The Enduring Opinel May Be
The Best knife For The Price Ever!
Over the past few years we’ve featured some mighty pricey knives in this here cutlery column, but this ain’t one of them. In fact, the humble Opinel No. 8 folding knife is by far the least expensive knife we’ve ever reviewed—and if the $12.95 suggested retail of the No. 8 scares you, might we suggest a gently used flea market butter knife?
Frenchman Joseph Opinel began making knives in his Savoie shop in 1890. These affordable knives—given the moniker “peasant knives”—became quite popular, and by 1987 Opinel released a series of knives numbered 1 through 12. Over the years Opinel knives have remained pretty much unchanged. The company’s trademark Virobloc “twist lock” was added in 1955 and in 2000 it was modified to work in the open and closed positions.
The Opinel No. 8 is a study in simplicity. The handle is 4.40 inches in length, the blade 3.25 inches. With the blade locked it is a surprisingly sturdy knife and the flared-base handle is very comfortable. The blade is XC90 high carbon steel or you can upgrade to Sandvik 12C27M stainless. The streamlined No. 8 Slim features a tapered handle and sleeker blade profile. Other options include wood upgrades, plus a variety of sheaths are available.
Would I want to put a No. 8 through extreme hard use? No. This knife is not going to outperform a contemporary hi-tech folder. But that’s not the point. The Opinel is a highly competent knife for everyday use, and you can buy 10 for the price of a slick modern folder and stash them all over the place. This knife is a hyper-prepper’s redundancy dream come true! I bought the slightly smaller No. 7 to go with the No. 8—and now find myself salivating over a No. 8 Slim in Bubinga wood. Watch it folks, these knives are addictive!
By Pat Covert
Model No. 8
MAKER: Opinel USA
11 Freedom Way, Unit A2
Niantic, CT 06357
Blade steel: 1095 High carbon steel
Closed length: 4.40 inches
Blade length: 3.25-inch blade
Weight: 2 ounces
Handle: Beechwood (standard)
Carry: Leather sheath
extra, Price: $12.95