My Finnish friend noticed my Mora knife at our 4th of July party, and he picked it up with a smile. It must have brought back a few memories, because the next time I visited him he wanted show me this Puukko knife which he carried during his compulsory military service in the 1980s.
This handmade knife, with its lovely tooled and stitched leather sheath, is about the least military-looking military knife I’ve ever seen. The straight-backed blade is thicker than most commercial Moras (except the Bushcraft model) and bears faint engravings on both sides. Markku remembered his year of compulsory service with fondness, including how he and his squad-mates scraped and burned the lacquer from their once-beautiful wooden knife handles. Apparently that was the fad in those days.
It saw some hard use during its year in uniform, and one of its service injuries is that big notch right below the elk’s foreleg. Sharpening a Scandinavian-grind blade like this would involve regrinding and honing the whole bevel, and this would destroy the bottom of the engravings. Markku doesn’t really need another sharp knife, so he’ll leave this one as a memento of his year in the Finnish army.
Afterwards, I did a bit of research and learned that my friend’s knife is most likely a vintage Marttiini model 230 Lapp knife. These Finnish-made knives are fancier alternatives to the basic and indestructible Mora. They’re heavier and prettier, and this model sells for 50 Euros.