Making A Puukko Without Power Tools by Ilkka Seikku


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I found this cool article about making a traditional puukko (knife) and thought others might find it interesting like I did. This article is a reblog of a reblog, as it appears that the original article is no longer available.


Originally posted on nordiska knivar:

Here is a very interesting piece by Ilkka Seikku about making a puukko without any power tools.  I hope he’ll favor us with a sequel on the leather work aspects of this project. Thank you Ilkka!

Ilkka’s website:

and blog:

“First I forge the blade. I use my foot powered forge and hammer it from silversteel. It’s necessary to hammer the blade straight to its shape and even the bevels need to be almost ready after forging. It´s very hard to file the blade if during forging the hammering hasn’t been so good.

I forge this blade to be something like 90 mm long and 22 mm wide. It has rhombic section and the thickest point is about 5 mm. It´s quite regular and traditional size. If you’re lucky enough to have seen some old Finnish maasepänpuukkos, you may have seen they have hammer marks on the bevel…

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Ochsenkopf ( Ox Head ) Broad Hatchet


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Ochsenkopf Broad Hatchet ( Ox Head )
Bit Profile: Single Bevel Right Side
Weight: 35.2 oz. ( 998 grams)
Blade length: 5.5″ (139.7 mm)
Length: 15.75″ (400 mm)
Price: $100 USD (2013)

After Extensive Modifications

After Extensive Modifications

Back in 2013, after years of making do without a hewing axe, I decided to try this model from Ox Head. There are basically two options on the market, the inexpensive Kent pattern, or the European styles such as those offered by Gransfors Bruk, Biber, and a few others that are very high-priced.

After a little search today, it looks like the right hand version of this axe may no longer be sold in the US. You might be able to special order it or get it from Europe.

The build quality of this axe is pretty nice. The fit and finish is as good as any other high-end axe on the market. The head itself is well finished and the surfaces are all smooth. The handle is attached with one longitudinal wooden wedge and two round steel wedges.

Fit & Finish

Fit & Finish

The head is mounted straight but the handle is offset as you would expect from a hewing axe. It is not as dramatic as some of the old ones around, but sufficient for keeping your hand out of the way of the the wood you are hewing. This is something Gransfors has not done on one of their broad axes I have seen.

Handle Offset

Handle Offset

The axe came with a painted head and handle with a light coat of varnish over the entire axe. It also has a nail claw for pulling nails, that seems out of place. This tool is designed for hewing wood not driving and pulling nails, so the addition of the claw for me is unnecessary, which meant it needed to go.


From the Factory

The first order of business was to cut off the nail claw on my metal-cutting bandsaw. I was not sure how the claw would cut since it should have been hardened, but it cut without any trouble.

De-clawed OX

De-clawed OX

After the Ox had been de-clawed, I trued up the pole of the axe. One side was a little higher than the other and need to be flattened to square it up.

IMG_7318 IMG_7321

I didn’t take any pictures of reworking the handle, but you can get the idea from the comparison picture below. I thinned it down quite a bit and gave it my standard finish with homemade walnut stain and BLO(boiled linseed oil).


With these modifications this is a pretty sweet axe for hewing. It is simple to put a razors edge on it and it stays sharp even with a lot of use meaning this axe is made with quality steel and has been properly heat-treated. The axe is very controllable and removes wood with ease.

I feel comfortable giving my recommendation for this axe if someone needs a quality hewing axe at a reasonable price. As always, I welcome your comments and questions.



Lots to catch up on!



This past year and a half there has been a lot I have not blogged about because of the business and hard lifestyle of living in a tent and now camper while building our house.

I am going to try to go back and cover some things that have fallen into the depths of my computer. There will be a few more tool mods and reviews, more spoons, some house work, tile work, carving axe comparison, and some other things to come.

We finally got a phone line trenched out to our place, and even though it is slow, we do have internet again.

Keep an eye out for things to come. Soon I will be doing a review and some modifications of a hewing hatchet or side axe which ever you prefer to call it.

If there is anything you are interested in seeing let me know and I will try to get around to it.


Sami Leather Coffee Bag Tutorial


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These neat little leather bags are a traditional style bag made by the Sami people of Scandinavia. These bags are found with a variety of names but the most common is a coffee bag or pouch.


I had a few request on some forums for a leather bag such as this so I decided to make a tutorial of the process for making one.

First I start out with some soft suede that I inherited from some of my brothers belongings. You can find a pattern on the internet, but it is really not necessary. All you need are the following pieces cut to the approximate size you want your finished bag.


Then you start by sewing one end panel to the long strip of leather which will form the bottom and sides of the bag. Usually I sew all my leather by hand and use a saddle stitch, but for this bag I decided to use my trusty old Speedy Stitcher that has not been used in years.


Once you have this end panel on it is time to sew on the second one. A word of caution at this point. The leather on will stretch different then the first panel if you don’t consistently use the same tension when sewing. This will result in the panels not being even. The best way I have found when sewing soft leather like this is to tack the pieces in place with super glue before sewing them together. This will help keep things aligned and save a lot of frustration later.

The next step is to sew in the top collar of the bag. This is a little awkward to figure out as the bag is sewn inside out to have the seams on the inside of the bag when finished. However the collar has to be sewn inside the bag while it is inside out. Confused yet by my description? Me too. Hehe. Here is a picture that should help explain what I am talking about.


At this point the top collar is left too long. This makes it easier to get it to the right length when sewing it all together. If you cut it to size before sewing, it might end up small after all the stitches shrink things up.

Now back to the confusing part. Once you sew around the edges of the bag you need to pull out the collar and sew up the seam for the collar. Again this seems odd because the orientation is now different then when you sewed the collar on, but it all works out in the end.


When you get to this point you can cut the collar to length and sew up the seam. You can now trim the height of the collar if you feel it is too long. I decided to make the collar a bit shorter than some of the ones I have seen because I like it this way. It makes it easier to get things in and out of the bag. Some people make the collar really long yet have the drawstring at the bottom of the collar by the bag seam. To me this does not make much sense, but to each his own.


Now the bag is basically finished other than adding some holes for a draw string. It is easiest to use a punch and hammer to make these holes vs the plier style leather punch.


I decided to make up a deer antler button for the main draw string stay, and some little leather buttons, or washers, to go on the end of the draw strings.



That is the finished bag. It is more time-consuming to make then a lot of other style leather bags, but the result is a very nice bag that you can use for just about anything. I decided to use this as my primitive fire starting bag. Everything in the bag is also made by myself including my flint and steel.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and can use this information to make your own Sami style bag from it. As always if you have questions or comments I would like to hear them.


Return of the Pole Lathe



Two years ago when my wife and I were out on a travel assignment, I spent some time building a pole lathe. I had never used one before and decided to build it from scrap materials that my father had at his house. The only thing I spent money on was a few lag bolts which cost around $5.

Not really knowing what I was going to use the lathe for I decided to build it more as a spindle lathe since I had used power wood lathes growing up. I didn’t really follow any plan just kind of made it up as I went.

After that travel assignment, it was taken apart and transported 1200 miles back home. Space was limited so only about half of the lathe got packed up while the other half as discarded. It wasn’t until yesterday that I finally had the chance to get it set back up.


This time I made the bed five feet long. Everything else is the same. The one modification I am going to do is to set it up as a bowl lathe. I am going to use the existing poppet, for now, but in the near future I am going to make a new one with a bent center to give better clearance when turning bowls.

One thing that I need that I don’t have, is a mandrel to use for bowl turning. I had already turned one out of hard maple when I took the bowl turning class at North House, but it needed to be trued up as it dried oval shaped. Surprisingly it turned just fine after drying out for several months. Now I just need to make some pins for the end that gets driven into the bowl blank.

Later this week I am going to cut down one of the birch trees at the edge of our property and start turning a few bowls. When I do I will post some pictures of the process and finished bowls.