Tapio Wirkkala Axe

Some time ago I wrote about the Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala (2 June 1915 – 19 May 1985) and the puukko he designed. ( see Tapio Wirkkala )

I always liked his design and was able to get one of the puukkos made by Hackman as a Christmas present to myself this year. I recently found out that he designed an axe too that was never put into production. If anyone has any additional information about this axe and upcoming production, please let me know. Special thanks to Kimi Niityniemi for his help with this article.

wirkkalan kirves

Tapio Wirkkala Axe Article

Here is a translation of that article:

“The architect Tuomas Toivonen presents an axe prototype designed by Tapio Wirkkala. The axe is a rarity, because just a few specimens exist, three of which belong to Wirkkala / Bryk Foundation and are in possession of the designer’s family.

Wirkkala had written a note about the axe designed in the mid-1970s: ‘For a forest-person – Multi-purpose axe – Unable to locate a manufacturer.’ All the manufactured individual axes were prototypes made by hand.

‘I like the axe, it is well balanced, and the grip is accurate. Thanks to the narrowing blade shape it can also be used for carving’, Toivonen says.

Toivonen and partners of L’esprit de l’escalier book publishing company plan to release the latest edition of the axe. The publisher is special in that its publications are rarely on paper.

For this purpose, forms of the axe have to be maintained and preserved. Prototypes are all different and they are made of flat steel by machining and by filing. Blades will be produced by precision casting. The casting molds are made by using ‘reverse engineered geometry’.

Industrial designer Mika Ihanus has scanned the axe form by using optical hand scanners and modeled it again. This very impressively designed axe sets quite high requirements for scanning and post-processing than, for example, a simple part of an engine.  Scanned models are always ‘just about there’ models. The person in charge of the process must have a strong vision of what you are doing and be familiar with the industrial area, Ihanus says.

Ihanus displays the scan results. The surface is a little wavy and the different halfs are not symmetrical. Post-processing of the scanned object normally takes more time than scanning itself. Scanning took an hour, finishing two.”


Tapio Wirkkala

Wirkkala axe


Puukko designed by Wirkkala and produced by Hackman.

Also see: Tapio Wirkkala Website





4 responses to “Tapio Wirkkala Axe

  1. I want one! I have five of the Hackman knives, two large, two small Puukko’s and the butterfly knife. All are very good, although they are easily lost out of the sheath, I know, I lost two of them.

  2. J’ai la chance d’avoir ce puukko depuis une vingtaine d’années.

  3. For Richard Barnes,
    I échanged It for a baillonette ( long knive ) of the french révolution.

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