Opinel No. 8 Inox
Credit: Blade Barrel Bezel

The Opinel Story

In 1890 in Savoie, France Josepth Opinel started making wooden-handled knives intended as a simple working man's knife. They became widely popular among local farmers, wine makers, and herdsmen in the area and a classic was born. A series of knives, sized 1 through 12, was developed in 1897, and Joseph Opinel build his first factory from 1901 to 1903.

The knives became popular among railroad workers, who eventually spread word throughout France. By the time World War II began, Opinel had sold as many as 20 million knives.

The iconic Viroblock locking ring was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, and allows the blade to be locked closed or locked open. This useful feature adds both to the function and design of the knife.

Beautiful Design

Since then Opinel folding knives have become renowned all over the world for their elegant simplicity and reliability. They have become a symbol of French culture and a timeless part of French society. Pablo Picasso even carved his sculptures using an Opinel knife.

Opinel knives have been repeatedly recognized for their design. They were selected as one of the 999 classic designs in Phaidon Design Classics and have been exhibited in New York's Museum of Modern Art as a design masterpiece. In 1985 they were featured in a display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London celebrating the "100 most beautiful products in the world" alongside products like the Porsche 911 sports car and the Rolex watch.

Opinel No8 Carbon Pocket Knife
Amazon Price: $13.95 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 9, 2016)

Affordable & Practical

Despite being displayed beside $20,000 Swiss watches and high-powered German sports cars, the real beauty of the Opinel knife is its affordability: an Opinel knife can be purchased for less than $15. At a price like that there is no reason to be afraid to use your Opinel for its intended purpose.

The currently numbered sizes are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13. The No. 1 had a tiny 2 cm blade, and was discontinued in 1932, and the No. 11 was discontinued since it was considered too similar to Opinels Nos. 10 and 12. The No. 13 was recently added as a novelty item, and has a giant 22 cm (8.67 inch) blade. The No. 8 is one of the most popular sizes with a versatile 8.5 cm (3.35 inch) blade.

The classic version of the knife is made with a beechwood handle and has a carbon-steel blade, a stainless-steel blade is also available and has become highly popular. The carbon-steel blade sharpens beautifully, but requires proper oiling and cleaning to prevent corrosion of the blade. The stainless-steel blade offers durability while retaining good edge quality.

Premium handles are available in a variety of colors, hardwoods, and horn. Opinel also makes a variety of other types of knives including kitchen knives, table knives, and specialty knives.

The Perfect Companion

The combination of style, simplicity, function, and affordability make Opinel folding knives the perfect companion for every-day carry. It is sturdy enough for use around the home or garden, but is elegant enough to travel with you to social functions. Everyone should carry a pocketknife, and an Opinel is one of the best pocketknives to choose.