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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Dirk: "It is not against the law, the law is against it!"

Googling dirks, I came across this page, the website of Rab and Tanya Gordon, who make traditional Celtic and Pictish arts and artifacts in Scotland. Look at the dirk below, made for a wedding and inscribed with the date and the names of the bride and groom:

It has a carved ebony handle and engraved brass fittings. It was used to cut the wedding cake, and the bride later wrote its maker: "Thank you so much for the beautiful dirk you made for us. It gave a much better sense of occasion than an ordinary boring cake knife and it is lovely to have now as a memento of the day."

Above the photos of this exquisite traditional knife is the dismaying statement: "This page shows examples of our past work, however we can no longer sell similar items. Unfortunately, due to recent changes in legislation we cannot supply Dirks without a license, even for export. However, we can continue to make custom Sgian Dubhs with blade lengths of 3.5" or less."

In the above photo, the lower knife is a Sgian Dubh, traditionally tucked into the top of the right stocking when wearing a kilt. Being less than 3.5 inches long, it is legal. However, you won't be able to carve a cake with it and there isn't enough room to get your names engraved on its blade. Your initials will fit, though.

Here is Prince Charles  being presented with one of Rab Gordon's exquisite dirks. He looks very pleased with it. But why don't the people standing near him look frightened? Isn't it terribly dangerous? Might he not go on a killing spree at any second? Can anyone in Great Britain be trusted with a pointy object?


  1. Im British ohhhh my god its sharp and pointy I may have to kill everyone in this room lol

    the english system of law is getting out of control whats next a ban on forks????


  2. Its to bad that the Tree hugger have taken over our governments! plus now there teaching our Children to hug Tree's!!

  3. Its very sad that all over the world people can celebrate and keep alive oriental cultures. Who would try to prevent a Japanese sword master from keeping his Katana but Scotlands martial heritage has almost disapeared completely because of these restrictions and British propaganda.
    I still have my Regimental Dirk and I earned the right to wear it as a Piper in the service of the queen, but unfortunately it remains now only as a hidden family feirloom in a cupboard

  4. The dirk presented to prince Charles was a colaboration between various artists. The handle was indeed made by Rab Gordon, carved from ebony. The blade of the dirk was made blacksmith Robert Miller of Skye Island. He's entirely self-taught. The silverwork is done by Roddy Young. The pommelstone is an amethyst and was cut by Nat Forno in Fife. The engravings were done by Neil Oliver from Moray. The sheath was made by Jonathan Carr Hopkins of Glasgow, a cabinet-maker who in particular makes presentation cases and display cabinets, while the sheath was bound by Laura West, also from Skye.

    It started when Roddy Young met with Romilly Squire, heraldic artist and secretary to the clan chiefs. They had learned that 200 years ago, George IV had visited Edinburgh and was also presented with a special dirk. They assembled a team of some of the finest craftsmen in Scotland to create a dirk for prince Charles.

    Many of these artists have websites where they showcase their work and often take on commissions:

    Roddy Young, silver/metalworker:

    Rab Gordon, Sgian Dubhs, jewelry:

    Nat Forno, gemstones:

    Rob Miller, blacksmith:

    Neil Oliver, engravings:

    Jonathan Carr Hopkins, woodwork/cabinet-maker:

    Laura West, leather/bookbinder:

  5. Thank you very much for adding that information.