Saturday, 30 May 2009

Another Full Bore Fool

We've looked at the stupid things some people do with shot guns before
Those of you with strong stomachs can look at this reminder
Big shout to Bashing Bambi who found this. Shudder.

Be careful, walking isn't compulsory, being stupid is optional.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Chad, Lovin' The Blog Of Discontent

"A gentleman is someone who can play the accordion, 
but doesn't." 
Tom Waits

Now here's a thing: a renaissance bubba living in Oklahoma, winging along at an altitude somewhere between the bluebird of happiness and the chicken of depression. The Mallard of Discontent seeks refuge in random esoterica, finds sustenance  in the joys of fishing; hunting, books, music, literature, travel, guns, gundogs, photography, lonely places, wildness, history, art, misanthropy, beer and the never-ending absurdity of life. Always and forever in search of things that don't suck.

Well worth a read this weekend. Welcome to doing it for free Chad.

Your pal
The Suburban Bushwacker

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away...

As you either already know, or may have guessed, I enjoy a wide and diverse group of friends many of who are now scattered to the far corners of the galaxy.

Back in the day, when I was young, thin, and good looking [I said it was a longtime ago]. I was the manager of an awesome punk band, the punk band weren't like anything heard before or since, their music had some seriously diverse influences, and the members of the band had some seriously diverse friends.

LSP (Lone Star Parson) is a case in point, we've recently gotten back in touch after many, many years and for both of us there have been a few changes; LSP now lives in Texas, caring for his parishioners and hunting Hawgs in an english accent.

'Large rifle is a .303 Lee Enfield, No1. Mk IV - joy to shoot, accurate, stable and powerful as you like. Ten round mag's a definite plus and iron sights give quick target acquisition in the brush. All that to say nothing of the crash and thunder of the thing. Cheap too. The parishioners like it - they appreciate a priest they can shoot with and talk church.'

We'll be hearing more from LSP

Your Pal 
The Bushwacker
PS The punk band's singer is now a regular on Dr Who!
PPS LSP now has a cool blog of his own

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Kydex 1.1

OK OK I give in!
This Kydex malarkey isn't as easy as it first appeared, when I had the fit I wanted between to two edges the hold was so tight I needed two hands to unsheathe the knife. So rivets it is. The flaring tool I've got isn't a very good fit for the sexy black rivets the Kydex store sells so I've used a pair in soft aluminum that I found in the shed.

Now if I could only find the big hinges I could make a start on the wood burning stove for TNM's boat.

Thanks for reading
PS CORRECTION - I'm going to a kids party in the park.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


As Black Rabbit says my Bushwacker Bushtool is nearing completion my thoughts have turned to a sheath for it.

I like the 'matched pair' look for my knives - Natural handle (wood, bone, horn, antler) = leather sheath, but when it's a man made handle (micarta,G10 ext) it's gotta be Kydex or its cousin Concealex. They have a few advantages over leather being stain proof, waterproof, and a little lighter. 

I had a go at making a Kydex sheath a while back and couldn't get the kind of result i was after, but happily I remembered that sometimes the pros have special tools for a reason. After watching a couple of tutorials I rigged up a press and was able to get a much closer fitting finish.

There are two main schools of Kydex sheath the 'pancake' pictured above and the the 'two piece'. I really like the minimalist look of the pancake, and wanted to have a rivet-less design which not many makers seem to go for, but in fairness to them I can now see why, getting a super tight fit between the two sides is pretty tricky.

Hope you're hobbies are as much fun for you this weekend
Your pal
The Suburban Bushwacker

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Years End

Happy blog day to me!

First of all sorry to anyone who expected to see an acutal Elk being hunted, the only person more disapointed than you is me.
Second: a MASSIVE thanks to all of you who bothered to comment over the last two years, it's been great, please keep 'em coming.
Third: slowly I'm starting to see the fruits of my trip to trade school - I promise to spend whatever it takes to get back on track
Fourth: since separating from the hot-as-you-like/negative-as-can-be Mrs SBW I will perhaps have a bit more time to pursue dinner.
Fifth: All is not lost! Several trips are in the offing - Finding cool things to do is easy, its just the time and the money now! Anyone know any rich, extravagant people who want a money-no-object bathroom fitted? 

More news as it happens
Your pal
The Bushwacker

Picture credit

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Heads Up - The Zebralight Review

I'd seen the Zebralight H50 reviewed a few times and when MFS (Mick From Stoneliegh - you'll meet him again later) said he was looking for a new head light I suggested that if he liked the look of them we could take advantage on the 'free shipping if you buy two' deal. Very glad I did.
A head light beats a regular torch for everything except signaling, but they've always been bulky. BoB has been using Petzel since the 80's when they had a battery pack that sat on the back of your head, never comfortable but still better than holding a Maglite between your teeth. In the interceding twenty years head torches have gotten a lot better and cheaper, the bulbs have been replaced by LED's, but they either only shine enough light for tying a hook on or are still quite bulky. 

You've gotta hand it to Zebralight it's a really well thought out package, the torch runs on AA (they do make other sizes but what's the point?), has three settings: 
Reading stuff
Searching for stuff, and 
'Stuff it I'm going back to the tent'

It comes with a whole accessory set of different clips and a really well thought out head band. The headband has a soft holder for the torch that means it doesn't dig into your bonce and - here's the clever bit - the soft holder GLOWS in the dark so you can find the torch at the bottom of your bag or in the tent when nature calls in the wee small hours.

We ordered ours from the factory in Shanghai and four days later we were wearing them. $100 for the pair. They also have a shipping faculty in the USA so if your stateside you may get one even quicker than that.

It's been fantastic for work as well - no more getting into the fuse box by candlelight and retrieving bits and bobs from under floorboards and behind kitchen cabinets has never been easier. MCP mocked my headlamp 'How Much!!' But when I came back from the van he was wearing it and apparently 'needed it' too much to surrender it.

For the more technically minded there's a very thorough review at cpfreviews
If you've got the spare cash I'd really recommend buying a pair so you could have one for the Bug Out Bag and the other as your Every Day Carry. Top bit of kit. Highly recommended.

Shine on

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

How Many Limeys Does It Take To ......

I've told this one before but for those of you who have only recently started reading this saga i thought i'd post it again.
It's partially the tale of my first hunt, a meditation on why I occasionally hunt and partly a eulogy to my good friend Stuart who killed himself a few christmas' ago.

It was both the worst of times and the best of times, literally a trip to hell. I saw the hell Stuart made for himself contrasted against the heaven of his surroundings. He died feeling completely alone, despite being surrounded by people who loved him and living virtually rent free in a paradise. It was also the starting point for my great friendship with The Northern Monkey, the first of our many adventurers.

Here it is:
I’d collect the kind of articles we’d show each other at Sunday brunch and every few weeks I’d post them to Stuart. Although he’d lived stateside for four years, Stuart read the websites of English newspapers everyday; I sent him magazine cuttings, PG Tips tea, and his favourite liquorice cigarette papers. We’d talk on the phone, make endless plans for a road trip and it was like he’d never left. I know people who live down the road who I have less contact with.

Ginger Mick’s call on Boxing Day changed all that. By the 28th I was on my way to meet Stuart’s brother The Northern Monkey and collect his body.

When Stuart was still alive, after marrying and divorcing the heavenly Celeste, he became the live in caretaker of an old homestead off Canby road in Loudoun County.
Unlike the showy new build McMansions around it, it’s hidden from the road. Although the nearest house is only at the end of its drive, it’s not somewhere that encourages visitors, if you hadn’t been there before you’d never find the place. The world is kept at arms length.

As recently as the mid-nineties Loudoun County would have been the back of beyond, now the locals are moaning it’s become a burg of sub divisions. McMansions for defence contractors who commute to DC and pay the priced-out Loudouners to work their hobby farms. One of our hosts told us how amazed the locals had been to hear how, two weeks before, Stuart had been woken to find a bear raiding his dustbins, “This is the suburbs now! You just don’t get bears here!”

The stone farmhouse is framed with recycled Oak beams, you could easily imagine them leaving Deptford creek {a natural dry dock in south london] as parts of a sixteenth century ship, they’re heavily studded with hand forged square nails and scored with the rebates of previous uses. The house has twisted over the years, it creaks, whistles and groans like an aging mutt making itself comfortable by the fire. Its rough block work walls and wide balconies are, like the locals when viewed from an English sensibility, the point where an east-coast folksiness meets the trimmed goatee of southern charm.

Stuart: ‘Come on out you’ll love it, I’ve given my republican gun nut neighbour permission to hunt on the land, and he’s given me a freezer full of venison already’.
SBW: Will he take me hunting?
Stuart: ‘He says he’d love to, he tried to take me, so I told him about you. He’s right up for it.’

By the time I arrived at the farm Stuart was dead and I’d forgotten all about republican gun nut neighbors.
The Republican Gun-nut Neighbour came by to introduce himself on our first morning.
[He really did introduce himself 'Hi I'm the republican gun nut neighbor']
Short, with white hair, his lively eyes clouded by dismay. Walking on eggshells, he tries to get the measure of us and of our grief. We are bound together by the feeling that suddenly the world’s a different, less pleasing shape.

When someone really is your friend you don’t need to agree with them to enjoy their company. The contrarians are drawn together, which side of the argument they’ve planted their flag on is less important than the joy of the argument itself. If Stuart ever had two friends who agreed, he’d fall out with one or both of them. The mark of his friendship was how many times you’d fallen back in with him. To keep the world on its toes he employed an unusual mix of prickliness and open hearted charm that was by turns confusing and beguiling. In counterpoint to RGN’s republican-gun-nut-ism, Stuart was a dyed-in-the-wool lefty, but I could instantly see how they’d have been such great pals. If you’re really good at arguing, and have well thought out supporting evidence at your fingertips, the one thing you’d crave is a worthy adversary. Preferably a self-employed worthy adversary, so that the whole day can be dedicated to thrust, feign and riposte.

We stood around looking into the hole in our lives, drank coffee, smoked Marlboro and cried a few manly tears together.

Later we walked over to RGN’s place; we thought to meet Mrs RGN.
“Now boys there’s something you’ve gotta see while you’re here”.
RGN has dedicated a whole room in his house to trophies from his trips to the plains of southern Africa, really, if it’s smaller than a rhino, walks on four legs and lives on the savannah, there’s now one less of them and it’s nailed to RGN’s wall. Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life but I’ve never met anyone with an Africa room in the UK. Not even once.
“Everyone must see the Africa room” confided the long suffering Mrs RGN.

RGN “ I know you spoke about this with Stuart, and I’d be honoured if you allow me to take you both deer hunting”
Mrs RGN “ No! This is your obsession! They don’t want to hunt!”
TNM and SBW “We’d love to!”
SBW “I’m not sure we’ve got the right gear though”
TNM “won’t we need camouflage clothes?”
RGN “you wont need anything special, this is gentleman’s hunting, dress warm I’ll pick you up in the morning”

At twenty to too-early-to-even-think-about-getting up I was woken by RGN standing over me in the dark, asking me why I was still asleep, he added (a touch indignantly – we were on the cusp of wasting valuable hunting time) that The Northern Monkey was asleep too! Stumbling down stairs I found RGN dressed from head to foot in Realtree camouflage, brewing coffee in the kitchen. I was just burning my lips with the coffee when TNM slouched into the room still fitting his front teeth. He looked a bit alarmed when RGN picked up a hunting rifle that had been obscured by the kitchen table. I looked a bit alarmed too when RGN walked away from the backdoor and carried his rifle up stairs. TNM didn’t help calm my nerves when he whispered “Is it just me or can you hear banjos?”

On the first floor balcony that looks out over the pond RGN had set up three folding chairs. As dawn broke over the woodlands RGN started to make radio contact with other hunters in the area, he turned to us and in a stage whisper told us to keep very quiet. In the grey light of dawn, sharing a pair of binoculars, we scanned the light grey of the woods looking for the light grey of a deer. For a good twenty minuets we excitedly had a tree under rapt observation.

While we were trying not to laugh RGN tells us that his friends are hunting on the other side of the woods and are likely to drive the deer towards us, ‘this is the best hunting place for miles’ RGN goes back to scanning the woods. TNM has taken him at his word and starts whispering questions, before turning to me and whispering “I think all this shooting has made him a bit deaf”.

If you grew up in the city, you’ll be used to seeing ‘meat’ as a commodity, one totally divorced from ‘animals’. Milk comes from a carton, meat from a plastic tray. I spent a few years as a vegetarian health nut in my late teens and early twenties before I found myself challenged by two conflicting beliefs. I believed that meat wasn’t good for us to eat (mainly due to the effects of industrialised farming) and I believed that my body would let me know what I needed to eat if I had the clarity of mind to listen. One morning I was chatting with one of my fellow food nuts when he casually mentioned the chicken kebab he’d enjoyed the day before. To say I was surprised would be an understatement. Then he hit me, right between the eyes, with an idea. ‘When you think of eating meat do you salivate?’ I checked “yes” ‘then you need to eat meat’. For lunch that day we had chicken kebabs, with a side order of sacred cow.

I’m not really one for evangelising, but I do like to debate. Right down to the bone. Especially with people who disagree with me, but are smart enough to fiercely debate without bearing a grudge. I’ve enjoyed debating the meat eating issue with vegans, vegetarians, and the people I just can’t see eye to eye with, the meat eaters who are afraid of their dinner and appose hunting.

Would you prefer the animal to die instantly never having seen a hunter coming, or to die from being eaten alive by a predator in the wild?

Apart from the odd hysteric, the consensus is ‘if you’re prepared to kill it and grill it yourself who am I to tell you that you shouldn’t eat it’. And have I talked a good fight about doing just that! Most meat eaters seem to do a spot of hand wringing and say something like ‘I would but, well if I had to, to eat, then I would’, while that might be good enough for them, that’s never been good enough for me. Every time the debate has been aired I’ve proclaimed how much I want to earn the right to eat meat by killing it myself. It doesn’t have to mean killing every meal but killing a meal is something I must do.

I’m sitting in the freezing cold, on the other side of the world, looking out for a deer to shoot. Am I all mouth and trousers after all? Will I be able to pull the trigger and end a life? Kill a living thing?

Stuarts death had generated a swirling cauldron of emotions, my soul was fragile and exposed, things that should have been said will now forever remain unsaid, adventures we’d planned will never happen.

Suddenly a buck and his harem of does have emerged from the woods and are standing at the far side of the pond, RGN is handing TNM, the rifle and instructing “ at this range you’re going to have to aim about an inch lower than you want to hit, wait for your chance and hit him just behind the shoulder”.

While my experience was confined to air guns; shooting bottles in suburban gardens and tin ducks at fairgrounds. TNM later tells me he was once invited to a rifle range by the chief of police in a province of northern Pakistan. One shot with a Lee Enfield 303 was all it took to leave him with an aching shoulder and a ringing in his ears that lasted all morning.

Steadying himself against the uprights of the balcony TNM takes a deliberate aim and a massive bang shatters the stillness of the dawn. The deer jump, with all but one of them spinning 180 degrees in the air and they’re gone. Alongside the shock of the noise, I’m flooded with a torrent of conflicting emotions; the deer have gone I’ll not get my chance to face the test today; TNM looks frozen to the spot for a second before his face breaks into elation. I’m delighted for him – he got to test himself and passed, RGN couldn’t look happier! He knows he’s just been present at the birth rite of another hunter, his tribe has increased. RGN takes the rife, ejects the spent cartridge, and flicks the safety on. The realisation hits him, TNM has a thousand yard stare as he stutters “F-fork in hell, th- that was amazing”. We’re doing the back patting bit and TNM is putting the spent cartridge case into his pocket when the deer gets up. You didn’t need the field glasses to see that TNM has shot one of its legs off. RGN hands me the rifle and his voice is full of steely certainty as he tells me “You must shoot and kill the deer”. I work the bolt and disengage the safety catch as time slows to a crawl, TNM latter told me that I was so still and calm that he assumed I’d been shooting all my life, but in the moment, my moment, I was so far outside of time that in between my heart beats I could hear an action replay of a sports psychologist I know talking me through the process he’d modelled from expert shooters. I knew nothing of the mechanics of making a shot and gripped the rifle like it was going to stop me from drowning. Each juddering heartbeat sent a tremor through my body that took an age to subside; in the distance I heard RGN’s voice say ‘steady’ while the crosshairs danced over the doe.
She gave a second spastic lurch towards the cover of a bush and my moment of truth had come. The sight picture magically stabilised and time slowed again as my finger tightened against the trigger. During its glacial journey towards its breaking point I just had time to wonder if I’d actually put a live round in the breach when the roar of .300 WinMag told me the rifle had defiantly been loaded. The doe dropped to the ground. I stood up and turned to face the others wearing the same stare I’d seen on TNM.

There is a sharp pinch of regret in that moment, Deer have a alive-ness to them that is made slap-yer-face obvious by its absence, their trembling super sense; once so energetic to every shifting air current, as if hearing sounds before they’re made, the spooky ability they have to react to intentions. Gone. Meat on the ground.

The test of my resolve had been met, I’m still troubled by the industrialised meat that forms so much of my diet, but I have sacrificed my disassociation. In that moment I reconnected with the food chain. Honesty has a flavour, one I’m delighted with.

RGN was more than delighted. The birth rite had produced twins!

TNM and myself walked, still shaking with adrenalin, over to the pond and round to the deer’s body. Amid the florid swearing and expressions of delight we knew we’d managed to pull it off, we were blooded deer hunters. England’s honour was safe once more.

SBW: Why didn’t you shoot the one with antlers?
TNM: Which one with antlers? I only saw the one I shot.

The Northern Monkey's shot had taken off the doe’s front left leg off just below the shoulder, mine was at least level with her heart but it had entered a way to the right as she’d twitched by (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). Much further to the right and this would be a story about despatching a deer tracked through the woods.

After dragging the carcass back to the farm and hefting it into the back of his jeep we drove up to RGN’s place full of questions about rifles, deer, and when we’d get to do it again. As we drove up RGN’s drive way I became overcome with a sense of my own deer hunter-ness and started to profess my desire to learn the whole process (later to become the subject of this blog) from tracking to marksmanship to butchery. As we parked up outside RGN’s garage he dropped the tailgate, letting the deer slump to the ground, clicked open a Buck knife and handed it to me with the words “Go on then Mr Bushcraft”.

One of the things that I’ve learned by spending time with the management consultants and renegade psychologists is that the starting point to a new experience tends to define how the experience is encoded, if there are enough points of familiarity the ‘can do’ program kicks in – What’s a dead deer? It’s a very big chicken and I butcher them every week. No problem.

The unexpected difference between field dressing and kitchen butchery is the temperature; chilblains rang through my hands as I heaved the gut pile out onto the driveway. A flock of turkey vultures waited impatiently from their perch.

Our victory and joy at holding up the honour of old England was short lived, as TNM pointed out “every time we leave the room someone asks RGN ‘is it true it took two limeys to kill one little whitetail’?”

[ it got worse on a subsequent trip Bruce (who you'll meet later) confronted me in a bar
" Is it true you shot a whitetail up the ass? Not very manly was it?" ]

Thanks for reading

Monday, 11 May 2009

Persistence Persistence And More Persistence

Our hero has trailed these lost skills across half a world, befriended the locals, and followed their fittest hunter on an epic eight hour hunt under the blazing african sun. Perusing the the chance to capture a dying art on film.
The BBC, home to the fittest camera crews on earth!

If this doesn't amaze you, make your own film, I'm dying to see it!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

I want One - A Not So Occasional Series Pt9

As promised, more  lust. In fact a double helping

Having spent the evening with  CHJ yesterday I'm keener than ever to take that trip to his personal paradise in Italy.
Where we'll go in search of some wild boars; what sound like very big deer that have never seen hunting pressure and take a few casts at the trout that swim in his stream.

Prompted by Tom's comments on the recent post featuring that 'more money than Abramovich' double rifle.  
I've been looking at these, with just a little of that rifle avarice I seem to have developed of late.

The Finn Classic 512 shooting system is the current incarnation of the Valmet 412 (AKA Tikka 512) . 
The guns are made by Marocchi who manufactured the guns under contract for Tikka. 
The shotguns have an excellent reputation for being impervious to bad weather and built to last several lifetimes. Further set of barrels are available either as shotgun and rifle or double rifle. 
There is a review of the 'working mans double rifle' here

Personally I really like the utilitarian titanium coated look, fancy engraving only looks good when it's really really good and even then, while an admirer of the craft, I like tools to look like tools. The idea of a second shot appeals, there are some big boars in them tharr hills and the take down style would be a blessing traveling on Europe's budget airlines. 

I saw a set up in .308 with a swarovski rifle scope pre loved for £1500 a few months ago. It's seller described it as 'the ultimate boar rig'. But then he was selling it wasn't he.

Tom's comments about setting up the barrel alignment on double rifles by soldering and re soldering to get and keep the point of convergence have got me wondering though.....

As did learning that in .308 and 30-06 they don't come with automatic ejectors, (all other calibers do) can you really have a dangerous game rifle without them?

As ever if you have an opinion on the suitability, practicality, design or function of such a gun I'd love to hear it.
Your pal
The Bushwacker.

Monday, 4 May 2009

calibre 2.0

When I'd had that first had the opportunity to hunt a whitetail  I knew it was something I'd want to do again. So on my return to Blighty I started the slow process of learning about Deer Stalking (as deer hunting is called here). Not coming from a shooting family all my limited shooting experience had been with pellet guns in back yards, so it's not been the quickest of process's.

When started thinking about buying a rifle I assumed I'd be buying a .30-06 because that's what everyone on the interweb said they used to shoot whitetails, (the english hadn't really started blogging about deer stalking then). 
I started reading David Petzal and his advice was along the lines of  'decide what you want and buy one calibre smaller' and at the time he was talking up the .270.  For readers not familiar with his writings Mr Petzal would be putting himself out of a job if he just championed one calibre. F&S has to sell next months issue after all so his advice would be someting along the lines of  'buy the biggest cupboard you can and fill it'. For example

Then I met James Marchington who pointed me in the direction of the .308 and its cheaper lower pressured NATO twin, before caveating the choice with 'not legal in France though', but that was in the days before the Great British Rupee, when we could still lord it over our neighbors with our super currency.  I've spent a bit of time in France and at the time rural france was pretty affordable, I've got a connection to get involved in the Battue so I thought it may happen sooner than later. I doubt I'll be going there again in a while. Sadly gordon has blown all our chips making ill advised bets on on people without jobs being able to pay morgages on rabbit hutches. Still at least I'll be able to tell my grand kids something totally unbelievable yet true. I can hear them now

 'Grandpa Bushwacker's confused again mum - he says it was Euros to the Pound!'

It's been a bit of a steep learning curve, but as with most steep learning curves it's also been a lot of fun. Then I threw the question out to you dear readers, the results are in and if I understand you all (please comment if i've got the wrong end of the stick as it won't be the first or last time).

James .308 - accuracy and range

Andy .30-06 - hits 'em harder

Albert .300 win -  hits 'em even harder

Karl 7mm Rem - flatter

Holly .270 - flatter 

Rick 30-30 or whatever's to hand - dead is dead

Chad 6.5x55

Tom .308 for availability - but it should really be a .375!

Bill .270

Mo .30-06

Dennis 6.5x55 or for longer ranges .270

Mdmnm .308 for availability or 7mm-08 Rem for trajectory

Envirocapitalist 30-06 when in north america

Hodgeman .30-06/270/.308 and 6.5x55 - which ever is easist to buy

Clearer now? No me neither.

The Choice seems to come down to:

Do I prefer Flatter and Faster Flying or Bigger and Harder Hitting? 

Yes I realise there isn't a a direct correlation between those criteria - hence a whole internet full of gun nuts arguing the highly subjective personal preference it comes down to.

Then the question becomes, what's Available, Legal, Appropriate and Affordable?

The the hardest question of all - What's your definition of a compromise between the above?

Now to brand and model:I'm looking for ideas at two price points 'money no object' and 'for the price of solving a significant domestic drainage or heating problem'. Remember I'm a Mac user so I will pay for utility and design - but I'm also an honorary Yorkshireman so I'm looking for a bargain. 

Suggestions on the comments page please.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Sgian Dubh

Been a while since we've had a spot of knife pr0n* on the blog, but while I was researching some Scottish folklore for another project I stumbled upon this handsome little fella. The Sgian Dubh (say it Skein Du) means 'knife dark' in the celtic tongue and is traditionally worn poking from the top of a long woollen sock. 

There are several schools of thought on the history of the SD, with some commentators seeing them as the smaller half of a pair of field knives worn by a Gillie or guide. Others claim the design comes from an earlier concealed carry that was worn inside the sleeve of a shirt or jacket.  An overlapping theory has it that the Sgian Dubh found it's place in the Caledonian tradition as the only EDC permitted after the disarming act of 1746. 

The vast majority of Sgian Dubh seen on the web are purely decorative and part of highland formal dress - basically, they're purely ornamental and you wear 'em at weddings. For locations were there is a prohibition on the wearing of small daggers while copious amounts of alcohol are being consumed one company has launched the Sgian-Brew.

This example is a totally different story:  a 4" blade of Devin Thomas "spirograph" damascus which has been gun blued, given a nickel-silver guard and stabilized ebony handle. It was made by a chap called Mike Mooney of Queen Creek AZ who has won numerous awards for his knife making skills. Have a look - you'll see why.

Your pal
The Bushwacker
PS If you thought custom knives were expensive - wait 'till you see the price of Kilts!!!

*knife pr0n = knives that I'd like to get my hands on but likely never will.