Hand Made in Scotland by Bracken Moor

The Sgian Dubh is a small traditional knife which in our modern era is normally tucked into your right hose (sock) when wearing traditional highland dress attire of Kilt and Sporran.

 

The name in Gaelic means hidden, black (Dubh) knife (Sgian) and its origins are generally accepted to come from the practice of Scottish hospitality where travelers and visitors would be invited to a meal with another clan host but asked to leave any weapons at the door. Under tradition, upon accepting these terms and sharing the meal, the visitors where safe from any harm while in another clans territory but clan rivalry and warfare were not uncommon either and the use of hidden blades developed, to counter this new threat the tradition of making it visible in your hose became the norm and it is this practice we carry into modern times.

 

They would be made of a variety of natural materials with bog wood and stag antler the most popular and robust but other woods and bone were also common. Later developments included silver ornamentation and local gem stones set in the hilt as Scots believed in carrying their wealth on your person for safety. I hand make Sgian Dunhs which are as close to the traditional concept as possible and although I do use wood occasionally I prefer the aesthetic of using the antlers of mighty Scottish Red Stag and its smaller, flightier Roe Buck which are both native to Scotland and the British Isles.     

 

Affectionately known as the Monarch of the Glen and the Lord of the Isles. The Red Stag is the largest wild animal in the Scottish countryside and an easily recognised symbol of Scotland. Calling out in the hillsides and forests of the Highlands and Islands to the lowlands and border regions, Scotland has various deer species roaming the length of the country.

Populations of Red & Roe Deer thrive in the Scottish wilderness and their meat, pelts and antler have sustained natives for thousands of years providing sustenance, clothing and tool making material. Scotland is a beautiful country lush with flora and fauna but life can be harsh with the Scottish weather and the people and wildlife have adapted to thrive in their environment and little is left to waste.    

Each year the Stags shed their antlers late winter through spring starting the annual regeneration cycle. By the end of each summer a new set of antlers has fully grown and the Monarch will call out potential challengers and battle other males for territory and breeding rights. Only the strongest will pass their genes on to the next generation protecting the species and enabling it to dominate its environment. As the deer regenerates its antlers each year it is a fully sustainable & renewable source of raw material for making Sgian Dubh and Dirk Handles.  

All of my Sgian Dubhs are handmade in my workshop in Ayrshire in the west of Scotland. Individually prepared and worked using a select piece of wood, Roe Buck or Red Stag antler and complimented with other natural materials including leather, bone, horn, steel, brass and silver. As each piece of antler is unique each Sgian Dubh is also unique. There may be others similar but never the same. The antler is kept as close to natural as possible to preserve the colour and character of the majestic animal who provides it and can vary from a bone like colour to a dark browny red.

Each piece of antler is sourced by sustainable means and comes primarily from the Isle of Skye, Ross-Shire or Dumfries and Galloway. As I can only produce a limited number by hand, I am able to state the general region each stag antler originated. Each Sgian Dubh will be provided with a certificate to verify I made it and the region the antler originates from.


 

This makes them perfect for special occasions and traditional Scottish weddings. Something unique to cherish as a memory of the event and owning something which in every way contains part of Scotland. Antler grown on the grass and water of the beautiful Scottish countryside.
 

Customise your Sgain Dubh:

  • Handle: Various hard wooods, Red Stag or Roe Buck antler sourced sustainably.

  • Blade: Stainless Steel or Damascus Steel

  • Sheath: Leather Covers with a selection of designs and optional laser engraving

  • Spacers: Choose from a selection of Woods, Horn or bone sourced sustainably

  • End Piece: laser engraving available with various designs i.e. celtic, initials etc

  • Precious Stone Setting: Choose from a selection of semi precious stones which can be set on the handle or end piece

  • Silverwork: choose from a selection of additional sterling silver decoration i.e banding, celtic designs etc

Add pictures of the various options to this page.

Add a link to an order form where customers can advise their preferences.