Opinel knives are being made since 1890, and this range of 12 peasants knives, numbered 1 through 12, is produced with the same design over the years. This review is about the Opinel No8 carbon pocket knife, priced at a very modest range and with a foldable 3.25-inch blade and a weight of around 2.4 ounces. When open, the knifes length is around 7.6 inches.
A lot of other folding knives with modern designs come with lots of moving parts, which increases the maintenance requirements and the risk of parts failure. The Opinel knife, on the other hand, is pretty much just a hinged carbon blade on one solid hardwood handle. The handle itself has a slot for the blade when folded, but that is it. The rounded handle fits into the hand, but it lacks any ergonomics whatsoever apart from a slightly curved hilt.
The folding mechanism itself is very unique for Opinel knives. The bolster has a collar with a slit that has to be twisted to meet the slit of the handle. Only when both slits are together can the blade be swung open. Once it is opened, the same collar can be twisted a little to block the path of the blade and lock it in an open position.
The simple folding mechanism and lack of parts makes the Opinel knife a rugged yet light everyday carry or EDC that can withstand repeated punishments and beating without any issues. The carbon blade is very strong and sturdy, and it is also really easy to maintain.
Unfortunately, the design of the handle makes is such that the dust and debris can get easily collected in the slot for the blade. This, in turn, can jam the knife, preventing the blade from opening or closing. You have to be really careful when using this knife and clean the blade slot on the handle regularly to ensure that this does not happen. The stainless steel collar can also get jammed, so can the blade if dust and debris block the blade channel and the hinge.
Unlike many other EDCs, you cannot take apart the Opinel carbon knife very easily. Rivets are used to attach the few parts together and are hidden behind the collar of the bolster. This does make the knife more durable and solid, but it also makes it difficult to clean the knife in case the blade or its few inner parts get jammed.
The Opinel No8 carbon pocket knife is a peasants knife, so it is meant to be all utility and no looks. Nevertheless, its design has pretty much become an icon on its own. The blade is really sharp and the knife itself is light, strong, and great for camping trips as long as you keep it debris-free. On the other hand, if you want a good-looking knife with more modern features, this may not be right for you.
Amazon has 85 reviews on it, with sixty-two 5-star reviews, fourteen 4-star reviews, and seven and two 3-star and 2-star reviews, respectively. As one reviewer puts it, it is a Great knife overall and well worth the money.