Opinel No. 8 "picnic" knife, my favorite pocket knife


My dad has one of these knives. I always thought the twist-lock was a neat design. He got it before I was in high school, and I’m sure he still uses it, and my son’s in high school.

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Opinels are terrificly modifiable. They consist of five parts that are easily separated so you can force patina the carbon steel blade (if you have a carbone) and reshape and treat the handle to your liking. Soaking the handle in tung or linseed oil can protect the wood from the expansion that irks so many opinel owners. A little water on an untreated handle can sometimes cause them to sieze up in the open or closed position rendering them useless or dangerous. If you google “opinel mods” you’ll be amazed at what some people do with them.


Yep - they’re great. The locking mechanism is brilliantly simple and very strong - once they’re locked in, the blade isn’t going anywhere. Yes on the tung oil (If I could apply tung oil to every wooden object I own, I would).

A mate of mine bought a box of 8 or 12 as a set of matched steak knives - they make a very cool looking table setting, that’s for sure.

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Here are some artists who make some amazing knives out of them. Maybe not functional, but some of them are beautiful. Opinel sells knives with over-sized wood handles for this purpose.

I have been contemplating doing this. A set of twelve, all modified differently would be pretty cool.
Opinel makes non-folders, kitchen knives and steak knives already, but I like this idea much better than a premade set of opinel steak knives.

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Do it. As a plus, they’re so sharp, no-one can tell if you’ve done a bad job of cooking the steak. (Though I have the sneaking suspicion that anyone with a set of Opinels as steak knives knows their way around meat+fire).

If you were to search my closet you would find an Opinel No. 8 pocket knife in each and every outdoor coat.

That, and some lint. Nothing else.


As a UK citizen, I too used to have one of these fantastic lock knives and used it frequently. As a teenager, I used to carry a knife like this (purely for innocent purposes. It was very useful when hiking or camping.

In more recent times, the laws in the UK have become more and more draconian over carrying even the smallest of knives (like a small Swiss army folding penknife). As somebody who works with embedded systems, having a small knife is very useful if not essential. Just recently, I went abroad to Spain and had the penknife in question in my flight case (as I have done many times before). Airport security spotted this knife (of which the longest blade is about 1.5") and confiscated it stating that it is now illegal to carry ANY knives of any description even in suitcases.

What if you were a chef or out on a hike? I know that stabbings have been a problem in the UK and USA but once in Spain I would not have had any problems in purchasing a 6"+ kitchen knife which could be used in a lethal fashion. Why not confiscate screwdrivers as well - they can be used to stab people - or bricks or rocks…?

Maybe this risk aversion in the UK is starting to get silly and go a bit too far.


Nah, the ruling class just wants to make sure that the precariat is thoroughly bereft of weapons.

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As Opinels are to locking blades, Mora’s are to the fixed blade.


Thank you for that hint! I had one and loved it, until the wooden handle got damp and swelled. Maybe I’ll replace it, and this time, soak the handle in mineral oil…

A good utility knife for those times when you need a knife that can be abused without destroying the knife.

I’m not a knife guy (certainly not a knife modding guy, although why should I be surprised?), but I saw the weird, rounded “kids” version in a tourist trap shop last year, and was totally taken with the wooden handle.

Thank gawd I didn’t buy it, as they had marked it up x3. Once I found out they had adult versions, at insanely low prices, I got one right away (olive wood). So simple, so handsome, and so obviously durable. Again, not a knife dude, but I really love a well-thought-out/well-made object.

(If there’s one thing I like better than an elegant object, it’s taking care of said object; I will look into the oiling tip, for sure.)

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Yeah I’m from the UK too. This whole lock down on knives started with a spate of stabbings in London, which politicians keen to be seen to be ‘doing something’ decided to deal with by enforcing countrywide bans on carrying any type of lock blade, which they see as the same as a fixed blade. It’s not illegal to buy or sell one, just carry one in public (so how you get it home is a problem). This was designed to go hand-in-hand with stop and search. Classically dealing with the symptom of a problem rather than the underlying cause. As a scout leader I’ve spoken to the heads of our local police force and the ‘without good reason’ part for carrying in public is open to interpretation by police officers. Even so I now don’t carry my tiny lock blade, instead carrying a legal, but ultimately larger, folding blade. When I was a scout myself, back in the 1980s, we all had sheath knives (fixed blades) hanging in full view on our belts. Now we have to collect the scouts’ knives prior to camp and put them in a box, then allow them to use them under supervision for individual tasks before they hand them back to us.

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The madness has spread to Australia too. I was in Melbourne a couple of years ago and the police decided to “crack down” on knife possession. What that meant was that they swarmed the commuter train stations (Flinders St and Southern Cross) and ticketed every businessman/woman who had a penknife or any other kind of blade in their pocket or briefcase. If the person was under 25 or not dressed in a suit they arrested them. Public safety ensured.

Police around the world seem to have lost track of any bigger picture and become obsessed with targets and meaningless goals. Increasingly in the US, UK, Australia, and NZ this means ignoring complex crime prevention and handing out tickets to middle class people who will pay them and not run away from or swing at the officer in question. Cops write lots of tickets, targets met, fines paid, “crimes” solved and everyone is happy except for those of us who wish the police would actually address real, complex, difficult tasks.

The knife obsession in the UK and Australia is weird (and seems to avoid cops actually going to poor areas and addressing real violent crime) as is the marijuana obsession in the US (cops tell people to turn out their pockets and then arrest them for “having weed in public view”).

I really don’t know where to start on fixing these fundamentally broken systems.


I still have my Morakniv that I got at age 10, now 41 years later. I’ve resharpened it a few times, and the thing is just as strong and useful as ever. It’s got a plain wood handle and a leather sheath. Now I think it’s going to be getting a French cousin!


Fantastic value for money, unfortunately I keep forgetting taking them out of my bag before going to the airport and have had about 4 of them confiscated over the past few years. My own fault, but still a shame.

I’ll stick with my Benchmade mini-griptilian - I only need the one, too, because it’s always in the pocket of my trousers and I make damn sure that when I change trousers I keep my knife with me.

Disclosure: former BMK employee.

I love my Opinel (number 8, too) but I’ve found the Douk-douk (another timeless cheap and robust French knife) to be perfect for hiking because it takes less room and it is still quite light (not as light as the Opinel, though).

The Opinel website also has interesting videos showing how their knives are made.

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