Antti Silvennoinen

“My name is Antti Silvennoinen and I’m 57 years old. I live in small town called Mäntyharju in South Savo, Finland. I’m a carpenter and construction worker, I’ve also worked as instructor at the local workshop and I’ve arranged a carving course for children. I’ve practiced carving and wood work since I was six years old when I got my first puukko, which have hooked me on knives and carving ever since.

My grandmother had a huge influence on my enthusiasm for handicrafts: during the childhood summers I spent with her in the countryside, she let me carve as much as I wanted, got me all the wood and supplies I ever needed and encouraged me on my hobby.

People in the old days were very skilled and inventive as there wasn’t a shop at every corner where you could get everything, thus having to craft from themself a lot of what they needed. So I’ve always been also interested in used tools, crafting of consumables, constructions, fishing gear etc.

I crafted my first puukko in the first 80s when I was attending handicraft and artistic school in Lempäälä. During the forging course I made a couple of knife blades and chisels. Then, for about twenty years I crafted some knives buying the blades elsewhere. In the early 2000s I participated for three years to knife making courses held by Taisto Kuortti: he’s been my biggest inspirer to puukko making and his thorough and professional teaching has given me good capabilities in knifemaking. He also encouraged me to join the Suomen puukkoseura and to participate to the Fiskars competition. After the courses I made myself a forge and started seriously hammering steel.

Apparently I’ve inherited my handicraft skills from my grandfather, who was a skilled blacksmith, carpenter and construction worker, but unfortunately I don’t remember him, since I was only two years old when he passed away. Nevertheless I’ve seen some of his works and heard stories about him, then, a couple years ago, I got his anvil which hadn’t been used in over fifty years.

Knife making is currently a hobby of mine, besides woodworking, fishing and music: I play the guitar and create a lot of my fishing gears myself.

When making knives I’m fascinated by the diversity and possibilities you can get by combining steel, wood, leather, bark etc, leading to both aesthetic and working items. But you’re never completely done in knifemaking, there’s always something new to learn!

For my blades I use traditional carbon steel, recycled steel, silver steel, 80CrV2 plus some stainless steel. For the handles I use curly birch, birch burl, birch bark, moose antler plus a small amount of oak, mahogany etc. Almost every bolster is made with recycled materials.

I don’t have a traditional smithy or a workshop: I forge all my blades during the summer at our cottage, then I craft handles, sheath liners and bolsters. In winter I finish the knives and sew the sheaths in the apartment. I try to use power tools as little as possible, so for my knives to be really hand crafted. Beside traditional puukkos I also crafts filleting knives, leukus and hunting models. I like clean lines in my works and the more I craft, the simpler and leaner my knives have become.”

How a Kauhava style “evolved” into the Rautalampi

As I will post the review of a Rautalampi puukko in the near future I though it could be useful showing beforehand how this style came to be, evolving from the Kauhava festive models. We already wrote about the Rautalampi in the past https://nordiskaknivar.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/rautalammi-puukko/

but on this occasion I will go for side by side pictures.

Both puukkos were vrafted by master bladesmith Arto Liukko, following styles common in the 1890s. In particular the Kauhava follows Juho Lammi’s measures, while the Rautalampi follows Emil Hänninen ones.

It’s worth mentioning that Lammi handles were slightly thicker than those crafted by his cousin Iisakki Järvenpää. In the pictures you’ll see the Kauhava with brass fittings and dyed birch handle next to the Rautalampi with nickel silver fittings and oiled birch handle.

Federico Buldrini

Kauhava

blade

length – 97 mm

wideness – 15 mm

thickenss – 2 mm at the spine; 3,2 mm at the bevels junction

tang – 4×2 mm

edge angle – 19°

handle

length – 107 mm

wideness – 23 mm max.

thickness – 16 mm max.

weight

knife – 60 g

w/sheath – 92 g

Rautalampi

blade

length – 97 mm

wideness – 16 mm

thickenss – 2,5 mm at the spine; 3,5 mm at the bevels junction

tang – 3×3 mm

edge angle – 18°

handle

length – 101 mm

wideness – 24 mm max.

thickness – 19,5 mm max.

weight

knife – 70 g

w/sheath – 100 g

“The Broken Back Profile”

By Federico Buldrini

Since the subject is so broad and the reference material not always so easy to find, I will limit myself to discuss the broken back profile only in its western context.

We can find blades with strongly clipped points or spines abruptly angled in razors, knives and folders Greeks and Romans, as early as the 4th century BCE. However the profile isn’t quite what we’re searching for here, since the majority, fixed blades especially, were more like scaled down versions of kopis, sica and falcata swords.

According to German historiography the very first examples of knives classifiable as seaxes are also dated around the 4th century BCE and seem to come from Swedish Skåne, at the time inhabited by what are considered to be the first clans of the Lombards. With the migration towards south the knife then spread across the Alemanni tribes north of the Main river, then towards the Danube and finally west reaching France.

Still these knives didn’t have our profile of interest, on the other hand keeping the spine straight or just dropped enough to form a spear point, usually around the central axis of the blade. This last type of profile will be also very common in Frankish scramasax, with some exceptions.

A medium sized blade with a profile nearing our subject is among the findings from the Pictish burials of Rhyne, dated to the 5th-6th century CE.

Knives with an increasingly marked broken back profile were found in the Vendel period (450-790) ship burials in Sutton Hoo, England and their Swedish counterparts in Uppsala and, precisely, Vendel.

The similarities in the types of burials, the objects, the style of decorations and metallurgy techniques among findings from Vendel, Uppsala and Sutton Hoo has led some scholars to theorize that the warriors buried may had been part of a specific caste or, more likely, a brotherhood of arms.

It has to be said that the broken back knives from the Vendel period were seldom seax, but rather small to medium sized belt knives in male graves and brooch knives in female graves.

However in Finland it has been recently discovered a Vendel period seax with a blade already leaning towards a style similar to what will eventually evolve in the British Islands,

while in the Aachen cathedral is kept a broken back seax, dated to the 8th century, called “Charlemagne hunting knife”, but without any real proof of its actual owner.

The broken back profile, in this case called Hedeby type 6, is the second most common among the knives and blades found in Heiðabýr, today in German Jutland, while part of the Danish kingdom during the Viking Age (790-1066) and from here probably spread in the south of Sweden and Norway, while becoming less common towards the norther regions.

Also, a good number of such blades, but with the spine angle changing already before half its length, has been found in Jórvík, nowadays York, established in 867 by Halfdan Ragnarsson, following the conquest by the Great Heated Army, led by Ivar the boneless, of the Anglosaxon  harbor of Eoforwic, in turn built over the Roman Eburacum. In this case too the knives are usually middle to small sized.

Folding knives with a central pivot and blades with a broken back point on one side and a spear point of the other, probably used by leather workers have been found in England, at Jórvik, Canterbury and London and in Russia, at Novgorod. All the findings are dated from the 10th to the 12th century.

Around the year 1000, while in continental Europe the seax had started to loose popularity, Anglosaxon perfected its English counterpart, by many considered to be the maximum expression of this knife though somewhat influenced by the later Frankish ones. Anyway is undeniable that some Anglosaxon specimen shows a level of metallurgic and decorations complexity rarely seen elsewhere.

Some 10th century seaxes found in Dublin are particularly interesting, on the other hand, for their strongly clipped point, almost anticipating the 17th century Spanish navajas.

To conclude, Anglosaxon seaxes, regardless of their size, have a doubly tapering spine, thickening towards the hunch and then thinning towards the tip.

Anyway with the end of the 12th century seaxes were completely set aside on the British Islands too.

From this point on a kind of broken back profile, but way more leaning towards a sharply clipped point was adopted continuously until the 16th century on various declinations first on the falchion

and on to the messer

both being single edged swords utilized primarily, but not exclusively by infantry soldiers. In the same period, but in civil context, were developed the bauernwehr, big hunting knives from Germany and Bohemia, sometimes the size of a small sword and, especially in these cases, very similar to a messer without a cross guard.

After the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711 new weapons were introduced in souther Europe. Scimitars, jambiya daggers and generally curved bladed weapons were called alfanje in Spanish and this name ended up being used also to describe similar swords manufactured by Spaniards. Following Spanish and Muslim trades around the Mediterranean Sea, especially with the Venetian Republic, these swords were appreciated and forged outside of Spain and gave origin to the Italian storta, the southern counterpart to the falchion and messer of central and northern Europe.

Between 1600 and 1700 Europe saw the growth of industrial production of folding knives and some of these, English penny knives in particular, already in 1650 had blades with such a strong broken back profile which almost eliminated completely the point. It’s quite safe to assume that these blades will be the base for the sheepsfoot and lambsfoot profiles.

As for the western folders, from the 17th century on, those knives that had an actual point and a straight spine shifted towards more elegant and softened profiles. Such examples are the Savoyard knives, both Italian and French, the Laguiole, the Spanish navajas, all somewhat influenced by the shape of the Ottoman yatagan sword. From these knives will evolve the modern clip point and texas toothpick profiles.

Meanwhile in the United States of America, since 1785, existed the barlow knife which, compared to its European counterparts and had a very strong profile.

In the last years of 1600, after the establishment in 1670 of the Hudson Bay Fur Trade Company, Sheffield’s knife factories were commissioned with the creation and production of a camp knife to be issued to the hunters and trappers working for the Company. The namesake knife,

which profile reworks the Anglosaxon seax, will remain in production until the 1820s, when it was eventually replaced by butcher knives first and by English made bowie knives then.

With the end of 19th century the broken back profile has almost disappeared. Beside historical replicas, few contemporary declinations are the Varusteleka Skrama, the Morakniv steak knives, which sport a very Jórvik styled blade and, somewhat similar to the Pictish blades of Rhyne, the Mora knife classical profile, firstly introduced in 1891 by Frost-Erik Ernström.

Anssi Ruusuvuori: New Book, New Work

I am very happy to report that Anssi Ruusuvori’s new English language book is available. Sometime ago there was a post on this blog about Annsi profiling his background as puukkoseppä and historian. I would encourage you to read it: https://nordiskaknivar.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/anssi-ruusuvuori-puukkoseppa-historian-and-author/

The new book, The Puukko: Finnish Knives from Antiquity to Today is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Puukko-Finnish-Knives-Antiquity-Today/dp/0764360701 Here is the introduction;

“For a Finn, the puukko is the most important tool and at the same time the most feared weapon. You could almost say the puukko has the same importance for a Finn as the samurai sword has for the Japanese. It is a 2,000-year-old mystical weapon that has been used for centuries with the same conviction and dexterity during times of peace and war. This comprehensive resource on the Finnish puukko is the only one available and covers the history and the various types by using extensive photos of examples. Anssi Ruusuvuori has reprocessed the history of this remarkable knife type in a form unique up to now. He deals with technical and design aspects of the puukko and guides the reader through the history of this legendary tool and weapon from the Viking era up to the present. He reports about the great master smiths of industrialization in the late 19th century and about rediscovering the puukko in the recent past. This book’s initial focus is on the puukko’s technology and history. In the second section, the author introduces the different puukko types according to their materials and construction. Thereafter are presented the multiple regional types and special puukkos, which are essential to know about as a collector and knife enthusiast. This book provides a comprehensive overview with respect to the topic “puukko” and transfers a rich treasure of knowledge. During its long history, the puukko was used for a great diversity of tasks, such as the production of ladles and other household tools; the carving of ornaments; scratching ice off cart wheels; cutting food; gutting and skinning of game, fish, or livestock; climbing out of an ice hole back to firm ground; and magic rituals (to protect children from evil spirits, to pray for a good harvest, and so on). It was used for self-defense and for duels. The main source of material for this book is the puukko collections of Finnish museums and private collectors. The greater part of researched knives is from the National Museum of Finland. Additional material was gathered from the Kauhava Puukko Museum, the Peura Museum, the Turku Regional Museum, the Aboa Vetus et Ars Nova Museum, the Ostrobothnian Museum, the Museum of Crime, and various private collections.”

His earlier masterwork in Finnish (Puukon Historia, Puukon Historia 2) will also be reprinted before the end of the year by http://Readme.fi. and is available for preorder by email at joni@pyysalo.

Anssi has been a very good friend to Nordiska Knivar providing information whenever I made a request. Do yourself a favor, gain some knowledge and read Annsi’s new book. In the meantime here is a selection of some of his new work. Enjoy!

Anssi Ruussuvuori

Jari Liukko Fiskars Puukko

I would like to show a few photos of Jari Liukko’s First Place winning Kauhava horse head puukko from this year’s Fiskars Competition. This is a national competition and the official Finnish championship held every May at Fiskars Village. Fiskars Village is an historical site on the original Fiskars manufacturing location featuring shops, exhibitions, a museum and various hand work competitions among other things.

Jari’s profile and work has been featured here in the past. Go to the Index Page to learn about Jari and see more of his work.

This puukko has a birch bark handle, silversteel blade, 925 sterling silver fittings and inlays and leather sheath.

JT Pälikkö Medieval Knife Review

By Federico Buldrini

Jarno Pälikkö is one of the eleven Finnish certified master bladesmiths, living and working in Helsinki. This knife isn’t based on a particular specimen, it’s rather a speculative reproduction of a medieval Finnish knife. Pälikkö doesn’t craft many of these models, since they aren’t his main focus, but nevertheless forges some for Medieval and Viking festivals he attends.

This particular piece was temporarily loaned to me for the review and was shipped back to Finland at the end of my work.

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8

blade

length – 93 mm

wideness – 25 mm

thickness – 7 mm at the base, 1 mm at the tip

steel – 52100

bevels – flat

edge angle – 16°, with small microbevel

edge hardness – ~ 60 HRC

54

handle

length – 113 mm

wideness – 33 mm in the middle

thickness – 22 mm in the middle

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weight

knife – 110 g

with sheath – 170 g

The blade was forged with hand held hammer from 52100, recycled from a railroad axle. It has a flat section, tapered in height and thickness. After annealing and normalization it was heated in the coal forge, quenched in oil and tempered on the forge. While being dipped in oil the spine has been kept over the surface so to be softer. The all blade was then acid etched, to enhance the steel grain and tempering line. The bevels are ground at 16°, with a small microbevel.

The handle is crafted from a piece of curly birch with the tang glued in place with epoxy. The handle, sanded to a very fine grit, is slightly tapered in width and thickness, in both directions. It has a marked teardrop section, bigger proportions and fills the hand well.

The sheath is hand stitched from 4 mm leather and like normally is the case with medieval scabbards, there is no wood liner. However the leather used is extremely stiff and hard. The belt loop is a simple knotted reindeer leather strip. Retention is excellent, without being excessive.

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In use

Out of the box the edge was quite rough, so I stropped it with Bark River black (#3000) and green (#6000) compound. The knife is slightly handle heavy.

Let’s start with a small owl, from a two years seasoned maple branch. After a mild resistance to carve the two major facets, the knife performed very well while planing and shaping the 45° nape. Again there was a slight resistance while cutting the X, perpendicular to the fibers, but was surprisingly nimble and agile, despite the blade width and general proportions, while carving the facial disks.

Again a small resistance while roughing the forehead, then gone after the first cuts. Little resistance while establishing, with the edge first cms closest to the handle, the V notch and then effortlessly carving the ear tufts with the curved portion near the tip. Again the knife was more nimble than expected.

There was a bit of resistance during the first series of cuts to thin down the branch diameter, to free the owl. While cutting deeper the strain was dropping, while still perceivable, then a little bit more when planing the base.

At the end the edge was pristine, with untouched shaving bite, save the first 2 cm closest to the handle, which did the hardest cuts. Thirty five passes on green compound.

Let’s continue, without changing wood or branch, with a wizard. Small resistance while carving the base facets and the nape, while very good when doing the three V, base for the face features, and when working the nose and face itself. However, due to the blade width and microbevel “thickness” the knife is slow, especially when drawing the lip. Again there was a bit of resistance when separating the wizard from the branch then planing the base.

At the end the edge was pristine and the shaving bite was gone only in the half close to the handle, due to power cuts. Twenty passes on DMT #1200, twenty five on black compound and forty on green compound.

Let’s continue, still without changing wood or branch, with a spikkentroll. A little resistance while roughing out the hat, after which I felt the edge 4 cms closest to the handle had slightly folded to the left, without hindering the bite much honestly. Again some small resistance while carving the face notch, slightly stronger when doing the U notch in the hat, especially when going against the grain. As in the previous projects the strongest resistance was at the moment of planing the base, after having cut the spikkentroll off the branch. In all three maple projects the cut finish was always good and just a hair shy of glossy.

At the end the edge was still folded, plus I detected a tiny microchip near the center. I could only feel it trailing the nail along the edge, but not see it with the naked eye. The curved belly was still shaving sharp. Fifteen passes on DMT #1200, fifty on black compound and fifty on the green one.

 Let’s close with a two years seasoned silver fir spatula. Good bite roughing it out with both forehand and chest lever grip. Even though the abundant proportions are still there, the knife felt strongly more lively and in its place compared tot he previous projects. The big dimensions enabled me also to apply much force to power cuts and get a rather quick roughing stage. While doing so I removed almost completely and planed two 1 cm wide knots. At the end of all the roughing the edge was pristine, though had lost the shaving bite except for the curve close the tip. Forty passes on black compound and forty on the green one.

Also during the finishing stages the knife felt quite beefy but agile. The majority of the cuts were made pulling the knife towards me, gripping the knife spine, without using the thumb as a fulcrum on the work piece, or doing small tweaks rotating the wrist and using the left thumb as a fulcrum on the spine.

At the end the edge was pristine and the shaving bite had only slightly dropped. Twenty passes on green compound.

Conclusions

 Undoubtedly good fit and finish and well done heat treatment. As expected it paid its bigger proportions, especially the wideness in tiny spaces, when working on smaller “artsy” projects, while they paid off in utilitarian projects, Good handle ergonomics allowing good control in both delicate and power cuts, with and edge towards the power ones. Speaking of the blade a slightly convexed edge flowing directly from the bevels would have probably allowed better glidings in the wood, compared to the current V edge. The only downside of this knife is its objectively high price, for its simple concept.

 

Karelian Forging

By Mikhail Artemiev & Federico Buldrini

The importance of blacksmithing for Karelians reflects in the epic Kalevala, where the demigod smith Ilmarinen forged the Sampo mill, a source of happiness and prosperity for its possessor.

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Scheme of an ancient iron furnace.

In the past many Livonian Karelians practiced ore mining, blacksmithing and tar smoking. Karelian blacksmiths forged axes, drills, knives and sickles from mined and smelted ore. At some point the iron production was so widespread that sources from the XVI century speak of entire villages living entirely on it. During the XIX century there were also firearms crafted. All these were much appreciated and in demand on the Russian market.

battle axe 10th cent

Battle axe, 10th century

In many Norse sagas from IX and X centuries we find mention of the Kiryal people, living on the shores of lake Ladoga, as rich, trading with the Sami people, penetrating far north and giving Vikings a decent resistance. According to the sagas, Swedish legendary king Ivar Vidfamne, the great great great grandfather of Ivar the Boneless, died during a campaign against the Kiryals, after being tricked into an argument by Odin in disguise, resulting with Ivar jumping after the man and into the sea.

sword 10th cent (2)

Sword, 10th century

Also, the Saga of Halfdan tells of the Viking battle in Kiryalanbotn. Although sagas aren’t considered particularly reliable historical sources, their mentions of the Karelians and Karelia indicates the existence of ties between the Scandinavians and the Karelians, plus their military and economic development at that time.

16th century battle axes:

The Norsemen called the Kiryals land “Kiryalaland” or “Kiryalabotn”, the last one translatable as “Kiryals living at the end of the fjords”. Such fjords can only be found on the northern coast of lake Ladoga. Archaeological finds in that area show that local settlements were indeed located at the lake’s fjords ends, confirming the truthfulness of the old name.

Ancient Karelian weapons were mostly of Russian type, with some European variations as well, both imported with trades and locally crafted.

Twenty four sword fragments found show straight, double-edged blades, about 1 meter long, with sheaths of wood and leather and a bronze tip. The pommels and guards are mostly decorated with floral pattern. Metal inlays are often found on the blade groove, while the sword found in Kurkieki has an Latin inscription.

Other findings include various types of spearheads, from 26 to 37 cm long, some decorated with ornaments and inlays, many axes, including smaller decorated battle axes and great variety of bow arrowheads and cross bow arrows. Many small iron plates, maybe parts of an armour were found only in Rääisälä.

spearhead 16th cent

Spearhead, 16th century

Last but not least, numerous items of horse harness such as bits, horseshoes, buckles and studded horseshoes, for rides on smooth ice.

ice crampon 15th cent

Ice crampon, 15th century

spearhead 16th cent

Spearhead, 16th century

arrowhead 15th cent

Arrowhead, 15th century

Brooches, 10th and 12th centuries:

11th and 12th century pendants:

 

All pics taken from the Karelian National Museum website:

Mikhail Artemiev

Mikhail Artemiev

Adapted by Federico Buldrini from a text by Roman Zelenov and Mikail Artemiev

Russian bladesmith Mikhail Artemiev lives and works in Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Republic of Karelia. His grandfather Karel was Karelian with Finnish roots. He’s the first forger in his family, but his now two years old son might follow in his steps. Mikhail is an enthusiastic tourist, doing several polar Ural hiking trips and participating in various open water marathons and practicing winter swimming.

Mikhail attended Petrozavodsk Railway Technical College, where he received his first theoretical metalwork knowledge, then he joined the Railway Depot upon graduation.
In the repair workshop he honed and improved his practical forging skills and it was here that he actually forged his first camp hatchet. For some time this forge was his production base.
In 2006 the city administration commissioned him the design and forging of the gates and fence for the city park.

With the growth of customers, it became possible to establish a private smithy and workshop for wood and leather working at home, near the railway station and in the view of Lake Onega.
Mikhail has now specialized in forging axes, carpentry tools and traditional Finnish knives.

As the owner of a one man company, every stage of production, from forging, to heat treatment, handle shaping and sheath making is personally tackled by Mikhail.
Within twenty years of practice he developed more than fifty different axe models, from the Finnish style to the Old Russian style based on 15th century archaeological findings.

Blacksmithing skills come with experience after thousands of unsuccessful attempts of putting what you have in mind into steel. Character strength, patience and determination all play a huge role for success. It’s necessary to be tuned for every new work, to have constant attention and even the blacksmith’s mood can affect the final result: sometimes Mikhail dances in the forge.

For axe forging Artemiev uses mostly tool steel like 9KHS (150Cr14) and KHVG (O1). The steel billet should be slightly heavier than the final head weight as with each heating the surface burns out and further metal is removed by grinding.

A spheric billet is firstly forged square, then heated to red to punch the eye hole and stretch the neck. Then the head is hammered out, the edge with nose and toe is forged and, depending on the model, the hammer shaped back. The blades are dipped in red hot smelted salt,then quenched in oil. After the heat treatment, the finishing touches are done by grinding. It takes above 250 steps to craft the axe.

Each axe is unique and, since production is mostly done by hand, no more than 16-18 pieces leave the workshop in one working session.
Birch and ash pre-dried and seasoned for 6-8 years are used for handles. Every handle is individually planned for each axe head, roughly shaped by saw, then sanded and fitted with a 2 ton pneumatic press. In the end the wood is soaked in linseed oil.

A great attention to details, ergonomics, design, reliability, durability, convenience, positive emotions and the pleasure that axe owner take from working must be embodied in every product. The axes mustn’t be only functional, but also beautiful: a household tool can be collectible and an ancient symbol of male power and embodiment of military spirit.

Forging has much in common with sculpture and chess playing, but instead of malleable clay, stubborn steel is used, and intellectual game goes along with hard physical work. A blacksmith needs to plan the design in advance, break it down into stages, imagine how dynamic force from the hammer blows will affect the metal, understand the laws of thermodynamics, what happens during heating and cooling and win the constant race against time.

It takes up to 2 months of hard work to develop a new model, starting from forging, practicing forging techniques, optimizing specific processes to start the first forging round, then a certain number of finished products will eventually be discarded by the smith. A constant search for new solutions, improving and testing axe-making technologies and the desire to create motivate the artisan.
To create unique and unparalleled work it needs to be blacksmith, artisan, artist, creator and scientist all at once.

As a final note, Mikhail has the dream to create a private museum of the axe and hand tools next to the workshop, wherein to show his works and leading visits for schools, families and tourists alike.

The ax

The ax, the shiny ax is the attribute of the woodsman. As unavoidable as the key in St.Peter’s hands.

I have worn out many axes, Mustad axes, Finstad axes, Swedish axes, many.

Some served me faithfully for wood fragrant days, others have broken in the hard wood and called curses over the unworthy oath of the smith.

But all the deceitful as well as the faithful axes had their face. Its strict steel profile unlike any other. You see it as soon as you haft your ax,

this own expression that says I’ll meet you many mornings, be in your dreams as a silent reminder.

And when you swing the new ax in the first trying chop, it’s like the muscles are listening.
And if you don’t get to know the axe and become friends with her….

Then it happens, she reminds you of the steel’s bloody tradition.

Hans Børli

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Mikhail Artemiev

 

Nils Ögren

I began my blacksmithing journey in 2017, at the age of 24. I had been in the music industry for as long as I can remember and I simply had enough. I grew up as a son of a farmer and brother to a carpenter, so I guess manual labor comes fairly natural to me. I usually describe blacksmithing as something in between music and manual labor, to me it has all the creative parts of music but at the same time speaks to me as a “typical” masculine line of work. I started by trying to make swords. However I realized that it was a lot harder than I thought, so I moved on to knives and a lot of other things. Finally, in March 2019, I began forging axes and that has been my thing ever since.

When I first started out I thought I was the only blacksmith in my family history. On my 25th birthday my uncle gave me a really old anvil that apparently had once belonged to my great great grandfather. I was blown away: that moment fueled my amazement to the craft and I felt honored to carry the torch. And yes, I’m self taught.

Unlike what SAS says, Scandinavians have a very strong culture. Axes and tools have been something that blacksmiths have made for thousands of years. Say what you will about the viking age tools, but even later in the 16th,17th,18th,19th and 20th century, the north has been very productive when it comes to tools.I try my best to respect the traditions of my country and I try to implement it as much as I can in work!
I have always been amazed by people with years and years of experience, in any craft really. The humbleness and expertise is truly something I strive towards.
I want to see where this can take me. I’m not so focused on the end goal as I am on the journey: getting to know amazing people and collaborating with others is a goal in itself.

I get inspired by watching and seeing other people work. I know it’s easy to get a little jealous and take to envy, but I find that being thankful is far more giving and inspiring!
To name a few people I’d say: Dave Delagardelle, Derek Melton, Alec Steele, Liam Hoffman, Kyle Royer, Will Stelter and Paul Krzyszkowski.

Other than forging, I love watching movies and reading great books and still play music from time to time, but something that really inspires me is History & Christianity. I really like digging in and trying to find meaning in old stories and important literature. I also have a small Bible collection.

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Nils Ögren

Kokemäki puukko

 

By Anssi Ruusuvuori

Kokemäki puukko is a simple and graceful puukko model without any fittings. One of its most typical features is the end (butt) of the handle which is often, but not always, beveled slightly from both sides. The black or brown colored sheath is equally simple and elegant without excessive decorations. The typical decoration of the sheath consists of simple impressed lines following the edges of last and the sheath mouth, with diagonal lines drawn on last ”shoulders”. The blade was often made from an old file and the tang was left shorter than the handle. In an 1962 article by Eino Kauppi it is told that Kokemäki puukko was also called as ”Satakunta puukko” and that it was made in three sizes.

Not much is known about the birth history of Kokemäki puukko. It was manufactured at least already in the beginning of 20th century – possibly already during the 19th century – and the making of it continued in Kokemäki all the way until the 1980s. According to an article by Vesa Toivonen (Puukkoposti 1/2007) for which he interviewed a local collector Seppo Marjanen, the most important and only professional maker of Kokemäki puukko was Aksel(i) Ekman (1883 – 1950), originally a master shoemaker. There is a mention in the books of Iisakki Järvenpää factory of a certain Akseli Ekman working in the factory for some time. It is not known if he was the same person as ”the shoemaker Ekman” or just his namesake, but it would seem more plausible that they actually were the same person, which suggests that Ekman might have learned some of his puukko making skills working for Järvenpää.

Some of the part time makers of the model were: Viljo Kallionpää (1896 – 1965), Ilmari Kuula (1903 – 1983), Aarne Kuula (1911 – 1985) and Heikki Marjanen (1918 – 1989). Two local inhabitants Mikko Karen (born1930) and Erkki Tähtinen have also made Kokemäki puukko as a hobby until recent years. The most noted of today’s Kokemäki puukko makers are puukko smiths Pekka Tuominen and Mikko Inkeroinen. The first picture shows a Kokemäki puukko from the collection of National Museum of Finland, made by Ilmari Kuula around 1940 – 1950 after a model by Akseli Ekman. The next picture shows three Kokemäki puukko made by Akseli Ekman himself.

image001

A Kokemäki puukko from the collection of National Museum of Finland, made by Ilmari Kuula around 1940 – 1950 after a model by Akseli Ekman.

image002

Three Kokemäki puukko made by Akseli Ekman.

K4 ryynanen

Jani Ryynänen

K1 inkeroinen 1

Mikko Inkeroinen

K2 inkeroinen 2

Mikko Inkeroinen detail.

K7 Saku kokemc3a4en-11

Saku Honkilahti

K5 tuominen

Pekka Tuominen

K3 rasimaki

Heimo Rasinmäki

 

K6 old from a private collection

From an old private collection.