Monthly Archives: November 2018

Juhana Salonen Puukko Review

By Federico Buldrini

This puukko was hand made by Finnish knifemaker Juhana Salonen, living and working in Jämsä, a town 90 km east of Tampere.

Technical data

blade:
length 97 mm
width 21,5 mm
thickness 2,8 mm at spine; 4,2 mm at bevels junction
tang 3×6 mm thick at peening
steel ThysseKrupp 80CrV2
grind flat
edge angle 20° with tiny microbevel
edge hardness ~ 62 HRC

handle:
length 105 mm
wideness 27 mm max.
thickness 19 mm max.

weight:
knife 92 g
with sheath 140 g

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Overview

The blade was forged by hand held hammer from a bar of 80CrV2. It has a rhombic section, tapered in height and sporting a dropped point. After annealing and normalization it was heated in the gas forge, quenched in oil and tempered in an electric oven. The blade is hardened so to leave the spine softer. The bevels are ground to 20°.

The handle is made of birch bark discs compressed between bronze bolsters, 4 mm front and 5 mm back. It’s sanded to a fine grit, giving the handle a very smooth and soft feel. It’s slightly tapered in height and very little in thickness towards the blade. The section is a marked, almost triangular, teardrop and fills the hand well

The sheath is crafted from 2 mm thick leather. It’s hand stitched, with the mouth folded inside holding the knife tightly but not so much as to be difficult to unsheath. Inside there is a birch liner, carved and than sanded. The belt loop is fixed with a bronze ring. The belt loop itself is closed by a seam.

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In use

When the puukko first arrived it was shaving sharp, but I also detected few asperity on the edge, that I eventually fixed with a few light passes on #1200 stone and few minutes of stropping with green compound.

During my usual spikkentroll carving, again from a dry piece of plane wood, it was necessary to cut through a knot during the roughing. Nothing in particular to signal during the roughing nor the finishing cuts. The puukko had a good and quite deep bite when roughing and a gentle flick when finishing. The handle, though shorter and a little bit slimmer than what I’m used to, is really comfortable and quick in the hand. At the end of the work the edge was pristine and still shaving.

During the silver fir roughing carving the puukko had a regular and homogeneous bite, leaving a glossy finish. I found this puukko particularly inclined to gliding cuts. The handle proved again very comfortable, firm and quick. At the end of the roughing the edge was pristine and the bite just slightly diminished.

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No particular problems also during all the finishing cuts. A couple of times it had a bit of struggle to engage the wood when cutting against the grain and once I felt the spine a bit painful during a thumb push to support a pivoting cut. Again it proved very agile, quick and easy in the hand. At the end of the work the edge was pristine and the bite wasn’t decreased in any detectable manner.

Conclusions

In the very first days of use I saw a slight tendency to microchip, that disappeared after few stropping sessions. It might have a been a very last residue of burr.
Generally speaking the heat treatment, geometry and handle ergonomics are all well executed. The steel performed how I expected it to and the handle, though, as already said, slimmer and shorter than what I normally use, was always graceful to use.

Also, since it has a rather marked pommel I used the chest lever grip a lot to test eventual problems. It indeed lodges itself in the wrist-arm junction, but despite all my good efforts I wasn’t able to detect any annoyance. I just felt its presence.

Its proportions and light weight make this puukko a very great carver, with a keen eye on style and clean form, without loosing practicality or comfort, something really positive, given the trend seen lately to go for thinner and slimmer proportions every time, searching for the coolest and most polished style.

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