“I’m from the rural area of Southern-Savonia,the former municipality of Virtasalmi, that is part of municipality of Pieksämäki nowadays. Usually, puukko is a very common tool in daily tasks in the Finnish countryside and young people are taught to use it at an early age. My first memory of puukko, that has been imprinted on my mind as a small child, was a miniature puukko from Kauhava my father showed me. He had gotten it as a gift when he was a child. It sure pleased the eye of a young boy with its shiny blade and noble looking horse headed rear bolster. When I was 6 years old I got my first knife, a small folding knife and that was probably the first knife I tried whittle with. When I reached age of 14 I started hunting and that’s how I got more familiar with the puukko and, instead of casual whittling for fun, I also got to experience handling game with it and so on.
My true interest in Finnish puukkos started when I was studying in artisan crafts school in Mikkeli. I found out that forging steel was my “thing” because what could be a more interesting object to forge than a blade, I developed a passion for making puukkos. My first puukko blades however resembled something like a cross between screwdrivers and butter knives, but as time went by, my skills started to improve. When I was 17, I got my own gas operated forge in my home.
In the third year of artisan craft school, when students got more chances to do their independent projects, I specialized in forging and my views toward puukkos and their shapes got more detailed. I’m thankful for my teachers Mr. Murto and Mr. Piiroinen who taught me the many ways of handling steel as an material.I also received very important information and details from well-known puukko smith Mikko Inkeroinen, who was a regular visitor in our school’s workshop. Thanks to him, I developed a special interest in traditional shape of puukko blades.
I live in town of Pieksämäki today, but I still visit my childhood home almost daily where my workshop is located as well as my main job in father’s company of canning and smoking game meat.
Most knives I’ve been making now are Tommi, maasepänpuukko, karjalanpuukko, housewife’s knife and kuosmalanpuukko. Karjalanpuukko is one of my favourite puukkos, it’s based on early 20th century’s eastern-karelian knives in the collection of The Finnish National Museum. As far as I know, I’m the only knife maker in Finland to make them today. Kuosmalanpuukko carries the name of my home village Kuosmala. It’s designed by me as an tribute for Kuosmala, there is no previous known puukko model in this area, so I’m proud of having created one.
I’ve also started to gain more interest toward factory made puukko design of the 1930-1950’s era. I make my blades mostly from old files and springs, like black smiths in the countryside of Finland traditionally used to do. But just like in everything, it’s good to broaden our views, so I’m planning on testing synthetic materials for grips in the near future.
As a knife maker, my goal is to improve my skills and learn more and more as well as expand my knife making, which is the thing that keeps the passion high.”