Skip to main content

The Opinel Knife

This is a departure from the regular content on this blog, but when I find something of quality, I want to pass it along to you.

Quality craftsmanship and affordability are what I look for in outdoor gear. I found out a long time ago that you get what you pay for. While this may be true, there are reasonably priced products out there, if you know where to look. That's how I discovered the Opinel knife.

I was looking for a knife that was durable, hard working, and that looked nice. Also, it would be great if it was easy on the wallet. I purchased my Opinel No. 8 at Mast General Store for $15. The simple beauty of this knife caught my eye, and the fact that is was a traditional working man's knife made in France for over one hundred years, convinced me to make the purchase.

In 1890, Joseph Opinel began making his wooden-handled folding knives in Savoie, France, selling them to farmers, herdsmen, and paysans-vignerons ( peasant winemakers). Soon, the knife became popular with railroad men, miners, and tradesmen all over France. Joseph Opinel produced countless knives, so many that the need arose to mass produce the wooden handles. He set up a factory in Pont de G'evoudaz in 1903, and soon was producing sets of knives in various sizes, ranging from No. 1 to 12. 

A farmer in the French Alps would rather be caught with his pants down than to be without his Opinel!

French laborers and craftsmen, young and old, cherished the simple and versatile knife. Soon, the popularity spread to England and the United States, where the knife was referred to as the "penny knife". That was the average cost of an one in the early 20th Century.
Pablo Picasso was said to have used an Opinel in his carvings. Working people and collectors alike valued the beauty and functionality of the knife.

The knife I purchased has a blade made of XC90 carbon steel (carbone). The blade of a Opinel No.8 is 3 3/16" long and has a clip point. The handle is made from birch, and has a light, natural finish, highlighting the natural beauty of the wood grain. The contours of the knife fits perfectly in my hand, and is lightweight, weighing only 1.6 ounces. The handle is 4 3/8" long, and fits in my front pocket without being too bulky. 

The Opinel knife consists of only five parts: blade, handle, steel collar around the pivot section, a pin to secure the collar and blade to the handle, and the Vibralock blade lock ring, which twists to lock the blade in either the open or closed position.

The Opinel is a two-handed opener. Although the blade has a groove for a fingernail, the blade, when closed, is seated deep inside the handle, with the groove barely above the wood. It's not difficult to open the knife, but it can be tricky if your hands are wet or slippery. 

A trick I learned from the French is something called the Coup de Savoyard, where you take the knife by the lock portion and bump the butt of the knife on a surface, such as a table or the heel of your boot. This opens the blade just enough for you to pinch the blade and pull it open. The wood of the Opinel will tend to expand or contract, and a good tapping will free even the tightest of blades. A little oil every now and then helps, too.

The Opinel blades come in either carbon steel or stainless. I chose the carbon because the durability and ease of sharpening. It is true that carbon blades will rust with use, but I love that nice patina you end up with over time.

The handles come in a variety of wood material, too. Handles made from walnut, oak, and exotic woods such as bubinga, zebrawood and olive wood are available to order. Modifications are often made to stock Opinels, whether it be to the shape of the blade, or cutting away part of the handle section for ease of opening. These knives really are works of art.

My Opinel No. 8 is quickly becoming one of my favorite knives, and currently, it has become my EDC (every day carry).
From slicing an apple to cutting tender sticks for fire making, this knife is an all-around outdoor knife. Whether preparing food, cleaning fish or skinning small game, the thin, razor sharp blade is perfect for any job around camp. Even sparking flint with the back of a closed blade is possible, if you know what you're doing. 

Not only is this knife a economical bushcraft knife, but it is just as handy at opening a envelope or cutting that big pricetag off that flyrod before your wife sees it, as it is butchering big game.

Opinel knives have even gained quite the following on Instagram. Be sure to check out the hashtag #opinel or #opinelknives sometime. People from around the world are finding value in the beauty and versatility of these knives, and sharing their knife photos on social media. You might even see my photos on there. 

Until next time...


  1. first off, a hearty thanks to you. Your blog is awesome and completely knowledgeable and I completely satisfied with the reading. Keep your work spread till long after. For more stainless steel flanges related information visit Rajtilak Metal.Certainly, you are Right!!

  2. Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your humoristic style is witty, keep it up! Thank You for Providing Such a Unique and valuable information, If you are looking for the best Monel 400 Round Bar, then visit Tarang Steel.I enjoyed this blog post.

  3. Thanks for sharing the best information and suggestions, If you are looking for the best Stainless Steel Tube Fittings, then Oshwin Overseas. Highly energetic blog, I’d love to find out some additional information.

  4. At long last, something essential to check for is that the knife block set you are hoping to buy has great audits, or possibly a comparative model from a similar producer does. buy best knives online

  5. Thanks for discussing, great news. This type of news is really appreciative. I have great news. Your article is very informative, Visit duplex tube suppliers. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Information is very informative also you can click titanium plate suppliers ,and get such type of info, this is the great resource to get such type of information.

  7. on the off chance that you are confronted with the loathsomeness of a genuine knife assault and, out of the blue, have neglected to put on your full archaic fight reinforcement, then, at that point don't be a mug, flee!" couteau du chef

  8. Wonderful Article, which define very interesting information about the topic.Thanks for taking your time to share astm a320 l7 If you wants more related services then must visit Jignesh Steel.

  9. I found your blog on Google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. You can also visit ASTM A193 B6 Bolts for more Vinesh Steel
    related information and knowledge, Keep up the great work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


  10. I agree with a lot of the points you made in this article. If you are looking for the ss 316l round bar suppliers, then visit Great steel & metals. I appreciate the work
    you have put into this and hope you continue writing on this subject.

  11. Very insightful and amazing content. Do check out our website Kalpataru piping to know more about our products

  12. Well written article but also do check out our website Amardeep Steel to know more about our products


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A Fisherman Remembers Jocassee Valley

In my search for information on the history and tradition of fly fishing for trout in the mountains of South Carolina, I was extremely fortunate to have made the acquaintance of a true all-around outdoorsman and native son of the Appalachians, Dr. Thomas Cloer.  Our correspondence so far has been by telephone only, but I hope that once this current health crisis dies down, we can get together in person. When I first contacted Mr. Cloer, I didn't know what to expect. Why would he be interested in anything I had to say? But I was pleasantly surprised when he returned my call. Within the first moments of our conversation, I felt as if I had known him forever. Maybe it was the kinship felt between two fly fishermen, or perhaps it was his kind voice, warm and familiar, a voice steeped in the tradition and language of the Southern Appalachians. "Joshua, I would be more than happy to talk to you about fly fishing." Dr. Thomas Cloer is Professor Emeritus of Furman Univers

A Letter To My Father

Two years ago, this very night, you were still here among the living. You had no idea of what was to come in the early hours of the morning, but I know you had some inkling. You'd been talking about it for a while, and the Sunday before, I was told that you 'd made things right.Your mind and body were weak from fighting to hold onto your spirit, but your spirit was so much stronger, and it was determined to be set free. Your pain would soon be over, but you liked to fight, always did. You were the most stubborn human being that I have ever known, and I know that at the end, you were no different. I'm sure it wasn't your choice to go, despite all those times you cried, saying you wanted to die and be put out of your misery. When the medics had worked so long on you and decided to give up on you, your heart started back beating, as if out of spite.  I wonder sometimes what those last few hours were like for you. I wish I could've been there for you, like all the times

Love Letter

I wake this morning, to find your scent still lingering on my skin. With sleep in my eyes, I try to shake the heady buzz from the hours of being entwined with you the day before. I feel your residual energy flowing all around me. I step into the shower just to feel the rivulets of water wash over my body. You are all I can think about this morning, and I know that I will not find peace until I return to your side. I am completely, utterly, and desperately obsessed with you. When I look upon you, I am captivated. I am enamored by your beauty, by your natural sensuous movements. I follow every curve, trace all of your soft edges with my eyes, immerse myself in the rise and fall of your breath. You whisper mysteries known only to the deepest parts of my consciousness, and the narrative you speak to my heart is as old as the earth. I have watched you suffer mistreatment at the hands of so many before. You have been taken advantage of, used and abused, stripped of your purity. I