How to make your own Sgian Dubh from a kit available online at Little gold crest
Step 1: What You'll Need
This is pretty much everything I used making my Sgian Dubh, you won't need all of the equipment if you don't have it. I wouldn't rush out and buy a belt sander or a Dremel although they make life a little easier. If you can borrow them from a friend, though, why not!
- Handle blank
- Cow horn disc
- Etsy kit here
Tools & Equipment
- 2 part epoxy resin
- Drill and 1.5 mm drill bit
- Dremel with router bit
- Belt sander
- Sand paper
- Spreader clamps / other clamps
- Wood treatment/preserver
- Ear defenders
Step 2: Handle and Horn
The first thing you need to do is make the hole in the handle blank and the cow horn disc.
- If you have some spare wood around have a practice before moving on the the blank. I used a 1.5mm wood drill bit and practiced before moving to the handle.
- Mark a line down the middle of the top of the handle (where the blade will go). Then mark the centre of this line. You'll then drill either side of this mark, on the line.
- If you have a vice, clamp the handle in it and this will help you drill straight. If you don't have a vice, you could improvise with clamps but be careful with your fingers!
- I drilled two holes one above and one bellow the centre. Try to make the hole straight. After drilling the initial holes, I then used the drill to join the two holes up. If you have a Dremel you can use the router tool to help join up the holes.
- Try the blade to see if it fits okay. Don't worry if it's messy or if it's not running parallel to the edges you can sort that when you're shaping the handle and if you've made too large a hole you can hide it with the cow horn.
- Repeat the above stages with the cow horn, try to have a neat hole just big enough for the tang.
Step 3: Glue and Gaps!
Glue It All Together and Fill in the Gaps!
- For this you're going to need a 2 part epoxy resin. You can use a brand name or the cheap stuff works just as well. Again, if you've not used this before have a play to get used to it. It's mixed 1 to 1 and can be messy.
- Dry build everything so you're happy with how it's going to look.
- When your mixing the epoxy mix enough of it so you don't run out. I added some of my wife's finest glitter to add a subtle sparkle if any of the epoxy will be visible.
- Stick it all together. Try to get the epoxy down into the hole, you can use the tang of the blade to help. Once you're happy you have enough, add the glue to the top of the handle, then insert the blade (which has the horn disc on it). Squeeze it all together- I used spreader clamps but it sets pretty quickly so you could just hold it and it wouldn't be for more than 10 mins. JUST MAKE SURE IT'S STRAIGHT!
- If there and any gaps, knots or small cracks in the wood fill them with epoxy. This will add strength to the handle.
Step 4: Shaping and Sanding
This can take a while by hand but you will start to see the rewards of your hard work. If you have a shape in mind go for it. I usually wing it and see how it's looking.
- I used a belt sander clamped onto a work bench to shape my handle. You can get them on Amazon or eBay with clamps for about £30 Like this one or you can build one yourself like this one Belt sander youtube video or this one Belt sander Instructables
- It's going to take longer by hand but it's easily done with a little patience.
- This is where you're going to tidy everything up. Using a rough sandpaper, get the handle to the correct shape; this can be as simple or as complicated as you want, just try not to damage the blade.
- Use finer and finer grit paper until it's nice and smooth and you're happy with the finish.
Step 5: Finishing
I used Colron Antique oil but there is a wealth of options for you to choose from, you could even stain the wood if you fancied.
After each coat give it a little sand with some fine paper before applying the next coat.
Step 6: You Did It, or Not!
Well done, pop the sheath on and you should have a nice shiny new Sgian Dubh.
If it's all gone wrong don't fret! Protect the blade and strip it, getting the handle off then removing the glue.
Then simply start again. You can buy new blanks and cow horn discs from Little gold crest on etsy or if you have any nice bits of wood lying around use them!