Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kauko Raatiniemi's new Arctic Leuku Knife style

Kauko Raatiniemi has done some changes to his Arctic Leuku Knife... I think this one is gorgeous! I liked the old one, but this looks even better... I think it has some classic elegance even being a rugged working tool... looks somehow "peaceful" and balanced.

What you think?

Puukko making...

This is pretty interesting photo series of puukko making...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kauhava ~ Puukko Making Capitol of Finland

Kauhava is "the puukko making capitol" of Finland.

It is located in the province of Western Finland and is part of the Southern Ostrobothnia region, 280 miles NW of Helsinki and on the main railway from Helsinki to Oulu. The municipality has a population of 8,080 (2003) and covers an area of 486.13 km² of which 2.32 km² is water. The population density is 16.6 inhabitants per km².

Knife making is a traditional industry in Kauhava, and many Finns recognize the name of this small town because of knives made there. At one time, as many as five different knife-making enterprises were underway in the town... today there is only one knife manufacturer- Iisakki Järvenpää OY, which has been making knives in Kauhava since 1879, but several individual custom knife makers like Antti Rannanjärvi, Harri Merimaa, Matti Koski, Mika Heikkilä and the last but not the least Altti Kankaanpää.

Puukko (one of the styles of Finnish knife) made in Kauhava are sometimes referred to as being in the Ostrobothnian style.

Each June sees the Kauhava International Knife Festival, lasting a couple of (very sunny) days and including knife exhibitions, knife making and knife throwing.

As with many Finnish localities, there are museums in Kauhava (Kauhava-Seura). One in the center of town features both the knife making tradition as well as the local textiles, which are striking. An out-of-place fishing lure is one interesting feature of this museum. Another museum on the outskirts of Kauhava features the 19th century home and farm of Iisakin Jussi. It provides an accurate view of late 19th century life in Western Finland. The Iisakin Jussi House in not open during the winter months.

The surrounding country is flat and well suited to agriculture, alternating between fields and forests. The town probably takes its name from the small river which passes through it.

Kauhava is also the home of the Finnish Air Force Academy.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Karesuando Knives from Sweden

What I like the best of these knives is that these feel great in your hand! The handles fit perfectly in your hand and have smooth feeling without being slippery. You can truly feel the high quality Scandinavian craftsmanship in these knives!

Sweden has long traditions of knife making and still respects and holds large amount of custom knife makers. Some make knives just for collectors, but most still make knives for people to use... and it's not a bad thing if they are nice to look at the same time!

Karesuando Knives is located in Arctic taiga in Karesuando, Sweden. The products have their origins in the extreme Arctic climate. All material comes from the surrounding area. Curly-grained birch and leather, antler and bone from the reindeer are the most-used components. These are knives made by folks who use knives! The shapes and sizes are ideal for all-around utility use. No matter if you are a hunter or a fisherman or just need a good utility tool - these are your knives!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Leuku ~ The big knife from Lapland

The Sámi knife is one of the main tools used in Sámi subsistence economy. Several types of knife blades have been discovered in the archaeological findings of the Iron Age in Lapland, and of those, the big Sámi knife developed into a general tool used for many purposes. In the Sámi language, the Sámi knife is simply stuorra niibi ('the big knife') – a good way to explain it to a person who is not familiar with it. The Sámi knife can be used as a general tool in situations where a portable edge tool is needed but where an ordinary knife would be too small or unpractical. The edge of this knife is about eight inches, when an ordinary knife has a blade of four or five inches.

Leuku is a Finnish word for a Sámi knife. This very versatile knife was developed from the needs of the reindeer herder-lifestyle. They are all-purpose knives rather than woodworking knives. The handles are typical of those used in the far North. They provide a solid grip for the draw strokes that are favored where the hands are often gloved, or stiff with cold. The wide flat pommel allows the use of the second hand to apply force to the point. The sheaths take almost the entire handle, which is a reflection of how serious a lost leuku can be in the wilderness.

In the larger sizes they combine the functions of camp knife and machete, and are used for everything from building shelters and gathering firewood, to butchering reindeer. It is an excellent outdoor tool for bush crafting. On the northern tundra a 7 or 8 inch leuku is far better to shop firewood with than an ax, as brush and willows are to weak to offer the ax the resistance needed for a easy cut. The leuku just slices thin branches off easily with a flick of your hand. But the big one also splits larger firewood well with the use of a baton. For fishing and hunting it is very handy as it is both knife and ax in one. The blades are relatively thin, and the knives are quite light for their size.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Wild North!

" Wild North is a business unit run by Metsähallitus, responsible for nature tours and activities all over in Finland. Wild North has been developed, during the past ten years, to one of the most successful international wilderness tour operator’s in Finland.

The roots are still strongly in the Finnish forest nature where it all began by selling hunting and fishing permits as well as renting wilderness cabins. Nowadays Wild North operates around Finland and its new footings are in Estonia, Sweden and Russia. The base for development is clean forest nature together with possibilities taking an interest in nature and wilderness at the best spots in Finland. An effective and capable co – operation network guarantees the best achievement as a result.

Finnish wilderness – and nature enthusiasts have been already for years, traditional Wild North customers to whom we are offering and developing even more possibilities for fishing, hunting and other nature attractions. The frame of our destinations is formed from Wild North own recreational fishing - and hunting areas, selling fishing – and hunting licenses to Metsähallitus other state lands and waters as well as by organising fishing – and hunting tours to Estonia, Russia and Sweden.

During the past years the Wild North has charged fulfilling the domestic and international group – and tour operator’s wishes offering them experiences surrounded by original Finnish nature, yet close by to the services needed. Wild North arranges, all at once, additional services with guiding, meals and different activities – whatever Your wishes are! The services are produced with local suppliers selected carefully to the co – operation network."

Click the head line to get Wild Norths web page.

Kuksa ~ Ancient Lapland Drinking Cup

One of the best “hiking companions” you might have is called “kuksa”. Kuksa is a handmade wooden drinking cup made of birch burl. People in Lapland have used kuksas for thousands of years and when treated right it will last for lifetime! Today you can find lot of “fake kuksas” but the only real kuksa is the one made of birch burl, which is the only material that will not crack in use. There are as many kuksa designs and sizes as there are makers, since all of them are made by hand. You can find tiny little kuksas or ones big enough to use as a soup bowl. Most common size is around one cup. Some have one hole for your finger, some have two… some of them have reindeer antler decorations… there is one for every taste, only problem is to find them in the US. You might want to check out my links or just click the head line!

Kuksa is light to carry with you and you can use it for any type of beverages hot or cold. The burl is soaked in salt water before the kuksa is carved, so it has a little salty taste the first time you use it. After that it will never hold any taste! You can use it for tea or coffee, juice or even for a shot of whiskey. All you need to do is rinse it with water after each use. Never put it in a dish washer or soak it in soap water!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Carrying a puukko in Finland...

The first law about carrying a puukko in a public came in 1977 and has rewritten 2003. Since 1977 it has been prohibited to carry puukko on city streets, public buildings or parks unless there is a "reasonable need" for one. What that basically means is that you are not allowed to carry puukko in public areas unless you need it for work.

Since 2003 it has been prohibited to make, import or carry in public throwing knives and stars, stilettos, tasers or stun guns, unless you have a special permit. In many cases that hasn't changed people's way of using puukko too much... together with everyman's rights you can still carry your puukko where ever you need it... since it has always been a tool and you don't camp, hunt or fish in a city anyway! :-)

Even today if you're driving outside the cities in Finland and go to a local gas station... forgot your puukko on your belt and happen to meet a local police officer, most likely he/she will ask if you had any luck with fishing or hunting :-) In the cities the law is taken seriously though and you will not only get a ticket carrying a puukko, you might also lose it!

Funny thing is that I know lots of people carrying a pocket knife with them all the time, since it doesn't show... even though it's as illegal as any other knife...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Knife Culture"

Someone in Finland asked me what is the difference between American and Scandinavian "taste" of knives?

It's a funny thing, but I have to admit that sometimes I think the saying "everything is big in America" is true :-) Most people seem to love their Bowies and the bigger the better... although I have met quite a few Americans lately, who prefer shorter blade knives. Even those people still prefer tipping point in their blade.

Has anyone idea why Americans tend to like big Bowies?