SGIAN DUBHS/KILT KNIVES
The Sgian Dubhs/kilt knives is a tiny single-edged knife of Scottish roots. Sgian Dubhs/kilt knives (pronounced’ski-en doo’) is a Gaelic word that means ‘black knife’.The Sgian-Dubh is claimed to have been part of a set of knives used by servants to clean, skin, and prepare meat after the Lord of the Manor and his company had gone hunting.
The Sgian Dubh is now worn as part of traditional Scottish attire, usually tucked into the top of the kilt hose. It is typically held so that only the hilt (handle) is visible. The Sgian-Dubh has taken on more of an aesthetic role than a practical one in the modern highland uniform, providing a touch of beauty to the Kilt Hose. Scottish attire has a large selection if you’re looking for a Sgian-Dubh. Sgian Dubhs are available in various materials, including wood, bone, and antler. We also carry Sgian Dubhs in various styles, so you’re sure to find one that matches your taste.
Etymology and spelling
The name sgian-dubh is derived from the Scottish Gaelic sgian-dubh. Although the primary meaning of dubh is “black,” the secondary meaning of “hidden” is at the heart of sgian-dubh, according to the stories and theories surrounding the knife’s origin, particularly those associated with the Highland custom of depositing weapons at the entrance to a house before entering as a guest. Compare also dubh-sgeir “underwater skerry” (lit. dark skerry), dubh-fhacal “riddle” (lit. hidden word), and dubh-cheist “enigma” (lit. hidden question).
The Origins of Sgian Dubh
The sgian-dubh could have evolved from the sgian-achlais, a dagger that could be hidden behind the armpit. This knife was carried in the top sleeve or lining of the body of the jacket by the Scots of the 17th and 18th centuries and was significantly larger than the ordinary modern sgian-dubh.
Construction of Sgian Dubh
The construction of the early blades varied, with some having a “clipped” (as seen on the Bowie knife) or “drop” point. The “spear-point” tip is now widely used. The earliest known blades, some of which are preserved in Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland, are made of German or Scandinavian steel, which the Highlanders highly valued. All Scottish knives have scalloped file work on the rear of the blade. A standard blade length is 3 to 3.5 inches (7.5 to 9 cm).
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about Sgian Dubhs or need assistance selecting the proper Sgian Dubh for your outfit. Our professional and pleasant staff will gladly assist you.