By Federico Buldrini
This puukko was hand made by Finnish blacksmith and craftsman Markku Teräs, living and working in Ylinen, a town 20 km west of Tampere. To learn more about him: Markku Teräs
length 100 mm
width 23 mm
thickness 3 mm at spine; 4,7 mm at bevels junction
tang 4×5 mm thick at peening
steel some kind of W1
edge angle 19°
edge hardness ~ 65 HRC
length 116 mm
width 34 mm max.
thickness 23 mm max.
knife 135 g
with sheath 190 g
The blade was forged with a hand held hammer from an old Viiala file, the steel having 1,3% C. It has a rhombic section, just slightly tapered in height. After annealing and normalization it was heated on the forge, quenched in water and tempered in oven for 3 hours at 160° C. The blade is hardened so to leave the spine and tang softer. The bevels are ground to 19 ° and the edge is micro convexed.
The handle is made of birch bark discs compressed between two moose antler bolsters. The tang was peened with a brass rivet and the handle was then heated in oven so to allow the bark oil to glue it all together. It’s sanded to fine finish and it’s tapered in width and thickness towards the blade, with the pommel higher than the bolster and the thickness, diminishing from the center towards the blade. It has an oval section, filling the hand well. Though quite massive compared to the majority of puukkos the handle doesn’t feel chunky,
The sheath was hand stitched from 2 mm thick cowhide and the leather of the mouth is folded inside so to increase the friction retention.
It has a one sided pine protective liner, which was carved with puukko and chisel, then sanded.
The belt loop is fixed with a brass D-ring, The loop itself is closed by a brass rivet. In this case I found the D-ring to be extremely stable, due to the friction with the leather in constant contact.
When the puukko first arrived it was hair popping sharp, while the bark looked and felt quite dry, so I applied a couple of coats of bees wax. The blade is not perfectly in axis with the handle’s belly, thus having the cutting edge shifted slightly to the right. We’ll see if this will be noticeable in some way.
Now to the usual sample tests.
First the twig troll from a piece of dry chestnut. During the carving the knife was a bit slower than others, due to its big proportions. The handle felt big for the purpose, but not stiff or cumbersome. Due to the convex edge the bite was slightly less aggressive than other puukkos I own and the first cut that engages the wood seems “harder” to pull out, while the subsequent ones are smooth and easy.
Generally speaking the puukko homogeneous performances during both roughing and refining cuts. At the end the edge had a couple of rough spots that were not roller nor chipped, but that had just a hair less bite than the rest of the edge.
I then stropped with both black and green Bark River compound and started to carve the usual dry spruce spatula.
The roughing process was surprisingly quick and effective, also when working on end grain. The convex edge, as already seen, doesn’t bite really deep and if necessary it needs more pressure, but it proved to be a great and precise planer on push cuts. When doing pull strokes and when using the thumb as fulcrum, however, the big proportions again came into play and the puukko felt a little stiff, while still working properly. At the end of the roughing process the edge was pristine.
Due to the big proportions finishing cuts were a bit more straining to perform, especially when I had to thin down the spatula cheeks and the edge was prone to slipping rather than engaging the wood. This was probably the only time I felt like the tilted blade made the work a bit more difficult. Again push cuts were easier than pull strokes.
At the end of the work the edge was still pristine and bite was virtually untouched since the stropping.
The bigger proportions make this puukko mostly an outdoor knife, rather than a carver. It can surely carve fair enough, but will work best in the forest processing game and working green wood.
The handle was always comfortable and agile enough although, again, the proportions make it more suitable for certain cuts more than others. It does feel big, but not excessive, at least for my medium sized hands.
The heat treatment is absolutely spot on and this puukko has actually set my new bench mark for edge holding. I was also very pleased by its resilience, despite the very high hardness and C content, that was surely enhanced by the convex edge.