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  1. #1
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    What type of sgian Dubh is worn in the Highlands?

    i am very curious to know more about what kind of sgian dubh the average Scotsman, living in Scotland, personally owns and wears with his kilt. My best uneducated guess is the sgian dubh is probably a hand me down (heirloom?) just as the kilt seems to be on occasion. But to the Scotsman living in Scotland and to the many expats who have grown up there, i ask: Do (did) you wear them when kilted? How many sgian dubhs do you own? Which ones do you regularly carry when kilted? Do you use a day and a dress sgian dubh? Any information you can provide would be most welcome. Also, would you please provide photographs/images of your favourites. i, for one would be very interested in viewing some of your blades and learn from a brief description of it's history.

    Thank-you in advance for your participation.

    Jacques
    This space for rent.

  2. #2
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    I know this is often portrayed as part of the outfit, but I personally have never worn or owned a sgian dubh. [I wasn't even sure how it was spelled - had to check the spelling. Displaying my ignorance.]

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  4. #3
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    I think that the "average Scotsman" has never owned a kilt and is more than likely to have never worn one. Therefore owning an SD is an unlikely event.

    Anyway, my one and only do-it-all SD and with an exceedingly sharp edge and is a tool rather than a weapon. It belonged to an Uncle who served with the Black Watch.

    054.jpg
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 10th August 19 at 02:28 AM.
    " 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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  6. #4
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, Jock, but the impression I got during various visits to Scotland was that very few Scots own kilts, but it's common for Scots to wear hired kilts to weddings.

    Several homes I visted had wedding photos displayed and usually the men were in kilts. I was told that the kilts were hired.

    A beautiful sgian there, Jock!

    As far as sgian styles, there have long been staghorn sginean for Day Dress and carved black wood sginean with silver fitments for Evening Dress.

    Officers and pipers in the army wore black sginean with silver or gilt fitments.

    Nowadays, here in the USA, it has become problematic wearing sginean because so many places ban weapons of any sort, and many places have metal detectors. The Pipe Band I play in has banned them.
    Last edited by OC Richard; 10th August 19 at 05:19 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, Jock, but the impression I got during various visits to Scotland was that very few Scots own kilts, but it's common for Scots to wear hired kilts to weddings.

    Several homes I visted had wedding photos displayed and usually the men were in kilts. I was told that the kilts were hired.

    A beautiful sgian there, Jock!

    As far as sgian styles, there have long been staghorn sginean for Day Dress and carved black wood sginean with silver fitments for Evening Dress.

    Officers and pipers in the army wore black sginean with silver or gilt fitments.

    Nowadays, here in the USA, it has become problematic wearing sginean because so many places ban weapons of any sort, and many places have metal detectors. The Pipe Band I play in has banned them.
    OCR
    I was thinking about Kilt hire as I was typing my first post in this thread and in consultation with others(lowland Scots) who are staying with us, we decided that whilst kilt hire is indeed on the up within Scotland, it is still not as common as many might think. But I stand to be corrected should good evidence be available.

    The day wear and evening wear SD's ideas are in my experience, more of a theoretical idea for new kilt wearers who are doing things by the kilt attire merchants book . If you have one good SD and it fills both places satisfactorily, why have two?

    Yes the SD in my picture has silver gilt fittings.

    The legal aspect to the carrying knives within the UK is interesting. Scotland has for quite some time had an almost a zero tolerance to knives in public places and has had some reasonable success in reducing knife crime. England in particular and I think Wales( I am not sure about Northern Ireland) has a real problem with knife crime at present and has fallen in line----more or less -----with Scotland's tactics.

    However, the carrying of a SD is perfectly legal(different laws) when worn sensibly with National Attire North and South of the border.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 10th August 19 at 06:30 AM.
    " 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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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    However, the carrying of a SD is perfectly legal(different laws) when worn sensibly with National Attire North and South of the border.
    As it is in the US. Sensibly being the key word. I have had the discussion more than once with merchants that federal law supersedes personal preference; none of us is allowed to write our own laws. Federal law says everyone is equal under the law; no differentiating. I am happy to accept anyone's choices, but the law is the law. You don't want to follow the law, don't open to serve the public. Certain governmental office situations are excepted. It is the same with merchants telling me they need my Social Security number. No. It is illegal even to ask outside certain banking situations.

    It is a lovely tool, Jock. As noted, not a weapon. An open hand will do considerably more damage. And regularly does, in all our countries.

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  11. #7
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    Clarification

    i see that my post did leave some of my questions open to interpretation. My questions were directed specifically to the members of the forum presently living or having spent their formative years in Scotland, The Highlands specifically, or where the wearing of THCD is or was a common part of their day to day lives from a young age. Not necessarily worn every day, but perhaps something so common to the individual that when they kit out, what and how you dress isn't even given a second thought. Thank-you Kiltedjohn, from a thick-headed North American point of view (speaking for myself rabble, although there has to be at least one more out there) i find your response enlightening. Jock, that is a beautiful SD. Do you know when and where it was made?
    This space for rent.

  12. #8
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    The SD was made by Hamilton and Inches (Edinburgh) and before 1937.

    I find it interesting looking at the pictures of kilt wearers on this website, almost to a man you look so wooden. Just like those posed Victorian/Edwardian pictures of old that OCR delights in showing us. Alright, I quite understand that they/you are posing for a picture in one way or another and of course they/you want to put on their/your attire for best effect in front of a fairly critical audience. Lets face it, we are! And yes, that is a daunting prospect for most of us. In real life do we really put so much effort in perfection with our kilt attire? It seems many here do!

    For those of us who wear kilt attire rather more naturally and thus, with rather more imperfections showing up. I often look at one of my pictures here and go, damn! The sporran is too low/high, the kilt is not straight, the kilt is too low/high, the hose aren't straight, the shoes could do with a polish and so on and I hope that I don't get more than two aspects wrong! Actually, after wearing the kilt all day with no mirror to hand its not surprising things have slipped a tad and these imperfections are perfectly natural. Particularly as little real thought is used in the first place when putting the kilt attire on earlier in the day.

    On that note I had better beat a hasty retreat!
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 11th August 19 at 04:04 AM.
    " 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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  14. #9
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    Dual post. Sorry. Post deleted. J.S..
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 10th August 19 at 12:12 PM.
    " Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of idle minds and minor tyrants". Field Marshal Lord Slim.

  15. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jock Scot View Post
    I think that the SD was made by Hamilton and Inches (Edinburgh) and I think, before 1937.

    I find it interesting looking at the pictures of kilt wearers on this website, almost to a man you look so wooden. Just like those posed Victorian/Edwardian pictures of old that OCR delights in showing us. Alright, I quite understand that they/you are posing for a picture in one way or another and of course they/you want to put on their/your attire for best effect in front of a fairly critical audience. Lets face it, we are! And yes, that is a daunting prospect for most of us. In real life do we really put so much effort in perfection with our kilt attire? It seems many here do!

    For those of us who wear kilt attire rather more naturally and thus, with rather more imperfections showing up. I often look at one of my pictures here and go, damn! The sporran is too low/high, the kilt is not straight, the kilt is too low/high, the hose aren't straight, the shoes could do with a polish and so on and I hope that I don't get more than two aspects wrong! Actually, after wearing the kilt all day with no mirror to hand its not surprising things have slipped a tad and these imperfections are perfectly natural. Particularly as little real thought is used in the first place when putting the kilt attire on earlier in the day.

    On that note I had better beat a hasty retreat!
    You have helped me to remember when i first started wearing a kilt as a cadet(12 - 17 yrs old). i can recall checking myself over in the mirror before leaving and didn't see myself until i was home again. But during the day, if something was a bit off, often i could "feel" it. If that were the case i would re-arrange myself and carry on. And my first SD was loaned to me by a neighbour and good friend of the family who had served in one of the the British Army Highland Regiments before immigrating to Canada after WW2. Was always concerned about losing it and finally purchased my own after several months. And that one disappeared around the same time i was married. Come to think of it; i lost more stuff when i got married than i did when i divorced.
    Last edited by Jacques; 10th August 19 at 04:45 PM.
    This space for rent.

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