Monday, February 28, 2011

Kauhavan Puukkopaja Vuolupuukko Review

I want to thank all of my readers from Finland who have contacted me with information about the knife.

In this review I will look at a fairly unknown knife from Finland. Most of you are probably in the same boat as me, in that you can’t make heads or tails of the name of the knife. Kauhavan Puukkopaja is the name of the manufacturer. Kauhava is actually an area in Finlad and there are a few knife makes there. Vuoluppuukko is the type of knife, meaning wood-carving puukko. In this post I will simply refer to the knife as “the Puukko”.

Knife Length: 8 3/8 inches (213 mm)
Blade Length: 4 1/16 inches (105 mm)
Blade Thickness: 1/8 inches (3 mm)
Blade Width: 3/4 inch (19 mm)
Blade Material: Carbon steel made by Laurin Matelli
Blade Hardness: HRC 59 on the Rockwell Scale
Type of Tang: Rattail tang
Blade Grind: Scandinavian/single bevel with small secondary bevel
Handle Material: Stacked leather with brass bolsters
Sheath Material: Leather
Cost: $70.00

This is actually a medium cost knife. The only locations where I have been able to purchase it is this Finnish web store. Even with the shipping to the US, the knife still ended up being under $100.

When compared to the Mora No. 1, the Puukko is more robust and slightly larger. In dimensions, it is almost identical to the Mora No. 2 knife. The blade is a little over four inches long. I find it to be a much better length than that of the Mora 1. The extra blade length comes in handy when making slicing cuts. The carbon steel blade might appear to have a Scandinavian/single bevel grind, but there is actually a small secondary bevel at the very end. This makes the ultimate angle of the cutting edge wider than that of the Mora 1. While I greatly enjoy using the Mora 1 precisely because of that very thin cutting edge, the more robust edge of the Puukko makes for a more versatile knife. It is not uncommon to damage the thin cutting edge of a Mora. The edge of the Puukko is tougher because of the added thickness. I by no means want to imply that the edge is thick. It is still shaving sharp, and fine enough for delicate work. The cutting edge extends all the way back to the handle, just like it does on the Mora 1. The spine of the blade is rounded off, so if you want it to throw sparks you will have to square it off with a sharpening stone.

The blade is made by Laurin Metalli, one of the largest blade makers in Finland. The knife has a rattail tang. The handle is made of stacked leather with a bolster in the front, back, and two other places in the handle. The construction seems very solid. There are no finger guards, and the handle is a very nice oval shape. It is thicker than that of the Mora 1, which I find more comfortable to use during more forceful cuts. You will have to do a good oiling of the handle in order to keep it protected from moisture, dirt and if you are skinning an animal, blood.

I wanted to see if this knife is more than just a showpiece, so I took it into the woods for the usual tests.

The knife had no problem splitting a three-inch log. The blade is a bit thicker than that of the Mora 1, but it does not noticeably effect its splitting ability. The added length does help with splitting thicker pieces of wood. The knife feels more solid and robust than the Mora 1.

Truncating with the knife is also fine. Even though the wood I was using was frozen, there was no damage to the blade.

The Puukko also does fine with feather sticks. The ones I managed to make in the picture leave a lot to be desired, mostly because my hands were frozen. I’ve been using the knife for some time now, and it cuts perfectly well.

The knife comes with a nice sheath. It holds the knife very well, and is made of thin leather with a plastic insert for the blade. I like sheaths like this one because they are compact and lightweight. I hate it when the sheath weighs more than my knife. The sheath is attached to the belt with a leather loop in a traditional manner.

Overall, here you are getting a lot of knife for the money. Even if you have to get it shipped to the US, the value is very good. The knife is a work of art that performs very well. Its dimensions are very good for a small knife, and it’s exactly what I was looking for as a pocket knife to go along with my axe. Just like with the Mora 1, I would not go into the woods with this knife being my main cutting tool, but for smaller to medium tasks, the knife fits me very well. The manufacturer also makes a more expensive version with a wooden handle, but this one will do just fine. In terms of design, this is as close to my ideal as a knife can get, and the execution of the design is excellent.