Tommi Mäkelä Puukko Review

By Federico Buldrini

This puukko was hand made by Finnish knifemaker Tommi Mäkelä, who works full time for Lauri Metalli Oy in Kauhava.

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Technical data

blade:
length 93 mm
wideness 19 mm
thickness 3 mm at spine; 3,25 mm at bevels junction
tang 5×5 mm thick at peening
steel Thyssen Krupp 80CrV2
grind flat
edge angle 17° with tiny microbevel
edge hardness ~ 64 HRC

handle:
length 105 mm
wideness 28 mm max.
thickness 21 mm max.

weight:
knife 96 g
with sheath 152 g

Overview

The blade is a modified Lauri PT blade, so to give it a very subtle rhombic section. It isn’t tapered in height nor in thickness, while the sides are lightly sanded towards the spine and the bevels are thinned down to a more acute angle. As for all PT blades, the bevels went through induction hardening so to achieve 64 HRC at the edge. The bevels are ground to 17 ° and the edge has a tiny micro bevel.

The handle is made of birch bark discs compressed between bronze bolsters, a Lauri made 3 mm thick front one and a self made 4 mm back one. The handle was then heated in oven so to allow the bark oil to glue all together. It’s sanded to a fine grit 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 subtle teardrop section, and fills well the hand.

The sheath was hand stitched from 1.8 mm thick cowhide. It has a birch protective liner, the blade slot was carved then the outer shape was sanded. The belt loop is fixed with a bronze ring, The loop itself is closed by a brass rivet.

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In use

When it first arrived it was hair popping sharp, though, since I felt the edge was slightly rough in few points I stropped it a little with both black and green compound.

Let’s start with our usual spikkentroll, this time from a piece of plane wood. There isn’t much to tell about this, since the puukko had always a great bite for roughing cuts and good nimbleness for refining ones. Nothing to say about the handle other than just plain comfortable. At the end of the work I felt two very tiny microchips in the first half of the edge, which also lost some bite, but still managed to shave. I just gave it a quick strop with green compound.

During the carving of the silver fir spatula the puukko again proved to have a great attitude as a wood carving machine. Again I experienced a great deal of bite, a good nimbleness and precision. Surely it’s one of the fastest carvers I have, the only moment in which it struggled a little was when finishing the roughing of the belly between the spreader and the shaft. No problem with the handle whatsoever. At the end of the work the edge was pristine, the bite was lower but still able to shave.
Same feelings during the finishing cuts, though the loss of bite was perceivable when doing planing to adjust the thickness and wideness of the shaft. At the end of the work the edge was still pristine and was still able to shave, but needing more pressure to be applied.

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Conclusions

Given the rather thin stock, the acute edge and the very high edge hardness it’s not surprising that the edge is slightly prone to microchips, though I got some only when carving though knots. Generally speaking I was extremely positively impressed by the resilience and edge holding this combination of geometry and heat treatment managed to pull off. The edge holding is comparable to the one I have on other puukkos in the same steel, but with a 20-21° edge and a final hardness of 62 HRC.
The handle, though a bit shorter, but not slimmer, than what I’m normally used to is very comfortable and allows the puukko great agility and nimbleness. Plus it’s tapered towards the blade starting from a rather generous pommel, allowing for a good deal of power and effective leverage when carving with chest lever grip.
So, to sum it up, this puukko is smaller than the majority I’ve tried and handled and, being so much carving oriented, I don’t really see it as a single tool for bushcraft, in its most recent concept of searching for a “one tool option”. But it will get you plenty covered for anything wood working related, being a spoon or a pot hanger.

 

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