Aiden CC Posted May 19, 2018 Share Posted May 19, 2018 As some of you may know, I've been interested in puukkos for a while, with them probably being my all time favorite knife to make. When I started out, I looked almost exclusively at contemporary examples with the "standard" pattern of wood/birch bark sandwiched between two pieces of 1/4" brass and a blade the same width as the handle with the shoulders seated square against the handle. More recently, I've become interested in original examples from the past few centuries and have noticed that they rarely follow the general design people tend to make today. Overall, I'm wondering if anyone knows much about how the current puukko design most makers follow originated. As far as older puukos, a few general types tend to stand out: Ones like this are pretty common, ferrule and an all wood handle with a kick at he end. I may try making a ferrule punch and die set to form them from formed/soldered sheet metal. Sometimes there is a ricasso, sometimes not, same with a small fuller. The tang goes all the way through and has a small rivet block. There are also knives with metal fittings on the top of the handle and the bottom. Sometimes they are barrel-shaped, while other times they have a decorative shape, like a horse head. There are lots of examples with wood and birch bark, with birch bark sometimes having a metal ferrule by the blade and a block of wood to make the kick. Additionally, these knives will ocasionally have blades which are slightly wider than the bottom of the ferrule. Finally, what are probably my favorite type: the partial tang designs, often hand-made. If I'm correct the first two are maasepän and the final kokemäen. This is a style that seems to be replicated significantly by modern smiths, with a few differences. One, the shoulders in these knives often have a small gap above the handle. This could be for cleaning, sharpening, or simply not wanting to have to fit them. I've seen a few examples of modern kokemäen puukos with this feature, but few others. The biggest one is the shape of he blades. These old knives tent to have narrower, straighter, blades while modern knives have blades the same width as the handle with narrow slightly towards the tip. It should be noted that there are definitely other styles of knives which would be called puukkos which I haven't included, such as leukus and other knives in the Saami style. It seems like often modern versions of these knives are actually quite faithful to the originals in form, materials, and ornamentation, possibly because the knives are even more strongly tied to tradition and culture. One possible answer to the question of where the "modern" puukko came from is a design by Tapio Wirkkala for Hackman Cutlery in the early 1970s, I would love to hear other people's take on that idea/if there was similar work done earlier which inspired him. Looking at the broad range of styles seen in old knives has definitely inspired me to try and make some that way (especially the old maasepän ones), and hopefully some other people might feel the same way. 2 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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