YP-Taonta is a small company, founded by the old master Yrjö Puronvarsi, located just outside Härmä, a town 24 km south of Kauhava. Since 2006, the torch has been passed to his grandson, Antti Mäkinen, who continues the family tradition, keeping both his grandfather’s punch and style, while adding a few personal touches. Yrjö, however, continues to forge every day as a hobby, in spite of being 88 years old. Most of the production is focused on iron objects and on blade forging. See this post for more information on YP-Taonta: yrjo-puronvarsi-blades-yp-taonta
Yrjö Puronvarsi and his grandson Antti Mäkinen at work at YP-Taonta
length 106 mm
width 20 mm
thickness 4 mm at the spine; 5 mm where bevels start
tang 3×3 mm at the pommel
edge angle 21 °, tiny convex microbevel
hardness ~ 60 HRC at the edge
length 120 mm width 29 mm max. thickness 20 mm max.
knife 100 g with sheath 150 g
The blade is forged from C75, European equivalent to 1075. It was first roughed out with power hammer, then finished with hand held hammer. It has a rhombic section slightly tapered in height. After annealing and normalization it was heated on the forge, quenched in oil and tempered in an electric oven. It came shaving sharp. The common birch handle was machine roughed out and then finished on belt sander. It is sanded with a medium grit; it’s slightly tapered towards the blade in both height and thickness. It fills well the hand and has an oval section. The collar and brass rivets are made by Lauri Metalli Oy. The 2 mm thick leather sheath, is made by the Kari Rämäkkö factory, which also supplies several other Finnish companies that produce knives on a large scale. Machine sewed, it has a simple plastic liner inside. The belt loop is the usual twisted strip of leather. To improve retention a small leather strip was added in the inside of the mouth.
When the knife arrived the first 3 mm of the blade’s heel were chipped out, forming a clear half moon shape. This probably happened when hammering the handle onto the blade. So I completely resharpened the puukko with DMT #600, #1200, #8000 and stropped with BRKT black and green compound. The steel proved quick to sharpen and the chip is now reduced.
Now a couple of tests to sum up my impressions.
Firstly I carved a small gnome, in the style of Norwegian spikkentrolls, from a seasoned maple twig. During the carving I felt some resistance from the wood when doing roughing power cuts: the concave bevels bite deep, but have little mass behind the edge to separate the fibers. While performing refining cuts, pulling the puukko towards myself, holding the blade there were no problem and I was able to get tiny curly spirals of wood.
At the end of the work all the edge was still shaving, though it had lost some bite.
After some time, so to avoid enhancing eventual fatigue and without touching up the blade, I carved a butter paddle from seasoned silver fir.
As for the gnome I felt some resistance during roughing push cuts. Also, I was gripping the knife very close to the blade and I had my nails clearly digging in the palm, due to the tapered handle.
During refining cuts, especially in the concave joint between the handle and paddle, the puukko was quite precise, though I felt like the point was slightly too big for the purpose.
At the end of the work I detected three minor rollings in the straight portion of the edge and only the last curved third was still enough sharp to shave hair.
It is not the most precise wood carver, due to its geometry and to the untapered tip, but fair enough for general use.
The handle of this particular model can be a little too slim when grasped near the blade, if working a lot with power cuts or for those with larger hands.
The steel is quite resilient and rolls rather than chip. It doesn’t have a ludricrously long edge holding, but sharpens quick and easy.
A good option for those interested in trying rhombic section puukkos, without going custom right away.