The dirk was an essential sidearm of Scottish Highlander and Lowlander alike. In fact, the dirk was considered so necessary that even after the failure of the last Jacobite rebellion, when the government passed a disarming act, persons deemed in need of something for personal protection - drovers, merchants and the like - were permitted to carry dirks. The dirk is a direct descendant of the knives carried by medieval armored knights which they used to dispatch wounded foes, or as a weapon of last resort. In later medieval times the dudgeon dagger and ballock knives. The dirk as it is most familiar developed about the mid-17th century at the same time becoming the most common weapon in Scotland. Stylistically it went through many changes but a few characteristics are most common. The blades were long in proportion to the grips, some times as long as 18 inches and were single-edged usually with one or more fullers, or lightening grooves (not blood grooves as they are commonly called). Many dirk blades came from cut down or broken swords. The handles were made of wood, bone, brass, pewter and some times antler. The wooden handles tended to be profusely carved with interlaced designs referred to as knot work. Dirks were carried in leather sheaths, usually suspended from the front of the waist belt next to the sporran. This was so they could be easily reached with the non-sword hand in combat. From early times many dirks were equipped with small knives stored out the outside of the sheaths. There were even some dirks with knives, forks or spoons in the sheath. After the Jacobite era, especially into the Victoria era, dirks became more of an ornament than a weapon and many officers and bandsmen of the Highland Regiments wore them. As an ornament the dirk became more gaudy and less practical although many Victorian era dirks are quite attractive and extremely well made. An example of a 19th c. dirk is shown below. It is not for sale.
THE COLD STEEL DIRK
If you want a fighting dirk with the classic style of the 18th c. and made with the technology of the 21st, then this is your dirk. A 13 inch 1050 carbon steel blade with fuller and wedge shaped cross section is what tips it off immediately. The decorated rosewood handle, carved and fitted with studs, is topped by a blued steel pommel cap and joined to the blade by a classic blued steel guard. The sheath is equipped with a blued steel throat and tip and an integral carry strap. Each dirk, like our Cold Steel Broad Sword, comes with a certificate showing it has passed the British blade proof test.
A grand dirk for only $155 plus $15 post and packing.
THE CULLODEN DIRK II
We carried an early 18th c. dirk called The Culloden Dirk for years but as reported elsewhere, the manufacturer has taken it off the wholesale program, much to our regret. However, we have found a suitable substitute in the Culloden Dirk II. This is a massive knife. It is 20.5 inches long with a 14 inch Damascus steel blade. The handle is a tropical hardwood and is inlaid with brass decorations and studs. As you can see below, the pommel cap is fastened with a brass nut as were many of the dirks found in Scotland in the pre-Jacobite era. Comes equipped with a buffalo hide sheath much like the one the original Culloden dirk had. This very impressive dirk can be yours for just $95 plus $15 post and packing. We consider it a worthy successor to our old favorite.
DIRK FOR DRESS OR DAYWEAR
The Dirk for Dress or Daywear (shown above) has also been popular with our customers. Patterned after a 19th c. officer’s dirk marked “Molle”, it is less expensive and will serve as a dirk for someone new to Scottish attire or who has been wearing it for years. The dirk is 17 inches overall with an 11.5 inch blade., which is etched in the traditional Scottish thistle pattern. The black wood hilt is carved in a Celtic weave and decorated with nickel silver tacks. The wooden sheath is covered with black leather and embellished with bright fittings decorated with thistles. Like all our other dirks, it is equipped with an integral carry sheath. This is a handsome dirk appropriate fro wear on all occasions. .
Yours for $70 plus $15 packing and post.
THE BONNY DIRK
The Bonny Dirk is a 19th c. regimental style dirk. This very nice dirk has a black wood handle with carved basket weave and nickel silver studs placed at intersections of the lines. Note the “thistle shape” of the grip, which is also found on the Dirk for Dress or Daywear. The blade is 11.75 inches long and etched with the thistle and foliate designs frequently found on 19th c. regimental dirks. The blades has a five inch false edge and jimped back. The nickel silver pommel cap is undecorated but could be engraved should you decide to personalize it. The sheath is wood, covered with leather and highlighted with a nickel silver throat and tip and an integral carry strap.
This attractive dirk can be yours for $110 plus $15 packing and post.
BOLD BLADES SHOP MADE DIRKS
Occasionally, as materials are available and time permits. We assemble some dirks in our workshop. We usually make two styles, the Basic Dirk and the Stag Hilted dirk. The Basic Dirk has a wooden handle with a Celtic knot pommel decoration. We use factory made blades to which we fit handles. We also supply a basic leather sheath. Recently we have found a source of Sambar stag. Sambar stag is an Indian deer whose antlers have small cores and a very nice consistency. These antlers can be worked well and fit the blades we use nicely (style of blade may vary). Unfortunately it has been generally unavailable for ten years as the Indian government placed an embargo on export, probably to combat poaching. We have located a small supply of this material in, of all places, Scotland. We will let you know as we have these dirks available. The price of the Basic Dirk is $55 plus $7 packing and post.
The Ballock Dagger
Ballock daggers were the forerunner of the Scottish Dirk. These daggers were first used in the 14th c. and gradually morphed into the dirk. Also referred to as knight’s daggers they were worn on the front of the belt so they can easily be reached. The “haunches” on the grip became smaller over a period of time until they were just remnants like those on the Culloden Dirk above. The prudish Victorians referred to these as “kidney daggers” although one has to wonder where they came up with that name. Our dagger is 12 inches over all with a 7 inch blade. The handle is hardwood with a steel pommel cap. Comes with a correct leather sheath for just...
$25 plus $10 packing and post
THE RONDEL DAGGER
The Rondel Dagger, shown above and with detail of the engraving on the blade, was very popular throughout Europe in medieval times and the Renaissance. The term comes from the round handle - in our case a spiral version, similar to the grip on the Twisted Hilt Claymore - and the round or octagonal - in our case - pommel. The overall length is 16 3/4 inches with an 11 3/4 inch blade. Comes with a leather sheath. Only $42 plus $10 packing and post
Here is a new item. This is a replica of a Saxon blade found in the River Thames and currently on display at the British Museum. While this is not, strictly speaking, a Viking weapon it is to believed to be from the 9th or 10th c. which fits squarely into the Viking age. The runic inscription identifies the knife as belonging to Beagnoth, whoever he might have been. The runes are inscribed on both sides of the blade. This impressive seax - Old English for "knife" - has a blade 21.5 inches long and an over all length of 29 inches. We can only speculate what the grip would have looked like but the hardwood handle on this knife is an appropriate design. A truly impressive blade, equipped with the typical horizontally hung back sheath. Defend the Island for just $120 plus $12 packing and post
This is another new knife in our lineup. This is a Viking scramasax which is a style of knife carried by many Vikings. They owned and carried all sorts of "saxes" of many sizes and shapes. This one has a large blade, almost like that of a Bowie knife, hardwood handle and nice decoration on the pommel and guard. Brass with green lacquer highlights the Viking knot work design. Over all the knife is 16 inches long with a 9.75 inch blade. Comes with a well-made leather sheath to help you carry it in your belt. All yours for just... $90 plus $12 packing and post
This knife might also be considered a Scramasax but since the guard and pommel do not fit the traditional view of a Sax we have decided to call it a dagger. This dagger is massive, with a blade length of 13.75 inches and over all length of 19 inches. The hilt of this dagger resembles the traditional Viking sword with a hilt from the early 10th c. The hilt is highlighted by brass wire wrap and nice decoration on the pommel and small guard. Like the Scramasax, this knife has a carbon steel blade, unsharpened. This beautiful knife is only
$90 plus $12 packing and post.
We have added a dirk to our line which we are referring to as the “Transitional Dirk” although we really must find a simpler name for it. Dirks evolved over a long period of time, becoming ornaments in the 19th c. Up until then they were formidable weapons. The origin of the dirk is from the “ballock” or “bollock” dagger. This dirk represents one of the final stages of development when the “haunches” had shrunk to a more manageable size and begun to resemble the early 18th c. dirk with which we are most familiar. The 10.25 inch double edged blade (this one is not sharpened) is typical of ballock daggers. As mentioned above, the shape of he handle is a bit less phallic and the grip is still longer than those on later period Scottish dirks but the movement toward that design is apparent. The knife is 15.5 inches over all and comes equipped with a leather sheath. The star burst decoration on the sheath is also found on the pommel. An interesting dirk for just $75 plus $12 packing and post.