I have come to know the work of puukkoseppä Matti Luhtanen recently and I would like to show some of his Toijala puukkos to you. These puukkos require a high level of skill as you can see by looking at them. This style of puukko dates back to at least the mid 1800s and to me is one of the most beautiful and stylish of all puukkos.
I asked Matti to write about his work and he was kind enough to respond. Thank you very much Matti! I’m hoping to feature a work in progress post by Matti sometime in the future.
“I come from probably the most well known area of puukko making in Finland: the South Ostrobothnia. This is where Iisakki Järvenpää and Rannanjärvi have lived and taken our rich puukko culture forward. My blood heritage from the early days is called Könni. They were masters in clock machinery production in the 19th century and very well known for that. Of course there have been many other craftsman in my kin, who have made clock machinery, guns, woodwork, jewellery and so on.
I made my first puukko in vocational school (at the age of 19) that’s basically how my hobby started. I started making the toijala puukko in a course in the adult education center in Jalasjärvi. The course leader was Taisto Kuortti and he got me into taking part to the Fiskars competition for the first time. The Fiskars competition of puukko making is organized by the Finnish puukko club, Suomen Puukkoseura ry. http://www.puukkoseura.fi/ It is held every year. The competition is respected and has great reputation amongst the hobbyist, collectors and buyers.
Toijala really is my favourite type of puukko, I also make my own models. I have always been fascinated by the old province puukkos. In the old toijala puukkos, they have used copper, brass and nickel silver in the sheath and ferrule. Inside the sheath they have used leather. A long long time ago, they have used bones from butchered animals in the handle and later “drolon” which is sort of replication of plastic. Preferably, I use drolon and nickel silver.
The making starts from the blade. Many people think that it’s about 2 % of the whole work, but I disagree. The hammering, polishing and heat treatment takes a lot more when it’s properly done. Of course the making of ferrule and sheath is demanding work too, let alone the decoration. In my opinion, the decoration is the most demanding part in making the toijala puukko.
I have many projects in mind, but at the moment I’m mainly focusing in getting the tools and producing them and also on studying and practicing the methods.”