rule!