Opinel pocketknives – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Opinel1The pocketknives made by La Coutellerie OPINEL in France are a cut above the rest for less money than most. In other words, they are the very best clasp knives for use in the outdoors, and also for lot of other uses, including greenwood carving, that money can buy.

Better than knives many many times more expensive those little beauties from France are very high quality clasp knives ideally suited for many outdoor and other activities and you don't have to spend a fortune to own one, two or even more than that. My preference is and remains the carbon steel version over the stainless one any day.

I have found the the locks of the OPINEL, that patented locking ring, to be the safest lock of any pocketknife that I have so far encountered. It is a lock that is (almost) impossible to break. In fact, some years back I conducted the break test on them and all I succeeded in doing was to break the handle off just behind the lock; this was with the blade in a vice (shame on me, I know) and a long steel tube put over the end of the handle for leverage. The lock remained intact.

The OPINEL clasp knives have been manufactured for over 100 years by now in the French Savoy region by the Opinel family. Even though over the years the manufacturing process has been modernized and today is computerized to a great extend the design of the knife itself has changed little, if at all, over all those years with one exception, and that is the introduction in 1955 of the patented Virobloc rotating safety locking ring for the №’s 6 and upwards.

This is the locking mechanism which I have mentioned earlier and which is the safest lock of any pocketknife which I have so far encountered. It is extremely doubtful – Impossible even – to find a folding lock knife with a lock of the same superior quality for the same low price anywhere in the world.

In 1890 Joseph Opinel, a humble edged-tool maker from the Savoie region, created the OPINEL knife which, over time, has now become a knife against which others are judged throughout the world. This author certainly has been judging other knives against the OPINEL’s perfect lines and design for a great number of years already and has found most, if not indeed all others, wanting in one way or another.

Opinel2Today the OPINEL folding knife is classed among the world’s 100 most beautiful objects and is displayed in both the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The OPINEL folding knife is a most uncomplicated object and ideally suited for outdoor pursuits. It was originally made for the Savoy mountaineers and that most probably accounts for this.

I have been using Opinel № 6 and № 8 pocketknives ever since I was a child, and later in the military even, and also in my spoon and other treen carving activities and they have never let me down.

© 2016