Sunday, 2 September 2007

The Opinel – Another Kind Of French Whackin’

Earlier this week BoB (Brother of Bushwacker) passed by the house on his way down under. Amongst the other goodies he brought me were a twenty-year-old stash of Opinels from our childhood bushcraft adventures.

They really are fantastic knives. The design so simple, the edge so keen, the price so low!

The Carbon steel blade
A 20ยบ edge, holds an edge well, and as the scar on my index finger testifies, cuts into flesh and even bone very well.

The Lock
Simplicity itself, the collar twists to hold the blade open. Could there be a simpler way to lock a knife blade in place?

The Beech Handle
This classic of ergonomic design is probably why New York city’s
Museum of Modern Art have added one to their collection.

The Tapping (or whackin') Point - at the end of the blade/far right of the photo
One of the Opinel tricks that every user comes to know well is tapping the handle to open the knife. When the knife is new, or the air is moist, the handle grips the blade a little tighter and its necessary to give the handle a sharp tap on a hard surface to eject the blade. I just never knew it had a name. ‘Le coup du Savoyard’ is the official name the company gives it.

The Opinel Museum and its website

There are now quite a few ‘special purpose’ Opinels available.
My current favorite is this mushroom hunters knife.


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