So, Christmas and the year 2017, are behind us. The Lennu knife has been handed over to the sitting president. I was shaking hands with President Sauli Niinistö in Ylivieska on 9th December. The Lennu knife was a nice gift according to the president. It goes to his knife collection. Before Christmas a personal thanks from the President and his wife also came in the form of a letter.
The weather conditions have been varying, sometimes the weather is cold and after a while it´s raining again. The ground is slightly covered with snow, and the roads are partly very slippery. But the sun is already showing its face for a little while, making the landscape really beautiful.
Trading will start at a slow pace, but new products and special offers will come again!
I am gaining sanding belt Abralon to my online store. That comes to me in a ribbon form and its width is 115 mm. In the past it has only been performed in a round form. Its coarseness is 1000 and 4000. I have used Abralon about 15 years and found it to be the best. It gives the knife shaft perfectly scratch-free surface whereby the natural shapes of the tree are brilliant.
Abralon is a versatile grinding tape. It is suitable for aluminum, steel and wood among others. It´s also suitable for water sanding and for the most special materials like stone, jet, pearl and fossils, which I also have experiences of. This strip can be cut with scissors, for example into 30mm wide strips. Put the knife on the grinding bench and make the finishing grinding by hand.
The Lennu –knife
When Sauli Niinistö, the President of the Republic and Spouse Jenni Haukio announced of a new family member, I wanted to give them a present. And because making knives is my skill, their dog Lennu was chosen as a model. There were a lot of pictures of the dog so that made it easy to start working.
The job started out with the choice of materials. I picked up a good-looking curly birch in my storage. I started to sketch out Lennu's head. After a while I started with the coarsest blade to take extra material away. It´s not always easy to find the three dimensional form to the product. With very small blades you try to get the right expression to the dog´s face.
Finally, under the stereomicroscope, I carve the more detailed parts, such as eyes, mouth, ears and nose. These detailed parts are crucial to whether your work looks like the model and seems alive.
Carving is hard for your shoulders and your neck. My technique is that I hold the product in my left hand and I crave with my right hand. For about 10 years have I been twice a month for a massage. It's the only guarantee that this job can be done. I recommend it to others, too!
Waiting for Christmas
On Saturday I made plastic liners for sheaths. A new knife model has been launched in the online store (Kalla-knife). How does it look? On the knife and the sheath you will see parts of the church and other typical things from Kalla -island, such as fishing nets, as well as parts from the church roof and the windmill.
Printing models (punches) I make from the elk horns. To hunter knives, and to all the theme knives I make the two-sides plastic liners from birch, to which I first draw the subject and after that I engrave it. The pattern will remain about 1,5 to 2 mm high and finally all will be grinded.
Now you can wet the sheath leather. You can shape it and sew it over the plastic liner and the knife. Then I dry it in some warm place. I put my knives on the side of our fireplace whereupon the sheath will dry evenly.
When the leather becomes brighter and harder takes the first shaping place. Some of the modeling tools have I made out of reindeer horn. Usually I use tools of different sizes and shapes made of steel. The so-called barking must be done several times before it is left to dry over the night.
Knife dreams -exhibition
At the present I have an exhibition in Raahe 1.8. - 30.8.17. There are about 100 products, of which stone knives are about thirty. Knives with a stone handle are my first knives. I made some of them for 38 years ago. All stone knives are made of either half gemstones, fossilized minerals or ore minerals.
I have also made knives of very rare materials. The rarest materials are the dinosaur bone of Hypacrosaurus, a dinosaur that lived in the present US and Canada between 90 and 70 million years ago during late chalk. Dinosaur feces have been found in Utah (USA). I have done the so called “shit knife” of dinosaur feces.
Carved knives, birds and other animals are from my later production. I became interested in carving at the end of the nineteenth century, and I was hooked totally. Carving in bones is one of the most difficult art forms. In bone carving extra material is taken away and essential is left. If you take out to much, you never get it back. Sounds easy, doesn´t it!
To achieve a good result, you must have the ability to see in your imagination the product in a three-dimensional form. If you for example want to carve an eagle, you must get to know its behavior, head movements and even the eyes.
The look of an eagle is not gentle. It´s stern, foxy and always alert. If you can carve these things, you have done your work successfully. To learn this method took me some time. But I'm sure that, if you enjoy doing a work whatever it is, development happens both technically and artistically.
Stone and bone carving
When I started to make knives, I began to make them out of the most difficult material, stone you see. I made the first twenty-three knives out of stone, before I realized that I could make them out of softer material! It was such a tough job in the early days when the tools were so primitive. There were not a variety of grinding discs. There was only a Russian diamond trimmer for sawing.
All in all there are more than 40 knives made of different kinds of stones in my production, but only 32 of them are left in my collections. Some are in museums and at collectors, and the rest are bought for stoneworkers as gifts. No, I'm sorry that I started of with stone knives. They are rare, especially when they're all made of half gemstones, fossils, gold and nickel. These stone knives are always being asked to different exhibitions.
I don´t know what would have become of me, if I had been interested in school subjects with a similar development and learning passion than I am in bone carving today! Probably one of the space explorers! When I was a child, I couldn´t draw nor sing. But nowadays I can sketch all the ideas or challenges I get on the paper. I think about how I am going to process the product and how it works. Bone carving is the most difficult art form. You must take extra material away and the essentials are left. If you carve out to much, you can´t get it back.
In Germany there is a town called Idar-Oberstein. I think that place is the mecca of stones. I have a good friend there, Ervin Klein, who is one of the world's best stone carvers. Luckily he have taught me new techniques and how to carve expressiveness into my products. The technique and the artwork evolve over time, and everyone has their own style.