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In praise of my sharpest blade: the Opinel N°7!

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by duncanmclawd, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. duncanmclawd


    Dec 3, 2003
    I cleaned and lubed my Opinel N°7 before heading to work this morning. With an extra ten minutes of spare time on my hands, I decided to touch up the blade on my sharpening stone. It only took me a couple of strokes on each side of the blade before a shiny new edge appeared. I quickly tested the knife by slicing a piece of cigarette paper. My knife now is super sharp!

    As an engineer, I admire the Opinel design!
    I think that the combination of the old fashioned carbon steel, the thin blade stock and the superb convex blade grind add to its exceptional cutting ability. When it comes down to efficiently separating matter, I am yet to find a knife that cuts better then my Opinel!
    The wooden handle and locking collar system are not high-tech, but the handle is robust and comfortable to hold, and the locking collar system is reliable.

    These humble Opinel knives are truly a time tested design. They have been around for more then 100 years already! We can hardly imagine how many French farmers and shepherds have used these same knives.

    I feel that the humble French Opinel knife deserves a moment in the sun today. That is why I started this thread. If you happen to have an Opinel lying around, sharpen it up and carry it for a couple of days. I am sure it will serve you well!
  2. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Agree! These things cut like a razor.

    What was interesting to me, was the recent advancement in design that allowed the knife to lock closed as well as open. Goes to show that there's always room for improvement, even after after a hundred years.
  3. quattromori


    May 7, 2011
    As I told recently on another thread, the first pocket knife I was able to put a good edge on has been my Opinel 7 in carbon steel.
    Opinels are not humble...they're just very good knives for the tasks they're supposed to do: slicing. The fact that they're cheap, or that someone doesn't like their look, does not change their value.
    Recently I decided to cut down my "collection" of pocket knives (apart from the blades that I use in the outdoors) and establish the "rule of 5" (quoting another forum member), meaning I will only keep 5 folders.
    Needless to say, my Opinel 7 is one of those 5...so that should be enough to tell what I think of it.
  4. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    I have to agree!

    There's nothing quite like an Opinel fresh off the stone. Out and out slicing machine. Not to mention the classic ageless design. Aside from my Old Wenger SI, an Opinel was one of the knives I kept when I downsized again. Even though I love my peanut, I'll slip an Opinel in the pocket sometimes if I'm going camping or over Karen's sisters place. I love Di, but she doesn't believe in sharp kitchen knives, so I like to have a very sharp knife when I help out in her kitchen.
  5. jacktrades_nbk


    Feb 7, 2007
    I have a small No2 on my work keys, gets used all the time for hard jobs like cutting zip ties, an 8 that lives in the kitchen, and a few more in my drawer with knives, a 9 and another fileworked 8. All of those are carbon steel. They are great cutters indeed.
  6. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    Cut down your collection to only five? I couldn't even trim my Opinel count to five. :D


  7. ChapmanPreferred


    Oct 7, 2006
    I will carry my No. 6 carbone steel until the next Krein passaround arrives.
  8. wolf-man-12


    Dec 24, 2007
    I have a #6 ~~ but I wanted to know what the top left # was as it looks like it would be a nice slicer for larger things in food prep.?*
    Thanks. JAG (email me if you would please as sometimes these sites get away from me.*)
  9. quattromori


    May 7, 2011
    Yes, that's the way I chose to go...cause even if I'd like to have all ur Opinels (the box in ur pic always caught my eye), still I know Iwould end up carrying only one daily, and the 7 seems to be the best size for me. Also, Opinels have another strong point: they're nice and classic but still they mostly pass unobserved, at least here...most people have no idea of the slicing power of a sharp Opinel...
  10. black mamba

    black mamba Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 21, 2009
    I don't carry one, but I keep my Opinel Carbone #9 in a drawer in the front room, and it's the first one I reach for to open packages.
    It just glides through cardboard and packing tape, with it's long, slender blade.
  11. tomsch

    tomsch Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 31, 2004
    I have some custom kitchen knives but my best slicer is an Opinel paring knife. Not carbon steel but it has a great profile that makes for a very good slicer.
  12. wagglebee


    Jun 6, 2009
    I had an Opinel (don't remember which one) about twenty years ago and lost it.

    This thread is really making me want to order the boxed sets of ten knives with one set in carbon and the other in stainless.
  13. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    I've tried both the carbon and stainless, and have not notic ed much, if any difference between them. Anyone else note this?

  14. I've been working on sharpening & polishing these two, 'carbone' and stainless No. 08s. I'm REAL impressed with the stainless, every bit as sharp as the carbon blade (the stainless is actually a little sharper at the moment). No significant difference in the time needed to do each. I removed the little bit of microbevel from the factory, and sanded & thinned the edge down to a zero-bevel. Just finished polishing these with 1 micron diamond paste, on the strop block seen in the photo. Both are tree-topping hairs from my forearm easily.

    I really like these blades. :thumbup:

  15. I'll add one note to my previous post, regarding differences between the carbon & stainless on the Opinels:

    I've noticed when sharpening & stropping these knives, I had to be a little more careful to avoid rounding the edge on the carbon blade. The stainless seemed to be a little more resistant to slight wobbles in my angle, as I've noticed the edge on it hasn't seemed to round off as easily. Sandvik says this stainless can be heat-treated up to about 59 RC. If Opinel took advantage of that, it may be a tad harder than the carbon blade, IF the carbon is fairly typical of most production knives (mid-to-high 50s RC).

    I also noticed the 'obvious' difference in these, when eating some grapes the other night. For fun, I sliced grapes in half with each blade. Could 'taste' the difference immediately, on the grape sliced with the carbon blade. Saw a little bit of patina form on the blade, too, after about 10 minutes or so.
  16. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    You may be onto something there. I notice that the stainless is a little harder to sharpen than the carbon. Takes a few more minutes on the stone to razor sharpness.

  17. Time will tell. These two knives are about as close as I can make them, edge-wise, and they're both new. So, I'm hoping they'll be a good 'matched set' for comparison of the two steels. I'm very curious to see how each will continue to perform (edge holding & durability-wise), from here on out. As for pure slicing, they're both amazing.
  18. Blue Sky

    Blue Sky Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    Top left (the biggest one) is a no. 12. They are large but a good size for kitchen work.
  19. richstag


    Feb 22, 2007
    Those look great!
  20. Thanks! :thumbup:

    And yet, I'm still compulsively polishing them. Just a little more shine, just a little sharper. I'm almost there...I think... :D

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