Unusual Vintage Puukko Knife with Red Bakelite Grip and Ornate Leather Sheath made by Iisakki Järvenpää of Kauhava, Finland
Here on offer is an unusual example of n early vintage Puukko knife with a red Bakelite “birds head” style grip.
This knife was made by Iisakki Jarvenpaa of Kauhava in Finland. Kauhava is by far the Puukko center of Finland, with the overwhelming majority of Puukkos being made in this city.
This is a decorative version of the traditional Finnish Puukko general-purpose belt knife.
The Puukko is a Finnish knife and the name lends itself to the Finnish word “puukotta,” which means “to stab/knife.” The prefix, “puu” means “wood” in Finnish. The design of the Puukko is attributed to the indigenous Sami people, who created several knives to use for day to day tasks; the Puukko was the smaller option, used to skin fish or animals. Although historical records vary, the Puukko dates back about 1000 years. Both men and women carried (and carry) Puukkos, although the sizes change depending on the person, as the Puukko handle is meant to fit the hand size of the user.
This is the only one I have seen with a red translucent Bakelite grip that has a lipped edge to the pommel, like a birds head.
The large ferrule looks to be silver or nickel plated and has a decorative pattern engraved on its upper section.
The steel blade has a single curved cutting edge, a fuller on both surfaces, a solid hidden tang and a flat spine. It shows some greying to the finish on the blade that would probably polish up to a bright finish, if so required.
On the front of the blade engraved into the fuller, you can still just make out the etched makers’ name, which seems to read as:
I. Järvenpää Kauhava
The engraved on the blade are the words:
Made in Finland
The ornate brown leather sheath shows some beautiful tooled work to the front of the leather. There is a very small section of leather missing on the reverse. The upper and lower fittings are made from a silver or nickel plated metal and have a simple geometric etched design.
The reverse of the upper fitting also has a swivel loop fitted and retains its original chain and belt hook
Iisakki Järvenpää (Isaac Riverhead in English) is known as one of the worlds most famous knife makers.
He began his career at Kauhava Puukkotehdas in 1899. (Puukkotehdas translated means knife factory).
The factory was founded in 1898 and made knives until 1939.
He was employed as a production manager and worked at the factory up until 1904.
Iisakki was born in Kauhava parish in 1859 and by the age of 20 had begun knife making. From the beginning, he used bark on the handle and after a few years 1881, he began to make his own blades. A year after that he and several others began to etch the blades with manufacturer’s name and place of manufacture, Kauhava, Finland.
Iisakki Järvenpää Oy was purchased in June 2013 by three South Ostrobothnian entrepreneurs, Pekka Pollari, Jarkko Haukkala and Hannu Pennala.
The aim was to develop and maintain Finnish knife manufacturing and crafts.
The knife is an excellent example of an unusual early vinatge knife and would make a great addition to any vintage knife collection.
The knife itself measures 6.74” (17cm) long and has a 3.25” (8.3cm) blade.
It weighs 70g.
Please see my pictures for the details of the condition, which complement this description.
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Thanks for taking the time to look.