Designed in 1890 by Joseph Opinel.
History: Opinel is a family run company that has manufactured wooden-handled knives since 1890 from Savoie, France. They sell around 15 million knives yearly.
Opinel knives are mostly made of finest grade Swedish Sandvik steel with a beechwood handle and famously float in water. In 1955 Marcel Opinel increased the safety of the larger knives in the range by inventing and patenting the Virobloc or twist lock safety collar mechanism that locks and prevent the knife’s blade from opening or closing inadvertently.
The curve of the original Opinel blade is a known as “Yataghan”. This blade is featured on the eleven models of the original product that are currently available.
The traditional Opinel is designed to be opened with two hands and there is a nail nick on the blade for this purpose. There is a traditional way of opening the knife known as “the coup du savoyard” which involves tapping the handle hard on a heel or table to release the blade which is then moved into place by the thumb.
My Opinel Knife: I have half a dozen of these knives in various sizes, I have them in the car, in picnic boxes and my tackle bag. They have been used to slice salami and baguette in France, rope in England and tortilla in Spain. They are beautifully made wonderfully versatile and a pleasure to use.
Your Opinel Knife – please share your experiences of using these fantastic little knives we’d love to hear from you.
Photo of a No 12 Opinel Knife from Opinel