I have had the chance to meet Pekka Tuominen two years ago at the SICAC (Paris Knifeshow) but six month before I was handling a prototype of his Folding Puukko at the Amsterdam Minimeet.
The design was very ZEN. For me it was like a Japanese hidden blade in a bambu handle. I was also impressed by the smoothness, the thickness and the profile of the blade.
For me, it was an object for collector. A tour de force, including the famous hidden stop pin.
Also the final choice of choosing S30V for a zero ground blade was really disturbing. I was hoping CPM3V or CPMM4 or even O1. But my experience with S30V has never been extraordinary.
Frankly S30V is not a steel which gave me good results even with the knives of the people who introduced that steel in the first place… I prefer VG10 for exemple which is not a powder steel but at least a reliable edge on thin grinds.
Anyway a folding Puukko in S30V was like a bushcraft knife in S30V. Why not. But I was not very excited by that choice…
Then I heard and read on Cliff Stamps forum how the burned edge was rolling. I was not surprised as S30V would have not been my steel of choice. Now perhaps the thickness of the stock available was the reason it was chosen ?
It was a shame as everything in Pekka design was oozing quality and his quest for excellence. It is also a very very clever mechanism. He is a perfectionnist. I remeber how he was inspecting the prototype of his Spyderco (not folding) Puukko’s sheath. He wanted everything to be perfect. And he knows his business about Puukkos.
I had experience with thin stainless grind blade rolling on very pricey folders too. My Rockstead was an example and since I have been able to hone a secondary bevel and the de-stress the edge for excellent results.
Then I got the honor to receive a gift from Pekka: his Nilakka, second generation.
I immediately tested on hard bambu and the edge did not suffered.
There is a micro bevel which now strengthen the edge. So there is no reason not to use it hard.
Again, the folder is smooth like Normandy butter. The heel of the blade is very thick when the blade point is thin like a needle. You find yourself contemplating, trying to understand how the tappered design works. The large gap between the liners on the back of the handle is not an issue when you know how to switch your grip (like I did on my Lionspy) to avoid hurting your palm during cuts on hard materials.
What I love in the Nilakka is how original, practical and radical the design is. Closed it is wonderful to handle and manipulate. It’s an absolutely non threatening design. The gentle curve of the handle give a very natural look to the package. Open, it’s real Puukko. There is no hint, no axis, showing this is a folder. (The axis screw is hidden under the G10 slabs!)
It is a pleasure to take on hike and use in the forest. The open design makes it easy to clean by blowing air and rinsing it. The choice of a stainless steel blade gives confidence to mechanism maintenance. There is no reason not to EDC and use that knife in the wild like it was designed. It is not a safe queen curiosity anymore. (A first generation after some work on the edge would have been the same anyway.)
Looking at Pekka official site and it’s easy to find other eye candy !
His blog: http://www.puukkopekka.com/ is a feast for the eyes !!!
Living in Finnish countryside, Pekka is a colossus with a great sens of humour. You can feel in every details of his Art that he has blown passion, intelligence and a special pinch of that natural cleverness from farmers and pragmatism of soldiers. His knives need to be reliable and beautiful. Also he needs to have fun while making them. From the design, to the forge, to the heat treatment, to the choice of materials, to the different type of sheath, Pekka does everything !
So eventually the Nilakka in its second incarnation is a very unique and practical EDC. It is also a great conversation starter because this folding Puukko is a great ambassador to modern and traditional cutlery. Mine is going to be used on a EDC basis and I will complete that review later.