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A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire

Perhaps I am a bit crazy and over ambitious, but I recently decided that I want to try making a Scottish Highland Dirk (biodag in Gaelic/Gàidhlig).  I am only just starting blacksmithing, and my tools are a bit simple, small, and crude.  Between the forging, the artistry needed to build the handle, and the leatherworking for the sheath, this was far more involved and difficult than I am truly capable of.  In spite of this, I struggled on and ended up with a dirk that I will happily use at reenactment (and when not, let it rest on display in my study… occasionally being used to slay a haggis).  It is certainly not a shadow of the dirks created by Scott Roush, Paul MacDonald, or Glen McClain, but I am happy.

Final Stats:

11″ blade, 15.5″ overall, 1 1/2″ wide blade at the widest, total weight (without sheath) 10 oz.

High Carbon blade made from a chunk of old chainsaw bar, handle made of ebonized oak, carved antler, deer bone (the heart), steel, and brass.  The scabbard (also made by me) is made from a willow bark tanned deer hide (tanned by Sylvain Ouellet) and has a steel chape forged by me.



2 Responses to “A Highland Dirk – Trial by Fire”

  1. Bob Miller says:

    That is quite an accomplishment. My own forging set ups very simple, done with charcoal [ not coal] so I really appreciate what you’ve done. I’d be proud to carry that.

    • Isaac says:

      Thank you. I am mainly using charcoal now as I really dislike coal and coke (although I admit to loving the smell of burning coal as it reminds me of my time living in Scotland). My newest adventure will be in making my own charcoal for the forge. A friend also just gave me a large, double-lung bellows for when I want to fit my forge up into a more historic operation.

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