Nature's Secret Larder - Opinel Knives - the best cheap knives around?


Bushcraft Blog

Opinel Knives - the best cheap knives around?
24th January 2009

Opinel Knives - the best cheap knives around?

Opinel knives are renowned for being very affordable knives. In fact, let's be honest, they are dirt cheap, so surely they will perform badly? In this review I will cover the Opinel No.7, but I have tried and tested just about every one on the market. There are lots, Click here.

As always the review will be jargon free so anyone reading will hopefully gain from it.

I first remember obtaining an Opinel knife from a market when I was about 14. It was pretty tarnished and quite rough around the edges, but even in this state I saw potential. I cleaned the blade, sharpened it up and still have it to this day. Several years later when I was about 20 I bought one for my Granddad. He kept this little knife on his kitchen table and took it out in the garden when he was caring for his veg patch and even had it in his pocket when he went for country walks. He was one of those old fashioned country men that always had a pocket knife with them, for sharpening pencils to cutting potatoes. He kept this knife until he died, and now I have it. The knife in question is the Opinel No.7.

Opinel knives are classic French knives which offer good old fashioned quality at a very affordable price. Created in 1890, this type of product was the origin of OPINEL. Most of them have twist locks and carbon steel blades which sharpen up to a razors edge. In fact the one my granddad had still has an edge that you could quite literally shave with, mind you to be fair all of his knives were like that, even butter knives!

  • Blade Length: 7cm
  • Carbon Steel
  • Beech Handle
  • Twist Lock

HANDLE - the No.7 has a varnished beech wood handle which feels comfortable to use, and although not really important, it looks good and much better than horrible synthetic materials often used today.

BLADE - as already stated the blade is made of high-carbon steel which is exceptionally easy to sharpen, and looks dull which im my opinion is what you want from a working tool. A shiny blade will scare off wildlife if out in the countryside, so I prefer this. The blades are strong enough for most jobs, but if you intend on using these knives for heavy tasks I may look elsewhere as they have quite thin blades. I have never had one break, but if I wanted strength over anything else, then look at the BUCK Ranger.

HANDLE 10/10
BLADE 10/10
PRICE 10/10

CONCLUSION - I honestly don't have a bad word to say about Opinel knives. Not even the price. This is a rare thing, there's often at least one point that any tools scores lower on, but for the majority of tasks an Opinel knife will see you good.

Get yours at Greenman Bushcraft


John Shooter on 12/04/15

I've had a No.6 for about twelve years and in the second year I left it with the blade open on a wall top when we lambing and forgot about it. I thought I had lost it but came across it completely by accident when repairing said wall 2years later !!!
It was a bit rusty and the 'ring-lock' mechanism seized up but i gave it some TLC, soaked it in some oily paraffin and cleaned up the blade - which hadn't lost it's edge - with fine 'wet&dry'.
I have it with me every day wouldn't trade it for gold and now I always make sure it goes straight in my pocket after use !!!!

Guy PC D on 01/02/14

I have had my opinel no.8 since 1976, same knife all the way, worn down a bit from lots of sharpening but still in service whilst others have come and gone. The carbon steel blade develops a lovely blue patina with a little oiling whilst the sharpened edge keeps a brigh sparkle. At home it gets sharpened on a japanese ceramic stone for the finest edge. A real Icon, bought in a tabac in nice.

dave on 10/01/13

being a merchant seaman most of my working life i have depended on a good blade and opinel have given me just that. i have a No 12 and just a few touches on a good steel brings back a perfect edge.

dave on 10/01/13

being a merchant seaman most of my working life i have depended on a good blade and opinel have given me just that. i have a No 12 and just a few touches on a good steel brings back a perfect edge.

Arthur oster on 11/03/12

I used one for many many years. To cut meat, cheese, bread, wood ... everything. It recently broke and my heart too. Now I am in Paris and the first thing to do on Monday is .... to buy two!

welshman on 03/05/11

I'm about to buy a no7 they sound really good and cheap as knives don't usually last long with me

Tago on 02/05/11

I bought my Opinel No 8 in Keswick in 1979, it has over the years developed a great patina on both the blade and handle. It is easy to sharpen, holds its edge very well and comfortable in the hand. A reliable and affordable tool for just about any occasion.

jb on 19/03/11

i bought a no7 in 1976 and still use it today,the ferrel dosnt lock up as good as it did but the blade still stays like a razor pretty good for a knife that cost me 2.

TinoBambino on 08/02/11

I have finally found the knife I was looking for, the Opinel No. 8. The perfect foraging knife. And I love that it is French.

Ray Y on 10/04/10

I have an opinal 8 carbon steel. Very good for EDC. I find the handles of these knives a bit too round so I sand two flats on the sides to get better oriantation when holding. Also I made a pocket clip for it and now the knife is perfect.

Dave on 08/04/10

Spent a LOT of cash looking for the perfect pocket knife. My No8 Opinel is it. No, it doesn't flick open with one hand, but it's light and ridiculously easy to bring to razor sharp with a Lansky kit. And the ingenious locking mechanism really does make it feel like a fixed blade. My seach for the perfect knife ended with an Opinel. Simple and timeless beats lastest and greatest every time. I'll be buying the whole boxed set in carbon in the near future.

John G on 01/02/10

Couldnt agree more,have carried a No6 for more than 20 years (not the same one I might add ,have lost or broken,or simply worn out several!) will continue to carry one in my pocket til they prise it out of my cold dead hand,ahem..I mean lets teach kids about the right use for tools,they arent weapons til you use them with violence! rant over opinel rocks,you simply can`t get better value in a knife.I`m a sparky and have converted most of the blokes in the yard to opinel.

George Sewart on 30/01/10

What more can I say. I have had my Opinel forn 10/15 years, never let me down. If you only have money for one knife, buy a Opinel No.7, and have a knife for life.

Andy Carby on 22/11/09

Again I had my no7 Opinel for at least 20 years. Its been well used outdoors and has travelled all over Europe and has never let me down 10/10

karl stockton on 15/09/09

can't be sure but i think i was about 7 or 8 when i got my first opinel 30 plus years and several knives later,currently a No10.i have to say they are the best value and quality (though not the strongest blade) that money can buy,easily and frighteningly sharpenable.also sanded and stained the knife looks much more pleasing,shame it's french but you can't have everything can you!.

RM on 08/08/09

Agree with you about Opinel knives. I got a present of a No 6 back in the 80's. At that time I lived in the country & had dogs & horses. I always carried it in my pocket & it was invaluable. After moving to civilisation but travelling a lot ,my Opinel travelled with me - french bread & pate? Cut & spread with my trusty No 6. With the advent of terrorism, it just travelled in my hold luggage. I suspect it will outlast me. I'm just about to use it to teach my little grandaughter about the safe use of knives.

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