Week 16 – How to Make a Traditional Finnish Puukko Knife

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I’ve been looking forward to this week since starting the program. Furthering our knowledge of craftsmanship and traditional Finnish culture we designed, forged and crafted a knife that embodies the Finnish culture – a Puukko.

A puukko is a small traditional Finnish belt knife, characterised by a small curving blade with a flat back, usually the length of the users palm, around 90 – 120mm. This allows greater dexterity and control when using the knife, as the thumb from the other hand can be used to push the top of the blade. These types of knives are truly multi-purpose and are used for carving wood, skinning animals, descaling and gutting fish, stirring the soup, lifting the pan from the fire, gardening… The list goes on, you name it and it’s been used for it.

The knife is held in a leather sheath that is attached to a belt, easily accessible and ready to use in an instant. However, bearing a sharp object that could be used as a weapon was banned in Finland in 1977. Since then the puukko has lost some of its visibility in public places. But in rural areas where the connection with the outdoors is stronger and the use of a knife is still essential, you can see the blade around the belts of forestry workers, dog sled guides, hunters and fishermen. Whilst writing this I am currently doing a work placement at a husky farm and one of the guys carries 2 knives on his belt permanently. A true Fin!

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