Juhana Salonen

Juhana Salonen:

“I became interested in knife making, more precisely in making puukkos, about eight years ago, when I worked with sharpening different tools that are needed in the paper industry. I also heard that one of my co-workers had made some puukkos. At the time I didn’t have any idea how to make a puukko, but I became so interested that I decided to find out. How to find information nowadays? Go to Google. So I looked up knife making instructions from Google. it provided me with all the information I needed, and even more.

With this knowledge I started to make my first puukko. It was clear to me from the very beginning that I would make the blade myself too, otherwise it would not be a self-made puukko. So I started from the blade making. My first puukko isn’t really a beauty but it gave me the spark for knife making. I always try to make the next puukko or knife better than the one before. “Työtekijäänsäopettaa”, old Finnish proverb means that the work that is done teaches it’s doer. It is very true when it comes to knife making. During these eight years I’ve made quite a few puukkos and also some hunting knives and Japanese-style chef’s knives. All the time you can learn something new and make better knives.

I prefer traditional materials and styles in puukko making, but also like to try something fresh now and then, and I don’t want to stick to just one model. In blades I usually use 80CrV2 tool steel. For handles I use different types of wood, for example birch, curly birch, birch burl, willow root… Maybe my own favourite is handle made of birch bark, because you get a good grip of it and it is smooth to handle. In a birch bark handle you can also make wire inlays or decoration (sorkoupotus in Finnish.) For bolsters I might use brass, nickel silver, bronze or perhaps reindeer or water buffalo antler. My sheaths are made of vegetable tanned leather.

After some years at this hobby I decided to go to a local puukko-making course. This gave me new tips in knife making and also a precious opportunity to use some machines I didn’t have at home (yet…) I have received much good advice from some friends who have the same interest in puukko-making. The Finnish Facebook group puukko|areena has also given me much information.

In my family there are no other puukko makers at the moment. My grandfather (mother’s father) has made puukkos in the past. Knife making is a dear hobby to me, but who knows if one day I could make my living out of it? My other hobbies are motorcycling, skiing and of course trekking and wandering in nature. As a man’s time is limited sometimes you need to choose between these interests. The love for nature links perhaps the closest to puukko making, as the puukko is a traditional tool useful in many tasks when spending time in the wilderness.”







Juhana Salonen


4 responses to “Juhana Salonen

  1. Inspiring work!

    I was wondering if there might be a picture indicating how the belt loop is attached to the sheaths with the seam oriented along the knife edge (in pictures 5 and 6 for example)?

  2. Thank for your beautiful work.

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