Handmade knifes #1: Japfin, knife no 59 - Japan meets Finland

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Blog entry by mafe posted 11-29-2016 10:38 PM 2771 reads 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Japfin, knife no 59
Japan meets Finland

As the headline explains, this is a try to make a knife that fusion the elegance of knifes from Japan and Finland (Lapland) and it’s knife no 59 in the line.
My knife making is my meditation and after I started forging blades also, it has gotten a new dimension.

The forge was fired up and a piece of spring becomes a blade by the anvil.

Blade shaped as close to the final shape as possible.
You can read more in the blacksmith blog:

Then with a file the last details and edge are made.
Name stamped in the iron and finally hardened.

Next step is to choose what wood and other materials will fit the idea, deer antler, Mammoth and different woods are tried out.

Then I started sketching but this blad would not really fit the first idea of a Japanese Northman…


With the short blade I also made, it was better.

Still not all happy, throwing ideas and smoking tobacco.

Ok, lets cook and make knifes.

Yes blades were getting a heat treatment at the same time.

You can see the fine straw color, this indicates that the blades are fine now.

Ok, I finally found a match to the blade that made me pleased.
The bolster / kakumaki (JP) / forholk (DK) is stabilized reindeer antlers, will be held in place with a brass pin.

The handle made from a piece of Masurbirc is cut to two half’s, this to try a classic sandwich build.
The tang is a narrowing type, but I wanted the blades back to be visible.
So just drawing the outline to the sides of the wood.

With a chisel it’s outlined.

Like this the blade fits in the rabbet.

Get it? ;-)

I made a hole for a brass pin before hardening the blade, now a hole can be drilled for the pin.

The first hole are used to make sure I get both sides right.

Time to mix some epoxy.

All parts ready.

Plenty of glue and put together.

Then claps from every side possible to make it tight.
Wait for the glue to dry (24 hours are really good).

On the band saw the rough lines are cut.

I have become quite happy with the occ sander for this.

All shaped up.
Also the second knife I worked on at the same time.
This one got the Mammoth bolster and a piece of grape wood from our Turkish house, the iron is from a piece of old file, but that’s another story.

That’s the knife after giving them oil, polish, wax and love.

At the back I made a sanding mistake, this shiny part will perhaps get some bluing, or I will just let time do the work.
(Honestly I don’t like the sandwich in these light woods, they become to visible after).

Blade detail, I am happy with this.

A good feel in the hand.

Time to give it a home.
Inspired from the knifes in Findland I make a sheath with a hard end.

Sewing a tube.

It was fine to hold it like this while sewing.

Side to side.

Ohh yes, coffee, cake and tobacco.

A end plug shaped.

Like this the blade will rest fine and safe.


Drilled a hole for a pin.

Then leather glue.

End cap in place and then the pin set.

The pin is cut of ad hammered round.
Like this the sheath will not fall apart, even if the glue should give up in time.

The MaFe stamp are set in the sheath also.

That’s it!
Knifes done, a leather string will be the belt holder.
(On the other knife I made a small leather end protector).

Side view.

The string was put through two holes in the sheath, as simple as possible.

Hanging from the belt.
I like that the knife is not saying knife, it’s quite neutral and friendly to look at.

One of the reasons I started making knifes, was because of my Norwegian family wear their knifes at important occasions like weddings or baptisms, I feel this knife will be fine for me to wear next time there are an occasion.

Hope it could inspire or at least you enjoyed the time spend reading.

Best thoughts,



These are the types that I wanted to melt into a new form:


Finland, Lapland.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

10 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23776 posts in 3716 days

#1 posted 11-29-2016 11:26 PM

WOW….!! I love ‘em all. You are so creative, my friend!!!!!!!!!! cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10872 posts in 4663 days

#2 posted 11-29-2016 11:33 PM

Very good Mads…

When you’re stitching, are you sewing two threads (two needles) alternating the holes each needle goes into?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View mafe's profile


12317 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 11-29-2016 11:52 PM

Jim, smiles thank you.
Joe, I use one thread with a needle in each end. First I make a groove with a groover, then roll a overstitch wheel to define the spacing between the stitches and finally I used a bend awl to make the holes.
You can read more of the whole process of making a knife here:
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Druid's profile


2165 posts in 3406 days

#4 posted 11-30-2016 12:33 AM

Another beautiful tutorial Mads. Your method of sharing is excellent. Thanks for explaining so many details.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View johnhutchinson's profile


1243 posts in 2240 days

#5 posted 11-30-2016 02:18 AM

WONDERFUL as always, Mads.

You make us feel like we’re there, watching over your shoulder.

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

View CFrye's profile


10841 posts in 2451 days

#6 posted 11-30-2016 02:52 AM

Mads, your MAFE-made tools are always inspirational!
The larger knife has both of your maker’s marks.

Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View madts's profile


1923 posts in 2951 days

#7 posted 11-30-2016 06:29 PM

Most wonderful stuff Mads.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View lew's profile


12939 posts in 4366 days

#8 posted 11-30-2016 11:15 PM

Thanks, Mads, for another wonderful guided tour into knife making! I really like the reindeer antler bolster.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Brit's profile


7891 posts in 3454 days

#9 posted 12-01-2016 04:05 PM

I love to see you making knives Mads and these are excellent additions to your collection. Great blog as always.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View mafe's profile


12317 posts in 3700 days

#10 posted 12-01-2016 11:18 PM

Brit, thanks, yes I have to admit it’s kind of a collection by now, I don’t need all those knifes, but find it hard to let them go, perhaps I put too much heart and thought into them while making them. I saw in a program that Dalai Lama admitted he had a watch collection, so I try to say I am allowed to have a knife collection… Laugh. My dear daughter will one day when I’m gone hopefully give most of them away. I did give ten or so away, never wanted to sell, I put to much heart and time in it to put money in the game.
Lew, I have been keeping that bolster piece for a long time, waiting for the right knife, finally it made sense.
Madts, smiles thanks.
CFrye, I love that you found this detail! I did not see that before and now I see it all the time. Brilliant. Thank you. ;-)
johnhutchinson, I did have a feeling some one was there… Laughs thanks.
Druid, I will try and give them a mirror polish! Thanks for the kind words.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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