The first puukko I ever owned was an Iisakki Järvenpää Aito which has a stacked birch bark handle. It was given to me as a gift and I was taken with it. I’d never seen a puukko before and I thought it was just about the perfect knife and the perfect design. I was especially impressed with the birch bark handle, reminiscent of some stacked leather handled American hunting knives. Except the birch bark was nicer, it had a soft velvety warm feel and was easy to grip. The knife was a pleasure to handle.
I found that the use of birch bark is traditional in Finland, and it’s used on several styles of puukkos and is very popular. As I got to know some puukkoseppä through this blog I was able to learn how these puukkos are made and post some tutorials of how it’s done. This post is simply to show some very nice puukkos with stacked birch, an appreciation of the form. The ones featured belong to my friends Bill Lecuyer (who started me off with the gift of that Järvenpää Aito) and Federico Buldrini who has written several features for this website.
Thank you to Bill, Federico and the talented puukkoseppä for making them! Look at Index Page to learn more about these knives and how they are made.
From Bill Lecuyer:
This puukko is by Pekka Tuominen. Blade length 90 mm,
handle length 105 mm.
Kullervo puukko by Veikko Hakkarainen of Tapio, Rovaniemi. Blade length 85mm, handle length 110 mm.
From Federico Buldrini:
Puukko by Pasi Hurttila. rhombic blade: 97x23x5.2 mm,
handle 110 mm, tang at peening: 10×4.5 mm.
Another one by Pasi Hurttila, 100x22x5.6 mm blade, 110 mm handle, 9×5 mm tang at peening.
Two of mine:
Joonas Kallioniemi puukko. Blade 95 mm, handle 105 mm.
Puukko by Saku Honkilahti. Blade 90 mm, handle 105 mm.
And the Iisakki Järvenpää Aito that started it all…
…thank you Bill!
Tapio Wirkkala (2 June 1915 – 19 May 1985) was a Finnish designer who was trained as a decorative carver and sculptor. He graduated in 1936 from The Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and in 1955 and 1956 worked for the famous American designer Raymond Lowey in New York. He was very versatile and his work is known throughout the world, especially his glass, some of which is still in production today. He would often carve the molds for his work by hand and designed his own version of the puukko. The Tapio Wirkkala puukko was made by Hackman Cutlery and marketed by Brookstone in the U.S. in the early 70’s.
Wirkkala’s puukko is unique and stands out by the shape of the handle. It is an iconic design that has been popular throughout the years and the originals are now sought after by collectors. The knives were manufactured by Oy Hackman AB, Sorsakoski, Finland in two sizes. The larger version had a 4 inch blade and the smaller one a 3 1/2 inch blade. The blade was made from stainless steel, the bolster and pommel were brass and the handle was black nylon. The leather sheath was embossed with a bear paw print had a plastic lesta or insert.
It’s about 50 years since Tapio Wirkkala designed his puukko, although he didn’t use traditional materials I think he captured the essence of the puukko and created a classic that is appreciated and collected by museums and knife enthusiasts alike.
A Tapio Wirkkala puukko in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y.
Tapio Wirkkala (Courtesy of Tapio Wirkkala Rut Bryk Foundation.)