Monthly Archives: February 2016

A Visit With Tapio Syrjälä

It was exactly two years ago today that I featured Tapio Syrjälä on Nordiska Knivar. He was at the beginning of his career as a puukkoseppä, he’d been making knives in a converted sauna for less than a year. I’ve followed his progress at Puukkolareena on Facebook and contacted him recently to ask him how it’s been going. I’m very impressed with his work and would like to present some of it here for you. Thank you Tapio, it’s been a pleasure, keep up the great work!

To contact Tapio  visit his website:

To read the original post and profile: Tapio Syrjälä

Here is our conversation:

What have been your accomplishments in the past two years?

I have got the working part the way I like, more precise and lots of accuracy to the work. I have also tried to end the forging part of the making, since I have noticed that it’s not much my way to do knives. I get better end results by just removing everything out until it looks like a knife. I’ve also gotten membership to the Finnish Knife Makers Guild

What have you learned as you’ve gained more experience?

That the learning process never ends, as I have recently made some Loveless design knives. I have learned a lot, and I think that it’s not good for anyone to make just one kind of knife. I am always seeking new designs to make.

 Have you taken any courses or studied with anyone?

Still self taught 🙂

How has your work changed or grown? It’s very elegant and refined.

If we think only the puukko knives, I have learned how I like to make them.

Do you still like making the traditional puukko?

Yes, it’s something I can make very easily at these days.

What have been your greatest influences in the past two years?

For past few months, I have made a few Loveless design knives, so maybe Bob Loveless. The simplicity is the thing for me. I hope I can add something to the puukko, from other knife designs.

You have obviously progressed past the hobby stage, have you expanded your shop?

Yes I have expanded my shop, removed one wall last summer, and the biggest thing is that I got a new belt sander which is more professional than that what I used to use. Also I have gotten the heat treatment process  very consistent.

Are you working as a puukkoseppä full time?

Almost, but I am not taking it as a job. 😉

 What materials do you currently favor?

When it comes to materials, I have noticed that there are a few wood species which are susceptible to shrinking and changing shape, and curly birch is one those. And for some reason, I really hate when that happens.

But, if I want to make a wooden handle, I like walnut, or grenadil etc. hardwood for those.I really like to use stabilized wood, that stays in its place after the work is ready.

I think that your work has been welcomed by puukko lovers, what have the past two years been like since the original post on Nordiska Knivar?

I like this knife making more and more.

Is there any kind of knife that you haven’t made yet that you want to make?

I have some plans to make few integral knives, but that is in the future.

What knife are you currently using as your everyday knife?

How does the saying go, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”?

What are your future goals as a smith?

That is really hard to say. I just go with the flow, which suits me.


Tapio Syrjälä

Tapio damascus puukko

Tapio puukko

Tapio lady puukko

Tapio puukko2

Tapio puukko3

Tapio dam puukko

Tapio 2

Tapio 3 puukkos


Tapio 4

Tapio 7

Tapio boot

Tapio pearl

Tapio 6


Tapuio loveless

Tapio 5

Tapio 3

Martti Malinen Karelian Axe

Here is a look at a traditional Finnish axe forged by Martti Malinen, a smith in Puumala, Finland. Martti’s work has been featured here several times before. A quote from the profile of Martti Malinen from his profile here at Nordiska Knivar:

“I like to keep the Finnish blacksmith tradition alive. It´s somehow important to offer services for locals if they need a blacksmiths help. That’s why I accept many kind of orders, not only knives and axes. I don’t want to fill the world with my knives but if the neighbor comes to me and asks me to forge the candle holder I make it gladly. My duty is to be the smith in the local community.”

You can visit his website at Goosemeadow.

“Recently I have been busy with axes. The Karelian axe has been common here since before the 19th century but then disappeared due to the fast development of saws and forest industry. I have co-operated with the local museum in Savonlinna as they have few Karelian axes in they collection. I call this a ”slash and burn” type of axe because it was used in the period when slash and burn agriculture was the common way to use forests here in Eastern Finland. Interesting project for me; time travelling back in history.

As a side note, I’ll have free demonstrations of hammering these axes in my workshop the 30 of June”

Thank you Martti!

Martti 3

A Karelian man in a woodsman’s outfit with the distinctive “kukkeli” hood and a Karelian type axe with partial collar of the shaft. Louis Sparre 1892. Source “Kalevalaseura – The Kalevala Society of Finland”.

Martti 4

Martti 5


Martti Malinen in his shop.

Martti 2

Martti Malinen