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Thread: Finnish/Earlier Scandi axes - Kirves

  1. #41
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    Nice thread and greetings from Finland!
    The axe in the video "Finnish man makes an axe handle(1936)" is definetly made by Kellokoski. I know it since there is the model number and the crown right next to it and under them is the Kellokoski stamp.
    Also when comparing products by Kellokoski Strömfors and Billnäs you shouldnt look at the Product number but ratherly the model name such as Kemin Turun Hämeenlinnan or Tampereen because if you didnt know those are all names of villages or towns where the original axes where made by the local smith or smiths. As an example the reason that Kemin malli is called Kemin malli is because Billnäs got that axe model from local village smiths from the Kemi region and the same goes with all the other axes.
    Im sorry if my English isnt perfect! Its nice to see that there is interest in Finnish axes outside Finland too!

  2. #42
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    Welcome to the forums Olli!

    Thank you for the positive id on the axe in that video. The different pattern names being references to the villages and towns where they were originally made/originated is quite interesting.

    I was curious about that a little while ago and only searched Uundemaan (no7?) and it seemed to be a reference to a region in southern Finland. That was the only one I thought to search but knowing what you just shared, it now makes sense.

    Your English is fine as far as I can tell while reading - better than my Finnish... I have communicated with a couple of guys in Finland about axes but working out axe trades/sales with some guy that sounds like a robot in Finnish probably isn't appealing to most.

    Personally, my interest in these is deep but my knowledge shallow. Due to their age, locale, language barrier, and shipping costs they don't show up too often here in the US. Or at least I have not seen one here "in the wild" lol.

    Feel free to add any info you think an "outsider" might not pick up about these types of axes, history, handles, or good stories that a native Suomi might know as matter of fact (or anything else for that matter)


  3. #43
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    Hello again!
    I thought that i would share some information from Juha Maasolas book "kirves" regarding finnish axe handles.

    "The best wood for an axe handle is birch that is roughly 4" thick and dropped in January or February. The log is cut into the lenght that you want your handle to be + about 4"s and the bark is removed. After the blank is ready its left to dry outside covered from rain. After its dried outside its brought inside to dry over winter.
    After its dry the log is cut into 2" x 4" size blank and into the lenght that you want your axe to be. Then the handle pattern is drawn into the blank. First you cut the side profile and second the front. Its important to leave extra material in the knob to prevent any cracking when hitting the handle to the eye. When the handle is done its fitted to the head and the wedge is added."
    This is just a fraction of the knowledge thats in the book and i might translate some more here if you are interested.

  4. #44
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    Olli,hi,and thanks for participating in this discussion,and for any and all information that you provide.Translation is not an easy chore,i know only too well,and it is Much appreciated.
    I do have a question,but it's a nastily-technical one,and please don't feel under any pressure to dig up any definitive data on it,as it simply may not exist....But it is this:
    The INSIDE of an eye of a Finnish axe,what shape is it?!....Is it a cone,with straight sides,or does it(ever?sometimes?in some regions,but not others?)have an "hour-glass" reverse taper towards the top?
    Many old Finnish axes,today,AS they were used,were NOT wedged in a classical,book-version way,with that "snake-head" type wedge....They're just wedged regularly,like many others...Why?....Thanks in advance.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by olli69 View Post
    Hello again!
    I thought that i would share some information from Juha Maasolas book "kirves" regarding finnish axe handles.
    Olli, thank you for translating excerpts from his book. I looked it up and only found one online retailer for it:

    http://www.maahenki.fi/tuote/640/kirves

    Cover


    Description provided by the site:

    Handsome and fascinating cultural history of the book hatchet reached Tieto-Finlandia candidacy of 2009.

    In Finland, the forest is populated by relying ten thousand years. From that time 9900 years the work was carried out in the forest with an ax. Ax blade has been forged to full Finnish economic, social, cultural and industrial history -. Finnish way of life and values of

    Foresters, book writer Juha Maasola presents words and the most abundant in pictures ax to the history, development and models of prehistoric times to the present.

    The jury Tieto-Finlandia competition says the finalists selection criteria: "the ax interlacing job descriptions, the connected emotions and on the emerging meanings are exposed with the entire geographic and climatic conditions dictated by the way of life of the works embody something very common in the people, their attempt and ability to cope at all times and in all places Visually very strong book message.. to find its readers. "


    I like my axes with a side of Anthropology. This book looks great but is also only offered in Finnish language… That seems totally appropriate for the intended audience but tough for me to read.
    So… Thank you very much for sharing some of it with us here through you spending time to translate it!


    Quote Originally Posted by jake pogg View Post
    Olli,hi,and thanks for participating in this discussion,and for any and all information that you provide.Translation is not an easy chore,i know only too well,and it is Much appreciated.
    I do have a question,but it's a nastily-technical one,and please don't feel under any pressure to dig up any definitive data on it,as it simply may not exist....But it is this:
    The INSIDE of an eye of a Finnish axe,what shape is it?!....Is it a cone,with straight sides,or does it(ever?sometimes?in some regions,but not others?)have an "hour-glass" reverse taper towards the top?
    Many old Finnish axes,today,AS they were used,were NOT wedged in a classical,book-version way,with that "snake-head" type wedge....They're just wedged regularly,like many others...Why?....Thanks in advance.
    Those are interesting questions Jake.

    Would some pictures of the eye on one help determine that somewhat? That I could do but I only have the Kemi model to look at. Pictures of the ones I have won't help to answer that same question of the other patterns and especially the piilu or hewing axes. The Uundemaan (Model 7 I think?) looks like there is more handle surface area at the top than the Kemis (Models 12.x) - this is based solely off of internet pictures but makes me think there would have to be at least a slight difference in the volume or shape of the eye to make the handle show like that.

    I might have another pattern to compare to the Kemi here sooner than later.

  6. #46
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    Agent_H,thanks for the book info,as well as your offer to look at your Kemi.It'd be great,provided that it's yet unhandled...(but i seem to remember you've hung it already...).
    Pictures,even the best ones,won't tell much,alas.
    About the only way is to stick the leg of a caliper,or some other straight-edge inside,and see if there's a hump there....(anywhere,it can be on all sides,or two only,or even one...).
    A good friend and mentor,a brilliant Ukranian smith,(and a historian),Bogdan Popov told me that for the "slip",aka the "compression" fit,the eye only need to increase 1 to 2 mm...(he specifically studied the manner of handling old tools,his access to a plethora of artefacts being then unprecedented,a large State university et c.).
    So,in practice,it can take a minute amount of reverse-funneling,if we can call it that....But the difference is in the Principle:Will the Finnish axe stay on good with a straight-sided taper in the eye,or Not?
    As we all know,leaving a bit of wood proud of the eye provides some extra holding power.In Finland it's commonly done as well,and so,is That the trick?...
    (Because quite often the owner takes a file to one of those,and simply creates the slight hour-glass...i know people who have done that,to stop that slow,but annoying creep of haft....).

    The "goose-wing" type Very deep eye,or(as far as i'm aware),Piilu,don't really count,as the lengh,thus the Area of contact there is VERY great,and also the hewing motion is much more controlled,and less forceful....

  7. #47
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    Hello Jake Pogg!
    I own myself allmost all of the Billnäs axe models and as i checked all of them have that "cone,with straight sides" kind of inside. I also have the possibility to examine a couple of older finnish axes from 1700's and 1800's and they have that as well. The only reason i can think for that being is that it makes manufacturing them quicker.
    The most traditional and "Finnish" way of putting a wedge into the axe handle is by making two cuts with a saw and driving a wedge called "käärmekiila" into the cuts. The benefit of using this kind of wedging technique is that we get pressure to four sides when with the normal wedge we get the pressure only to the two sides.
    With these techniques my grandfather has hung axes that have lasted 5-10 years in allmost everyday use.
    https://finna.fi/Search/Results?look...limit=20&sort=
    Heres a site that holds many good pictures of old finnish axes. The pictures are good put the estimated years of manufacturing arent completely accurate.

  8. #48
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    Wow,Ollie,Two cuts,then,is traditional?And the "käärmekiila" is then oriented with the corners towards the cuts,or are it's sides parallel the cuts?

    Thank you Very much for your answer.I am asking as a smith,specifically,and it sounds like the axes then are Not drifted from the top at all,the taper is all straight and even....

    Thanks so much,will now try to access that link you posted(my connection is WAY slow here...)

  9. #49
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    http://bushnblade-en.blogspot.fi/201...h-axe.html?m=1
    Here is a good post on how to do the wedging part.
    Only thing i would add is that instead of splitting the handle you should saw the two cuts as stated earlier.

  10. #50
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    Thanks again,Olli,this indeed sheds more light on it for me...

    A bit confusing though is the following sentence from the blog from that last link,this one:"...The problem is caused by the top opening of eye that it widens in all directions...."

    I understand that the blog author is himself seeking the information,but again,getting back to my original question-is it Possible that some Finnish axes have,indeed,a widening towards the top of the eye?....Any region,perhaps?Or some of the makers?....

    Thanks,and sorry to be a pain!

  11. #51
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    P.S.

    Again,apologise for such nit-picky attitude...But,as a smith,such things are critical...If a client gets back to you saying that the axe is great,et c.,BUT...keeps creeping off...(i've forged a Finnish axe only once,and don't anticipate having to again any time soon,so the question is purely academic...).

    In the specifics of the forging process,it'd be a Very small detail.With the very same drift/mandrel as is used for the final shaping of the eye,two or three light blows from the top would create an "hour-glass"...And again,to whatever minute degree this may be done,it'd still principally change the idea of hanging a Finnish axe...

    Best regards,Jake

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by jake pogg View Post
    Thanks again,Olli,this indeed sheds more light on it for me...

    A bit confusing though is the following sentence from the blog from that last link,this one:"...The problem is caused by the top opening of eye that it widens in all directions...."

    I understand that the blog author is himself seeking the information,but again,getting back to my original question-is it Possible that some Finnish axes have,indeed,a widening towards the top of the eye?....Any region,perhaps?Or some of the makers?....

    Thanks,and sorry to be a pain!

    First of all, I have limited experience with them. I also have never forged anything but I made a handle for the one of the Kemis I have but I noticed something about the eye and the tongue. When I say, "noticed" I mean only after reading the last two posts- not when I was doing it.




    The sides of the tongue were left with what I would call “high” marks/rust/dirt – even after fitting the head, right up to the wedging.

    Maybe by a “widening” at the top of the eye, he is actually describing the effect of the tongue being shaped down enough to the point of fitting through an ever so slight hourglass, leaving pretty equal space around it – “expands in all directions”

    Or does the front of the tongue being a flat/straight line for the most part and the rear having a vertical “bulge” of sorts qualify as modification to overcome not having an “hourglass” shape? It would only take a small space inside the collar around the eye to get SnakeWedge in there.

    Given how I shaped the tongue, I can kind of picture a small surplus of space under the “spine” (neck + poll?). Maybe it’s slight enough that it was just one skilled whack towards the end?

    1. It could also be that one axe was used hard enough to indent the eye a shade under where the poll ends on the collar.
    2. It was my first hang of an axe of that type and I left high spots on the tongue.
    3. Someone hammered laterally with the side of the head/collar.

    "Snake Wedge" sounds cool read aloud.

  13. #53
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    I see where you're coming from in that "hour-glass" thing jake. But no, i havent seen that kind of drifting in any finnish axes but now when i think of it, it would be good idea to make a slight "hour-glass" kind of profile to the inside of the eye.

  14. #54
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    Thank you,Olli,Agent_H,i think we can reach the verdict that there was only the straight taper, only one way.

    This makes the "käärmekiila" ,the Snake Wedge(now,how cool is That?!,somewhat mysterious,as the only purpose that it could serve would be to increase the pressure at the top of eye...
    That is,discounting the portion that sticks out,that has much holding power...

    My old intuitive impression was always that such hafting system was for making the tool more fool-,and life in general-proof ,as if abandoned outside in the wet,the expansion would likely just unseat the head,stopping short of catastrophically smashing the fibers(as is inevitable in a completely captivated "hour-glass").

    Wise,canny old Finno-Ugric people,they've been around the block a time or two!

  15. #55
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    Great additions to this thread, guys. I've seldom been this captivated by bladeforums.

  16. #56
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  17. #57
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    Welcome Turbo4x4! I was hoping you would join us

    Your axe collection really is impressive - great examples of most of the patterns from Billnäs, Kellokoski-Mariefors, etc, as well as some of the most interesting and lesser known patterns from different regions and time periods. Some are quite unique, old, and I guess you could say “beautiful” (for someone who likes that kind of stuff).

    A lot of the examples posted in this thread here are definitely taken from your collection.

    If there are any of your pictures you would prefer not to have posted here, please say so and it will be done.

    That is great reading material you shared as well. A lot of your links are already in my browser favorites lol. There is a lot of information, experience, and discussion out there if you branch out of English only sites.

    Ethnology through axes is, to me, interesting. It’s also interesting to realize that inviting discussion about one of the world’s oldest tools can start conversations between people that otherwise would not have crossed paths really in any other way.

    All of those axes have a story via the regions’ unique history, evolution of construction, restoration (steel or wood), and personal acquisition experience.

    Please feel free to share any and or all of that.

    ой, и, кстати, спасибо.

  18. #58
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    I'm very glad You liked!

    The finnish axes (aka suomalainen kirves) is very popular in russian North-West- it's one of best woods axes, carpenters axes, timber axes and splitters.
    In practical use- my lovely kirves is the Billnas No7- most universal touristic axe.

  19. #59
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    The Finnish Handcrafters Association presents: Piilu hewing workshop




    Bob

  20. #60
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    Thanks for posting that video,Bob,very interesting.Info on Piilu is far and few between,this is VERY informative.

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