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Thread: Finnish/Earlier Scandi axes - Kirves

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by jake pogg View Post
    Thanks for posting that video,Bob,very interesting.Info on Piilu is far and few between,this is VERY informative.
    You are welcome. I thought that axe was interesting. Most "broad axes" I am familiar with are thinner and single bevel.

    Bob

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjdankert View Post
    The Finnish Handcrafters Association presents: Piilu hewing workshop




    Bob
    That is a great video and thanks for posting it Bob. That old fellow heading the show there is a neat character. I have looked at picking up one of those Finnish Piilukirves axes but they are pretty near what I spend a month in a truck payment lol.

    What those Fins can build from logs is impressive. As impressive as American, Russian, Karelian log builders did/do given different climates, tools, materials, needs, and traditions. The Finnish collared piilu are wicked looking axes for sure. I think “Bila” is a search term for Swedish hewing axes, or maybe just a general term for hewing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbo4x4 View Post
    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.
    Turbo, I did like that to be honest. Your craftsmanship is terrific. I was looking for a No 7 Uudenmaan and recently acquired one to try out. The 12.1 is the only one of the axes I have used on a handle and I like it quite a bit.
    OAL -24”


    Screenshot from the seller’s picture.


    I’m having my way with the edge some.




    Weighs 3lbs 4 n 7/8oz – about 1.48kg. For me that more or less falls into the full-size axe category for as a user. It is a fair sized piece of steel behind a smaller surface area than I am used to.


    The handle is really interesting but I don’t think it is original to the axe – cool?- absolutely. The blue is definitively festive lol. It popped out with a couple of mallet/punch blows – wedge intact.



    Wedge




    I like the idea of using the handle due to its shape and color but it could be a bit thicker in the socket. I'm thinking of keeping it and using it for a template to carve new ones. The No7 has a different eye shape than the 12.x Kemis but the overall shape is similar. Carving sounds like fun and still leaves this one around intact.

    This gentleman demonstrates wrapping birch bark around the socket before final wedging. About 3:50 into it. I don’t know how common it is/was to do that or if it was actually done like that at all. It’s interesting though.



    I did carve three stakes with it just to see what it was like on something smaller– Cedar, Birch, and Juniper and it seems to have a carpentry feel to it.





    *Large amounts of pictures aren’t necessary to talk about axes but it does make it more fun.

    I do have a couple of questions that probably could only be answered by someone from the region and who knows the axes fairly well.
    So, I see Billnäs and Kellokoski offered the Amerikkalainen patterns – “Ohio” as a full size head, claw hammer, and half-hatchet.
    Billnäs:




    Marie Fors Bruk/Kellokoski:


    https://museot.finna.fi/Record/lusto.M011-1006

    “Americanized” in that context refers to head, eye, and bit shape, and eye shape, but also handle style?

    I see the influence there but I wonder if they were shipped with such nice looking handles and how often they are found in the wild now a days? I only ask as that the handles were shaped more like the standard American curved single bit – that one really seems pretty nice from the single picture.

    I also see traditional collared head shapes on handles with less pronounced drops into the swell. Some of them look like they could even be new production handles or even more like the handles I am used to seeing on American axes – is there a company (large or small) that makes handles to fit the older collared styles? Or am I just coming across pictures of more “American” looking handles. Maybe they are just carved by talented individuals or adapted/influenced from existing single bit replacement handles currently available?

  3. #63
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    Agent_H,i think that the handle on your 7(beautiful specimen,that!)is a fairly old handle,made by hand,birch of course,and by someone who was an old hand,And a consummate,superlative craftsman.I'd definitely keep it(an use it as a pattern),just lap the taper a bit more,till it's tight,leaving about 1/2" sticking through,and wedge...

    "“Americanized” in that context refers to head, eye, and bit shape, and eye shape, but also handle style?...."

    I think that it refers to all of the above,and mostly stems from the eye.Europeans don't have any species of haft-wood to match hickory.When Swedish companies started targeting the American markets they used a common to american axes eye,and ordered hickory wholesale to haft them with.Using the European Ash,or Beech,the eye just has to be larger,to accommodate more wood volume,as they're not as hard,and tough,as hickory.

    In general,we,the axe-nuts,have decreed somewhere along the line that the local hafting species determine the size/shape of the eye of the regional axes,and most of us seem to subscribe to that now,it seems.

    The handle Shape,from what i understand,have risen in America in part due to the something like 300+ axe-manufacturers competing for the market in the 19th c.,each trying to outdo another on aesthetics as well,the elegance,the shapeliness(sexiness,let's admit it! of the haft and the fawnsfoot....

    The attraction was not lost on Europeans,they love the style,just have no wood for it,unless they import hickory!....(and they do,as much as they can afford,it's actually a sad issue,the scarcity and expense of replacement handles for american axes there...

  4. #64
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    Hello Agent_H!
    The term Americanized refers to the whole axe including the handle. They were sold both with the handles and without but usually people bought them without the handles because they were cheaper that way. I own one billnäs "Canadian felling axe" that has the original paint on the handle and on the axe head. I consider it to be propably the most valuable axe i own because its very rare and has the original factory made handle and paint on it.
    The reason Billnäs started making these was because the Finnish immigrants who returned from America prefered these American patterns over traditional Finnish paterns.

  5. #65
    Side-comment: I don't get why black locust is not used as a drop-in replacement for hickory by Europeans (besides that fact that it will dull any cutting implement faster than most other woods making it more difficult to work). We have enough of that, and it seems to be on the same page as far as performance goes (with a plus when it comes to resisting damage caused by moisture), at least not a difference I'd expect one to see in practice. I guess ship building was a big thing when we imported this from you guys a few centuries ago instead of the more humble (at that time) hickory.

    Hophornbeam is said to have interlocking grain (I cannot verify that yet ) so it would be more forgiving of grain orientation, and has been used on both continents for hafting axes. I have no idea if we have what you call white oak or sugar maple; ash we have and was used by our friends in their smaller-sized axe heads too, although not favored.

    If I only had time and means to source these woods with the proper grain I'd try them all. Alas, I don't. On a boy's sized axe, I would use anything starting from birch without having a second thought .

    Sometimes I just wonder whether this whole hickory craze is not also due to everyone and their uncle going into "bushcraft". I'd go for a properly-aligned grain-wise haft of a lesser wood before a horrible hickory handle. But then I see all these old heavily used axes that have hafts made out of humble woods with bad grain and they just held up fine. So while I was wondering one day I found this: http://axeconnected.blogspot.ro/2013...revisited.html which also did little to convince me that not using hickory is a deadly sin (I'm kidding, of course ).

    Sorry for side-tracking this fascinating thread, just wondering out loud!
    Last edited by Moonw; 12-09-2016 at 08:02 AM.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by olli69 View Post
    Hello Agent_H!
    The term Americanized refers to the whole axe including the handle. They were sold both with the handles and without but usually people bought them without the handles because they were cheaper that way. I own one billnäs "Canadian felling axe" that has the original paint on the handle and on the axe head. I consider it to be propably the most valuable axe i own because its very rare and has the original factory made handle and paint on it.
    The reason Billnäs started making these was because the Finnish immigrants who returned from America prefered these American patterns over traditional Finnish paterns.
    Olli, thanks for chiming in!

    Having someone from the region with deeper axe knowledge than a casual user is very much appreciated. If you can get us a picture, I for one, would enjoy seeing any of your axe or of any older Suomi/Scandi axes for that matter.

    Returning Finnish immigrants influencing something as integral to the culture as the axe wasn't something I considered (or thought of for that matter...) Someone could retort, "Why all the fuss about the change in axes? They were just responding to a market" - but that would be a little simplified and dismissive.


    The adaptation of tools and customs from one culture to the next is something that does interest me and others here I would imagine. That is part of the ethnology of tools that is so fascinating.

    Quote Originally Posted by jake pogg View Post
    Agent_H,i think that the handle on your 7(beautiful specimen,that!)is a fairly old handle,made by hand,birch of course,and by someone who was an old hand,And a consummate,superlative craftsman.I'd definitely keep it(an use it as a pattern),just lap the taper a bit more,till it's tight,leaving about 1/2" sticking through,and wedge...

    "“Americanized” in that context refers to head, eye, and bit shape, and eye shape, but also handle style?...."

    I think that it refers to all of the above,and mostly stems from the eye.Europeans don't have any species of haft-wood to match hickory.When Swedish companies started targeting the American markets they used a common to american axes eye,and ordered hickory wholesale to haft them with.Using the European Ash,or Beech,the eye just has to be larger,to accommodate more wood volume,as they're not as hard,and tough,as hickory.

    In general,we,the axe-nuts,have decreed somewhere along the line that the local hafting species determine the size/shape of the eye of the regional axes,and most of us seem to subscribe to that now,it seems.

    The handle Shape,from what i understand,have risen in America in part due to the something like 300+ axe-manufacturers competing for the market in the 19th c.,each trying to outdo another on aesthetics as well,the elegance,the shapeliness(sexiness,let's admit it! of the haft and the fawnsfoot....

    The attraction was not lost on Europeans,they love the style,just have no wood for it,unless they import hickory!....(and they do,as much as they can afford,it's actually a sad issue,the scarcity and expense of replacement handles for american axes there...
    Just from pictures of the earlier axes, the handles seem to have a significant drop in the grip into the swell. Was that also possibly related to having to maintain a thicker handle throughout the length of the handle given the available wood?







    Moonw, I hunted down a quarter sawn hickory board (62.5”x11”x2”) to make the handles for these types of collared axes. I probably could find a standard handle here and make it work to just have it on a handle but where’s the fun in that?



    Too bad it isn’t easier and cheaper to ship that kind of thing to members in Europe/Russia.

    I would take straight grained healthy ash that was hand riven and air dried over that plank of wood any day.

  7. #67
    Agent_H, very nice work you're doing right there, really appreciate the pictures! I'd also like to thank you for starting an excellent thread and Olli69 for his exquisite contributions. This is, hands-down, one of the best threads I've encountered on this board.

  8. #68
    As for the costs, yeah, we are not THAT "globalised". And that can be good, or bad, depending on how you look at it .

  9. #69
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    Excellent discussion,thanks everyone for all the info...Great point,Ollie,i was entirely unaware of that,and odd,too,for why would people with their own axemanship traition so old,and deep,and established,suddenly be willing to change,so abruptly?!Fascinating,really...

    Agent_H,i'm sorry,i'd not know enough about the subject to even venture a guess...That downturn,as well as the mushroom,Are very traditional,but does it stem from function?(would some argue that this american curve+fawnsfoot also have more to do with ergonomics,vs styling?)...Great anthropology,this,in any case!

    AND,you're doing a fantastic job on those handles,right on!(i do exactly the same here,buy air-dried,flat-sawn hickory 2" thick...)...

    Turbo4x4 will drop in and contribute more,but i believe that in the NW Russia,areas close to the Finnish border,the giant box-stores carry those iconic handles for Suomi kirves,as a regular shelf-item....

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by rjdankert View Post
    You are welcome. I thought that axe was interesting. Most "broad axes" I am familiar with are thinner and single bevel.

    Bob
    Sorry,Bob,i missed that.....I wish that i knew more...But,i tend to think that at least those Piilu with that peculiar weight of sorts,that massive thickening next the cutting edge,are narrowly purposed to specifically creating that finishing pattern,the "maalu"....
    That weight,i believe,serves additionally to create an "ironing" action,to planish the wood,to depress the frayed wood fibers,and to glue them own with their lignin,softened from the compressive force of that heavy thick blade....So that they actually differ somewhat from the other,wider/flatter/single-bevel broad-axes,which specialise in more of a shaving action......(earlier stages of finishing the surface?)....

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by jake pogg View Post
    Excellent discussion,thanks everyone for all the info...Great point,Ollie,i was entirely unaware of that,and odd,too,for why would people with their own axemanship traition so old,and deep,and established,suddenly be willing to change,so abruptly?!Fascinating,really...

    Agent_H,i'm sorry,i'd not know enough about the subject to even venture a guess...That downturn,as well as the mushroom,Are very traditional,but does it stem from function?(would some argue that this american curve+fawnsfoot also have more to do with ergonomics,vs styling?)...Great anthropology,this,in any case!

    AND,you're doing a fantastic job on those handles,right on!(i do exactly the same here,buy air-dried,flat-sawn hickory 2" thick...)...

    Turbo4x4 will drop in and contribute more,but i believe that in the NW Russia,areas close to the Finnish border,the giant box-stores carry those iconic handles for Suomi kirves,as a regular shelf-item....
    That would be great actually. He speaks Russian as well. Maybe you two could find some great resources that I would never come across not even understanding the Cyrillic alphabet...

    CedarEater’s piilukirves thread has a decent top down shot of the bit:

    Quote Originally Posted by CedarEater View Post


    Here is the Finnish Forestry Museum (search term “Seinäpiilu”)
    https://finna.fi/Record/pielinen.M011-18287





    *That handle on the second one looks a little like the one I ended up with.

    Jake, is this kind of what you are describing? (or at least along the same lines – pun intended lol)


  12. #72
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    "....Jake, is this kind of what you are describing? (or at least along the same lines – pun intended lol)..."

    Exactly,that is the pattern,and(i believe)a narrow purposing of many Piilu....In the video we see quite a few different ones,and the detail that the gentleman goes into is great(as usual-not enough!......ever greedy for info...there's just Such scarcity of it....)

  13. #73
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    P.S.

    See,i'm a log-builder,at least part-time,as well as a smith....And the action of the blade upon the wood-fibers is ALL important to me...That's where the rubber hits the road.....And so,i find attempts at unravelling the why's and wherefore's of axes a bit easier from that end of the equation....(i may way be deluded about much,if not all of it...)

    So again,that "planishing" principle,is very important for both the weather-resistance,and the Cleanability(of mostly the interior surfaces).All wood technologists of all ages and locales,working with whatever species,have had to address that issue....Smoothing down frayed,fuzzy fibers,lest they absorb moisture,and become food for our little friends the bacteria....(especially them sugar and starch-rich sub-cambium layers in logs....)

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    P.P.S.

    Beautiful close-ups of old Piilu...Thank you!

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    I like this guy's attitude. Seems like replacing a bit is just a matter of course for him, just like one would replace a handle when needed.



    How common is this for axe owners in Finland?


    Bob

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    This is a question for Ollie...I certainly know nothing about inland,other than there ARE smiths to whom re-welding a bit is no big deal...Here's a thread o Turbo4x4's about his trip to Antti Arkkukangas,to pick up a custom Piilu that he ordered from him....(sorry,the thread is in russian,but the photos aren't....and there's also a link to Antti's site there...).

    http://rusknife.com/topic/11994-%D1%...3-piilukirves/

  17. #77
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    Hello again!
    Im sorry Agent_h but i have the billnäs felling axe at my summer cottage and i dont go there too often but when i go there next time i will make sure to take photos of it.
    But what i do have is pictures of my grandfathers old axes and billhooks that he used and i thought that some of you would find them interesting.



    Jake pogg, The most famous and maybe even the best blacksmith that makes piilu style axes is a gentleman called Martti Sipilä from Saarijärvi Finland but i think he has retired since i cant find any information about him on the internet. But if you ask me about who would i get any axe made in Finland it would be hands down Martti Malinen from Niinisaari Finland.

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    And of course my pictures didnt work...

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    Quote Originally Posted by olli69 View Post
    Hello again!
    Im sorry Agent_h but i have the billnäs felling axe at my summer cottage and i dont go there too often but when i go there next time i will make sure to take photos of it.
    But what i do have is pictures of my grandfathers old axes and billhooks that he used and i thought that some of you would find them interesting.










    Jake pogg, The most famous and maybe even the best blacksmith that makes piilu style axes is a gentleman called Martti Sipilä from Saarijärvi Finland but i think he has retired since i cant find any information about him on the internet. But if you ask me about who would i get any axe made in Finland it would be hands down Martti Malinen from Niinisaari Finland.

    Olli69, that sir, is a pile of fine looking Finnish axes!

    The examples of different handle styles on the same head patterns is really interesting. Several sizes of the same pattern as well. Thank you for the great pictures and additions!

    I have to ask about the models that are represented there…

    My guess… lol
    So there is a piilu = Model no25?-
    Kemis = Models 12.1 and 12.2?
    Kainan 33 or equivalent?
    Kellokoski – 13.x?
    Vesuri and Havukirves?
    Turun 3,
    Uudennman 7 and
    Hämeemlinnan 4?

    Those that were sharpened look like they were done so evenly across the blade.

    Your grandfather kept his axes well. Great stuff - thank you Olli

  20. #80
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    Agent_H, yes you got it quite right. Those billhooks are made by a local smith in the 1930's but they are vesuri and havukirves in finnish. All of the axes in that picture are made by Billnäs except one is made by kellokoski.
    But why i cant see the pictures in my original message but in your response i can see them?

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