Tag Archives: puukko

Johannes Adams

In this post I am proud to show the work of Johannes Adams, a very talented young pukkoseppä from Hatten, Niedersachsen, Germany. He forges very fine blades and makes beautiful puukko and leukkus. I will let his work do the talking for him. 

To contact him: www.adamsmesser.de

Johannes Adams:

“My grandfather on my father’s side was a blacksmith, mostly doing work like gates, hinges, fences etc., but I never learned from him. My family is full of craftsmen, my father is a master gardener, woodworker and master bowyer and my uncle is a very good carpenter. My inspiration for knife making in the early part of my life came from my father, who always kept me working with him in his shop, making many different things out of wood, so I understood the value of a sharp tool at a very early age. He also kept me interested in a variety of subjects regarding history, so I was always very impressed with the metalwork of the Vikings, Knights, Samurai etc.

When I was about 14 years old he bought a coal forge, some tongs and an anvil. I can’t think of a better way for a 14 year boy to spend his time than making any bladed object he wants from steel. So we started forging more and more, we forged nearly everything with an edge. We forged hunting knives, axes, hog spears, kitchen knives, puukkos, you name it.

It was about at this time that my father gave me a puukko he got from his father when he was young. It was a Marttiini and I loved it, so I started getting deeper and deeper into making blades, I learned different forging techniques, like laminated steel and damascus and I never had to buy a knife again.

When I was 18 I started an apprenticeship as a joiner and I was then able to buy a hunting license. Hunting became a big part of my life and we went on many big hunts for wild boar and roe deer, so a good knife was an absolute must. After I skinned some wild boars with my puukkos I was impressed by their performance, so I started making more of them which brings me to today.

My inspiration comes mostly from mother nature, her forms, expressions and colors. I regret using plastics or stabilized woods. My father played the biggest role in terms of inspiration, he showed me many native tribes in my childhood and I always wanted their clothes, knives and tools. For me the Saami people are one of the most inspiring nations on this planet, they embody the perfect coexistence with mother nature.

Last year I got to know another very influential person in my work, his name is Jean-Jose Tritz. He is an exceptionally fine blade smith, specializing in kitchen knives and a former apprentice of Ulrich Gerfin and Havard Bergland. I learned  many new techniques from him and he also widened my horizon of knife making by teaching me traditional folding knifes and his way of making kitchen knives, which I incorporated into my arsenal.

I do of course have some other hobbies too, one is making traditional wooden bows, which I learned from my father. I had my first bow when I was about 5 years old and then I was always in the woods playing “hunting”. I also forge axes and other wood tools for myself as a hobby, just because I sometimes need to make something bigger or different, it keeps me on track when I need to work very fine and delicate on puukkos.

I do forge puukkos because I think they are the perfect knives to work with, whether you are in nature or in your shop, a puukko is always handy. Although my puukkos are most of the time a little bigger then the originals, that’s because I like very tough tools. My main focus is the perfect function, followed by a perfect finish. that also includes a perfect peen and bolster. Puukkos have become my main focus over the years and I love to make them more and more as time goes by.”

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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: 

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“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

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Some more of Markku’s work:

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