lapin-puukko (aka puukko) revisited
Re: an old thread on the old board.
I found a book by Les Ristinen "Collectable Knives
of Finland" in Knife World from The Soumi Shop.
Just ordered it, haven't received it yet. Don't
know if it's the same book as "Knives of Finland"
by Ristinen or not.
BTW: somewhere (I can't find it) someone posted a
list of major puukko makers. I found the old thread
on the old board and Smilodon Fatalis's great post.
I would appreciate it if someone could repost the
list or direct me to it.
Since SMILODON FATALIS was my alter ego (read Dr. Jeckyl / Mr. Hyde) I thank you for remembering what an enjoyable lttle thread that was... and it started something like this:
"After the debate with the Lohar i`ve been recently inspired to open a new thread on another ,,grey spot on the map,, :
the so called FINLAND KNIFE
Well, also known as Finn Knife, Scandinavian Knife and even Eskimo knife (even though its nothing like a ulu) for those who don`t know it yet this is the knife in debate:
Let`s clear some fog around here: In Finland the word for any knife is puukko / puukotaa. Absolutely any kind of knife from kitchen to the army would be reffered to by this word. Just wanted to make sure that know that what we are reffering to is not the Finland knife but the Lapland knife, as this ittem is a creation of the Lap people. Therefore the most correct therm woold be ,, Lapin Puuko,, or ,,Lappland puuko,, .
Lappland ( a.k.a. Sápmi) is the most northen virtual country of Europe, a very cold territory imhabited by the Laps, the ,,eskimo,, of Europe, also known as Sami. They not only exist in Finland but in all Scandinavia: Sweden, Norway and even Russia (Kola peninsula is known as Russian Scandinavia). This people used to pretty much have their own country named Laponia, very little known in contrast to the rest of Europe, much like a far away cold and snowy fairytale country with indigenous people, speaking a distinct language named Saami, nomad hunters and fishermen and gatherers much resemblant of the northern American Algonquins or southern Eskimo nations, living in teepees and huts and harvesting reindeer. They were easily conquered and the country was split in the 19th century.
I just want it to make sure that this knife is perceived as a Lapp knife not as being from Finland, since IT IS AN ORIGINAL CREATION OF THE SAMI PEOPLE AND THEY HAVE A WIDER AREA OF LIVING THAN JUST SIMPLY FINLAND.
And any person from Finland would pretty much recognise it as being the ,,Lapp knife,,.
Like any good ittem of course this knife has seen some globalisation.
P.S. It is one of the best all around purpose knife: unbeatable for fileing the fish or fisherman chores in general, a good hunting knife specially as paring knife and even a good combat/survival knife, thick grip and very slick blade. Due to its special wood grip and the narrow blade it is a featherlight weight large knife.
Obviously they come in many shapes and sizes but the basic concept and ingredients remain very much the same and everyone should own one.
P.S. : from all the gifts I gave him, a ,,Lapin puukko,, knife is the most treasured one by my father, an avid outdoorsman.
LAPIN PUUKO parts original nomenclature:
1. ylähela, nuppi
1.2 koko ponsi
2. niitti, niittaus
3. kara, ruoto
4. kahva, pää, lapot
5.1 väistin (sormisuoja), västi
9. päästö, hionta, lasku
10. hamara, selkä
11. veriura, veriuurna, verikuurna, kouru
The LAPIN PUUKO scabbard parts original denomination:
1. kantolenkki, kannin, linkku
2. rengas, ketju, lenkki
3. ylähela, suuhela
4. tupen peili
5. lesta (sisäpuolella)
6. alahela, kärkihela
7. kärkikoriste, "tuulijarru
As I mentioned on the old forum, the leuko, flatter, wider, and including a version that's longer than puuko is AFAIK the usual finnish (Suomen)/Lappish (Sammi) knife, and is essentially a butchering knife similar to bichaq, as Suomen is related to Turkish. while the thicker, heavier-edged puuko is well suited for woodcarving. Some aspect of this distinction may be N American interpretation; the cultural distribution or naming issue, but not the structure. It remains my impression that puuko is a compound word meaning "wood knife" I read that in an article on puukos in a woodworking magazine. I do not think the author distinguished (or maybe knew) whether it's a knife for cutting wood or a knife for in the woods; it's usually good for both/either. I suppose I could look for an online dictionary, but then my success with the Latin ones was so miserable, and it doesn't seem tremendously important to me.......Whether the puuko is more German in its origins I don't know, but it seems to shake out that way to at least some extent within the modern setting, as far as which is more preferred as a general carry knife (we might suspect both cultures produce and use both butchering and carving knives). My puuko was a gift from a Finn who said it is the style favoured by the minority Swedes in Finnland. To clarify my language and thinking on this matter; Danes and Norse are Germans. Turks and Kazaks are Tartars. Innuits and Eskimos are North People (currently Nunnavut). Finns, Lapps, and to a lesser degree Swedes seem to fall somewhat in between, culturally, genetically, linguistically, and all of this is as one would expect from a map. A passing note of possible interest; the old traditional sheath is generally made of reindeer/caribou antler or bone (both are/were used) exposed and carved at the tip, and with a covering and upper (to borrow a shoe term) of the deer's hide, while the handle is generally birch, often burl for fanciness. Baltic birch is harder, stronger, and perhaps more weather resistant that paper birch, BTW, for the information of the N Americans who might be more familiar with that specie.
Randomish thoughts of possible interest: Ancient German tales often did not much distinquish between supernatural creatures, competing animals, or foreign or otherwise objectionable humans; all, including the risen dead, could be called "trolls" a word that seems closely equivalent in that sense to the modern N American English usage of the word "monster" Lapps and Finns are sometimes creditted with esoteric knowledge in Scandinavian folklore, and I sometimes wonder how this relates to both the magic Tartar steel (bulat/wootz) and famous "dwarf" and "Juten" smiths............................................ ..................................
I think you have mixed it up a bit about Scandinavians, Sami and Finns.
Being a Swede (with a Danish mother), who has worked several years in Denmark, Norway and Finland, I have some insight in the different languages and peoples ;)
"To clarify my language and thinking on this matter; Danes and Norse are Germans. Turks and Kazaks are Tartars. Innuits and Eskimos are North People (currently Nunnavut). Finns, Lapps, and to a lesser degree Swedes seem to fall somewhat in between, culturally, genetically, linguistically, and all of this is as one would expect from a map. "
Swedes, Danes and Norwegians are Scandinavian people with Scandinavian languages (part of the Germanic language family where also f.i. English belongs).
However I don't think Englishmen see themselves as Germans :D
Scandinavia + Finland and some small islands = The Nordic countries.
Finns have a different root with a completely different language (related to Hungarian).
When I am in the Scandinavian countries I can figure out the languages (like Italian and French) but when in Finland I always speak English.
Unless I meet a Finnish Swede (= somebody who has had a Swedish ancestor who migrated to Finland when it was a Swedish colony and still speaks Swedish).
I hope this clarifies the confusement about Scandinavia/Nordic countries etc.
Thanks. There's something to be said for understanding things from the inside, and there is equally sometimes an inability to, as said in modern English (German mixed with Greek and Latin and very little Celtic) "see the forest for the trees" ie it can be difficult to see an overall picture past all the details. I do not think that whether the current English (for instance) consider themselves German is much the issue (or at all important, actually); I consider them German, as do the Irish and Scotts, for instance, as I do (even moreso) the scandinavians; this is what I was explaining; that I am using a different slant on language; not any new or individual one (not that there'd be anything wrong with that) but an ancient/outmoded one, BTW. One that refers to the ancient past and to migrations and social movements as real, meaningful, and important things; taht thus emphasizes those more than the tribal/political divisions that fascinate most humans but seem much less important/informative IMHO. The most difficult thing about the word German is we have a modern polity sometimes called that (Germany, but actually Dutch Land, of course), about which there are even more emotions than about most such, and which is not a nation-state, but only a small, even random-seeming, part of the Germannic world; a tribe using the name of the whole nation; a common phenomenon, but no less confusing for that. There is not only no need, but no possibility for correctness in this matter, as it is a matter not of fact, but of interpretation; of outlook; of paradigm. Thus when reading me try to understand from/though my paradigm (which I try to explain); as when reading you I try to understand from yours.
Huns are more Tartars, at least originally, when they came to Europe.
Of course you could describe Central and North Europe as once a Germanic tribe and having different Germanic languages (except Finland, Hungary and the Baltic states). And we could discuss in depth if Danes are closer to Germans in a cultural way than f.i. Norwegians and Swedes etc.
Maybe we should drop this discussion and focus on the knife instead?
I only wanted to clarify the overall differences between Scandinavian and Nordic countries/languages/people.
PS Don't forget that there is also a lot of old Viking terms in English - like sword and knife ;-)
My house is blue on the inside and yellow on the outside. If you are outside and I am inside and I tell you it's blue, am I wrong? When you tell me it's yellow, are you wrong?
A li'l parable that came to me; Hi Ho Hi Ho off to work I go.
We seem to have posted simultaneously there. The issue of what peoples and cultures have influenced the knives is an essential part of understanding them, of course, and allows us to relate them to other forms we may know more or other things about, so we never stopped discussing the knives. :cool:
Just a note that I got my copy of
Les Ristinen's "Collectable Knives of Finland". Excellent book, paperback,
with tons of illustrations, company histories,
catalog reprints,etc. IMHO a must have for
anyone into Scandinavian knives and puukko
Thanks for the review :)
Yo, Tom, I dont know whats gotten into you but I like your humour a lot lately !
In finland we use two names for knife:
Veitsi , Which includes kitchen knives, hunting knives, doctors knives and all others that are not Puukkos.
Puukko refers to a traditional finnish style to make a knife, which has long history from ironage to this day. the traditional puukko is:
-Blade`s "back" (hamara) is straight.
-blade and handle are almost same lenght.
-hand made, i use those industrial plastic handled puukkos only as toothpicks.
Different traditional model`s:
-Tommi-puukko from kainuu, Kauhavan puukko (kauhavalainen), järjestöpuukko etc.
Lapinpuukko and lapinleuku are variations of puukko with strong ethnic
touch, mostly made in lappland. Reindeers horn, and curly birch are widely used in the handle, and decorated with saami carvings.
Wish I could tell you who was the Finn that quoted me that ... Did I do Ok on the rest ? ;)
Cool, thanks for the briefing, any further description of the differences between the two styles? And in your own acception as Finn, may I ask please, how much do you think a puuko is a Finn knife vs. a Lap knife ?
Otso, thanks. I hadn't even been thinking about the ratio of handle length to blade length, but now that you mention it, except for some of the really big machete/dagger types with like 8 and 10 inch (25cm) blades, this does seem to be true of the ordinary ones, which have a pretty wide variety of blade size between I'd say maybe 2 and 4 or 5 inches.....I see some with a slight "clip" or indentation to the straightness of the spine at the tip; do you consider this a modern and/or foreign feature? Very similar knives are worn in Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden; I really don't know for many that I've seen which specific tribe/country they are from, either, as many really old ones are unmarked (though they may once have had light marks; many new ones are marked only with a light etch).
Good Little Book
It's a good little book and rare too. I was lucky to find mine on ebay (was surprised to find it was signed by the author on the inside as well).
There are lots of different models of puukkos depending of use and area where they are coming;
this is a short list i borrowed from webpages of Taisto Kuortti.
Vöyri`s puukko: Earliest model of puukko. Handle and sheath made from metal (brass).
Härmä`s puukko: Maybe best known type of puukko in finland. usually there`s two puukkos in same sheath; small and big one.
Kauhava`s puukko: welldone and expensive.
Kainuu`s puukko: Or tommi puukko. simple and beautiful.
Sami puukko: Also called as Lapinpuukko, always beautifully decorated. :)
Other styles include: Rautalammi`s puukko, Toijala`s puukko,
Pekanpään puukko, ilves-puukko, wartime puukkos made in the front,
and many more are yet to come...
Is there a book that discusses the Vöyri style puukko?
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