Opinel - Just another cheap folder, or excellent enginnering?

Oct 20, 2003
Well, I've been playing around with an Opinel #7 I've had lying around. I sharpened it up, stropped the edge, and, to my amazement, the knife was incredibly sharp! Well, I chalk it up to the carbon steel and very thin, slighly convex edge. But, the knife is excellent for most tasks. While the handle isn't terribly great, I would go so far as to say it is actually comfortable. And the lock, while it's a little bit cumbersome, is fairly secure. And I find the blade to be better than some of my flat ground folders at whittling and cutting into dense material. So, my questions is...

Do you think of the opinel as a cheap, cutting-corners knife, or an excellently engineered, low-priced wonder?
Opinels are inexpensive, but not cheap!

I've had to touch up the edges on mine when new. After that though, they work like a dream.
The Opinels I have used were all very good cutting tools; a minimalist design for sure, but well made.
They're excellent knives. "..a deal wrapped in a bargain" is a great way of saying it (and I'm gonna steal that phrase). Carried one on many of my hikes in Montana back in the dark ages, and it never let me down.
Like a Frost's of Sweden Mora knife. No BS, just pure functionality. Everyone should have one of each and at their prices there is no reason not to.
An added bonus is that the handles are easily reshaped to fit your hand any way you want, or even to be decoratively carved.

What I can't stand about them is that with humidity changes they can refuse to open/close easily.
That was my big problem with them too, then some kind folks here suggested trying petroleum jelly in the joint. Problem solved, and now I even use them as fruit knives.
Please take a look in the Knife Reviews & Testing section at:

Opinel #8



"..a deal wrapped in a bargain"
What a title for a forum :)
I'm a newbie and bought my first one because it was cheap carbon steel to ruin.
I bought my second having completely falen for them. For my simple needs the # 09 and my SAK have it covered. The design is beautifull the materials simple and the execution fantastic. It screams for your interaction, hell, they emote
The ones I've got are in Beach, fancy Oak and Olive next :)
BTW : I only have a cheap (<$5.00) watersone but got one shaving sharp last night for the first time :D Try'd using the unglazed base of a Le Cruset caserole dish, erm hard, fine ceramic, WOW! :eek: :eek:
opinel = awesome.
i have a #10. love it.
good blade steel, wooden handle, secure lock... sturdy s.o.b., and it was inexpensive, so if i destroy it (if it ever dies...) it's not a big loss.
They are NO GOOD! In fact, they are DANGEROUS.

They are HERESY!

Owning junk like this can lead to dangerous philosophical mind-traps.

One can discover that a knife WITHOUT "assisted opening" can still whittle a stick or open a box.

One can even find that a "two hand opening" knife will usually get one through a day without a back alley encounter with crazed Hell's Angels.

But...worse....MUCH WORSE.....is the possibility that even the knives one USED to carry are potentially still great performers if sharpened and oiled up a bit.

WHICH.....could DOOM many facets of our hobby.


Stuff like this could ruin the economy and give you tax problems from extra investment dollars.

Now if William Henry made a decent wood handled collar lock liquid metal minimalist utility cutting instrument......

:eek: :D
To put it simply, it is a very basic, utalitarian design that works. Opinel is one of the most overlooked wonders of the cutlery world.

Registered User Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 625

They are NO GOOD! In fact, they are DANGEROUS.

They are HERESY!

Owning junk like this can lead to dangerous philosophical mind-traps.

One can discover that a knife WITHOUT "assisted opening" can still whittle a stick or open a box.

I fear you are right Lavan :)
I bought one short while ago and am waiting for it to arrive (can;t get them in local stores). #8 stainless :)

I really wonder how those other cheapo-companies manage to stay afloat- the lieks of Frost Cutlery (fromthe US, not Sweden) or Maxam, their stuff probably costs the same as Opinel (or as you guys pointed out: Mora Forst) but there seems to be no comnparison - except that from a mile away both look shiny and pointy :D
With an Opinel and a sak you really don't need another knife.

Yes Lavin was right. Opinels are very dangerous. I've been carrying my Opinels more and more, to the point that I am neglecting my old Hen & Rooster stockman, my Old Timers, and my favorite old Boker barlow. The Opinel is very light weight, blade has a very reliable lock, takes a scary sharp edge, and cuts like the dickens. On top of that you can reshape the handles to suit you, sand it down and soak in linseed oil to water proof it.

A very dangerous knife.
I have 2 Opinels, one is carbon, the other SS, and I like them equally. People seem to prefer the carbon over the SS, but I am not sure why. In my experience, the SS seems to take and hold an edge as well. (Mind you I havn't done an objective comparison, it is more just a general feeling.) The knives are light, cheap, and great cutters. I wish some of my more expensive knives cut that well.


Just recently I did a side by side test with a carbon #7 and a stainless #7. I used corigated cardboard and there was hardly any diference in them that would be noticable in edc. After almost 100 cuts in the cardboard the carbon opy was doing a LITTLE better, but on a day to day use you won't know the difference unless you have a job cutting up cardboard all day.
Then you'd be using a stanley utility knife.