opinel knives

greencobra

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i was thinking about a guy i worked with a couple of years ago, a guy from italy. first, any knife person probably owns or had owned an opinel folder. even i have a #6 i use for cutting fruit, stuff like that, nothing heavy duty. they're cheap, beechwood handles, carbon steel blades.

this guy overhears me and some work friends talking about knives, comes over and mentions opinel and how he had an uncle who worked for opinel in france. i guess this uncle retired from there after 25 years. he said he had some knives his uncle had left to him. it was an interesting story.

the next night he brings up to dinner a canvas bag and inside was a beautiful black walnut box with gold colored hinges and latch. we open the box and inside was a set of 10 opinel folders, #'s 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ,7 ,8, 9, 10 & 12. with curly maple (I think) handles, the blades done in 440c steel and marked as such. the little twisty locks were gold colored and on the handles, where it's usually printed on the wood handles "opinel, savoie, france", it was pressed into the wood and gold filled. i'm working from memory here, it's how i remember them.

it turned out this set was presented to the guy on his retirement from who i believed to be the opinel company. there was a plaque on the box lid, in french, with his name and years of service. seriously, a beautiful set of opinels. the photo below is from the opinel catalog of a normal set they offer currently. just to give you an idea of what the gift was. wish i took photos, i never remember i have a camera on my phone.

just thought i'd tell about this unique set of knives.

 

enbloc

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I have a Carbon #8 what came with a nice leather pocket sheath. I don't carry it ever, but it holds an edge pretty well.
They don't call them the "Peasant's Knife" for nothing. You get a lot of knife for under $12 bucks. Kinda like a classy folding Morakniv...

 

gscott

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Like a 10/22 everybody should own at least one . I carry one in my shirt pocket dally just for general use . Never owned a stainless one and probably never will but the carbon steel ones take a razor edge and resharpen easily. Great little knife for short money.
 

Picton

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It’s a very thin blade, sort of a substitute for a box cutter; that’s how I use mine, actually. Less practical than a Stanley knife, sure, but style matters too.

These and Moras, on the fixed-blade side, are what I often suggest as cheap-but-good knives for the kids I take on hiking trips.
 

greencobra

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greencobra

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Opinel has always drawn my interest but could never find a specific need for one.
I just use mine basically to cut up fruit, cut string, open letters, nothing too stressful. I loose it, I find it, loose it, find it again, lol. but it does come in handy
 

greencobra

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opinel makes a set of 4 steak knives but hell, they're like 140-150 bucks. for a opinel! I was tempted until I saw the price. if they sharpen as nicely as the carbon steel that would be a heck of a steak knife. don't know what they made them out of.
 

enbloc

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It’s a very thin blade, sort of a substitute for a box cutter; that’s how I use mine, actually. Less practical than a Stanley knife, sure, but style matters too.
I think the best use for the Opinel's are twine and small rope cutting. Maybe an apple or two, but the blade has to be cleaned and oiled FAST!
 

greencobra

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I think the best use for the Opinel's are twine and small rope cutting. Maybe an apple or two, but the blade has to be cleaned and oiled FAST!
yeah, it's strange. I heard they were originally the work horse knife of farmers, sheep herders...salt of the earth people. I would have thought they should have been made, shall we say, heartier.
 

enbloc

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Know which tool for which job.
Them old timers always had a hatchet nearby because they weren't battoning firewood with an Opinel! [smile]

I always have 3 blades on me. A cutter, a worker and a fighter...
 

Viper22

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I've got a stainless No. 8. Came with a terrible quality edge, had to do a lot of work to sharpen it up. I was able to get it very sharp. Slices well. I usually keep it in my desk drawer at work to cut up lunch if need be.
 

SERE

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Nice story, [thumbsup]

One of my Aunts family owned local greenhouses and florist and that is where I was introduced to them in the '70s. Used for pruning and twine. The workers could use them very effectively.
 
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enbloc

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I would not be surprised if the Opinel's were used mainly as a "lunch companion" by the working-class French to cut baguettes, cheese, salami or cut the wax off a corked bottle of Vin.
Just like Viper uses his!

 

enbloc

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I carefully drilled a lanyard hole in mine and ran a 14" length of green paracord through it. (Loop length is about 7 inches, and fits my wrist well)
Makes it easy to get out of my pocket quick with the small pigtail that sticks out...

Looks like this, but with paracord:
 

KBCraig

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I keep a No. 8 on my desk for cutting apples, cheese, or whatever. A quick touch-up (stropping the cardboard back of a legal pad), and it's good to go.

I've always had at least a No. 7 or 8 since the mid '80s. I've had a few smaller ones. I have a stainless filet knife ("Eff.15"), but it doesn't take an edge like the carbon blades do.
 

enbloc

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but it doesn't take an edge like the carbon blades do.
Carbon all the way. Sure they take a smidge more maintenance, but these aren't kid's knives.
They are for men who take care of their gear because they know how important it is. Women too... [smile]
 

mibro

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yeah, it's strange. I heard they were originally the work horse knife of farmers, sheep herders...salt of the earth people. I would have thought they should have been made, shall we say, heartier.
My uncle was a farmer in the UK and always had one in his pocket, mostly for cutting baling twine which is everywhere on a farm. They always struck me as cheap and efficiently designed, a utilitarian knife a farmer could afford to lose.

We're used to hedonic consumer products now, products with design and material content far in excess of what's needed to perform an intended function. This is a fairly new idea, at least for the masses, as until relatively recently hedonic products were affordable only for the rich. Compare an Opinel knife to a Benchmade for a really good example of utilitarian versus hedonic products.
 
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