Opinel Folding Pocket Knife

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,

  • lightweight
  • have a secure locking mechanism
  • be easy to sharpen
  • be inexpensive
  • practical
  • 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.

10 thoughts on “Opinel Folding Pocket Knife”

  1. Hey Paul, Thank you for writing on Opinel Folding Pocket Knife. I enjoy your article while reading. The Opinel knife owners, all agreed that we had purchased our knives because they were inexpensive, easy to keep sharp, and easy to carry. Yes, folding knife is useful in many ways. Thanks for finding best pocket knife. I will go for it.

    Thank you


    • Good Day, Parveen.

      I’m pleased to hear that you value a good folding pocket knife. The Opinel No. 9 is such a knife.

      Opinel knives have been around since the 1890s. Over 15 million of these knives are sold every year, worldwide.

      I am certain that you will make a good choice. They are inexpensive and easy to keep sharp.



  2. Hi there,

    Great article, I really enjoyed the reading!

    My husband is a fisherman and he used to have an Opinel folding knife and he really misses his knife:) So I thought I would buy the same one for his birthday. When I click on the link in your article, it brings me to a white page. It must be an error. 

    I really want to buy this knife. Can you tell me where can I find great deals for this knife?

    Thank you for this excellent post!

    • Good Day, Daniella.

      Thanks for reading my post and pointing out my error. 

      I have since corrected the error, and you can also use the first link for the details you need, to purchase a new Opinel knife for your favorite fisherman.

      Have a good look at the various sizes. I am a fisherman as well and sometimes I’ll catch a small fish that needs a smaller knife, lol. 

      Most of the time, we only catch BIG fish, and that requires a bigger knife. It might be a good idea to find out how big the fish are, that you husband catches, lol.

      Happy Fishing and Tight Lines.

      Don’t forget to check out the corrected link and Thanks.


  3. What a comprehensive guide! I’ve been looking for a new pocket knife. I need one that stays sharp longer because I don’t have a whet stone to sharpen it. I always call my knife Stella and no matter what she will always have that name no matter the knife that I possess. Would you say that high carbon blades are better than stainless steel?

    • Hi Jos.

      High-Carbon blades are easier to sharpen but they stain more easily. This does not affect their cutting ability.

      Stainless Steel blades are a bit harder to keep sharp, but I prefer Stainless Steel for kitchen use.

      For outdoor use, either one is acceptable. Try one of each, and see how the blade reacts. At this price, you can see the difference in sharpening and blade coloring over time, at a very low cost to you.

      You can use this information later when you purchase more expensive knives.


  4. Hi Paul, thanks for the good writing. I often do outdoor activities (camping) with my friends. And at every event, we always carry the needed equipment, one of them a knife. However, the knives that we carry are often not sharp enough or lost in sharpness because they are exposed to water and air and to cut fish catch.

    Well, does this opinel knife survive? Are there any suggestions to protect it?

    I personally like the look and good shape.

    • Good Day, Asmadi.

      All blades get dull with use, especially when cutting fish bones. Having a small sharpening steel, and whetstone, are a necessity to keep your knives cutting properly.

      A dull knife is of no use to anyone. Learn to keep your knives sharp and if necessary use a lanyard when you are over water. Slimy fish hands drop their knives into the water easily. Be careful or your knife may slowly sink to the bottom of a murky lake, making it often almost impossible to find.


  5. Hey thank you for the awesome post! I loved reading about the history of the Opinel Knife.  I like how you can have your name engraved into them to make it more personal, and thus making these a good gift for someone!  With the custom wood, does it cost more?  If so, how much more for ebony?

    • I have never purchased a custom knife from Opinel myself, Jessie, and I have never seen one in the Canadian stores, where I see them all the time, in the Beech Wood version.

      My link to their website will provide that information. 

      I’m sure that this would increase the cost, but I can’t see it being that much more, since the amount of Ebony wood used, is not be that much.


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