I own a couple of dozen knives from custom makers, but these are all from existing makers’ stock. That isn’t meant to disparage these knives in the least, I just never understood why they are called “Customs”. I knew that someday I wanted to get a knife that was truly custom in every sense of the word, from start to finish.
For a long time I have been wanting to replace the glorified letter-opener that is my current Sgian Dubh. I am about halfway done with a “Know your Knives” post on this traditional Scottish blade, but for those unfamiliar, here is a quick primer.
The Sgian Dubh is the small knife which is worn inside the sock of traditional Scotland dress. So iconic is this knife, that there is actually an exemption in notoriously hoplophobic UK knife law, legalizing it while one is wearing a kilt.
The style has taken on a more and more ceremonial appearance over time, with most examples having cheap plastic handles, and stamped mystery-metal blades. Add in a giant plastic chunk of fake gemstone on the pommel, and you have a piece of garbage that can only generously be described as knife. Mine was no exception. Its sole redeeming quality is it was made in Scotland and not China.
I first bounced the idea of Will Woods at Blade Show a couple of years back, and he seemed interested in the project. He drew up a sketch, though I was not quite ready to pull the trigger.
Enter Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Savannah, GA, Will’s hometown got clobbered. His shop flooded, and he was offline for a little more than 6 months. He offered to make my knife at that time, but I wasn’t in a hurry and told him to get on top of his other projects first.
This year was the year. I gave Will the go-ahead, and my knife arrived this afternoon. It is CPM154, with g10 liners and scales. It is 8.5″ OAL, with a 3 3/4″ full-grind, spear-point blade. There is a prominent swedge, large finger-choil, and instead of the typical ornamental filework, Woods’ Sgian Dubh has 5 agressive scalloped jimps.
My first commissioned custom knife. I own a couple of dozen knives from custom makers but this is the first one I had a hand in designing. It is @woods_bladeworks modern take on a Scottish Sgian Dubh in CPM154 with g10 scales and liners. It arrived in time for a black-tie/kilt event this weekend. So thrilled. . #maclean #clanmaclean #macleanofduart #sgiandubh #scotland #kilt #knife #knives #knifestagram #knifeporn #customknives #skeandhu #knifenation #burnsnight #knivesofig #knivesofinstagram
The sheath is a hybrid of leather and kydex, just like the Woods’ Kraken I reviewed a few years ago. It has an elastic snap-strap which can be used to affix the sheath to the arm or lower leg. The coolest thing about the sheath is that when he was having the sheath laser-cut to size, he also had the machine burn the MacLean clan crest in the facing of the leather. It looks awesome.
It is not a typical Sgian Dubh. It undeniably has Will’s signature style in it as well. It is a modern interpretation of a classic knife, with a return to its roots as a functional tool and weapon of last resort (or sinister motive).
Will has promised a piece on the knife from the maker’s point of view, and I will most certainly write more about the knife. For now I am looking forward to wearing it proudly on my leg when I don my kilt for the Friends of the Smokies Evergreen Ball this Saturday evening. I am sure it will dispatch my meal with ruthless efficiency.