Opinel is an old knife making company based in Savoie France. And they have been making these knives for a very very long time. It all started with a tool maker’s apprentice that came up with a simple and clever locking mechanism that they call the “Virobloc” which is a type of “Twist Lock” or as I remember it being called many years ago, a “Barrel Lock”.
The operation of the lock is Caveman Simple. Simply twist the outer ring to unlock the blade, open the blade, and then twist the outer ring more to lock the blade.
The blade lockup is good, considering the elegance of the simplicity. There are no spacers or exotic materials or liners… The handle is made of a simple solid piece of beechwood, that hold the blade secured with a steel collar and pin, and the outer ring makes the lock.
The blade is very thin, kinda sharp-ish, but it takes a good edge.
Overall the knife is less than two ounces in weight. It’s crazy light.
And overall the knife is cheap. This is a locking folder of a working knife that’s only $15 bucks. But it’s made well, and it’s not made in a Communist Factory in China.
Here’s the thing… I used to hate these knives. But now that I’ve owned it… I’ve pretty much not been without the damn thing. It’s so light… and it feels just lovely in the hand. I like it. It’s so blatantly UnTactical. Damn, if I don’t like it a lot.
Makes me want one or two more in the other sizes. This is the “8”, but I think I want a smaller version, the N.06, and maybe a larger, N.10. All within a dollar or two. I might even “Mod” one of them or so… I don’t know… But… I just dig these cheap little things. They are better than just a Tacklebox Knife, something dismissive like that. There’s a quality to these… something intangibly special about them.
If you don’t have one… You should get one.