Cleaning up the Marttiini Kaamosjätkä puukko knife

Back in 2009, a local outdoor store was having a sale on the Kaamosjätkä puukko knife from the Marttiini company of Finland. They were selling a whole mess of them for 15 Euros each (about $20 USD). The normal price was about 25 Euros, so I picked up two of them just for the heck of it. This particular model is the cheapest and least-refined of the wood-handled knives made by Marttiini, but the blades are good quality. If nothing else, I thought it’d make for an interesting “lipstick on a pig”/”turd polishing” project. 🙂

Here’s the knife as it comes:

From the factory, the knife has a roughly finished, lightly stained wood handle. The wood isn’t flush with the bolster (which itself needed work). Not being a fan of the fish-tail thing on Scandi sheathes, I knew it would have to go. Also, I didn’t like the silver-colored labeling on the sheath. These critiques aren’t intended as criticism of the knife as it comes, because it is a very low-budget, mass-produced knife, after all. These are just some of the things I wanted to modify to make it more attractive and to my liking.

After reshaping the handle with another knife, including making the wood flush with the bolster, I sanded it down and then applied some walnut stain. This was followed by a coat or two of teak oil. While I was working on the wood part of the handle, I also sanded down the bolster with a fine-grit sandpaper to refine it a bit. As for the sheath, I cut off the flap at the bottom and then carefully rubbed off the somewhat sloppy silver lettering. The last step was to apply wax to the edges of the leather belt loop and the back of the sheath (and then heat it so the wax soaked in) to darken and smooth out the leather there. As I mentioned, this was a project I did some years ago. I think I would do it slightly differently now, but I’m still happy with the results.

My version of the knife:

Over the past few years, I’ve restored or modified several knives, but to be honest they don’t see much use. I think I’ll rectify this situation on my next trip and bring out my prettied-up Marttiini Kaamosjätkä to see what it can do!

15 comments on “Cleaning up the Marttiini Kaamosjätkä puukko knife

  1. BelgianBirkebeiner says:

    Nice restauration, love those Puuko’s!

  2. Great job. Love the difference in the handle.

  3. Rocky says:

    What a nice job of doing the makeover! You did what the factory does and charges a lot of money for! But, there is simply no way to put a price on the satisfaction of doing it yourself. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to your critique of how it works in the field.

  4. FlannelFox says:

    Very nice work! I’m really not a fan of Marttiini knives with their cheap stainless blades and lacquered handles but the Kaamosjätkä is, funnily enough, one of their best ones just because it is so unfinished, and you really brought out the potential of the knife! It being one of the few carbon blades that Marttiini makes certainly doesn’t hurt 😉

  5. Son Dao says:

    What kind of wax did you use on the leather? Beeswax or carnauba type wax? Thanks!

    • Nothing special, just Greenland wax from Fjällräven (paraffin and beeswax). Not really meant for this purpose, but it worked well enough. 🙂 I only waxed the unfinished parts of the leather, i.e. the raw edges. I didn’t do anything to most of the sheath.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Son Dao says:

    Thanks for the info. I have a couple sheaths that need the same treatment. I’ll give beeswax a try as I it already.

    • I know there are recommended wax mixtures for leather, but I don’t know what they are. I just used what I had lying around. You might want to do a little research before doing what I did. 😉

  7. […] and made some feather sticks with the Marttiini Kaamosjätkä knife I modified years ago and showed here recently. I found that I enjoyed using a smaller knife like this for a […]

  8. Juha Tyni says:

    I just purchased this knife from the Marttiini shop in Helsinki. I wanted a cool Finnish knife during my visit here in Finland.
    I think I will do some mods to it once I get back to the States.
    I think the knife looks great, haven’t used it yet though, so I don’t know how well it works.

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