Smith Martti Malinen
Welcome to Hanhiniitty Smithy, to the island village of Niinisaari. I am the village blacksmith Martti.
I’ve been forging knives and other products since 1988 and, since the 1990s, I’ve been running forging courses alongside teaching at the Kuru Institute of Forestry. I moved to Niinisaari with my family in 2005 and started working as a full-time blacksmith in my own workshop. I make all kinds of forged products at my workshop year round – always respecting traditions and quality. My product portfolio includes knives, axes, chef’s knives, chisels and various other forging work. More than a half of my customers are from abroad.
My father is a carpenter and I remember his tool box from when I was 4 years old. The tools were really sharp and my father let me use them all; his knife was a Swedish Mora in a red brown sheath and that was my first contact with knives. I got interested in blacksmithing because of my hobbies, when I was a teen I used to spend all my free time fishing and hiking. At that time it was common to make your own gear at home, so I started to make knives, canoes, backpacks, lures, flies etc. I crafted knives with ready made blades but it didn’t satisfy me. In 1988 I graduated from the forestry college and bought a house. In the same year I got my first anvil and started to hammer blades.
I have studied hammering by myself mainly, but in the beginning I contacted old Masters and visited their workshops. Uuno Vedenpää made a big impression on me and mainly I still follow his methods in traditional Finnish type of blade making. At that time hammering wasn’t a common hobby, while now the Finnish knifemakers guild is a big association. In the beginning of the 90´s I worked in Kuru at the Institute of Forestry as a teacher. I taught courses in log house building and taught survival skills for wilderness guides.
Log house builders needed lots of special tools and I had the anvil and the workshop at home, so it was natural for me to make axes and other tools for the courses. Soon students started to ask for the tools also. I started to sell axes and knives at that time as a side job. In 2005 I moved away from Kuru and started my own company in Puumala which has kept me busy.
Being a blacksmith is both an occupation and hobby for me. In this work, I never stop learning – I can improve your skills indefinitely. In addition to forging, I’m fascinated by blacksmith traditions and the forging culture. I’ve sought inspiration for my forged products from ancient forged pieces. I want to be a part of keeping the blacksmith traditions alive by running various forging exhibitions for groups and sharing my knowledge of the craft on my forging courses. I wish you a warm welcome to my workshop to learn exciting new things and to have great experiences of success – either in a group or individually. I teach in Finnish and English.
Martti Malinen, blacksmith