Thursday, June 30, 2016

Leisure & work.

I spent last weekend on Lake Inari again. This time with my girlfriend and the dogs Pyry and Kumu. 

As a small dog Kumu can be pretty much where ever in the canoe, doesn't make much diffrence. Pyry being a medium sized dog, 24-25kg, would change the balance when moving around. So his place is usually right in front of me.

As you might have seen in my canoe trip post a while ago, this is pretty much what most of the scenery on Inari Lake is. Rocky, pine forests, and not that many summer houses. A nice real wilderness lake.

Paddling, fishing... No further plans for the trip. Again grayling, a common catch around the rocky islands.

Pyry waiting if there's more fish to come. An old dog knows what to expect....

We checked the open wilderness hut of Kahkusaari, and stayed overnight as well.

Yeah, that's cosy, right? Like there wouldn't be space anywhere else....

On Monday it was time to get back to work, so off to the bark handle making we go! Cutting the bark in appr 3x4cm flaps, cleaning them, making holes for the tang, piling them on the tang....

Bark squares are piled on the tang, tightened after every 2 to 4 flaps. Then the whole pile is tightened with a bit more power still, and few flaps more added. Sometimes it feels like it wouldn't tighten anymore, but waiting for a minute or two and then trying again it suddenly goes a bit more.

Tightly fitted rear plate is added, hammered on the tang, tang cut, and slightly peened. At this point the handle is 1,5 to 2 cm longer than the planned final length. Warming it up in a kitchen owen in 75 to 100 celcius for 45-60 mins makes the oil in the bark softer, so the final tightening get's easier.

Straight from the owen the blade is attached tightly on a vice, and the butt plate is forced down the tang with a hammer and wooden block. Planned length is appr. 11cm on this, so a bit more to go still. Tang needs to be shaped slightly tapered, so the brass plate will stay tigh all the way when forced on the tang. Proper fit of the tang and butt plate is the key for constructing a handle this way. If it gets loose, it means more work, but can be still done of course.

Tang is cut, and filed so it's just slightly above the butt plate. Then the same process as always with this kind of handle construction; take a ball-pein hammer, peen, file, peen, file....

Here's the result. No glue used, so you can start shaping and finishing the handle right away if you like.

Handles of this set roughly shaped on a belt sander, next moving to hand sanding. To be continued!

Friday, June 24, 2016

A bit of puukko work before the weekend.

Knives you saw on the previous post are under some handle work.

Three of the blades were to get a curly birch handle. Blades and front sides of bolster plates are polished. Blades masked with tape. Curly birch blocks are cut, ends levelled, tang lines drawn.

I drill with regular lenght drills from both ends of the block. First two holes, then moving the drill to form a slot.

Same from the other end, sighting from top and side to follow the lines, and make the holes connect.

Needle rasps complete the work.

Checking every now and then to get a straight fit for the blade. Last centimeter or half is fitted with a punching block and hammer. I use a thin leather or birch bark spacer between the brass and wood. These get leather spacers.

Roughly shaping on a belt sander.

Then it's time to fit the butt bolster plate. Same tools as before, a drill and needle rasps.

I make a countersunk hole, so the tang would form a strong rivet when peened.

Ready for glueing. Parts are take off, then assembled back with slow cure epoxy.

Knife is tightened on a vice, back plate hammered down, end of the tang is cut.

End of the tang is peened with a ball pein hammer. Hammering, filing, hammering, filing....

Result looking like this.

I use worn out coarse grit belt to slightly sand the shape out, to see that everything fits straight after the peening is complete. Using a sharp belt would only ruin it, as the open epoxy will stick on it. Now the glue is let to set properly.

Rest of the blades in this set will get birch bark handles, so at this point the back plates were fitted.

Last work of the day was to cut some birch bark. To be continued after the weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Back at the grinder.

After the canoe trip it was time to get back to work. Meaning some knife making!

Forged a set of puukko blades. If you're interested in few blade forging pics, check the bottom pics of this post from a month back! After forging, grinding, heat treating, and grinding again it's time to fit the brass bolster plates.

Being hand forged, every blade is slightly different. Outer lines of the tang are marked on a piece of brass bar.

One hole is drilled from the front side of the plate.

On the backside I drill two more holes, that don't go all the way through.

Then I use needle rasps to shape the slot.

Slot is shaped to follow the blade shape randomly, but being slightly smaller.

Sides of the slot are ground slightly wider on the backside. Makes it easier to drive the plate down the tang, and it's easier to get a tight fit as well.

First fitting. I drive the plate on the tang by using a hammer and a wooden block. Blade tightly secured on a vice.

Checking the result, and from where to remove material.

Forcing a bolster plate on the tang will form some ridges on the sides of the slot. They'll be removed by sanding the surface back to flat. Then I use needle rasps again to remove some material where it's needed.

These steps are repeated, until shoulders of the blade sit firmly on the brass plate.

After all the bolsters are fitted I shape them slightly on a belt sander. Before starting to build the handle, bolster is taken off one more time, front surface hand sanded to a finer grit, and finally the blade polished as well.

I'm planning to make wooden handles for few of these, and the rest will have birch bark handles. Some coming for sale as well, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 20, 2016

A canoe trip.

1,5 weeks ago it looked like this here in Inari. It was snowing for half a day, but turned into rain later on. Well, lakes haven't had any ice for quite a while now, so was good time for a canoe trip.

With my friend we decided to make a trip on lake Inari, Inarijärvi. Inarijärvi is the third largest lakek in Finland, over 1000 square kilometers, having way over 3000 islands. What makes it unique, is that it's a real wilderness lake, meaning the whole coastline is not filled with summerhouses. There are some cottages, but majority of the area is protected. We headed to the north-east part of the lake, an area that is part of Vätsäri wilderness area.

We headed to the north-east part of the lake, an area that is part of Vätsäri wilderness area. After unloading all our stuff, it was time to attach everything on the canoe. Decent weather, half cloudy and just over +10 celcius.

So there we go... Tuomas, me, and Kumu sighting on top of our bags.
After about 10km we had a first break of the trip. A bit of fishing, and killing plenty of mosquitoes. Kumu watching our lures dropping to the water.

Water in lake Inari is chrystal clear. Something not to be taken granted in this world!

We set our first camp on a small island. Using a ring of stones left behind from someone else. Kumu is clearly frustrated, as there's cooking going on but annoying smoke swirling around. Yeah, by this picture he's already gotten his food, but we haven't....
Some fishing again before leaving the first night's camp. Kumu saw us packing the canoe, so he won't go far that he wouldn't be left behind. Many of the small islands don't have decent firewood. This one had, so we packed some fatwood with us.

A man walking on the water? No, Tuomas is standing on a rock just beneath the surface. Good spot for fishing, just at the end of small stream.

Graylings were the most common catch on the trip, we got some every day. When we catched what we could eat, it was better to stop fishing, as there was no way they would stay good until we'd be back after several days. There's a minimum size of 30cm for graylings, smaller than that were released.

Aside graylings we got several pikes too. The one Tuomas got was pretty big!

We spent one night in an open hut of Pisteri. Someone had reserved the other side for his trimaran, so we had to park our mighty green vessel on the other side of the cooking shelter.
Pisteri open hut is a nice old log house, with space for 10 people. Equipped with a wood burning stove for heating, and a gas stove for cooking, like all state owned open huts.

Same story as every morning: after the canoe was packed, Kumu made sure he will be onboard as well...

And back at his cosy viewing point again!

 Relaxing sceneries from two of the islands we stopped at. No schedules, no hurry, have a break when ever you feel like.

As you can see, sometimes paddling can be very tiring. Life of a dog; no idea where we're heading, no idea what happens next, just living the very moment.

 There's a slight change of Kumu being a bit interested in the fish being cut. Nice sunny evening at one of our campsites. Just enoug wind to make mosquitoes disappear. Perfect!

Our last campsite was a small isthmus between two bays. We picked the windy side because of the mosquitoes again. Someone else has found this beautiful place too, as there was again a ring of stones.

Graylings cooking by the campfire. Only salt as a spice, cooking slowly on a small fire. Potatoes being boiled in a Trangia cooker.
Endless number of islands to stop at. Here you can have your own peace if you will.

A fungus has formed nature's own smiley on a rock on one of the islands! Not bad, huh!