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 http://tulikoura.com/taontatuotteet/tyokalut/
“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.”