ISSUE 31  |  Cabins & Camping

Stalking the Wild Mushroom

August 02, 2012 6:30 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

Master Finnish knifesmith Veikko Hakkarainen is probably out gathering bark from Lappish birch trees right now—as he does every midsummer during "Bark Month"—to use for the handles of his handmade foraging knives.

Hakkarainen, a fourth-generation knife maker, makes each foraging knife through a process of 60 steps: from leatherwork to scavenging bark to forging steel over coal. As Hakkarainen says, "old, proven good methods are essential in my production, but I don't hesitate to utilize new technology, methods, and materials either." This design ethos is what allows Hakkarainen to draw from traditional hand-forging methods and then sharpen each blade with a high-powered water-cooled grinder.

Above: The Puukko Mushroom Foraging Knife features a stainless steel blade with brass and reindeer bone detailing, natural bristle brush for cleaning dirt off mushrooms, and a reindeer leather sheath; CA $75 from Mjolk.

Above: The Kullervo Puukko Knife features a birch bark handle for buoyancy (it will float if dropped in water) and is delivered in a wooden gift box (R); CA $340 from Mjolk.

(N.B.: For more fungi, see "Mini Mushroom Farms.")