View Full Version : A little Finnish knife...

02-02-04, 01:14
When my father started school in Vancouver, British Columbia, he was about 6 years old but did not speak anything but Swedish. (about 1925) He found it difficult at first as most immigrants do. He carried a small Finnish knife in his pocket. I remember that it was in a silver sheath and it had a curved tip on it. There was also a short chain with a hook on the sheath so it could be attached to one's pocket or belt. The sheath had a design on it, which I don't remember. When my father had problems with some other students in the school playground who were calling him names/teasing him, he pulled out this knife to scare them. The knife was taken away from him by a teacher or the principal. Somehow it was returned to him later as it remains in our family today.
Can anyone tell me about this knife? Did all boys in Finland carry these? What might they have been used for?

02-02-04, 23:22
If you go to: http://www.publiscan.fi/bl07e-1.htm you will find a short article relating to the puukko, the Finnish knife. The puukko is an integral part of Finnish culture, tradition and history. There are several companies in Finland which continue to make them.

You are lucky to have a family puukko.

Skip Sunnell
03-02-04, 01:15
I have a puukko that was given me by my Aunt Teckla after her visit to the old country. I was six or seven at the time. My folks kept it safe for me until I was a teen ager.

It was extremely sharp. I still have it, although the sheath has take a bit of a beating over the years. I reckoned it was much like a Swiss or American pocket knife, but worn on the belt because the breeches of those days didn't have the pockets we have today.

As an aside which might have something to do with carrying them (I don't know, maybe someone else can help here): My uncle Ed (the oldest of the Sunnell family and born in Finland) told me that rifles were prohibited during the Russian occupation, and knives in excess of five inches long (I'm sure the equivelant centimeters) were also prohibited. Knives were to be used for utilitarian purposes only and not as potential weapons towards the occupiers. The Russian army integrated a Russian presence in most of the small villages to attempt insurrection or "freedom fighters" as they were known from getting a hold or upper hand.



03-02-04, 03:33
Please don't assume that only males carried knives. The women in centuries past carried their knife on a leather or handwoven band slipped over their belt, along with keys to the various buildings around the farmyard. It was an important tool in everyday life. Their knives were smaller, since the jobs didn't require killing sheep, but cutting vegetables, yarns, and so on. So some knives listed as ornamental on eBay were actually the woman's knive or a knife for a youngster.

03-02-04, 12:31
The following type of knifes I remember that our neighbour in the 60's was making. His name was Jorma Rannanjärvi and was from Härmä.

The Härmä puukko is a nice one - especially the ones Jorma made.