What is the Opinel Folding Pocket Knife?
Ask any outdoorsman, what the best folding pocket knife is, and you can expect a barrage of opinions and replies. You may even regret asking the question. That is, of course, if your time to answer is limited, but if you are sitting around a campfire with your friends, enjoying a cold beverage, that’s another story.
Is the Opinel Folding Pocket Knife worthy of your pocket?
A few weeks ago, while sitting around a friendly campfire with some of my friends, and a few acquaintances, I asked the question to see what kind of reaction I would get. It’s always best to ask questions about knives early in the evening, when the beverages have only begun to flow. Rest assured that we are all long-time friends, and we do have some degree of civilized behavior.
To my surprise, 5 of the 8 people sitting or standing around the fire, owned an Opinel Knife. Three of these people had the knife in their pocket and two others had them in their bug-out bags. Out came a No. 8 Opinel, and two No. 9 Opinel knives, … in a friendly way, of course.
One of the guys, … Dennis, the Menace, … to us, even threw in his best Australian accent and said, “This is a knife”, in fine crocodile Dundee fashion. Everyone had a good laugh, and soon we were all telling each other why we had purchased an Opinel knife.
In the end, the Opinel knife owners, all agreed that we had purchased our knives because they were inexpensive, easy to keep sharp, and easy to carry. We are all tradesmen of one kind or the other, and we all use tools on a daily basis. Needless to say that inexpensive, practical, and easy to sharpen and maintain, kept coming up in the comments.
There were other Knife models there of various kinds and each quality folding blade has its good and bad characteristics. I would add that all other models were much more expensive, and some were arguably of much better quality.
Quality is always an issue with knives, and personally, I am not here to promote the most expensive pocket knife in the world. I like a pocket knife that easy to keep sharp, not too expensive, and safe to use.
The Virobloc twist-lock ensures the safe handling of this easy to sharpen high-carbon blade.
What is the Opinel Pocket Knife?
In 1890, Joseph Opinel began making peasant knives, that proved to be very popular with local farmers, herdsmen, and winemakers. In 1897, a series of 12 sizes, numbered 1 to 12 was developed.
These knives are made in Savoie, France. The Opinel Knife Company sells approximately 15,000,000 of these knives every year, so I’m not the only one carrying an Opinel knife.
By 1909, the “crowned hand” emblem was introduced, and remains a company symbol to this day. At the beginning of World War II, over 20 million knives had been sold.
Their Virobloc, safety twist-lock mechanism was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955. This Virobloc was later improved to allow locking in the open and closed position.
In 1985, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London chose the Opinel knife for an exhibit celebrating “the 100 most beautiful products in the world”.
It has also been reported that Pablo Picasso used one of these knives as a sculpting tool.
How cool is that!
What makes a good folding pocket knife?
These are some of the characteristics that I believe make a good folding pocket knife. While opinions vary greatly on knives, we all agree on these main points. A good folding pocket knife should be,
- have a secure locking mechanism
- be easy to sharpen
- be inexpensive
- and fit in your pocket comfortably
Who needs a folding pocket knife?
Knives are one of the most useful and practical tools invented by man. Depending on your line of work, or profession, they can be the most useful tool you carry in your pocket or bug-out bag.
Folding pocket knives are a practical alternative to the fixed blade knife.
It’s not always necessary, or practical to carry a large fixed blade knife. That’s when a good folding pocket knife steps in.
People enjoying the outdoors, hunters, fishermen, farmers, vineyardists, people in the trades, and everyone else that uses knives on a regular basis.
A properly sized, folding pocket knife, that is easy to maintain, and keep sharp, is one of the most practical things to have on your person. These knives have been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason.
Why are the Opinel Pocket Knives an excellent Choice?
Traditional Opinel Knives have,
- a beech wood handle
- a high-carbon XC90 steel blade, and
- a Virobloc twistlock
The Stainless Steel version has,
- a Sandvik 12C27M stainless steel blade
- custom models are available with handles made of exotic woods such as oak, walnut, olive wood, bubinga, ebony, hornbeam, and cowhorn, and
- a Virobloc twistlock
The Opinel Slim has,
- a tapered handle
- a slender clip point blade
- Sandvik 12C27M stainless steel
- the Virobloc twistlock, and
- handles of different materials, including bubinga, olive, ebony, and cowhorn
If You Need A Folding Pocket Knife …
My son has recently given me a No. 9 Opinel Knife, with my name engraved on the blade. I was pleasantly surprised that he chose to engrave the blade with my name on it. This was a birthday gift to remind me of our many outdoor adventures into the mountains of British Columbia, Canada.
Opinel Knives come in two handle shapes, and in over a dozen sizes. There is a shape and size that will fit your hand and pocket.
I would love to hear your stories and comments about your folding pocket knives, … who makes them and why you purchased that specific model.
Are you happy with your knife? Do you use it regularly? What is the primary use of your knife?
If you need a folding blade for work, or for adventure, be sure to give the Opinel Knife a serious look.
I know that you will be pleased with your findings.