Has Opinel messed up ???

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by jackknife, May 8, 2017.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    I got my first O[pinel in 1982, and I've had what I admit to having a love/hate relationship with these knives ever since. I love how they slice and dice, and love how light they are for their size. I admit to being somewhat annoyed at times at how they are a needy knife with a fair amount of finagling and tinkering needed. I've had a dozen of them in various sizes, and gifted them off to people who needed a good knife, as I have gifted off dozens of Victorinox classics. I always keep an Opinel in the kitchen drawer for when I need a really really sharp knife, as well as one in the workshop out back.

    But…and I mean BUT in caps, I think I may be over them. It looks like they have changed/tweeked the design that didn't need any tweaking, and not for the better. They added a divot to the locking ring that lines up to a stamped/milled groove in the inner bolster that severely limits the travel of the outer locking ring. This means that the old trick of filing the top edge of the locking ring so it turns further around for a more secure lock, is negated. Done. Now impossible unless you now file down the protruding nub on the locking ring.

    What Opinel has done is actually sabotaging the lock, making slippage of the locking ring a real problem. I can only wonder why in Hades Opinel would weaken the design of the locking ring with this nub in a groove that limits how far the locking ring can be turned. Of course, some work with a half round file can eliminate it, but WHY?
    Pomsbz likes this.
  2. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Maybe older Opinels will start to go for a premium? Isn't there another French company who makes a knife that is almost identical to Opinel? Does this trick work with their knives? I forget the name. The company might not be French too.

    But there is a company that makes knives that are almost like Opinels but they have a little bulb at the butt of the knife. Not the Cold Steel ones.
  3. donn

    donn Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 14, 2002
    Sounds like Nontron?. Nice knives but a bit more expensive and harder to find than Opinel.

    As to why Opinel have changed the design, I think Jackknife it's due to the disease in western society called
    'can't leave well alone'.
    The bizarre need of designers to take the age old design of any mechanical device that has been around for decades and completely screw it up until it doesn't work anymore. It's not just knives of course, you see this with motor vehicles, power tools, home appliances, entertainment equipment, computer O.S's.....
    I've a mate who works with CAD in commercial building design. He said once it's so designers can justify their existence, because at the end of day, for all devices that have been invented there are only X number of permutations of that device.
    Getting older, neal70 and Cambertree like this.
  4. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Try an Antonini Old Bear. The medium is about the same size as an Opinel 8. The handle is slightly flattened. The lock ring rides inside the bolster, actuated by a tab that protrudes through a slot in the bolster, handy to your thumb to lock or unlock, open or closed. The travel is limited, but since the edges are square to the tang, more travel would not get you a tighter lockup.

    Costs more than an Opinel, but still under $20, even with special grade from Baryonyx.

    P.S. The Opinel 6 I received recently does not have the divot, which strikes me in any case as the answer to a question nobody has asked, but I am not sure I would consider it a deal breaker. It seems a lot less annoying than an ignition interlock on a bike or a dead man's engine brake on a lawn mower, yet I keep on buying those.

    P.P.S. The Nontrons I just looked up are more expensive by an order of magnitude.
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  5. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Yes I was thinking of Nontron. Thank you! There are Mam knives too.

    I can definitely see how companies get someone new in them who feels they have to male their mark. Next thing you know they are making changes for the worse just for the sake of it.
  6. thegeneftw


    Dec 30, 2016
    I have one of the newer Opinel's with this divot that I keep in my toolbox. It sees quite a bit of use out in the garage and working on my vehicles, but I've never had a problem with the locking mechanism slipping. Of course, it may be an over time thing and I just haven't put enough miles on it yet. I'll have to keep a close eye on it to see if it ever slips.
    vba likes this.
  7. Jolipapa

    Jolipapa Basic Member Basic Member

    Jun 4, 2015
    Look for André Verdier or Nontron.


  8. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    I wonder if way back in 1955 folks were upset when Opinel first started putting a lock ring on the knives?
    The nub might be something the legal department claimed was "needed".
    At least you can still pop the lock off and go lockless, if you want?
    willc and jackknife like this.
  9. lonestar1979


    Mar 2, 2014
    nontron knives are nice but too expensive for what they are.I never had problem with newer Opinels with lock slipping,they're good knives but they should make the handle out of something else so it doesn't swell when wet.
  10. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    This is very true!!!

    For me, I don't really care, as I use my Opinel at least 95% of the time as a strait up friction folder. But most others are thinking that the lock on it is really a lock. My neighbor after seeking my Opy went down to the REI and bought himself a new nuber 8. With the stupid nub, the lock ring won't move past the very top of the slanted part of the top edge of the locking ring, and in use, any push on the point can one it down the edge to unlock. Not good. In some cases of a bit of sloppy fit, the locking ring is hardly functional as a bale lock anymore. On my neighbor Morris's knife, the locking ring moves under any pressure to unlock. An accident waiting to happen with someone who thinks they are using a locked blade. I filed down his nub and the top edge so his locking ring now moves past 90 degrees for a secure lock.

    What Opinel has done is, make a knife that you get home and have to file and modify their so called improvement. Or take off the locking ring and snug up the pivot and use it like the friction folder it was designed to be in the beginning!

    This is like someone trying to improve John Browning's 1911 design!
    neal70 and afishhunter like this.
  11. lonestar1979


    Mar 2, 2014
    Jackknife,youre wright,the lock is ok,but is not 100% safe to use,you should treat it like friction folder.The only thing I like with opinels is their blade ,how it performs and price.They should offer other choices with different handles and maybe different locks,lockback or linerlock maybe.Id buy those ones.They are superb for food cutting,and thats about only thing I use them for:),I edc Case peanut now,no probl to use it in public and its big enough for what I need.
  12. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    I'm confused, my Opinel 6 ring turns some 4mm past the blade when locking. It's rock solid and you would have to try very hard indeed to get it to close on you. I can't see any nub under the ring, just the sticking out pin of the pivot on both sides. I bought it some 2 years ago I think.

    Is this what you're talking about or is this the old style still?
  13. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    Has anyone figured out what the intended purpose is? I've got a few modded Opi's but I quickly bought a #6 and a #8 when I heard about this to get the old design.
    billsch8 likes this.
  14. Doc4570


    Jan 18, 1999
    Imagine the ego of someone who, after 100+ years says,
    "I've finally figured out what's wrong with this thing."
  15. rishma


    Jun 22, 2008
    Can someone post a pic of the old and new lock ring version? I'm not sure I understand.
    Pomsbz and tmd_87 like this.
  16. NJBillK

    NJBillK Custom Leather and Fixed Blade modifications.

    Mar 27, 2014
    Could it be possible that over turning of the lockring could prematurely wear the ring since it is less hard than the blade, or cause undo stress of the handle since the knife may be pushed to further abuses than was initially intended (due to the modified locking via filing), or other variable or issue that they could have been seeing over a thousand+ lifetimes worth in knives sold and issues that one person (the OP) hasn't experienced?

    One persons experiences and opinions aren't indicative of anything aside from an infinitesimally small percentage of knives experienced (just going by the lifespan of Opinel).
    Unfortunately to say that something was "better" is a remark based in ego, since it states that your opinion is held in higher regard than the company can't figure anything better to do than spend Ridiculous amounts in R&D to solve an issue that "doesn't exist" (my words for lack of a better term).

    I have no idea what their warranty dept. has seen over the years, and I would love to know some of the more peculiar stories and claims they have had sent in.
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  17. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I've heard responses from two people in this thread who actually have the new knives. And they aren't having any problems.

    I'd be interested in hearing from someone who has one of the new knives and is having a problem with it.

    The lock wasn't part of the original design. It was added much later in 1955.
    neal70, afishhunter and Phixt like this.
  18. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I have edited the title. The original was a bit coarse for polite company.
  19. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    You have the old style. :)

    Another thought just crossed what is left of my mind.
    The original ring lock design only "locked" the blade in the open position. Wasn't it in 2005 or so that they added the notch to "lock" the blade in the closed position?
    Pomsbz likes this.
  20. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    Good point. Happened in the 90's according to the Opinel web site.

    In 1955, Marcel Opinel, wanting to improve the safety of the knife, invented the Virobloc® system. He added a rotating lock which slides on the shell ring, closing the groove and therefore locking the blade in its open position. This is a simple idea but with a complex implementation.
    In the 90s, the Virobloc® system was modified to allow the blade to be locked in its closed position. At first, it was only used on a few references, but by the year 2000, it was added to every Opinel knife.


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