Monthly Archives: November 2013

John F. Kennedy and Iisakki Järvenpää

Kennedy puukko 3

It was 50 years ago today that America buried it’s 35th president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I would like to remember him with these pictures I got via Anders Halldén. The puukko on JFK’s desk is an Iisakki Järvenpää that he evidently used to open letters and packages.  It’s origins are a mystery, for more information please visit Anders site

Rest in peace Mr. President.

JFK with puukko




Rauno Virtanen / TULIKOURA

Puukkoseppä Rauno Virtanen and TULIKOURA is the subject of this post. I recently became acquainted with his work and he has provided some background information and photos for Nordiska Knivar. Rauno makes traditional puukko as well as other tools and objects at his shop in Hartola, 90 km west of Mikkeli. He uses carbon steel and an open forge fire for heating during forging and an oven for heat treatment. He  also likes to restore old axes and tools, bringing them back to use from near ruin. Take a look at his website at


“My dream and mission has always been to find a new job and try to make a living from being a craftsman. Wood was already a well-known material to me so I wanted to test working with iron. I started my blacksmithing career at weekend courses, the first of which was in 2009. Since then I knew I had found my way. I also noticed that I needed to learn a lot more about blacksmithing. In summer 2011 I enrolled for a Finnish puukko course, until I was accepted for metal artisan education in Mikkeli. It took 2 years and I finally graduated in May 2013.

I also made a total life style change in 2009. I had lost my work as sales leader in an IT company and so I decided to fulfill my long time dream to move from Helsinki to the country side. I bought a tree farm about 160 km north from Helsinki and built a log house from the woods of my own farm. Now I have also good possibilities to grow up organic food stuffs for me and to keep some domesticated animals, at the moment I have lambs and chickens. I also grow curly birch and other variety of woods.

I want to use wood and metal in my products, but I also will use leather and birchbark, they all are very traditional materials in Finnish puukkos. My target is to expand my puukko collection during next winter season and to boost marketing operations. I also want to launch a wood product collection during next year. The main raw materials will be curly birch, juniper and rowan.

I try to find inspiration from Finnish traditions, beautiful Finnish nature, from the four seasons and Finish design. As far as I know, from my area comes no particular puukko, but this may be a big possibility for me to do something historical.”



Kokemäen puukko

Kokemäen puukko











Refurbished Hultafors axe, sharpened and created a new handle.

Refurbished Hultafors axe, sharpened and a new handle created.

Kourukirves, carving axe

Kourukirves, forged carving axe.

TULIKORA, the name of Rauno's smith and business.

TULIKORA, the name of Rauno’s smithy.

Telso, traditional wooden gutters for carving. Made from an old Billnäs No 7 felling ax of steel.

Telso, for carving. Made from an old Billnäs No 7 felling axe of steel.

Rauno Virtanen

Rauno Virtanen

The home Rauno built at

The home Rauno built at Hartola.


Anssi Ruusuvuori / New Work

I wrote to Annsi Ruusuvuori recently asking him about progress on the English translation of his book Puukon Historia. The work on translation is nearly complete and hopefully we will see “The History of Puukko, Finnish Knives from Ancient to Modern Times” before too long. Here is a brief review of the book:

“His book is by far the most complete study on the history and development of the Finnish puukko. The book includes over 2000 color photos and shows an impressive array of local Finnish puukko models from the Iron Age to the modern times. Several of the traditional puukko models included are presented here for the first time.

The book is based on meticulous survey of several museum and private collections. The most important part of the study is based upon the unique knife collection of National Museum of Finland, which has been in existence  since the 1830’s, but has never been scientifically studied or published in print until now.

The last part of the book contains a picture gallery where each knife is presented on a double page with high quality pictures from several different angles, a table with precise measurements, material data and additional information about the item.

The original 704 pages Finnish version of this book, published in late 2009, was enormously well received among puukko enthusiasts, collectors and historians and was nominated as one of the best Finnish science book in the year 2010.”

This English edition is otherwise similar by its content, but some of the less important double pages of the picture section have been left out to make the book more affordable. The English language version will include about 420  pages.

I am looking forward to obtaining a copy of this definitive work on the puukko and I will post updates on its publication as I learn more. If you would like to obtain a copy of the book in the original Finnish, please visit the publisher at:

http://www.apali.fiAvailable at: /kauppa/product_details.php?p=398

In the meantime, here is some very fine new work from Anssi Ruusuvuori who was featured in an earlier profile.

Puukko 1: Birch root, dur-aluminum, bronze, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel

Birch root, dur-aluminum, bronze, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel.

Ash burl, dur-aluminum, birch bark, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel

Ash burl, dur-aluminum, birch bark, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel.

Carbon fiber, nickel silver, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel

Carbon fiber, nickel silver, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel.

 Black alder burl, nickel silver, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel

Black alder burl, nickel silver, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel.

Vavona burl, brass, vulcanized fiber, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel

Vavona burl, brass, vulcanized fiber, leather, zone-hardened 1080 steel.