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Opinel, new ring, with problems, so better buy a few of the old ones, if you can still find them.

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by jacktrades_nbk, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    Dave, I can answer that question.

    Some years ago my better half and I knew a young lady that was the manager of a Chesapeake Knife And Tool store in a mall. Joanne, Jo for short. One evening over a few cocktails we were talking about that subject and her customer categories. The had many brands of knives in the stores to include Spyderco, Benchmade, Camillus, Schrade, (still in business in the U.S. at that time, Buck, Victorinox, Opinel, Al Mar, Ontario, Matini, Helle, Gerber, Case, and others.

    Jo said after a while she got so that she could classify the customers right off in 30 seconds. The young guys that were knife nuts went right to the case with the one handers in it like the Spydercos and Benchmades. The old guys went to the Buck and Case displays. The people who didn't know much if anything about knives, just browsed until they saw the display with the red handles and silver crosses and exclaimed "Oh look, Swiss Army knives!" and usually bought something from that display. Or someone would walk in and browse, and when asked if they cold be helped they'd reply they were looking for something small to keep in a pocket. After being shown small Al Mar's, little Spydero models, they'd see the SAK stand and buy a small SAK, again with that comment "Oh, Swiss Army knives." Jo even played with the stand up rotating SAK display by moving it all the way to the farthest counter from the door, but the non knife nuts would just kind of browse aimlessly until they saw the Victorinox display. It was like they didn't really know what they were looking for, but when they saw the SAK display something clicked in their head. She said for every Spyderco or other higher end production knife out the door, at least three to four SAK's went out the door. They moved more SAK's than any other three brands of knife.

    By comparison the Opinel's were a low volume sales item. I was one of her biggest repeat sales. I'd buy one and sand and stain and modify to gift it off to a non knife person. Then I'd start over with another new Opinel. That and SAK classics. Now I gift off Victorinox recruits or classic's depending on the person.

    This all from a manager of a knife shop.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
    J D Wijbenga, Bartleby and sitflyer like this.
  2. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    This is EXACTLY the problem I see in it; it's a future accident waiting to happen that will involve stitches. I always filed the ramp so the ring cold be rotated noticeably farther around for lock security. Now it's getting to much to tinker with to make the knife safe for a non knife newby.
    GABaus, Bartleby and zolthar like this.
  3. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    Now I am really curious. After all this discussion, I need to find out how difficult it really is to modify the lock ring. I don’t expect to have any more luck than you did with a hammer and punch. And I am pretty sure my little riffler files are just going to skip over that hard steel.

    I have ordered. No. 7 to serve as a test mule. A Dremel should do the trick, at least I hope so. That would leave the project at what I would consider a reasonable level of involvement for the casual home hobbyist.

    If not, I am prepared to turn the whole plot over to my son’s friend, whom I would describe as an amateur machinist/advanced tinkerer. He will welcome the project as a diversion from turning up custom brass one-hitters for his buddies.
    willc, zolthar and sitflyer like this.
  4. zolthar

    zolthar Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 9, 2015
    Hmm interresting, mine lock a fair distance before the end of the ramp, but I'm not sure how far the indent lets it ride.
    Could there be variance between models? I can't believe there is much between knives in the same size. Or maybe this problem is addressed in more recent runs like mine (wishful thinking?)? I'm tempted to remove the collar to see how far it can travel.

    I know your experiences are genuine and I can understand they don't incorporate tolerances for tinkerers (which is infortunate), but I can't believe Opinel would produce knives that are unsave off the bat. This really puzzles me o_O

    Oooh, when I was playing a bit with the lock on my no 8, I noticed an advantage of the new lock :eek::eek::p With the old lock I sometimes turn the collar a smidgen too far when unlockingen in order to close the knife resulting in a knife that doesn't want to close while you expect it to. I also noticed the collar seems to have some patina :cool: I though it would have to be much older for that, it's about 17 years old.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
    Camillus likes this.
  5. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    I've been thinking about this ... It seems strange that Opinel would make this change without testing the new design.
    It is unfathomable to me that Opinel or any other cutlery company would intentionally put out an unsafe product, considering the liability issues.
    Personally, I can't see how this new lock ring is any cheaper to make; if anything, it would cost more since they have to cut that guide in the bolster now and put the divot in the lock ring. Two additional steps they did not have before.

    I am not condoning the change. Like I said, this change created a problem where there was no problem.
    "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
    Now they have something to fix.
    The question is: Will They?
    GABaus likes this.
  6. Bartleby


    Oct 28, 2005
    This is no longer possible with the current version, which limits the amount the ring can be twisted to support the blade. Earlier versions allowed the user to simply turn the ring a bit farther, compensating for wear over time without any modification.
  7. Gurdygurds

    Gurdygurds Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 10, 2013
    So, if we are looking to grab an Opinel, look for one that has both sides of the lock collar ramped? Is that the sign of the older safer design?
  8. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    Oh I can see how they would do jus that, without testing or a lot of thought. This whole thing carries the unmistakable aroma of the legal department. Someone, somehow, in some way, cut themselves with an Opinel and sued. Opinel took steps to idiot proof a tool that was already simple and thus over thinking the whole thing.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
    sitflyer, Henry Beige and JohnDF like this.
  9. afishhunter


    Oct 21, 2014
    "You can't fix Stupid"
    But that don't mean you should join them just to "fit in".
    JohnDF likes this.
  10. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015

    The verdict is in. It is really not difficult to make the Virobloc operate as it should.

    At about 11:00am, I walked out to the street to find a NIB No.7 Carbone in the mail. By 12:15 I was finished, with the new knife operating as “normal”.

    First off, I began with a knife that seems to operate as the manufacturer intended, locking up solid in the closed and open positions. I tried crimping the offending tongue with a needle-nosed vise grip. I was able to squash it down a bit, but coild not come close to crimping it flush with the inner surface of the ring. Using a 3/8” stone on the Dremel, it took me no more than three minutes to grind it flush.

    Grinding a new locking ramp took less than ten minutes, starting with a sharp file,using the Dremel to take off metal more quickly, finishing with the file and deburring with a bench scraper.

    The whole process, including hunting up the tools, consumed three quarters of an hour. With everything at hand, maybe fifteen minutes.

    Snap ring plier. With it, removing the collar is a snap. Without it, you are likely either to gouge yourself with a small screwdriver, or to launch the collar into the ether, converting your Opinel into a true friction folder as originally designed.

    Needle-nose vise grips, for holding the piece while you work on it.

    Dremel and attachments.

    Half-round bastard file, fine. If it is not sharp, don’t waste your time with it.

    Machinist’s bench scraper. Optional; otherwise you are free to wreck one of your knives to debur.

    In conclusion, I see no reason not to buy the new Opinel, despite my original scepticism. My example worked just fine as is. If your collar has a dodgy fit, or if you prefer being able to lock it the way you are used to doing, it is not that big a deal to make the modification

    EE43DC31-0E90-4848-A529-A2F7153A6786.jpeg 18E14CD2-B142-4588-AB6C-76309E7F4D5E.jpeg
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
    lonestar1979, zolthar and sitflyer like this.
  11. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    Sounds great. How about a pic of where it was. I was wondering how that would look.

    When I first heard of the new ring I bought (yet) another Opi knowing it would prolly be old stock. So now I have 4-5 old style and I'm copacetic. Then my ladyfriend got me a 6 and an 8 for Christmas. The 8 is completely new style, but the 6 has the new inner ring with the old style outer ring.
  12. lal


    Oct 23, 2014
    I had one with the new design and tossed it! I have been carrying Opinels religiously for over 20 years but no more ! Seriously hope Opinel reverts to the old Virobloc....
  13. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    This most recent post from lal brought this thread to the first page, and prompted me to revisit my modified No.7 described above. The modifications included grinding off the dimpled nub that rides in the slot in the bolster, and grinding a second ramp in the lockring so that the blade can be held open by turning the ring in either direction.

    These mods are pretty quick and easy if you are willing to unlimber your Dremel and a sharp file, and allow the blade to be held open just as well as on an older knife. At the time I did these modifications, one thing I did not check was the operation of the hold closed notch. This morning I checked that, and found that, since the ends of pivot pin have been ground flush, it is way too easy to lever the lock ring off the knife by opening the blade against the notch.

    In the previous iteration of the design, it was possible to pry the lockring past the peened pivot pin. It took a fair amount of force and made the lockring go springing through the air, perhaps never to be found again. You could do it inadvertently, but only if you were distracted to the point that you could ignore how hard it was to open the blade. Now, it takes very little force to shift the ring off the bolster, but at least it just drops harmlessly to the ground.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  14. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    I started a thread on this in General

    I put one of the new Opinels in a situation of daily (approx) use. I did not use it hard or turn it hard to lock, just used it about once a day. After a year or so of use the ramp where the blade locks, or more likely the blade where it engages that ramp, wore to the point that the indent hit the end of the track in the inner ring and it affected lock up. A few days of fiddling after that point and lock up was non-existent.

    So I decided to grind the tab off the outer ring like Henry Beige did. I don't have much available in the way of tools at the moment and tried it with coarse emery cloth on a dowell. After a few days of trying that while watching TV I gave up and borrowed a dremel tip to use on a hand drill. Taking my time, I actually did a neat job which left a rectangular hole in the ring which didn't look horrible anyway.

    Here's the thing.

    There have been a few theories as to why the heck Opinel made this change. My theory was that it was to stop the outer ring from riding up while locking the knife closed. The outer ring has that formed ridge around it which gives internal clearance to the peened ends of the pivot pin. My theory has been that it also kept the ring from riding up while locking closed. That peened end was (usually) just the right size to ride on the inside of that ridge and keep the ring from riding up. It's likely a fiddly process in manufacture. I deduced this years ago because anytime I tried to totally disassemble the knife while modding, I never got that peening just right and the ring rode up.

    After taking that tab off so the knife would lock up well, the ring rode up. I noticed when I bought this knife that the peening on the pivot pin was not very big. This is also what I've seen on the pictures I've seen online of newer knives which showed the pivot pin.

    I'm pretty sure that the new design is with that issue in mind. Anyways, I'm glad I've enjoyed modding Opi's and have 4-5 old ones on hand. No more new design for me.

    Edited to add: Reading Henry Beiges post just above now, I see that he has noticed a related problem with that peening and the ridge it ran in. So, there you go.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  15. lal


    Oct 23, 2014
    Im going hunting for an old one or two tomorrow and if I cant find any its back to the Okapi for me as a general purpose field knife, I have a LM Rebar for town use.
  16. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    "Taken together, that's gospel."
    Henry Beige likes this.
  17. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    From 1955 until the early ‘90s, there was no way to lock your Opinel closed. I never had a problem with that, but I do have an old No.8 that gets loose enough in the dry winter air to open with a flick of the wrist. It could very easily open up in my pocket. As long as I carry it tip-down, however, it won’t open.

    With my new No.7, as long as I never lock the blade closed, i will never inadvertently pry off the lock ring with the blade. I have enough Opinels, that I probably won’t need to buy any more in my lifetime, but I have no reason not to.

    Although, now that I think of it, I wonder if a dab of JB Weld on the ends of the pivot pin could provide the retention that the peened heads once did. There is a project that is going to have to wait for another day, one when I have a more substantial reason to open up a tube of epoxy.
  18. robbobus

    robbobus Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 4, 2009
    I like the new design. I had one in my pocket at the lake most of the summer. Throw it in my shorts and forgot about it. Didn't worry about it opening when I jumped in the water and swam a couple hundred meters to my buddies dozens of times. The non-locking old version I would not have done this with.
  19. jackknife


    Oct 2, 2004
    The lock ring was just one problem I had with the 'new' Opinels. The peened pivot pins were so hammered down flush with the bolsters, that it made snugging it up like I prefer difficult. With the pins down flush with the inner bolster, you just end up hammering the bolster.

    All in all, Opinel has now made it just a little too much to fiddle with to make it worth my while. Volkswagen should still make the Beatle, Smith and Wesson should still be making the old taper barrel model 10, and Opinel should have left it alone.
  20. Bartleby


    Oct 28, 2005
    Amen brother!

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