Mystery tool from Lapland

Discussion in 'H.I. Cantina' started by Howard Wallace, Sep 29, 2020.

  1. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    Time to tap into the collective wisdom of the group.

    I recently came across this hunting/fishing kit from Lapland. The knife, harpoon, fishing lure, fish hook are readily identifiable as to function.


    The tool just above the knife in the picture is puzzling though. The front edges are sharpened, similar to an arrowhead. It could be a spear tip for fish, frogs, etc., but it lacks barbs I would expect on such a tool. Any ideas as to what this one is used for, and how it’s used?
    Kismet and oldmanwilly like this.
  2. Bawanna

    Bawanna Moderator Moderator

    Dec 19, 2012
    Was hoping someone would be along with some good info. I'll keep waiting.

    I was guessing (guessing only) that it was like the harpoon or at least used for the same purpose but I got absolutely nothing to back that up with.
  3. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Here's my late night guess.

    You use that tool to pin your catch to a chunk of wood and process it.
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  4. EricTheRedBeard

    EricTheRedBeard Basic Member Basic Member

    May 17, 2018
    I looked online for any clues to no avail. Seems like it was made to make a straight cut through something by stabbing but either not go too deep or not let the thing you are stabbing through come all the way to the handle. I like Danke's guess. Definitely a mystery. I hope someone else knows.
  5. davidf99

    davidf99 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 27, 2011
    It's a miniature branding iron. If you catch a fish that's too small and has to be thrown back in the water, you brand it first. That way, if someone else catches it a year or two later they know it's yours.

    Every tool of this type has a differently shaped head, to identify the clan to which the fisherman belongs.
  6. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    That was my initial thought, perhaps a little frog sticker. Wouldn’t hold very well though.

    This would probably work if you aligned the head of the tool with the wood grain. Excellent suggestion I hadn’t considered.

    Seems plausible.

    Interesting! With this tool I could be the first to introduce fish branding to the great PNW. I wonder what the game wardens would think if they saw the new Wallace brand start appearing on fish.
    Bookie likes this.
  7. Yangdu

    Yangdu [email protected] Himalayan Imports-Owner Moderator

    Apr 5, 2005
    Old hunting tools, thank you for sharing
  8. Bookie


    Mar 25, 2014
    I know a Lap in Sweden.. Will send a note and see what she says.
    EricTheRedBeard likes this.
  9. joeraz


    Jan 6, 2016
    Only a guess but perhaps to help remove imbedded harpoon?? Appears about same length to the harpoon barb, could align tool with shaft and punch a slit so the barb pulls free without ripping everything apart.
  10. Kismet

    Kismet Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    Recalling some scenes from Nanook of the North, the tool in question might be used to pin a caught fish down while removing the lure from its mouth and avoiding fish slime in bitter cold weather and water.

    (If you haven't seen Nanook of the North ever, or even lately, I commend it to your attention. Filmed in 1923, depicting Inuit life from about 1917 as I recall, it is a wonder. Great learning experience for hunters and fishermen to appreciate the skill-set needed to survive. I believe it is available on dvd and vhs.)
    RayseM likes this.
  11. EricTheRedBeard

    EricTheRedBeard Basic Member Basic Member

    May 17, 2018
    Thanks Kismet. I searched for Nanook online and I will definitely check it out.
    Kismet likes this.
  12. EricTheRedBeard

    EricTheRedBeard Basic Member Basic Member

    May 17, 2018
    Kismet, my wife and I watched "Nanook of the North" last night. The whole thing is on YouTube. That was the best movie we have seen in a long time. It is amazing what people have done to survive in the past. Thanks for the recommendation!
    Kismet likes this.
  13. Howard Wallace

    Howard Wallace . Moderator

    Feb 23, 1999
    Might work for that but my first thought would be to use the knife. Small tool might give some better control and make a smaller hole in the hide.

    A variation on this was suggested above, and this seems the most likely use to me. Knife might be needed (gutting, filleting, hook removal) while the fish is pinned, so the knife doesn’t serve the purpose well. Round shaft wouldn’t cut through fish when pulled.

    Nanook of the North is a great movie. Saw it first decades ago on a college free movie night. Back in the days of film and projectors.
    EricTheRedBeard and Kismet like this.
  14. Kismet

    Kismet Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    Hey Howard?

    Could that instrument be the equivalent of an ice-fishing "tipper," used to thread a second fishing line through the hole in the handle, jam it into the ice or ground, and enable the fisherman to jig with the lure on one line and have a bait or lure moving with the current on a second?
    That might explain the effort which went into the creation, the metal shaft, and the thong to hold the spike when a fish strikes? The handle would be strong enough to resist being worn through by the friction of the line.

    ^ the above is pure conjecture ^

    Also, I posted the picture on an aluminum fishing boat forum, asking for opinions. No great insights yet, but one post said he had a friend who occasionally traveled home to Lapland and who would be interested in getting a collectible kit such as yours. The forum is TinBoats and the post is the most recent by "Kismet." No fee to join, or you could just have me give him your information.

    Interesting search.

    Enjoy every sandwich
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020

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