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A dependable knife is an essential tool, no matter what environment you may find yourself in. Many cultures have developed traditional knife designs that have stood the test of time — for example, the Nepalese kukri, the Japanese kiridashi, the Southeast Asian karambit, and the Germanic seax. Among these centuries-old designs is the Finnish puukko, a small belt knife designed for everyday utility use.
Compared to some of the other dramatic blade styles we just mentioned, the puukko may seem rather plain. It generally features a slender blade with a flat spine, and sometimes a subtle drop point.
Unsurprisingly, the puukko is often made with a broad “scandi” grind, which produces a razor-sharp edge without a secondary bevel. The handle is equally simple, without a prominent forefinger choil or guard. These knives excel at delicately carving and shaving wood, and can be an excellent complement to a woodsman’s ax.
Despite the overall simplicity, a high-quality Finnish puukko may be heavily-decorated with precious metals, bone, Damascus steel, and engraved scrollwork. The leather sheath can be equally intricate. In the following video from the Northmen YouTube channel, the traditional process of manufacturing a puukko is shown from start to finish. The result is impressive, but despite its decorations, this knife could still remain a functional tool for the outdoors.