Tag Archives: YP Taonta

YP-Taonta Review by Federico Buldrini

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

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Technical data

blade
length         106 mm
width           20 mm
thickness     4 mm at the spine; 5 mm where bevels start
tang             3×3 mm at the pommel
steel             C75
grind           concave
edge angle   21 °, tiny convex microbevel
hardness     ~ 60 HRC at the edge

handle
length         120 mm width           29 mm max. thickness     20 mm max.

weight
knife             100 g with sheath   150 g

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Overview

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.

In use

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.

Conclusions

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.

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Yrjö Puronvarsi Blades / YP Taonta

The subject of this post is Puronvarsi blades also known as YP Taonta (YP Forging) under the current smith, Antti Mäkinen. Antti is the grandson of Yrjö Puronvarsi who was the smith for many years. Not only have they established a reputation for excellent, beautiful blades but Antti has a  selection of forged items including puukkos, axes, tools and decorative items. Please take a greater look at his skill at his site, http://yp-taonta.fi/

Thankyou once again to my friend Federico Buldrini for his many contributions and to  Antti Mäkinen for the photos and information.

A Puronvarsi blade from Brisa,  www.brisa.fi/

A Puronvarsi blade from Brisa, http://www.brisa.fi/

The Puronvarsi Story

By Federico Buldrini

What I’m about to tell you is the story of a Finnish family who has devoted many of its members to the art of forging.

In 1809 tsar Alexander I conquest took Finland from Sweden, in the hope of expanding the southern borders of Russia unto the Danube, and for the next fifty years the authorities of the Grand Duchy of Finland will work tirelessly to convince the Russian court of the loyalty of Finland.

Our story takes place in Härmä, a small town 24 km south of Kauhava, the historic “puukko capital” in western Finland.
We are in 1850 and it’s in this year that a man from the Puronvarsi family starts his own business as a blacksmith. The son, Matti, following in the footsteps of the parent, learns and passes the craft on to one of his descendants, Esa Puronvarsi.

In 1927, in an independent Finland, Yrjö Puronvarsi is born, who in his youth, along with his eight brothers, learns the art of forging from his father and uncle. He will be the only one to carry on the job, although there will be a period in which twenty family members will work as smiths at the same time.

Yrjö has three children, two boys and a girl. Neither of the sons was ever interested in the family job, while the daughter, Ulla, in the early ’80s, became the mother of Antti Mäkinen. Antti begins his smithing career in 2006.

We’re almost to the present day. Yrjö, the blacksmith who worked longer in the family, passed down to his nephew his knowledge to create his heir. Today, being 85 years old, he doesn’t forge anymore full-time, but still works six days a week, for the love of it and for exercise.

Yrjö and Antti at the Finnish blacksmith competition at Petäjävesi, Finland.
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Some photos of YP Taonta:

The smithy is quite small (20 m²) and in the spring will be probably extended or even replaced with a larger one.

The smithy is quite small (20 m²) and in the spring will be probably extended or even replaced with a larger one.

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Outside are two emery grinders.

Outside are two emery grinders.

A 40 kg Jupiter air hammer...

A 40 kg Jupiter air hammer…

and a self made grindstone.

and a self made grindstone.

The 70 kg Lokomo anvil has more than a century and has been used by four generations of smiths.

The 70 kg Lokomo anvil has been in use for more than a century and has been used by four generations of smiths.

What follows is a photo essay about the forging of normal sized puukko blade by Antti Mäkinen:

Let's starts from a bar of 1070; it's cut...

Let’s starts from a bar of 1070; it’s cut

so as to obtain a piece of steel of 80x25x8 mm.

so as to obtain a piece of steel of 80x25x8 mm.

that is then heated on the forge.

that is then heated in the forge.

The tang is flattened and stretched with power hammer

The tang is flattened and stretched with the power hammer

and then finished with hand held hammer.

and then finished with a hand held hammer.

Then the blade is stretched out.

Then the blade is stretched out

so as to obtain a steel bar 10 mm high and 9 mm thick.

so as to obtain a steel bar 10 mm high and 9 mm thick.

The bevels are roughly forged with power hammer

The bevels are roughly forged with the power hammer

and then finished with hand held hammer.

and then finished with a hand held hammer.

The blade is finally touched up with Jupiter air hammer.

The blade is finally touched up with the Jupiter air hammer

and stamped with the makers mark.

and stamped with the maker’s mark.

Forging is completed: now starts polishing and heat treatment.

Forging is completed, now starts polishing and heat treatment.

The blade shape is now finished on the emery wheel

The blade shape is now finished on the emery wheel

and on a grindstone.

and on a grindstone.

Next is sanding with  #120 grit.

Next is sanding with #120 grit.

The blade is now ready for heat treatment.

The blade is now ready for heat treatment.

Annealing, normalization, heating and oil quenching.

Annealing, normalization, heating and oil quenching.

Now blade is sanded to  #150 grit

Now the blade is sanded to #150 grit

and has tempering cycle in electric oven.

and has the tempering cycle in an electric oven.

After the heat treatment is done the final polishing with steel wire

After the heat treatment is done the final polishing with steel wire

and #180 grit.

and #180 grit

and bevels are mirror polished with felt wheel.

and bevels are mirror polished with felt wheel.

The blade, here next to a piece of steel such as the one that generated  it, is now complete and ready for use

The blade, here next to a piece of steel such as the one that generated it, is now complete and ready for use.