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Iisakki Big Double Hunting Knife

Iisakki Big Double Hunting Knife

Iisakki Jarvepaa Oy… OK, this company’s name may not exactly roll off the tongue for any Brit, but their history, tradition and products do impress.

Founded in Kauhava, in the heart of Finnish Lapland, in 1879 by Iisakki Jarvenpaa, the Company is not only the maker of the original Puuko Knife, at one time cutlers to the Imperial Russian Court, and still family owned, but also produce knives in the traditional Finnish Laplander style from quality materials and at sensible prices.

The knives are not intended to be collector’s pieces, kept in cabinets, never to be used, only to be looked at, but are honest working tools and this is reflected in the robust finish of the Iisakki Big Double Hunting Knife I have been trying out.

This hunting knife is in fact two knives in one sheath, a traditional Lapp combination, with a big knife approx 31cm in size with an 18cm blade for heavy work and a 21cm long knife, boasting an 8cm blade for finer work, both sharing a wet-formed leather sheath.  This traditional sheath is in pale buff leather of typical Lapland styling. It holds both knives securely with a friction fit, has a twisted leather belt hanger and pressed decoration of Lapp design, while a modern plastic sheath liner prevents the large knife cutting into the leather.

Both knives have curly birch handles, stainless steel blades and nickel silver ferrules and butt caps and while some may feel a little more sanding for seamless fitting, and a little more oil for finishing the woodwork, may have been in order, the knives’ handles offer excellent grip and the blades come scary sharp and ready to do some serious work.

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The big knife’s polished 8cm blade is of a “Sameblad” utility blade style with a straight spine and a 3.5cm belly and is made from 2.5mm thick steel with a 1cm deep “Scandi” type grind. There is no guard of any description, but the handle is shaped and flared to the butt in traditional style for comfort and security, especially when wearing gloves.

The only “decoration” about this knife comes from the glorious patterning of the wooden handle – which will look even better as it develops a patina of age and use. A pair of reindeer are etched on the blade alongside the Iisakki signature.

The smaller “Puuko” knife is a useful utility bladed knife, again from 2.5mm mirror polished stainless steel and with a 1cm deep “Scandi” grind, no guard and a contoured and flared handle, matching the big knife for looks, functionality and practicality. It is easy to close up your grip on the handles for close work or extend your grip for deeper cutting work, yet still retain a good grip.

The stainless steel used for the blades holds an excellent edge and was not too difficult to sharpen using good diamond stones, and definitely resisted corrosion well.
The observant may spot the slight secondary bevel on both blades, designed to give a strong edge, but which purists may want to sharpen away for a true Scandinavian single ground edge.

Even after considerable wood cutting, chopping, whittling and food preparation and a little skinning work, both knives were still sharp enough to shave with, or cleanly slice free hanging newspaper – the steel (I believe 420 series) being hardened to Rockwell 57-58 for edge retention, but not being so hard as to chip and nick easily.

These knives are not pretty decorators’ pieces, but they are pretty darn tough working tools. Impressive in looks as well as performance, the Iisakki Big Double Hunting Knife costs a reasonable £68.50.

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