|Project by Ethan Sincox||posted 12-29-2006 06:43 PM||4709 views||14 times favorited||19 comments|
Dana and I had an Irish/Scottish themed wedding, complete with a piper playing at the ceremony and an Irish band playing at the reception. Probably more importantly, however, my best man and I both wore kilts – he was in his family’s tartan, Montgomery, and I was in Dana’s family’s tartan, Campbell.
My best man was my best friend, Matt. I’ve known him for most of my life – my dad delivered him, even! We’d gone through everything from pee wee soccer to little league to being roommates in college. I was the best man in his wedding five years ago. So I really wanted to do something to honor him.
So for my best man’s present, I had a pair of sgian dubh custom made for us. A sgian dubh is the small knife traditionally worn in the kilt hose. It means “black knife”; the meaning of the name is attributed to the fact that often the handles were made out of bog oak, which is extremely dark in color due to the reactions of the tannic acid with the chemicals in the bog. After a bit of internet searching (didn’t I say you could find pretty much anything on the internet?), I found a guy in Scotland, Rab Gordon at Rainnea Graphics (www.rainnea.com), who makes sgian dubh using bog oak for the handles and Damascus steel for the blades. After some negotiating, we came to a price agreement and I purchased two sgian dubh.
This was also about the same time I’d aquired the bog oak from England, so I thought I’d try to make a presentation box for Matt, using some of the reclaimed white oak from the farm and some of the bog oak.
This is the end result. It is a sliding lid box, about 6” x 11” or so. The insert is made with four layers of hardboard. To get a good fit, I traced an outline of the sgian dubh onto the first layer and cut it out with an inward bevel. Then I used that to trace the pattern onto the next layer. I cut it out with a slight bevel, as well. I repeated these steps for the final two layers, so that when you stack them up together, you get an opening that gets smaller and smaller until it just fits the exact shape of the sgian dubh. I added a final solid layer for a bottom (the insert is an extremely tight fit, but it does slide out) and applied a layer of cork shelf liner to the flat surfaces of the insert (so that the surface had a little “give”) and then covered the entire insert in suede cloth. The silver insert is engraved with the serial number of the sgian dubh. Matt has SG105A and I have SG105B.
I had originally planned on making a bog oak carving (a medallion, maybe?) and inserting it into the lid, but I really liked the look of the knot and thought they might compete for focal point attention, so I left it out. Instead, I inlaid a strip of bog oak into the end of the lid.
I was very happy with how it turned out – I love the look of the reclaimed wood with the nail holes and stains. And I love the way the bog oak polishes up – almost like ebony.
Again, you can see my focus is on clean, simple lines, which lets the nature of the wood become the main design element.
-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com