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Thread: Share your French traditional/regional pocket knives

  1. #1
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    Share your French traditional/regional pocket knives


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    I have a great deal of love and respect for French cutlery. The early part of my life I was immersed in the culinary world, learned all aspects of classic French culinary technics, worked sixteen hour days learning as much as I could, it was the culture I was surrounded by, all my friends were cooks, chefs or friends from culinary school. My first memory of the Opinel was seeing Jacques Pépin hunting mushrooms behind my folks home. I had Imperials and a few other pocket knives growing up always had a Vic that I started to pair with first a Opinel #8 or a Laguiole. It was actually Laguiole that brought me to find GEC, I wanted a American made slipjoint that had a strong positive lockup like a Laguiole.

    There are many regional French knives


    Here is what I have
    Laguiole Rossignol


    I was told on this brand the 7 hash marks on the back of the blade represents the 7 days of the week.

    Laguiole En Aubrac




    The mark on the back of the blade on this brand is the signature of the cutler that made the knife from start to finish.

    Opinel, love these knives

    My first #8, and a stainless #8 I prefer the carbon ones


    My #9's my workhorse & gift from my wife

    #10 great camp knife


    Don't know much about this knife Pradel camp knife

    There is a lot of history and folklore associated with the Laguioles here is a link
    http://www.lafermedelamer.com/Laguio...f_laguiole.htm

    And this is a link to French regional knives with pics.
    http://www.couteaux-jfl.com/lames.htm

    Let's see some of your French knives.

  2. #2
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    Great thread, Stitch!

    My exposure is limited to Opinels. Funny thing... I grew up with US style campers (boy scout knifes) and Buck hunting knives. These are the knives of *my* culture.

    Later in life, I worked as a bike mechanic and this was back in a day when "French" meant "incompatible with any known standards". Working on French bikes while living in the US used be a recipe for cursing, mad customers and bikes left waiting for parts that never showed up.

    It is entirely appropriate that I got my first Opinel as part of a package deal when trading bike parts with another cyclist!!!

    I still prefer British and American bikes, still avoid French bike parts (Ok, I like Velox rim tape) but darn it all... the Opinel is my most commonly carried knife. By far.

    It is like the Swedish Svea 123 camp stove or the Rottefella 3 pin binding. The Opinel #8 is simply one of those things that works insanely well. You're right about the #10 is a great camp knife.


    Opinel #10 (drop point) & Opinel #8 by Pinnah, on Flickr

  3. #3
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    Pinnah, I also grew up with camp knives first Kamp-King then Ulster BSA, then Vic's, around 18 when I stared focusing on a career, it just seemed natural to find a French pocket knife. I love my Opi's but I love the craftsmanship of Laguioles, although ornate, extremely rugged and durable, I've used the Rossignal camping up in Maine for a week in the fall, never felt under knifed, I've had it for about 15 years and it is still rock solid. The En Aubrac is also about 15 years old I bought it for my father when I was traveling in France and Europe, he's not a knife guy & returned it to me about a year or so ago, if the pull on my GEC #54 Moose is a 9 or 10 the pull on the En Aubrac is a 15, I've been carrying it on and off to see if it will loosen up a little.

  4. #4
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    Other than the ubiquitous Opinel, Douk Douk and Laguiole knives which many of us have in our collections, my only other piece of interest that comes to mind is this multi-blade (circa 1920's-30's):







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  5. #5
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    My experience is limited to Opinels as well, but I fine the Laguioles all of you post most attractive! I may get around to one someday, and I'm thinking about modifying my #7. I couldn't do it to my #8 as it has just beautiful beech handles! I can't add any more to what has been said about these simple useful knives!

    I have managed to convex the #7 & 8 since this image was taken so the would all be the same!

  6. #6
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    Nice thread.

    I'm liking this L'Alpin



    Also a few Opinel Ebauche's....



    It's not in my paws yet but I'm quite excited about this one!



    I've liked the look of this knife made by Mongin but they're a lot more pricey and the steel is poor. 12C27 with this one, no brainer!

    Sam

  7. #7
    Yes, Chambriard's Thiers knives are very well put together indeed. I've got the Le Compagnon in Ebony, a big but slim knife around 4.1" great food prep picnic knife. I've also got the smaller Le Compact in Stag, again, excellent construction and finish, many handle choices too.

    In terms of Laguioles, the ones I have from Fontenille-Pataud are flawless in construction and these lock too. Forum member from Germany, Schmalhaus (Stefan) has posted some really excellent video reviews of French knives, very worthwhile viewing.

    Opinels are very varied actually, many different styles and some in Ebony or Bone too. I can't say i like those "If you only had one knife" threads, but for me, an Opinel would probably do all I need.

    I've got this knife by Le Sabot knives called Le Garonnais. It's all stainless construction (Sandvik 12C 27) with thick rounded Ebony handles. It looks rather like a Grandaddy Barlow having a longer bolster than most knives. Rather rough and approximatif in finish but sturdy, this knife has the kind of pull that makes GEC feel wimpish..no really and the snap WOULD sever your finger !! Good strong working knife for sure!

    The French seem to have more styles of knife and active makers and artisans than anybody else I can think of, knife shops/stores still exist in France unlike most other European places, tourist traps excepted.
    Last edited by willgoy; 11-13-2012 at 03:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by willgoy View Post
    Yes, Chambriard's Thiers knives are very well put together indeed. I've got the Le Compagnon in Ebony, a big but slim knife around 4.1" great food prep picnic knife. I've also got the smaller Le Compact in Stag, again, excellent construction and finish, many handle choices too.

    In terms of Laguioles, the ones I have from Fontenille-Pataud are flawless in construction and these lock too. Forum member from Germany, Schmalhaus (Stefan) has posted some really excellent video reviews of French knives, very worthwhile viewing.

    Opinels are very varied actually, many different styles and some in Ebony or Bone too. I can't say i like those "If you only had one knife" threads, but for me, an Opinel would probably do all I need.

    I've got this knife by Le Sabot knives called Le Garonnais. It's all stainless construction (Sandvik 12C 27) with thick rounded Ebony handles. It looks rather like a Grandaddy Barlow having a longer bolster than most knives. Rather rough and approximatif in finish but sturdy, this knife has the kind of pull that makes GEC feel wimpish..no really and the snap WOULD sever your finger !! Good strong working knife for sure!

    The French seem to have more styles of knife and active makers and artisans than anybody else I can think of, knife shops/stores still exist in France unlike most other European places, tourist traps excepted.
    Agreed.



    Can't believe I forgot this one, possibly my prettiest knife!

  9. #9
    Very fine!

    Juniper Wood??

    Thanks, Will

  10. #10
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    This is the only French knife I owned. Le Sabot France, Model "The Langres" also called "Namur" It's from Thiers area in France, manufactured by "Au Sabot" factory. Blade length 7.5 cm (2.95"), overall length 16.3 cm (6.4"),scales made of black celluloid.


    Mike

  11. #11
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    some *really* pretty knives in this thread so far.

    all i know of french cutlery is my opinel #7 but ive carried it almost constantly for several months. its a great knife.
    a douk douk is on my short list, might wind up with one at christmas. lol

  12. #12
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    Aside from a passel of Opinels, my only French knife is this Laguiole.



    When I posted that picture in a thread in General, a rep from Actiforge said it was one of theirs.

  13. #13
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    Shown this many times...1840,s to 50,s?...my oldest and most beautiful.............FES








  14. #14
    Never tire of seeing that antler, incredible workmanship!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by festerfromnzed View Post
    Shown this many times...1840,s to 50,s?...my oldest and most beautiful.............FES







    That's a jewel.
    Mike

  16. #16
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    I stumbled on Opinel when I was looking for a singled bladed, tough knife for my son right after he attained Eagle Scout. This arrived:



    I found the Buck 500 series Eagle knife around the same time and gave him that instead,and the Opinel has lived in my pack since then. I really liked it but I've found the No 8 works better in my back pocket and I wanted a front pocket knife so I recently bought a No6 in Bubinga. No pics yet but it's sweet.

    Awhile back on this forum Chambriard came up, and when I had the cash I bought a LeThiers Compact in Juniper, it's my favorite single blade pocket knife:



    I also searched a long time for a nice Laguiole and decided on a smaller Fontenille-Pataud lockback in curly birch, no pics yet but it's a beautiful knife. When I ordered it I grabbed a small Douk-Douk at the same time.

    That's the extent of my French knives. I've looked at more including some of the interesting one handed Thiers knives from Chambriard, and some Percival models too but that means more saving.

    I really gotta take more pics, especially of the Laguiole, even my wife likes that one

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by willgoy View Post
    Very fine!

    Juniper Wood??

    Thanks, Will
    Aye!

    It's a Juniper scaled 1515 by Manu Laplace.

  18. #18
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    Nice knives, I really like juniper scales, I wish more makers used them.

    Here's a cool Video
    http://youtu.be/zRY097WUG4o

  19. #19
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    I have two bigger Opinels, but this Coghlan #7 is the only one I've ever pocket-carried. It's slim, light, and capable. The only thing I don't like about Opinels is the way the lock will undo itself as I use the knife.
    The little one is my only Laguiole. I want a bigger one- I like the big blade in the little handle. Somebody sells a Laguiole kit on-line pretty reasonable.

    Any views on how to pronounce Laguiole?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrteened porch View Post
    ... The only thing I don't like about Opinels is the way the lock will undo itself as I use the knife.
    ...
    yeah? never had that happen to me. the lock ring on mine is pretty tight. is it on the coghlan or all of them? have you had it a long time?

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