Pasi Jaakonaho is a puukkoseppämestari– a master smith, and teacher in Inari in Northern Finland, whose beautiful traditional knives evoke the spirit of the north. He is a craftsman who also works in wood and antler and makes silver jewelry. I hope you’ll enjoy this post, you can visit his website at http://www.pasijaakonaho.fi/linkit.htm to see more of his work or to contact him.
“I got the first push towards handcrafting in 1993, when I left to go Inari in northern Finland to study as artisan. One of the areas of studies was puukko making. It was mainly about making traditional Sami puukkos. In my close family I don’t have craftsmen in particular, except Juho Jaakonaho who was well known maker of wooden skis. I was born in Pohjois-Pohjanmaa (northern Ostrobothnia), in small place called Oksava of Haapajärvi. It is a rural area, and it was normal there, that in every house they did some handcrafting.
I worked as full time knifesmith in 2001-2004. My shop in Simo was built in 1920. My main product were puukkos and puukko blades. I did a little bit of of other forging work too and also I worked with bones and antler, wood and burl. Also I made some fishing lures.
Most part of learning I learned from making the puukkos, but I also had many teachers. To mention: Ilmari Laiti, Arto Saijets, Kari Pakarinen, Heino Tuomivaara. Currently I work in Inari in the Sámi Education Institute teaching forging, stag/woodworking and silverwork. www.sogsakk.fi Making puukkos is kind of a side-job. I have made more and more silver jewelery lately.
My philosophy in making puukkos and other handcrafts is to enjoy doing it. One of the most fascinating stages of making a puukko is forging the bar of steel into a blade shape, the way the steel transforms. In handcraft generally I appreciate the skill to work with different materials: how you can make a butter-box from a piece of birch or how the stag or a bone transforms into a part of knife’s sheath – how stag can be engraved. Of course I also wish, that my work would not stay in my possession, but that people have them and so it is nice to do new works and to improve.”