French Opinel pocket knives, inexpensive, lightweight, and made from superb steel, are the standard knife of French farmers, hikers, foragers and cyclo-tourists. In fact, almost everyone who spends time in the countryside seems to have one. They've been made since 1890 in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne in the Rhône-Alpes.
We love the simple rotating ring that locks the blade either open or closed, eliminating the need for a spring. The handle is beech, a light but tough wood. This makes Opinel knives great for cyclists and hikers.
They are available with either carbon steel or stainless steel blades and in a number of sizes. The #8 (8.5cm blade) is considered the standard and most versatile size. Like most traditionalists, I prefer the #8 carbon blade version. The carbon blade can rust if not wiped after use, but it develops a beautiful patina. The carbon blade is also easier to sharpen and takes a better edge - experts compare it to blades costing 10-times more.
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Opinel No.8 Carbone Knife
This is a really Knice Knife.
It's about what I expected, simple and elegant. The round handle makes it a bit too bulky to use as an every day pocket knife. I think I might prefer a smaller version.
I'm awash with pocket knives, especially the "gadget" type swiss army knives
and various multi tools. This is something else. There is something satisfying about the simplicity of a tool designed to do one thing, CUT, and it does that well. It's easily the sharpest knife I own, right out of the box. I use it nearly everyday and at most it needs the lightest touch to get it razor sharp again.. A keeper!