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  1. #1
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    Vintage Accessories - Sgian Dubh

    I am waiting until our next trip to Scotland to buy a nice sgian dubh. I personally prefer antique/vintage objects of this nature. Something that I am confused about, however, is that Thomas Ebbutt sgian dubhs are promoted as fine creations, typically cost several hundred dollars (which I find a bit ridiculous for any small knife, absent gold or jeweled fixtures) but to me, they look like costume jewellery.

    Does anyone here know of any places (of the brick and mortar type) in Scotland that carry vintage Highland attire?

    This is a recent example of TKE sgian dubh (ebay), and I'm just not impressed. Am I missing something?TKESgianDubh.jpg

    Addendum: Two things that makes this look cheap to me is 1. the cast hardware. That is not hand engraved or anything of the sort. and 2. The very poorly polished SS blade.
    Last edited by Border Collie Dave; 13th December 18 at 02:26 PM.

  2. #2
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    As I understand it, Thomas Kerr Ebbutt sgians dubh are set in sterling silver (hallmarked), handmade, with high-quality materials. The price actually seems low for what you get for a few hundred dollars. I'm not sure what else you're expecting in a sgian dubh?

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  4. #3
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    I'm pretty impressed with it, for what it is — essentially a piece of Highland bling.

    Here's a comparable TKE piece for a better price (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Sgi...temCondition=4).

    These are for dressy occasions and are sterling with inset stones, etc., likely not intended for heavy use.

    My question for you is are you looking for a fancy sgian, or a working tool? And does it have to be old and come from Scotland?

    If fancy, see above, or you might check out Rab Gordon's work here: (https://www.rainnea.com/sgian-dubhs.htm) or Michael Mara's work here: (http://www.radharcknives.com/knives%...an%20dubhs.htm)

    That said, it's likely to cost a fair amount.

    If a practical tool, there are many makers out there who can fashion one for you. Here are a few I've had made:















    Curious to learn more about what is you're after and to see what the Scots on the forum advise.

    Cheers,

    SM
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    As I understand it, Thomas Kerr Ebbutt sgians dubh are set in sterling silver (hallmarked), handmade, with high-quality materials. The price actually seems low for what you get for a few hundred dollars. I'm not sure what else you're expecting in a sgian dubh?
    Gold: $1,246.00/ounce
    Silver: $14.65/ounce

    Silver's cheap, and there is no where near an ounce of it in that knife.

    The stainless blade is extremely unimpressive/cheap looking

    It would appear TKE made some nice ones, and some not so nice ones. I found this after I posted:

    https://houseoflabhran.net/product-c...e-sgian-dubhs/

    However, I'm still not impressed with what you get for the price of any of them. This is a pretty darn nice knife, for $60:
    https://knife-depot.com/collections/...s/knife-609517

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunMaxwell View Post
    I'm pretty impressed with it, for what it is — essentially a piece of Highland bling.

    Here's a comparable TKE piece for a better price (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Sgi...temCondition=4).

    These are for dressy occasions and are sterling with inset stones, etc., likely not intended for heavy use.

    My question for you is are you looking for a fancy sgian, or a working tool? And does it have to be old and come from Scotland?

    If fancy, see above, or you might check out Rab Gordon's work here: (https://www.rainnea.com/sgian-dubhs.htm) or Michael Mara's work here: (http://www.radharcknives.com/knives%...an%20dubhs.htm)

    That said, it's likely to cost a fair amount.

    If a practical tool, there are many makers out there who can fashion one for you. Here are a few I've had made:















    Curious to learn more about what is you're after and to see what the Scots on the forum advise.

    Cheers,

    SM

    I'd like to get something like this:vintage-1973-Edinburgh-hallmark-silver-Thomas-Ebbut-skean-dubh-for-sale.jpg

    But I would hope to find one for a couple hundred dollars at most. 1973 is by no means "antique", and this is not a bespoke piece. It's a nice knife, but nothing that can't be purchased in another form (i.e. bowie, pocketknife, etc) for that price. And here I thought Scots were"frugal" :-)

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShaunMaxwell View Post
    I'm pretty impressed with it, for what it is — essentially a piece of Highland bling.

    Here's a comparable TKE piece for a better price (https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Sgi...temCondition=4).

    These are for dressy occasions and are sterling with inset stones, etc., likely not intended for heavy use.

    My question for you is are you looking for a fancy sgian, or a working tool? And does it have to be old and come from Scotland?

    If fancy, see above, or you might check out Rab Gordon's work here: (https://www.rainnea.com/sgian-dubhs.htm) or Michael Mara's work here: (http://www.radharcknives.com/knives%...an%20dubhs.htm)

    That said, it's likely to cost a fair amount.

    If a practical tool, there are many makers out there who can fashion one for you. Here are a few I've had made:















    Curious to learn more about what is you're after and to see what the Scots on the forum advise.

    Cheers,

    SM
    P.S. those are great looking knives.

  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Border Collie Dave View Post
    Addendum: Two things that makes this look cheap to me is 1. the cast hardware. That is not hand engraved or anything of the sort. and 2. The very poorly polished SS blade.
    To me, it just looks worn down from years of use. It's hard to judge what it would have looked like when new.

    The blade, if stainless, must be a replacement.

  10. #8
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Border Collie Dave View Post
    I'd like to get something like this:vintage-1973-Edinburgh-hallmark-silver-Thomas-Ebbut-skean-dubh-for-sale.jpg

    It's a nice knife, but nothing that can't be purchased in another form (i.e. bowie, pocketknife, etc) for that price. And here I thought Scots were"frugal" :-)
    I get what you’re saying, but a hallmarked silver sgian dubh is a good deal harder to come by than a Bowie or pocketknife. The focus on these fancy sgians seems to be on everything BUT the blade. And while you can get another type of knife with a higher quality blade for less, I’m doubtful that you’ll be able to find an antique silver mounted sgian for a great deal less. (And you might look a little silly if you were carry a Bowie or pocketknife in your kilt hose!) And a new custom dress sgian will likely cost even more. Scarcity of supply = high prices.

    But as I’d said, these are more jewelry than functional blades. That said, even a nice pocketknife can easily run at least $150 or so... some a great deal more.

    Looking forward to seeing what you’re able to procure!

    SM
    Shaun Maxwell
    Vice President & Texas Commissioner
    Clan Maxwell Society

  11. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Border Collie Dave View Post

    Does anyone here know of any places (of the brick and mortar type) in Scotland that carry vintage Highland attire?
    Members from Scotland will have a much better idea but I doubt that there are many places that carry much in the way of a range of vintage sgians. While the House of Labhran has a number of vintage sgians in stock they are strictly online sellers according to their website. Other options are the auction houses and antique shops. Here's a brass mounted example that sold at a Spink auction for $325:


    "Black Watch Skean Dhu (Sgian dubh). Ca. 1880's. 7 ½" overall. Black carved wood hilt with brass St. Andrew and plain Cross, wreath pattern fitting below; pommel set with a light amber Cairngorm stone, brass trim around. 3 ¾" saw-back blade with 2 ½" fullers each side, scabbard leather-covered wood with brass fittings. Minor scuff on blade. Very well preserved."

    Edit: This site could be helpful in tracking something down in an antique shop: https://www.antiques-atlas.com/

    Like this example:



    From:- https://www.antiques-atlas.com/searc...&action=search
    Last edited by Bruce Scott; 13th December 18 at 09:50 PM.

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Scott View Post
    Members from Scotland will have a much better idea but I doubt that there are many places that carry much in the way of a range of vintage sgians. While the House of Labhran has a number of vintage sgians in stock they are strictly online sellers according to their website. Other options are the auction houses and antique shops. Here's a brass mounted example that sold at a Spink auction for $325:


    "Black Watch Skean Dhu (Sgian dubh). Ca. 1880's. 7 ½" overall. Black carved wood hilt with brass St. Andrew and plain Cross, wreath pattern fitting below; pommel set with a light amber Cairngorm stone, brass trim around. 3 ¾" saw-back blade with 2 ½" fullers each side, scabbard leather-covered wood with brass fittings. Minor scuff on blade. Very well preserved."

    Edit: This site could be helpful in tracking something down in an antique shop: https://www.antiques-atlas.com/

    Like this example:



    From:- https://www.antiques-atlas.com/searc...&action=search
    Hummmm, be careful with the top picture, you may be in for a pleasant surprise. Black Watch SD’s are often gilded silver———gold(real gold) on silver( proper silver). Yes I know, gold is not supposed to tarnish, but if they have been worn and then not used for a long time then they can look as though the metal work, on the sheath, is brass.

    Just saying from personal experience.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 13th December 18 at 11:48 PM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

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