Knife. Well, what is it really? There are almost as many answers as there are people answering the question. People have different experiences and feelings with knives, which is no surprise, considering how versatile knives are. For some it’s a dangerous and sharp weapon, which it can be, in the wrong hands. For others, it's a tool for woodworking. As for hunters, it’s an indispensable gadget, nothing less than an all-purpose tool. Some people see knives as beautiful ornaments or collectables, while for others, it's a combination of all the above. As a matter of fact, only one thing is for sure: a knife awakes feelings in everyone. It’s hard to imagine a person not feeling anything when looking at a knife.

Originally, knives were created as tools for working wood and other daily chores, but nowadays it’s difficult to imagine a situation at home that one wouldn’t manage without a knife. Yet many have them at home, too. When moving in the wild outdoors—hiking, hunting, fishing, and so on—a knife is still a necessity. In the woods, it’s certainly possible to find right size of firewood and kindling to build a campfire with, but just try to gnaw a stick for grilling food without a knife, or open up a freshly caught fish or fowl. Building a lean-to is also much easier when you can cut the construction materials to the right size.

 However, these days a knife is most often a gift. It’s a great gift, because it's not just a knife. It’s a carving knife, fishing knife, decorative horse-headed knife or any of those dozens of knives manufactured and designed for different purposes. You'll always find a personal gift for that special person according to the recipient's hobbies and taste. Moreover, a gift that is completely hand-made in Finland cannot be a failure, no matter what it is, especially if it has a long, beautiful and historical story that everyone knows.

You can give a gift to yourself, too. It's not rare for a wanderer or hiker, content with their achievement after a long hike, having caught their first salmon or in honour of having hunted an elk, to come and buy a knife as a gift for themselves. The knife becomes a memento to remind of this special occasion when holding it, and it’s worthwhile for anyone to look back on one’s own achievements every now and then. Perhaps these feats will be heard by others too, when sitting by the campfire and holding the knife. Some will probably hear the same stories more often than once, but repetition is the mother of all learning.

Children’s knife is a popular christening gift. Some people may find it a little strange, but they’ll see the point, when the child gets a few years older and, sitting on the doorstep of the woodshed with his grandfather, whittles for the first time with their very own knife. Most of us can't see it without being touched, and the picture stays in our minds for the rest of our lives.

Nowadays, it's possible to buy something that's called a knife from a store with the price of a pack of chewing gum. These items may somewhat be able to fulfill your technical needs, but they cannot fulfill the spiritual need. You don’t really want to present it as a gift, neither for yourself nor for anyone else. What is it then that fascinates in a hand-made knife that has perfectly finished details? Maybe it's those very details that represent the knife-maker’s full expertise, artisanal competency and maybe even soul. It does show, when they are applied in the process of creation. Who can explain why we get lost in our thoughts when watching the campfire burn? The waves crashing on the beach have the same effect. So does a beautiful knife; you just turn it in your hands and the rest of the world seems to disappear.

Some people get the same feeling when looking at a beautiful painting, fine sculpture or other work of art. Maybe that’s the answer? Hand-made knives are indeed works of art, and cutlers are artists just as painters and sculptors.

The villagers and boys were amazed and in awe when a huge oddity rolled down the road in September, 1922. Alfred Kosola’s horses had to tax their strength when drawing a sleigh with an indenting hammer of 5.000 kilograms, along the snowless road to the Järvenpää’s factory. The cubs’ imagination really took over, when they began to hear a constant pounding from the factory. It was like an iron giant’s sledgehammer banging.

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