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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 12 Nov, 2011 5:48 pm    Post subject: Scottish Dirk         Reply with quote

Hello List,
This is my first post, and I am looking for help determining if the Scottish Dirk I own is infact an early period correct piece. Please look at the following link for a series of pics of hte dirk in question. http://s1083.photobucket.com/albums/j400/conquerordie/

I have had a wide range of opinions on this dirk from very early and period correct, to made in India. I was given this forums name from another that said a scholarly approach to this type of weapon might be found amongst it's members. Thank you for all the help and opinions.

Regards,
Greg D.
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Christopher Gregg




Location: Louisville, KY
Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 661

PostPosted: Sat 12 Nov, 2011 11:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Greg, welcome to the forums! Your dirk is atypical, but the handle is not too far off from a plausible early (say 1650 - 1690) Scots dirk. Most dirks were single edged, with a substantial back, many with decorative file work (jimping) on the spine. A dagger blade with a central fuller would be rare, and in fact I know of no period dirk with this exact type of blade (although that doesn't mean that one never existed - blades were changed when needed due to damage, fashion, etc.). If you look in the features section, you can find a lengthy report on the Scottish Dirk, with a comprehensive time-line of its development. Hope this helps answer some of your questions. Happy

I like your dirk, and being quite the fan myself, can appreciate the rare and unusual forms. If you ever decide to sell it, please keep me in mind! Big Grin

Best,

Chris G.

Christopher Gregg

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream!
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Chris Goerner




Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Likes: 14 pages

Posts: 344

PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 1:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg,

I agree with Chris on the observations he makes about the blade on your dirk -- it is atypical to find a dirk with a double edged blade, but not completely unheard of. I have never seen one with a central fuller like yours, but I would not rule it out as an original on that point alone.

Actually, the hilt concerns me more than the blade. The ropes of the knotwork in the center of the grip are very thin and have large gaps between the strands. I have not seen an original dirk done in this manner. Also, the carving on the haunches looks more like pretzels than trefoils. Then there is the pommel. I've seen some that were long with a shallow pitch to them like yours, but have never seen one with turned rings. I cannot see the carving very well, but it almost appears to be British broad arrows alternating in direction with some pointing up and some pointing down. Finally, I have not seen many peened dirks, and never one with such a large peen.

None of these things says to me "reproduction" on its own, but taking them all together makes me highly suspicious. That said, I have seen other originals that break the mold in nearly as many ways, so I cannot say for certain. Despite the anomalies, I think it is a very attractive dirk. Perhaps it is a Victorian copy?

Chris Goerner

Sic Semper Tyranus
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris and Chris,
Thank you for the input, and I will look at the info on Scottish Dirks that this forum has. Two people ( the man I bought the dirk from, and Glenn McClain who is a dirk maker) both were of the opinion that the blade was a broken sword blade, and could date the dirk because of the fact that they were forced to reuse blades to the first decades of the 18th century. Mr. McClain believes the dirk is original as I do, but I truely want a more indepth understanding as to the authenticity than just one mans opinion. I think the handle is very simillar in profile to the brass handle dirks that were made early 18th century. I'm not sure if anyone could see them in the pics, but does anyone have any idea what the circles or starbursts are on the blade tip? There are four on one side, and five on the other. They look like some kind of makers marks.
I agree that the dirk has different styles to it that are not seen as typical dirk construction and decoration. This is why I search for more info. The lines up by the pommel I never thought of as arrows or broadarrows, just simple line decorations. Please, any more info would be great. Thanks,
Regards,
Greg D.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,216

PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 5:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg...

I tend to agree with Christopher and Chris, in that this is not a "typical" dirk, if such a thing exists. I think the carving is not executed to the standards of the early dirk makers and the grip itself seems overly large for the era suggested for it. Cut down sword blades were used, I think, by choice rather than necessity for early 18th c. dirks although I could be wrong. The double edge blade, however, simply does not fit the almost universal style used in early 18th c. dirks.

My feeling is that it may be a Victorian copy of an early 18th c. dirk, which just was not executed as well as an original. The turning on the pommel, especially near the cap, lacks the flowing transition from grip to pommel found in many early dirks and, in general, the turning is kind of "clunky" for lack of a better term. Overall it captures the general appearance of an early dirk but doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.

I have no idea what the marks on the blade are.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

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Posts: 474

PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: About the dirk.....         Reply with quote

Just because the dirk has a reused sword blade of an unknown providence, does nhot mean that it is early 18th century Scottish. The blade could be early, late, modern, Victorian, who knows? It would take a metallurgist and some hi-tech testing to really date the blade. But one thing I can add to what Lin and Chris opioned, the grip just does not have the look or feel of an original period dirk. The "lines" are just wrong. As a matter of fact, I have a very similar dirk in my colection which is a nice piece which the seller "claimed" has an original blade and was used in a display at the Culloden Battlefield museum in the 1960s or so. Well, the blade - when I got it - still had the burn marks where someone (quite likely the seller) removed the original blade and substituted a piece of crap ground out on an electric grinder. I keep it as a reminder "caveat emptor." If I were to make a guess - with all due respect to Glenn who I know and admire very much - I would have to say that all one can really possibly say without real evidence is that the dirk seems to have a broken sword blade of unknown origin reused here and a hilt that appears to be an English/Scottish vintage Victorian, Scottish Revival flavor. For one thing, the grip looks a little long to me but I have lost those debates here before and the carving looks like someone trying awfully hard to reproduce an early dirk. You see, dirks from that period are very, very few, especially in the period 1650-1700. Why? Because these weapons were everyday working knives, not ornamentation. They were used and used hard, sharpened until there was virtually nothing left to sharpen and then replaced. The few early dirks we have to examine are all in museum collections and the two-band interlace - well, I personally only know of one or two anywhere. It just seems too unlikely that one should turn up in pretty pristine condition without a known providence of being in an estate sale, an auction by a reputable house like Alban or Christie's, or - very unlikely - a museum deascession. So, who can really say? You pay your money and you take your chance but my betting is that it's a nice piece but not to be confused with anything original.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 4:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for your opinions and insights. I just one of those pieces that is hard to determine its real story. Maybe I'll never know. I agree with alot that has been said, but I think we all agree its all just speculation. Does anyone here have a time machine I may borrow? Many have made the comment on it possibly being a Victorian Revival piece. Does anyone have a pic of one of these items. I've seen Victorian era dirks, but never a Victorian Scottish Revival dirk. I'm curious to see how common they were. I have Glen's card with the dirk, so I'll try to email him as to why he had the opinions that he did. He probably examined it about five years ago at Fort Ticonderoga in New York when he was there as a sutler for the 250th of the Battle of Carillion. He seemed impressed so I need to contact him again. Maybe he can again help answer some issue. I'd be happy to keep everyone updated. Thanks gain for all your help.
Regards,
Greg
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 6 books

Posts: 1,216

PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Take a look at www.scottishsword.com. This is the web site for Scottish Sword and Shield. They have some antique dirks available now including some that are listed as early 18th c. I cannot say if they are or not but all the dirks do not look to be of that era based on most of the others I have seen. They also have a number fo the Victorian military dirks for sale. It is an interesting site.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 4:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin,
Thanks for the links. I sent them a link to my pictures as well to see what their opinions are. Ill let everyone know when they reply.
Regards,
Greg
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 474

PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You know what, Greg? It really doesn't make a whole lot of difference about the providence of the dirk. If you like it and it "speaks" to you, that's really all that matters! Enjoy it and have fun.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GG Osborne,
I have always kept that in mind, and was thinking it when I purchased it. Thank you for saying it again however. I'm just one of those guys that have to know. I've owned it for so long, and never got into the research aspect of it, and I guess it's just that time now. It does speak to me, I just need some kind of verification to prove what my gut tells me. The search continues.
Regards,
Greg
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2011 9:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All,
Well the mystery continues. I just received an email from a person who sells dirks and swords that I had sent the same photobucket link that y'all looked at and he says it's a broken sword blade for sure and would date it from the late 1700's to the early 1800's, all authentic and a very nice piece. I'm trying to read up on the Victorian revival dirk makers and fakers to see what I can find out on that route. The research is leading me in all directions. Any thoughts? Thank again,
Regards,
Greg D.
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Thomas McDonald
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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Posts: 2,160

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2011 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Greg & all

Check out James Forman's little book on Scottish dirks ......
http://www.myArmoury.com/albums/photo/6567.html


The Scottish Dirk
by James D. Forman, 1991
Historical Arms Series No. 26
***************************
Museum Restoration Service
Alexandria Bay, N.Y.
ISBN : 0-919316-26-3

He has many unusual pieces pictured and gives a pretty good showcase of where the dirk has been, orignal to later times !

Best wishes, Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
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Greg D.




Location: New York
Joined: 12 Nov 2011

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2011 4:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Thomas,
I do have that book, purchased a long time ago. It is a great source of information on dirks. The problem is that my dirk has many characteristics of early dirks, but not all of them. As it stands right now I've been told it could range from the early 18th century all the way to the present with a fairly new with a blade from INDIA. That 250 year plus time frame is what I'm trying to narrow down. I have to admit, the mystery behind and the subsequent searching for information has been very fun, and have found new forums and people like this site to help and guide me. Thanks again,
Regards,
Greg
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GG Osborne





Joined: 21 Mar 2006

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Posts: 474

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2011 7:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh my Gosh! Mac, welcome back!! You have been away much too long. Glad to see your scowling, Scottish face again.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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