I bought an Opinel No8 pocket knife at a local store last weekend. I love this thing.
The thin carbon steel blade is wicked sharp. Thanks to that thin blade, the wood handle, and the general lack of anything heavy it’s the lightest 3″ lockblade I own even though it has the longest handle. Weighs about an ounce and a half.
The metal collar at the top of the handle twists around a rivet and blocks the blade from closing. You can even lock it closed so it can’t open in your pocket or pack. I can operate the lock one-handed with my thumb.
The mind-blowing part is that it only cost $12.95. And not to get all mushy, but there’s something very organic about the shape of the knife and the feel of the wood handle. It’s a big change from the usual parade of black tactical folders I carry. It’s opened my eyes to some different knives. I also bought a Scandinavian grind J. Marttiini fixed blade knife I like a lot. I can’t believe how good these traditional knives are full stop let alone how good they are for lunch money prices.
Now I’d like to have some others. The Opinel saw is cool, weighs 3.5 ounces, and it’s only $29. At that price it isn’t so much a question of why as why the hell not? The No13 with the 8.6″ blade is closer to a Benjamin, but that price guarantees you’d win any “that’s not a knife, this is a knife” encounters. I thought they were novelties until I saw this video of a German guy using one to chop down a forest.
- Opinel on Wikipedia - filthy hippies with their free encyclomopedium
- Opinel.com (I hope you voulez vous) – filthy French people with their awesome knives
- Opiknife.com- filthy capitalists who want your money and will trade you awesome knives for it
- Opinel One Hand Opening Modification – Filthy woodworkers making their knives sexier and more awesome
Quick Opinel Facts
- First made in 1890. The locking collar was added in 1955. It was later modified so the knife could be locked closed.
- If you have trouble opening an Opinel the sharp blade may be stuck in the wood handle. Tap the wooden end on a hard surface to free the blade.
- The models are numbered 1 through 13 or so. The 1 and 11 are no longer made.
- The model number roughly corresponds to the length of the blade in centimeters. The 13 is longer – 22 cm. There are 2.54 cm to the inch.
- If you pick up an Opinel and don’t know the model, check the locking collar. The model number is stamped on the back.
- Outside of a specialty knife store not many retailers sell Opinels. There are two places you may be able to find them locally. One is a camping store or camping section of a department store. Coghlan’s Camp Knife is an Opinel in a shrinkwrapped, carded package. I’ve heard that gourmet cooking shop Williams-Sonoma sometimes sells a stainless steel model as a steak knife, though I couldn’t find it on their Web site.
If you want to know more about Opinels YouTube is your buddy
- Cheap Knives : Part 3 – Opinel No 8 by Cutlerylover (short)
- Knife Review : French Opinel #8 by Cutlerylover (longer)
- Opinel disassembly (loud)
- Opinel forced patina using Tarn-X
- Opinel No. 8 Inox ‘Ergo’ mod
Adobe Lightroom note: I shot the photos on a white piece of paper and bounced the flash off the ceiling. The background looked more grey than white. Since I took the Lightroom oath I could only use Lightroom to fix that versus going into Photoshop and Magic Wanding my way out of my problems. I’ll have to learn the Lightroom way of fixing grey backgrounds before my class is over. Tonight I used the Adjustment Brush and jacked the exposure to Jesus, which is why the pics are overexposed.