Tag Archives: Ilkka Seikku

Christmas/hyvää joulua Photo Gallery

Please enjoy the finest work from puukkoseppä and loyal contributors to Nordiska Knivar! hyvää joulua and Merry Christmas! Check back throughout the month, I’ll be adding more photos occasionally.

Osmo

A Osmo

A special thank you to Osmo Borodulin, our Santa Claus or joulupukki this season!

Tapio Syrjälä

A4A1A2A3

 

Saku Honkilahti

S1S2S3S4S5S6

Pekka Tuominen

P3P1

PT

Otto Kemppainen

K1K3K4K5K7K8

Anssi Ruusuvuori

A1A2A3A4A5

Jukka Hankala

A45A46A47A48

Arto Liukko

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Jari Liukko

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 Markku Parkkinen

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Johannes Adams

A10A11A12A13

Jani Ryynanen

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Tero Kotavuopio

A52

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Teemu Häkkilä

A28A21A27A25A26A24A23A22

Ilkka Seikku  

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Mikko Inkeroinen

A65 MikkoA66 Mikko

Osmo2

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Maasepän Puukko Review by Federico Buldrini

Introduction

As explained in a post dating back to September 2012,  https://nordiskaknivar.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/1026/the maasepän puukko is the oldest and simplest of the puukkos styles and most likely has its origins in the Early Middle Age.
Basically used for everyday chores such as fashioning wooden household tools, preparing snares and traps for small game etc., it can be found in a variety of shapes all similar yet so different.
Here I’ll show and compare four different maasepän puukkos made by four different smiths, each of whom have a profile on this blog. (See the Index Page to learn more about these four puukkoseppä)
On my request they are all in the closest size range possible, but the makers had full liberty to choose materials and grinds following their preferences. All have a folded birch bark blade cover, a solution as old as the said puukko style and extremely practical for carving knives that don’t have to be carried on the belt.

Mas group

Mas group 2

Mas group 3

The smiths are listed in alphabetical order by surname.

Pasi Hurttila

blade
length 90 mm
width 21 mm
thickness 3 mm at spine, 4,5 mm at thickest point
steel Böhler K510
grind flat
edge angle 20°, with tiny microbevel
edge hardness ~ 60 HRC

handle
length 108 mm
width 29 mm max.
thickness 21 mm max.

weight
knife 85 g
with sheath 100 g

Overview

The blade was forged with a hand held hammer from Böhler K510 into rhombic shape, slightly tapered both in height and thickness. The heat treatment was made completely on the open fire of the charcoal forge, following the steel colour changing. After annealing and normalization the blade got a partial oil quenching followed by two temperings. Out of the box it was hair popping sharp.

The curly birch handle is simply epoxy glued over the tang. It fills the hand well. It’s slightly tapered toward both ends and is sanded with a medium grit, however avoiding any kind of roughness. It has a quite marked teardrop cross section.

The blade cover is crafted from 2 mm thick bark, simply folded and wrapped by a strip of the same material that keeps everything together tightly. The lightly scabrous surface of both the bark and the blade sides ensures excellent friction retention.

 

Martti Malinen

blade
length 85 mm
width 20,5 mm
thickness 3 mm at spine, 4,5 mm at thickest point
steel Ovako 100Cr6
grind flat
edge angle 20°, with tiny microbevel
edge hardness ~ 62 HRC

handle
length 112 mm
width 29 mm max.
thickness 22 mm max.

weight
knife 80 g
with sheath 85 g

Overview

The blade was forged from Ovako 100Cr6. The steel was flattened with power hammer then forged into shape with hand held hammer. It has rhombic section, rather strongly tapered in height but little in thickness. After annealing and normalization the blade was oven heated to 820° C, received a partial quenching in 60° C oil and was then oven tempered twice for two hours at 200° C. Out of the box it was shaving sharp.

The curly birch handle is glued over the tang mixing epoxy with some wood dust. It’s finished with a rather fine grit, it’s very lightly tapered towards both ends and fills the handwell. It has a very subtle teardrop section.

The blade cover is crafted from 1 mm thick bark, folded and wrapped with a strip of the same material keeping everything together. The lightly scabrous surface of both the bark and the blade sides give excellent friction retention.

 

Jani Ryynänen

blade
length 90 mm
width 22 mm
thickness 2 mm at spine, 4,5 mm at thickest point
steel ThyssenKrupp 80CrV2
grind flat
edge angle 18°, with tiny microbevel
edge hardness ~ 59 HRC

handle
length 110 mm
width 30 mm max.
thickness 21 mm max.

weight
knife 70 g
with sheath 75 g

Overview

The blade was forged with hand held hammer from 80CrV2 into rhombic shape with a hint of taper in height, while being extremely tapered in thickness. After annealing and normalization the blade was heated on the charcoal forge, received a partial oil quenching and was then tempered in an electric oven. Out of the box it was hair popping sharp.

The handle, made of curly birch, is epoxy glued over the tang in place. It’s finished with a quite fine grit, it’s very slightly tapered towards both ends and fills the hand well. It has rather chunky proportions and a very subtle teardrop section.

The blade cover is crafted from 1 mm thick bark, simply folded and wrapped by a strip of the same material that keeps everything together. The lightly scabrous surface of both the bark and the blade sides gives good friction retention.

 

Ilkka Seikku

blade
length 88 mm
width 21 mm
thickness 2 mm at spine, 4 mm at thickest point
steel W-Nr 1.1645
grind flat
edge angle 19°, with convexed edge
edge hardness ~ 61 HRC

handle
length 109 mm
width 27 mm max.
thickness 18 mm max.

weight
knife 75 g
with sheath 100 g.

Overview

This puukko, unlike the others, was made completely without the use of power tools.

The blade was forged with hand held hammer recycling an old feather file, the steel involved being a W1, into rhombic shape, quite tapered both in height and thickness. The heat treatment was made entirely on the open fire of the charcoal forge, following the steel colour changing. After annealing and normalization the blade got a quick water quenching, followed by a longer partial oil quenching, then tempered twice. Out of the box it was hair popping sharp.

The handle, made of cross cut curly birch, is hammered on to the sharp end of the tang and epoxy glued in place. Within the steel and the wood there are two birch bark strips, so to tighten even more the fit. It’s finished with a medium grit and fills the hand well, being more on the slimmer side, though. It tapers towards both ends and has a marked teardrop section.

The sheath, made from 1 mm thick bark, follows the same principle of the other blade covers, but goes almost all the way up the handle and has a birch double sided liner giving it strength. Good friction retention. This style of birch bark sheath is usually known as “Sami sheath”, but is actually widely used all around Finland.

In use

Having Jani’s puukko the thinnest edge of all, it suffered from some rollings quite easily during the first uses, so I decided to give it a tiny microbevel to avoid an unfair comparison; it was neatly done with DMT #600, #1200 and #8000, then stropping with both black and green Bark River compound.

All the puukkos were used for various tasks on different woods. As example I’ll show and comment here about how each one carved a white spruce butter paddle using only wood from a single plank.

Pasi: during the rough shaping I felt some light resistance when hollowing the handle belly
I had no problems during the rest of the work, even though this piece of spruce felt a bit more sticky than the ones I used with the other puukkos.
All the refining cuts were very smooth and produced nice and long curls.
Engraving was quite easy too.
At the end of all the edge was perfect and shaving, having only lost a little bit of aggressiveness.

Martti: during the rough shaping I felt some minor resistance when hollowing the handle belly. I had absolutely no problems whatsoever during the rest of the work.
All the cuts were very smooth, producing tight and long curls.
Engraving was quite easy as well.
At the end of all the edge was pristine and shaving, having only lost a little bit of aggressiveness.

Jani: during the rough shaping I felt some very minor resistance when carving the pommel and hollowing the handle belly. After this I checked the blade and could feel with the nail some kind of small rolling in the center of the blade, though it still shaved well. One minute of green compound fixed it
All the refining and smoothening carving was no problem at all, producing nice curls; at the end the edge was in the same condition as after the roughing and stropped again.
I wasn’t able to do engravings since, to avoid excessive weakness, the very tip is slightly rounded.

Ilkka: during the rough shaping I felt some minor resistance when hollowing the handle belly, while I had no problems whatsoever during the rest of the work.
All the refining cuts were very smooth and produced very tight and long curls.
Engraving was very easy, due to the tip geometry.
At the end of all I could detect four tiny microchips along the edge. I could feel them running the nail along the edge, but I couldn’t see them in any light. They were absolutely irrelevant during the work, the blade was still shaving sharp and everything was fixed with stropping.

Conclusions

What follows is a summary of the practical characteristics and general performances I got from each puukko.

A note on resharpening. All four puukkos were easy to sharpen using mainly DMT #1200 and #8000 grits, then stropping with Bark River black and green compound. I needed to use #600 grit only when adding the microbevel on Jani’s puukko.
None of them never took more than 20 minutes for a complete resharpening, more than half of this time being dedicated to stropping.
For me the easiest to work was 80CrV2, then W1 and K510 basically identical, then 100Cr6, slightly harder to grind due to the higher Cr content.

Pasi: excellent handle, with no problems whatsoever. It’s not too chubby nor too slim and has great liveliness in the hand.
The blade has an aggressive and homogeneous bite, sporting also a very good wood wasting power and a good resilience due to the tiny microbevel. Every cut has a clean and smooth finish, though generally the work piece may result just slightly faceted..
The tapered shape of the blade allows a very refined preciseness.

Martti: excellent handle, with no problems whatsoever. Even though being on the big side keeps a great agility in the hand.
The blade has the most aggressive bite of all, nevertheless keeping also an excellent wood wasting power and a good resilience thanks to the slightly convexed edge. As always with convex, it also gives a very smooth finish to every cut.
The tapered shape of the blade allows a very refined preciseness.

Jani: excellent handle, with no problems whatsoever. Despite its generous size it’s nevertheless very agile in the hand.
The blade has a very aggressive bite. Given the thin geometry it has a pleasing edge holding and stability: 80CrV2 resilience paid off and the microbevel did its job without taking away bite. The very acute geometry also tends to invite a generally faceted finish to the work piece.
Generally speaking the blade allows precise cuts, though sometimes its acuteness bites a bit too deep in the first place.
Maybe this puukko is a hair too light and the bevels are a bit too acute for fast and effective wasting of big amount of material, though the deep biting much compensated the light weight.

Ilkka: very good handle, with maybe a little too sharp belly. I only felt a bit of pain when using the chestlever grip during a massive wood wasting process, having quite a bit of material resisting the cut.
Apart from that the handle gives the puukko an extreme liveliness in the hand.
The blade has a very homogeneous bite, not too aggressive but very effective. Its acute geometry, paired with the convex bevels, gives a perfect balance between resilience and bite and, also, a very smooth finish to every cut.
The very shape of the blade allows a particularly refined preciseness and, last but not least, despite the light weight the convex grind allows great power during wood wasting.

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Markku Vilppola

Recently Ilkka Seikku, a pukkoseppä who has written posts for and been profiled on this blog sponsored a knife making competition on Facebook. It was quite a success, there were 24 knifemakers entered and the winner was decided by popular vote. The winner was Markku Vilppola, who being one of the seven puukkomastereri of Finland is an accomplished smith. Markku has agreed to be featured on Nordiska Knivar and I’d like to present a brief profile of him and some photos of his work. Markku works in many styles as you will see. His influences are many but his primary inspiration is drawn from work of the Vikings.

Markku Vilppola’s site http://www.mvforge.fi/

If you’d like to see the page for the knife competition go to Veitsi Kilpailu  https://www.facebook.com/groups/389439611258044/

Thank you to Ilkka Seikku for sponsoring the contest and congratulations to the winner, Markku Vilppola!

Markku Vilppola: 

M32

“As a young boy I already used puukko for various tasks. My grandfather was a carpenter so I made various handcrafts under his tutoring. I made my first puukko in 1980-1981. A local newspaper called Kaleva had an advertisement where they were looking for craftsmen to work at the Oulu market square. So I wrote down my business plan and started my work.

I rented a shed that was on the waterfront at the market square and set up a business in 1997. I kept on working in Oulu until in the year 2004 I heard there was a workshop available in the city of Turku. So I moved with my family and set my workshop there. I kept my workshop in Kurala Kylämäki village up until the year 2011 when Turku Museum Centre decided to terminate my lease. For six months I looked for a new workshop but couldn’t find a proper place so I had to stop my business. Nowadays I only make a few knives a year, as a hobby, to keep up my skills.

I get most of my inspiration from old pieces, especially from the Viking times. This can probably be seen from my work, in my models and in my engravings. I consider myself to be mainly self-taught. At the start of my career I got guidance from Heino Tuomivaara. I honed my skills and knowledge in Mynämäki where I first got a bladesmiths degree in 2007 and after that a master bladesmiths degree in 2009. Also in the year 2014 I completed my degree as an artisan of ancient techniques.

I don’t have a specific favorite knife model, but it certainly isn’t the traditional straight Finnish puukko. Perhaps I made too much of those at some time… I like self-made damascus steel and k990 steel, which seems to be hard to come by these days. As far as regional puukko, here in Kiiminki region there was a knife model of Oskari Jauhiainen, and to my knowledge no-one is currently making the model. Back in the days about 20 years ago I made a few of those.

I don’t really have a philosophy. I like to try out different methods. I’m always looking for new ways and challenges so I can develop as a knifemaker. In recent years I have had a particular interest in bronze casting and engraving. This can probably be seen in my latest works. My other hobbies include hunting, fishing, primitive bows and various handcrafts.”

Markku Vippola at the Helsinki Knife Show in January 2012.

Markku Vilppola at the Helsinki Knife Show in January 2012.

The Winning Knife

The entries were anonymous, so the maker’s marks were all covered.

Blade: 1700 forged layers k990/hardenite v

Blade lenght: 15,4cm

Blade width: 33mm

Blade thickness: 7mm

Overall lenght 27,5cm

Handle: Self casted bronze bolsters, maple.

Sheath: vegetable tanned ox  hide

M1a M1b M1c

Some more of Markku’s work:

M25

M33 M31 M16 M3 M4 M17 M18 M7 M8 M9 M10 M11 M12 M13 M14M21 M22 M23 M24 M26 M27 M28 M29 M30

Puukko News

The Finnish Puukko Association, Suomen Puukkoseura ry has posted the results of the 2015 competition at Fiskars on their site. This is a national competition and the official Finnish championship held every May at Fiskars Village. Take a look at this year’s gallery and winners of years past at:  http://www.puukkoseura.fi/galleria.php?sarja=34

Sami Länsipaltta photo.

Sami Länsipaltta photo.

Fiskars Village is a historical site on the original Fiskars manufacturing location featuring shops, exhibitions, a museum and various hand work competitions among other things.

http://www.fiskarsvillage.fi/

Museum at Fiskars Village

Museum at Fiskars Village

One of the historical buildings at Fiskars Village.

One of the historical buildings at Fiskars Village.

Sami Länsipaltta photo.

Sami Länsipaltta photo.

Teuvo Sorvarin Vöyrin puukkoja

Teuvo Sorvarin Vöyrin puukkoja.  Photo by Sami Länsipaltta.

Unna niibas by  Mikko Inkeroinen

Unna niibas by Mikko Inkeroinen. Photo by Sami Länsipaltta.

Also, Ilkka Seikku has initiated a world wide knife competition, Veitsi-Kilpailu on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/389439611258044/

Here is a description and the rules and guidelines. This should be worth watching! There are 150 members of this group in the first day of its existence. Thank you Ilkka!

” The first Knife-Competition starts!

Pictures will be published in 1.8.2015
Voting time ends in 31.8.2015

Send the pictures knifecompetition@gmail.com
Add a short text about the way how You did the knife and the materials used.

Rules:
-Competition is open for every knife maker from around the world.
-Only one knife / person
-Knife have to be totally made by the maker.
-Competition knife can be made for customer or just for this competition.
-No pictures of this knife can be published before competition.
-Makers marks/stamps/name can´t be seeing from the pictures. So stamps from the blade/handle/sheath needs to be hidden.
-Knife have to be able to use with one hand. It needs to be practical and useful for it´s tasks.
If needed, some more info could be asked about the usefulness of the knife.
-Knife is made with hand tools. Automatic cutters etc. are banned.
-Blade can be made by forging, sawing, grinding etc. But not with totally automatic machines.
-You are free to use any materials You want, but You have to work those materials all by Yourself.

Participating:
ONLY 4 PICTURES!
Send clear pictures:
-Knife in sheath picture from front
-Knife picture from front and in the same picture the sheath from the front.
-Knife picture from the other side and in the same picture sheath from the back
-Picture from the blade only

No “spices” in pictures. Only the knife.
Under the knife there have to be one colored paper/canvas/leather etc.

Voting:
All the pictures will be publishing in the same time.
Voting starts immediately after pictures are published.
Voting is made by pushing “like” button.
One person can vote several knives and several pictures.

The winner will be published on these fb-site and there will be introduction about the maker in these sites, if the winner allows so.
Picture of the winner knife will be in the top of these sites as long as the new competition is done.

When sending the pictures, the participant gives rights to use pictures in this Knife-Competition fb-sites.

This competition is organized by self-imposed persons and no organizations are involved.

“Gentlemen rules” (rules impossible to supervise, but we trust on your honesty!
Do not advertise any knife in public
Do not tell who has made some knife, even if You know it
You can vote Your own knife, but take a look at the other knives first
Respect the winner and respect the people who have vote it to be the winner
Be honest and fair.”

Ilkka Seikku's Facebook group page photo.

Ilkka Seikku’s Facebook group page photo.

New Work From The Puukkoseppä

The long days of summer are upon us and everyone is spending time out of doors so the postings on Nordiska Knivar have been sparse lately.  However, I would like to show you some recent work by some of the puukkoseppä who have been profiled here. Check back to this page from time to time in the next days and weeks because I’ll add more photos as I receive them.

There will also be some upcoming posts written by Federico Buldrini in the near future.  Thank you for your interest, if you see any puukko or leuku that you like here, please check that maker’s profile for more information and feel free to contact them.

Pasi Hurttila

A brand new one from Pasi, just finished today.

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Anssi Ruusuvuori

 Table puukko: ten layers of varnish over torn pieces of photographs, magnet inside.

Table puukko: ten layers of varnish over torn pieces of photographs, magnet inside.

 

Ilkka Seikku

Something special from Ilkka:

“The customer wanted a long and narrow blade for cutting fish and some shapes in the handle to secure the grip while cutting slimy fish.
Traditional materials, traditional way of making and looking like a puukko.
The rest I can make as I want. So, I made it traditionally, without any power tools. Heat treatments were made with living fire, trusting my own eyes. Just like real smiths have done before the electric oven.
Materials;
Blade: an old file
Handle: cross cut curly birch
Bolster: moose antler
Sheath: thick cow hide with wooden insert.”
I8
SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG
SAMSUNG
I7
I6

 

Rauno Virtanen

The official Heinola 175th anniversary puukko.

The official Heinola 175th anniversary puukko.

 A traditional 'emännän veitsi' knife of woman for kitchen and garden.

A traditional ’emännän veitsi’ knife of woman for kitchen and garden.

Markku Parkinen

FEghOyQk4GtCyFgIa1-rz4LUIbqhjDKX0JoN0fqXFCXw4srGZAuKOQzbJN_j  MP 2

MP 3

MP 4

 

Pasi Hurttila

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Tapio Syrjälä

Tapio 1

Tapio 2

Tapio 3

Tapio 4

Tapio 5

 

 

 

 

 

Ilkka Seikku Maasepän Puukko Review

Ilkka Seikku Maasepän Puukko Review by Federico Buldrini

Introduction

This puukko was made by Ilkka Seikku, native of Ulvila, but now living and working in Sastamala, 50 km west of Tampere. He’s a full time blacksmith, old style craftsman and wilderness guide. He has recently dropped the use of electric tools for the crafting of traditional knives, while keeping their use when making full-tang bushcraft knives.
A fundamentalist conservator of old traditions and willing to preserve them for the generations to come, he aims to craft tough and effective tools. “Performance” is the key word, everything else comes after. Also a booster of materials recycling, he forges puukko blades, fire steel strikers etc from old files.

(Visit Ilkka’s very interesting blog at http://rautasarvi.blogspot.fi/  and his website at http://tuluskivi.suntuubi.com/  )

4m

2m

3m

1m

5m

Technical data

All the measurements I’ll give are just of this specimen, since every puukko is individually made measures will change slightly.

blade
length 81 mm
width 19 mm
thickness 2 mm at spine; 4 mm at thickest point
steel W2
flat grind
edge angle 16°, with convex edge
edge hardness ~ 60 HRC

handle
length 102 mm
width 25 mm max.
thickness 16 mm max.

weight
knife 40 g
with sheath 70 g

Overview

This puukko was completely made without power tools. Following the oldest tradition the blade was forged with a hand held hammer, recycling an old file, into the Finnish trademark rhombic section. Out of the box it wasn’t hair popping sharp, but plenty sharp for woodworking. I personally don’t keep woodworking puukkos shaving sharp, as it wouldn’t last on seasoned wood. It’s also worth knowing that Ilkka hand sharpens all his puukkos with a slate wetstone and this was no exception.
As for all Ilkka’s knives the heat treatment was made completely on the open fire of the charcoal forge, following the steel colour changing. Blades first get a quick water quenching followed by a longer partial oil quenching and by two temperings. Water quenching makes the sharpest edge, while oil gives added strength.

As for old time maasepän puukkos, the handle is nailed into the sharp end of the tang. The blade-handle junction shows an old trick to increase sturdiness in the construction and to keep the tang tight: two small wedges at the sides of the blade.
The handle is made of a single piece of spalted birch. Spalted woods were attacked by fungi and show characteristic wavy patterns, often reddish or greenish. Ilkka didn’t sand it to a very fine grit, to allow a good grip, but took away every bit of roughness.
The handle has a slim, flattened, oval section, perfect for the knife size, but not abundant by any means. Even if rather tiny it fills good a mid sized hand.

The sheath was hand stitched on the back from 2 mm thick cowhide and the leather of the mouth is folded inside so to increase the friction retention.
Inside there is a two sided protective liner, carved with this same puukko. The side facing outside is made of spruce for good moisture dissipation, while the side facing the user’s hip is made of birch to give solidness to the structure.
The belt loop is made with a twisted leather string, closed with a knot, attached to the sheath with two holes made at the sides of the seam.

In use

Due to its slim constitution and small proportion it’s devoted to pure whittling. Even though very light it feels bit heavier than what it actually is. Just to explain its lightness this is a real “phantom puukko” on the belt, a puukko that weights like an Opinel n°8.
The belt loop braided next to the mouth gives steadiness during walking, but leaves also the sheath the agility to move away easily when needed.

I don’t like carving on green wood for two reasons: it’s useless to harm a sentient living being just for the fun of some wood working and, moreover, you can’t really understand edge holding and durability just by cutting fresh wood.
So, let’s see how the puukko holds up carving dry wood.
I took  piece of oak that had seasoned for four years with fibers perpendicular to the future whittling direction. I sawed off a 40x35x5 mm piece with the saw of a Vixtoinox Equestrian and smoothed the oak piece with the puukko.
Then I drew a willow grouse silhouette, Ilkka is a ptarmigam bow hunter, and sawed off the exceeding material near the tail, the back of the tarsiers and the rump.

After carving the back part of the bird I inspected the blade and found confirmation to what I already felt during work: the central part of the edge was slightly rolled. I partly restored it with some stropping on black compound then completely restored it with few licks of ceramic stick.
This done I proceeded to carve the head of our ptarmigan. This went absolutely nice and clean.
I sawed off the last two bits of wood and went to work on the breast, belly and front of tarsiers. After having carved the beak, the chest and having roughed out the final shape of the legs I touched up the blade again with the ceramic stick to put the bite back. The edge didn’t show rolling or wear anymore, it just lost some bite due to the hardness of wood.
Then I finished to shape the legs and refined the all bird. To conclude I gave it a bit of sandpaper and few more refining cuts when needed.

Conclusions

I wasn’t able to detect any rough spot all along the carving. The handle, despite being thin, is comfortable and absolutely secure, allowing a really quick and intuitive control over the blade.
I had to touch up the blade twice during the all process, but I was positively impressed with its strength. Keep in mind this is a 16° edge, the wood was hard, but above all, I always carved against perpendicular fibers. At the very end of my work the puukko is still plenty sharp and ready for another round. Being narrow, tapered and not that thick it proved not surprisingly to be extremely agile in detailed whittling, keeping enough mass for the power cuts needed in the first stages of rough shaping. I have to say the blade’s rhombic section was perfect for tiny spaces: a flat section blade hasn’t that quickness nor can achieve that preciseness due to its very geometry.

oak block

oak block

grain of oak block

grain of oak block

Oak block and Victorinox saw blade

Oak block and Victorinox saw blade

oak with drawing

oak with drawing

puukko and grouse

puukko and grouse

tail and rump carving

carving the tail and rump

carving the head

carving the head

last bit of sawing

last bit of sawing

roughing in the front

roughing in the front

chest finished

chest finished

roughing in the legs

roughing in the legs

carving finished

carving finished

Making A Puukko Without Power Tools by Ilkka Seikku

Here is a very interesting piece by Ilkka Seikku about making a puukko without any power tools.  I hope he’ll favor us with a sequel on the leather work aspects of this project. Thank you Ilkka!

Ilkka’s website: http://tuluskivi.suntuubi.com/

and blog: http://rautasarvi.blogspot.fi/2013/11/blog-post.html

“First I forge the blade. I use my foot powered forge and hammer it from silversteel. It’s necessary to hammer the blade straight to its shape and even the bevels need to be almost ready after forging. It´s very hard to file the blade if during forging the hammering hasn’t been so good.

I forge this blade to be something like 90 mm long and 22 mm wide. It has rhombic section and the thickest point is about 5 mm. It´s quite regular and traditional size. If you’re lucky enough to have seen some old Finnish maasepänpuukkos, you may have seen they have hammer marks on the bevel too. That´s because the forging was done very close to final thickness also for the bevels. Filing and grinding with hand tools is very arduous so it has to be forged almost sharp.

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Next thing I do is to file the bevels edge just a little bit so it´ll be fine. There’s no need to do anything for the spine or anything else neither, it was fine already.

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Now I need a handle. This is a hard part, maybe the hardest one. It’s a lot of work sawing very hard curly birch (diameter over 20 cm) with a hand saw.
Finally I got my piece for the handle. I shape it to be fitted better to the blade with my self made ax. Then I drill a hole with, again self made, hand drill.

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As you may have noticed; I haven’t done any heat treatments to the blade yet. That´s because I´ll next heat the tang to burn the hole. This is how I can make the hole to be exactly in the size of the tang and the blade will stick in the handle “perfectly”.
It´s very important NOT to burn it all the way through! The last cm needs to be pushed through when the tang is cold again. This is how the fitting can be made very nicely.

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Now I saw a piece of antler that will be the bolster. Again with the hand drill, I make a little hole and burn it through with heated tang. When burning through the antler with tang, it has to be done very quickly, otherwise the antler will burn.

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Then I cut the handle so that the tang is longer than the blade, as I´ll rivet the tang from the bottom of the handle. After a little checking I cut a piece of moose rawhide to be a liner between the birch and the antler. I wet the rawhide and hammer it to be very hard. So I make sure that the it will not shrink.

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Now that I have fitted the handle around the tang I can make the heat treatments. I use always a living fire while making it. That´s the way blacksmiths have done for ages! It´s very sad that today many blacksmiths can’t trust their eyes and experience to do that. They use all kind of modern equipments to get exact temperatures etc. If someone can tell me if some blade was tempered in oven or with the fire just by using the knife, I surely dont´t believe him!

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I whittle the shape of the handle with my self made BushProwler and then sand it with 80# sand paper. After the piece of birch starts to get some shapes it´s time to glue the knife together.
First I glue the bolster to the tang. I use, guess what, my self made glue that I get from mixing birch bark oil and carbon black. It works like heat glue, so I have to warm up the tang, but not so much to spoil the heat treatment.

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I managed to find a quite good mixture, the glue needs high temperature to melt and is not too glass-like after getting colder. Right after gluing I hammer the head of the tang so to rivet the all knife.

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I hammer the head of the tang so to rivet the all knife. After some more whittling and some finishing with 80# sand paper, I took this picture.
This is about all of the tools and materials I have used.

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Now some sharpening with a piece of slate I have taken from the wilderness. There is a lot of slate in our forest and I have found it to be very good grind stone.

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Traditionally made Finnish puukko. This is something I can proudly say to be HAND MADE!

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Now it´s time to check if this puukko is worth anything. A puukko needs a sheath of course, and its first job is always to carve its own wooden liner!
I use coniferous woods when making inserts. It has great ability to remove the moisture from the blade and fade it avoiding any damage for the blade.

Making a liner is very easy. First the blade profile is drawn and then it’s just carved off. From these pictures you can see that there is really no need of chisels or anything else but the puukko that is going to have this liner!
This insert must be solid, so it needs another piece of wood at its back. I usually use birch for this piece. It’s quite hard wood and it makes the all liner more solid. When the top is, for example, spruce, the moisture can still fade away easily.
Again the gluing is done with that same glue as I used for the handle. After the glue gets colder, I can shape the insert to be ready.

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I cut a piece of moose rawhide, which I´ll use to make the sheath and also there is a moose leg sinew which I´ll use for the sewing. First I have to bark tan the leather but that´s another story. Maybe I´ll share it with you someday.

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I hope this was fun to read and hopefully it makes more sense about the REAL tradition of making puukkos!”