View Full Version : Puukko

October 05, 2007, 21:33
So I bought my first puukko today (didn't even know what the heck a "puukko" was until I brought the thing home and looked it up!) from an old man who had listed it on Craigslist.

I know basically nothing about this - and can find practically nothing about the manufacturer inscribed on the blade ("Matti Klemola"). Other than the city name ("Kauhava"), there is nothing else anywhere on the blade or sheath. No "Made in Finland", no numbers, no nothing.

It seem to be quite old - the fellow I bought it from said that it was his father's (and this guy was probably 75+) and the sheath is very brittle leather.

I've posted this over on "knifeforums.com" in the Scandinavian section, but I was wondering if anyone here can tell me anything about it:



October 05, 2007, 21:50
Finnish, nice find. Too bad you didn't get some of the history that would have gone with the outstanding knife.

October 05, 2007, 21:57
Thanks. I had very little time to chat with the fellow today, but I did send him an email tonight asking for more detail... With any luck, there will be a good story to go with it.

Jurassic Jake
October 15, 2007, 02:52
Does it have a laminated steel blade? The Scandinavians were noted for that type of construction.


October 15, 2007, 06:13
Handy link

That said, one thing to correct in the above messages. Finland (where my Grandfather came from) is not considered a Scandanavian country. That would be Norway, Sweeden and Denmark. The Finns are considered to be ethnicly related to the Lapps, who inhabit what today is northern Finland and Northern Russia.
I remember my father had his fathers puukko, I don't know whatever happened to it? It was similiar to the one in your picture. As a youngster it was expected that you'd have a small knife with you, always carried a Swiss army jack knife with me. I remember going off to college, i pulled it out to open something up, and the guy next to me was so shocked that I had a knife with me (this was 1980). Realy opened my eyes, I was just used to a young man having a knife with him. I've spoken to other Finnish/American people my age and it was always expected you would have a knife (though not as nice as the puukko in the pic) with you. Thanks for the memory boost


October 15, 2007, 12:35
The Finns are considered to be ethnicly related to the Lapps, who inhabit what today is northern Finland and Northern Russia.

The Finnish language is classified as Finno-Ugric which has ties to the Hungarian language rather than Saami (or Lapp which is an old term).

Excavations undertaken in 1996 have led to a radical reconsideration of how long people have inhabited Finland. Finds in a cave near Kristinestad in the southwestern part of the country have led some to suggest that habitation of Finland goes back at least 100,000 years. Ancestors of the Sami apparently were present in Finland by about 7000 BC. As other groups began to enter Finland some 3,000 years later, the proto-Sami probably retreated northward. Archaeological remains suggest that this second wave of settlers came from or had contact with what was to become Russia and also Scandinavia and central Europe. Peoples of Uralic (specifically Finno-Ugric) stock dominated two settlement areas. Those who entered southwestern Finland across the Gulf of Finland were the ancestors of the Hämäläiset (Tavastians, or Tavastlanders), the people of southern and western Finland (especially the historic region of Häme); those who entered from the southeast were the Karelians. Scandinavian peoples occupied the western coast and archipelagoes and the Åland Islands.

The name on your pukko is very close to my family name as well. The village of Kauhava is located near the Western coast which is also where my family name originates (I am an American. The family name has not been altered). He was not Saami (Lapp). My great grandfather was "Finlandssvenskar" or Swedish speaking Finn. These Swedish speaking people of Finland account for 7% of Finlands total population. Talk about a minority! Remember too that Finland as a country was part (or ruled by) Sweden for quite some time. The population of Finland today is only about 5.5 million.

Gunner, it's funny that you mention the knife thing. That happened to me too. :) My nickname "ostrobothnian" is tribute to my family heritage.

October 15, 2007, 19:41
Thanks for the replies...

So far I've been able to determine that Matti Klemola was a knife maker in Kauhava from 1918 to 1935. The sheath is actually pressed paper, not leather as I had originally thought. Apparently paper was used from about 1930 until the early 1940s, so this dates the knife to 1930-1935.

After emailing the old fellow from whom I bought it, there isn't much story to add... It was his father's and he remembers seeing it in the 1960s, but he says that his father certainly could have had it before then. He really didn't have anything else to say.

After learning more about it, I'm rather feeling like I ripped the old man off - I paid $15 for the knife, his asking price.

October 15, 2007, 19:44
Originally posted by Jurassic Jake
Does it have a laminated steel blade? The Scandinavians were noted for that type of construction.


I don't know if it is laminated or not, but I do know that it has a convex grind.

I don't think there is an easy (and non-destructive) test for a laminated blade... Is there?

RG Coburn
October 18, 2007, 18:42

For you guys looking for Scandinavian knives and such,this guy has quite a variety.Both stainless and carbon.Take your time and look thru the various manufacturers offerings.Some really nices ones,there.

October 30, 2007, 13:47
As a test you could polish the blade and then use a mild acid (lemon juice) to provide a frost etch. If there is a clear line separating the first 1/4 in. of the edge from the rest of the body of the knife it would be indicative of a laminated blade.

October 31, 2007, 22:19
Though not as nice as some of the variations shown in this thread, there was a knife marketed as a Puukko in the sixties (and probably later, also) with a nylon handle. Though not comfortable to use for tough work, the blades took and held a beautiful edge. I know they worked very well on fish and fowl. I'm not sure how well they worked on larger game.