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Sgian Dubh ish blade WIP

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So a friend of mine has been bitten by the genealogy bug & is wanting a Sgian dubh to go with his new kilt.  Me being me, I said I'd give it a go. I'm always willing to screw up in new and interesting ways. Its how I learn.

Taking advice from others here, I've tried drawing something out first. Please forgive my poor artistic abilities. Drawing has never been a strong suit for me. 

Hopefully everything is in the picture & please feel free to shoot holes in my design. I've never done ones of these before. 


I plan to light the coal tonight. 


Thank you


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Nice design and a great start.

One thing... You mention Wenge/texas ebony for the handle (I think that's what that says down at the bottom). In my opinion, Wenge is one of the hardest woods to carve and I'm guessing texas ebony is not to far behind on that scale. Unless you have pretty extensive carving experience you might find a friendlier wood.

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Yes sir, that is what it says. 

Carving Wenge is known to me. I've used for several scabbards in the past. With fair to middling results.  The Texas ebony is a newer one to me. I've never personally worked it as yet. But I'm somewhat eager to give it a go.  Except for the price of screwing it up. The stuff sure ain't cheap.


Wood work is an old hobby of mine. I made gunstocks & pistol grips once apon a time. 


I'll probably stick to the Wenge since this is for a friend & I'm more comfortable with it. Then use the Texan ebony for something personal. 


Thank you for the input. 

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38 minutes ago, Matthew Stone said:

I'll probably stick to the Wenge since this is for a friend & I'm more comfortable with it.

Perfect! As long as you know what your getting into :D Definitely on the splintery side, but when done right is gorgeous. 

I had to dig through the forum a bit, but here is one of my knives I made with Wenge and it is still one of my favorites.

K3 corrected3.JPG


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That's pretty. I like it. 

Wenge definitely does like to splinter out. I've moved to using high speed cutters in a dremel to work it, verses chisel & scrapping. I love it with an oil finish after it darkens up some more. 

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  • 1 month later...

Finally got enough other crap done & stuff to show up to get going on this. Decided to do some 1084 & random odds and inns 15n20 cannister damascus. Used a piece of 50mm x 50mm square tube, 75mm or so long.  Went this way for one simple reason. Got a new welder & I wanted to play with it, so I made a can. A birthday present to myself, that I've been waiting on for years. The old one was a super turd.

Got into the fire last night to do the initial weld & yup, this works so much better with the new forge. I still wish I had a press. 

Today I squared it up, drew it out, & twisted some. Then started to square it again. The arm finally said enough. 












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Knew I'd forgotten to put a picture in there. 

I havent done enough cannister damascus to have real good idea when to cut the can. More or less just intuition at this point for me. 

I'm slowly gathering materials to build a press which should greatly aid with cannisters & most other forging for that matter. 


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I'm probably going to have to cut this apart, restack, & forge weld it. Ive got some rather deep inclusions or cracks, all in the 1084. Ive never tried twist damascus from a can before, so there's a good shot I did something wrong or missed something. 


Ground it down to a quick 240 grit & a ten minute dip to see what I've got. I may just might be able to below my problem area on the flats. Not so sure of the edges though. 



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Well, it's looking pretty good at this point, especially for hand forging a can. I'm not sure a stack and weld will eliminate the weld flaws, but there's only one way to know for sure.

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I'm inclined to agree with you assessment. Been mulling over ideas most the night & have come down to this.

A: continue as planned. Cut stack & weld. 50 / 50 shot. 

B: chalk it up to a learning experience & hang it on the wall as is.

C: make a kiridashi out of what I've got. I think with some careful layout & grinding I could get a smallish kiridashi out of this bar. Got a guy who's been after one anyways.


Probably going to go with C & start a regular stack for the Sgian Duhb. I don't have a time frame to get it done. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

This little project keeps taking weird twists and turns for some odd reason. The can damascus I had made has turned into a surface grinder & a geared head drill press. Found a guy who really liked the pattern & wanted a pocket knife, & happened to have trade goods. Then I did another stack. That got sold off as well, and so did the one after it. 


So now I am on stack #4 for this project & no matter what, it's getting used for a knife! Hopefully this one. 9 layer of 1095 & 15n20, folded once. 

I'm not sure of what wood to use for it now. The Texas Ebony has gone towards another work. So I'm including some ideas. I've some birdseye maple I like. Some is dyed blue & some is natural. Also there is some spalted maple which has been stabilized. 


Opinions please. 






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Personally I’m liking the maple as you will have the bold pattern in the blade and handle. 

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Hmmm, if you are not going for dramatic grain, European Beech makes a great all around wood for dirks & such.  I bought a couple of 2-inch planks years ago, back when I was active, and used it on several dirks and sgians.  It is hard, but not recalcitrant to carving, and not brittle.  Stains and dyes well.  Nice for replicas, goes "antique-ee"  beautifully.


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Cut to rough shape & ready for bevels. Gonna do those with files after I run run it on the surface grinder once it gets wired up in a week or so. Mostly just because I  wanna run something on the monster & it'll give me more time to figure out what I want to do for wood. 



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