Cheapest Folding Knives?

Photo of an Opinel No. 8 Carbon folding knifeOpinel classic French folding knives and garden tools combine the natural beauty and lightness of wood, carbon steel blades, and prices that may surprise you.

Invented in 1890, these traditional wooden French folding knives and garden tools offer a beauty, lightness, economy, and simple safety design not found in Swiss Army knives.

In 1985 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London selected the Opinel for an exhibit celebrating the “100 most beautiful products in the world,” featuring the Opinel alongside the Porsche 911 sports car and the Rolex watch.  

The Opinel has been exhibited by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art as a design masterpiece.

What if I told you that you can buy one of these museum-grade pocketknife designs for less than $10?  I discovered the Opinel when a customer of Blogs News Reviews bought one.  I was so impressed that I set up the Amazon “store” below.

Gorgeous beech, oak, olive wood, and walnut handles, the Opinel locking ring for safety, and the simple flowing lines of the Opinel designs preserve a proud tradition of the working French “peasant” knife.  

Opinel has kept the “peasant” pricetag, too.  Modest enough to buy a couple and give one to a friend.

Suitable for dining, picnics, light-weight carrying, camping, fishing, pruning and sawing, Opinel knives and tools look “old fashioned” and feel good in your hand.  

When you hold a simple Opinel you carry a hundred years of French tradition.

The sample selection below includes favorite Opinels at prices low enough to purchase several different models.  Gardner?  Consider the set of three classic Opinel gardening tools.  How about an entire set of 10 Opinels in a wooden collectors box?  

Make sure to read customer reviews of the Opinel and the simple pleasures of owning and caring for simple folding knives that French farmers and picnic goers have employed and enjoyed for more than a century.  

Be aware that some of the favorite Opinel knives are made with carbon steel, which is superior for taking an edge but is not stainless.  Even when kept oiled, the blade will develop the distinctive patina or mottled staining that distinguishes all fine carbon steel.  

Most models are available in stainless steel, too.  It’s a personal choice.

History:  The Opinel knife was invented by Joseph Opinel in 1890 in Savoie as a simple working man’s or peasant’s knife.  It proved popular with the local farmers, herdsmen, and paysans-vignerons (peasant winemakers) of the area.  In 1897, a series of twelve sizes, numbered 1 to 12, was developed.  

How the Virobloc or safety twistlock mechanism works.  A simple metal band at the base of the blade twists to prevent the blade from closing.

The Opinel Virobloc or safety twistlock mechanism was invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, greatly increasing the safety and versatility of the knife by allowing the blade to be locked in the open position. VIDEO of a #8 Opinel with additional history.

In 2000, the Virobloc locking mechanism was improved to allow locking the blade in either the open or closed position. The company, still run by the Opinel family, sells about 15 million knives annually.

The beloved Opinel pocket knife has a loyal following, who engrave them, modify the handles, and collect Opinels (click here for photos).  The question for these guys is not whether to get an Opinel, it’s how many Opinel knives and tools to collect! 

Had you heard of Opinel French folding knives?  (I hadn’t.)

What’s your favorite model?  Would you consider a carbon steel pocketknife that can rust if not oiled?  Tip: For use as a dining or picnic knife, use olive oil. 

More Opinels

Photo credit for Virobloc safety twistlock:  Wikipedia

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