This is the classic French folding knife, in nearly continuous production for over 100 years and no less useful today than in 1890 when Opinel was founded. These high quality, lightweight and affordable knives are fine enough for precise work in the camp kitchen (or even as a paring knife prepping food at home) while being rugged enough for woodworking and carving tasks.
The carbon steel blade requires some care (see below) but is easier to sharpen and holds a finer edge than all but the most expensive stainless steels. The beech wood handle is very lightweight, tough and durable. Unlike plastic or metal knife handles, the factory shape and finish can be easily altered to fit your needs, style and preference. The blade can be locked in the open or closed positions via the simple rotating ring. Carbon steel does require some simple care, with the option of oiling after use or allowing the blade to develop a unique patina. Read on for notes on the care and feeding of your carbon steel blade.
Let's nerd out on carbon steel for a moment. A good carbon steel blade holds a keener edge, is easier to sharpen and is less expensive than stainless steels. However, they are susceptible to damaging corrosion (rust) if not properly cared for. Rusty spots will form quickly if the uncoated steel is left in prolonged contact with moisture. If you want to preserve the bright factory finish the best practice is to oil the blade after each use (olive oil works great and is food-safe) and you'll certainly want to oil the blade if the knife is to be stored for long periods between uses. Some folks favor forcing a patina on the blade by soaking in vinegar or other methods, but the food scientists at America's Test Kitchen found that this approach "gave the knife a matte, grippy finish that created undesirable drag in food and... the blade ended up rusting more easily." In our experience (and the Test Kitchen concurs) "the best way to develop a protective patina and avoid rust is to use your carbon-steel knife regularly, to wipe it dry continually during use, rinse and dry it thoroughly as soon as you’ve finished a cutting task." Over time it will develop a light, charcoal grey patina that will help prevent rust and only add to the unique beauty of your knife.
Buy one for yourself and one for a friend. Use it frequently, wipe it clean, sharpen when needed and enjoy!
Available in multiple sizes:
- No.6 blade length 2.87" (7.3cm)
- No.7 blade length 3.07" (7.8 cm)
- No.8 blade length 3.28" (8.3cm)
- No.9 blade length 3.5" (8.9cm)