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Knives Made in Finland

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Knives made in Finland (or, puukko) have a very distinct look and feel that is difficult to portray in words.  Generally, these knives are lightweight yet durable made with traditional material like curly birch or reindeer bone handles sporting a unique, recognizable shape.  If you’ve ever owned a Rapala filet knife
(made by Marttiini Knives), then you can recognize the basic shape and handle design of a traditional Finnish puukko.  But, puukkos must be handled and used to be truly appreciated.

Puukko your eyes out

Here’s some terms: the word, puukko is a term for Scandanavian knives, but is most closely associated with Finnish bushcraft knives that are used as everyday tools as well for woodcarving, hunting, fishing, construction, utility, etc.  Puukko literally translated means knife.  Just so we’re clear, saying “puukko knife” is sort of like saying ATM machine.  Or, cash money.  Just sayin’.

The word, “oy” means Company or Ltd.  In other words, if you see somewhere on the Internet the words “Marrttiini Oy,” it simply means Company or Inc. I have seen this mistakenly identified as a specific model.  This makes me wonder if there is a Coca Cola Oy bottling Oy in Helsinki somewhere.

Puukkos have a rich history that reaches back thousands of years, and is undergoing a sort of revival with the increasing popularity of bushcrafting worldwide.  Unfortunately, Finnish law prohibits the public display of edged “weapons,” so the bearing of a puukko is technically illegal but usually not enforced due to its cultural importance.   Apparently, Finns with puukkos are overly menacing when they’ve had one to many sahti.  But, fortunately places like my home state of Montana don’t really care what you do.

Of course, Finnish soldiers still rock a personalized puukko which is their only non-standard uniform item.  Again, this reflects the importance of this particular style of knife within the Finnish national identity.

 

WWII era Finnish solider sheathing puukko

Finnish pride in craftsmanship

The evolution of Finnish made bushcraft knives has has made an overwhelming impact to the overall form, function and appeal of using knives of this class.   Finnish knives continue to be popular among bushcrafters for their incredible craftsmanship, superior quality, and relatively lightweight price.  Out of the box, every Finnish made knife I’ve ever held had a sharp edge that generally surpasses most factory edges.  I think this plays to the Finnish pride in their knife-making history and craftsmanship ethic that dictates that knives should always be sharp and ready for use.  After all, you never know when you may be called upon to dispatch an errant caribou.

There are many quality manufacturers of Finnish knives, but I’ll only provide the highlights to a handful of the more popular companies with examples of their work.  With such a range of options, there is something for everybody in the world of puukkos.  Here’s a list of 5 popular brands of knives made in Finland that are widely distributed on the Internet from multiple websites:

Here's a side-by-side comparison of some popular Finnish knives.
Manufacturer
Representative Model
Year company formed
Key features
Summary
Marttiini KnivesMarttiini Ranger Curly Birch HandleMarttiinii Condor Knife1928
  • Janne Marttiini, blacksmith and preacher
  • First model was the Lynx - remains most popular today
  • Marttiini Knives are hand finished - making them exceptionally sharp out of the box
  • These are beautifully crafted knives that expertly fuse old world craftsmanship with modern features and materials. The Witch's Tooth is one of my all time favorites.
    Kellam Knives
  • Great knives, terrible website
  • High Carbon Steel blades
  • Traditional Puukko designs
  • One of my all time favorite knives is made by Kellam, and it is the fixed blade pocket knife. It is just super classy and unique. The quality of all the Kellam knives I've sold are exactly what you'd expect from the Finns. Excellent.
    Ahti KnivesAhti Knife
  • 2 distinct lines: traditional and modern
  • Limited production by Finnish knifemaker, Reino Kamppila
  • I have never held one of these knives, but the workmanship looks consistent with leading Finnish knifemakers, so I will be exploring soon.
    Iisakki Järvenpää Knives iisakki järvenpää knivesIisakki Paaso Puukko Knive made in Finland1879
  • Oldest Knife Manufacturer in Finland
  • Blades are High Carbon or AISI 420 stainless
  • Famous for lightweight, extraordinarily crafted Puuko and Leuku combinations
  • Made in Kauhava Finland
  • Iisakki Järvenpää is synonymous with quality at affordable prices. Essentially handcrafted with excellent, deep sheaths in traditional style.
    Roselli Knives2008
  • handmade in Finland by Heimo Roselli
  • Roselli knives uses propriatary UHC (Ultra High Carbon) steel - 64-65 HRC
  • "The unessential is detrimental" is about the coolest mantra I've ever heard. Extreme utility where the form follows the function. Outstanding knife for the money.

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