Puukkos – Ahti

Ahti Vaara and Leuku Puukkos

Published: January 23rd, 2013 by The Edge Observer 2

The  Ahti Vaara and Leuku Puukkos are traditional fixed blade utility knives.  These models are hand made in Kauhava, Finland by Reino Kamppila.  Used in many areas of Nordic culture they can be found in both domestic and professional environments applied to a wide variety of jobs.  Due to their simple, effective ergonomics and blade geometry the knives have been adopted by bush-crafters the world over.  More modern versions have also been produced further popularizing the pattern by companies such as Mora of Sweden.

Ahti Vaara and Leuku Puukkos

The typical Puukko is a fairly short knife.  The blade’s length typically the width of the average hand.  The Vaara fits this profile measuring 3.75″ from point to hilt.  At its base the blade is .75″ wide and .125″ thick along the full length for rigidity.  The edge has a very gradual curve that approaches the tip with a shallow belly.  The grind begins about half way across the blade and consists of one bevel per side.  This is considered a Scandinavian grind or “Scandi grind” due to the lack of a secondary bevel that produces the cutting edge.  This type of grind is also often referred to as a “zero” grind.   Scandi grinds are very sharp and fairly easy to maintain, especially when using whet stones as you don’t need to hunt for the bevel’s angle.

Ahti Vaara Puukko Scandi Grind

The blade on the Leuku is considerably larger at 7.08″.  This pattern is a Saami knife pattern.  The Saami are a group of indigenous people that occupy the region of Sápmi.  This area is now divided across the Northern most parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as the Kola Peninsula of Russia.  Working primarily as fishers, trappers and herders the semi-nomadic Saami required this larger knife for more rigorous outdoor tasks. Also made from .125″ thick stock the Leuku measures 1.125″ wide at the hilt still providing excellent rigidity.

Ahti Leuku Blade

Sámi FamilySapmi

Both blade blanks and their fittings are produced by Finnish company Laurin Metalli Oy.  This manufacturer offers several patterns as well the parts used in the assembly of the knives.  These particular blades are high carbon steel hardened between 58-60 Rockwell.  With a blackened surface left from the heat treating process, they show off the grind nicely along with the company name that is hand engraved just before the hilt.

Ahti Knives

The handles are constructed around a hidden tang.  Both are made from birch, the traditional material for Puukkos.  These particular knives use curly birch giving them a rich, warm appearance brought out through a linseed oil treatment that also provides water resistance.  Although sanded smooth, the wood still provides great traction.  Both have been contoured very nicely maintaining one continuous surface that is without hot-spots and suitable for extended periods of use.  With a slight finger groove, swelling midpoint and flared pommel they provide a solid grip that handles effortlessly.  The shape compliments both fine jobs on the smaller Vaara and more aggressive use with the Leuku.  The wood handle scales are firmly attached with two pinstriped brass bolsters on the Leuku and a pinstriped front bolster and pressure fit brass nut on the Vaara.

Ahti Leuku Handle

For carry the knives come with a hand-made, treated leather sheath.  With one fold and seam the construction is simple and effective.  Both are fitted with a leather loop hinged on a brass ring for belt carry.  A brass band travels just below the mouth of the Vaara sheath that serves to reinforce the ring attachment as well as adding embellishment.  The Leuku’s loop is attached with a heavier-duty brass rivet.  Two brass rivets are also found on the edge of the Leuku sheath for strength.  Both versions are similar in design, the Vaara with a slightly more exaggerated boot shape.  Each has a traditional pattern embossed on the front face along with an eagle and the place of manufacture.  A plastic insert serves to hold the shape and protect the leather from the blades.  The knives ride deep and retention is very good.

Puukkos In Sheaths

After reviewing and using these knives it is obvious why the pattern has had such a long, successful life.  Easily scaled, the Puukko and Leuku can be effectively applied to just about any task and produced in a variety of materials as seen in more modern variations.  These particular knives have been very nicely crafted at an affordable price point.  They offer excellent utility and a familiar beauty that will make them at home in a collection as well as in everyday use.

Scandinavian PuukkosMaking Leather SheathsReady for Linseed OilShaping Puukko HandlesShaping Puukkos HandlesAhti Puukkos Sheath PatternAhti Puukkos Eagle EmblemCurly Birch DetailPuukko SheathsAhti Puukkos PommelsAhti Vaara PuukkoAhti Leuku

To view a wide variety of Scandinavian knives, visit Lamnia who made this review possible through their generous donation of the Vaara and Leuku at www.lamnia.fi

Specs

Vaara

Overall length 211 mm
Weight: 83 g ( with Sheath)

Blade

Length: 95 mm
Thickness: 3 mm
Carbon steel by Laurin Metalli
Hardness: HRC 58-60

Leuku

Overall length: 300 mm
Weight: 211 g ( with Sheath)

Blade

Length: 180 mm
Thickness: 3 mm
Carbon steel by Laurin Metalli
Hardness: HRC 58-60

Handles

Hidden Tang (Stick Tang)
Curly Birch treated with Linseed Oil
Brass Bolster and Brass Nut

Sheath

Embossed Leather with plastic insert
Brass Fittings

Made in:  Finland