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About Opinel

Opinel has a rich history of making knives for workers, outdoor enthusiasts, cooking afficianoads, garden lovers, and more. Yet despite the brand’s storied past, unparalleled craftsmanship, and flawless performance, Opinel knives remain surprisingly affordable.

A Rich History of Innovation

Joseph Opinel was one of six children born to Daniel Opinel, the renowned edge-tool maker. By the time Joseph was 18, he had developed a dual fascination with his father’s edge-making business and machinery.
In 1890, he expressed his wish to combine edge-making with modern machinery. His father, a traditional craftsman, believed tools should be handcrafted. But Joseph was undeterred; he refined ...the model for a pocket knife and began producing them with machines. And just like that—Opinel was born.
By 1897, Joseph had released a series of knives bearing his namesake. These were named No. 01 through No. 12, each of which was identical but for its size. Check out Opinel’s guide to choosing the right size for your needs.
Opinel even came out with the No. 13 as a novelty for shop owners to exhibit in their window displays. With a total length of 50 cm (19.6”) when open, the No. 13 is considered one of the largest folding knives.

The Perfect Pocket Knife?

For over a century, Opinel has remained remarkably consistent. Besides the No.01 and the No.11—which have been phased out—the original lineup remains entirely intact.
In addition to these, Opinel has designed a host of new and innovative knives. This includes specialized models with self-explanatory names like the Trekking, Bushwacker, Corkscrew, and Oysters and Shellfish Knife.
Opinel offers two distinct blade materials, letting you choose between their traditional stainless steel and improved carbon steel. The latter produces a blade that can maintain its edge longer but will more quickly show wear-and-tear than its stainless counterpart.
The handles, too, come in a variety of woods such as beech, walnut, oak, olive, or a blend. You’ll also find an array of colour handles to suit your personality.
So, who are Opinel knives for? Maybe you’re seeking a camping or kitchen knife, a gardening tool, or a hunting/fishing blade. Maybe you’re looking for some thoughtful gifts. Or maybe you just want to own a piece of history. Either way, Opinel has something designed specially for you.

Opinel Today

The company has passionately remained in the Opinel family for four generations and counting. Today, they staff 150 employees and produce over 5 million knives annually. Their factory is still located in the picturesque Chambéry prefecture in Savoie, France—nestled against the rugged Alpine foothills.
Alongside the Rolex watch and Porsche 911, the Opinel knife ranks as one of the 100 best designed items according to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In fact, the knife has become so culturally ubiquitous that if you open a French dictionary you’ll find an entry for Opinel. This official induction happened in the 1989 edition of the Larousse dictionary, next to other idiosyncratic brands like Frigidaire and Bic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is special about Opinel knives?

Besides the sleek design and durable construction, Opinel stands out from the competition thanks to their twistlock mechanism. In 1955, this mechanism—known as the Opinel Virobloc—was invented by Joseph’s son, Marcel.
The feature allowed users to lock the open blade in place, improving both safety and versatility. Then, in 2000, the Virobloc received an elegant update which allowed the blade to be locked in either the closed or open position. The brand also sells a variety of complementary accessories, such as sharpening stones, cutting boards, sheaths, and more.

Which is the best Opinel?

While the answer depends on your personal needs and preferences, there is something to be said about the classic No. 08. With its 8.3 cm (3.3”) blade, the No. 08 is arguably the most versatile tool in the Opinel toolbox—especially with the carbon steel blade.
As an interesting side note, the No. 08 is also the very first Opinel knife that Joseph designed for his original product line. Shop your Opinel Canada No. 08 knife today.

Which Opinel did Picasso use?

Pablo Picasso was known for many things: He was an artistic pioneer; a fierce opponent of authoritarianism; and a lover of Opinel knives.
Because he spent most of his life in France, it’s little wonder that Picasso stumbled upon these pocket-sized marvels. He was particularly fond of the No. 05, which was perfect for performing small everyday tasks, as well as sculpting figurines. For Picasso, the No. 05 was a perfect combination of functional tool and artistic expression.

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