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Opinel Tuning. Please Help Me Find Pinnah's Post or similar info.

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Wowbagger, May 25, 2019.

  1. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Pinnah wrote :
    When I click on the link it just says couldn't find the info.

    I have a brand new Opinel #12 (yuuuuup the big one).
    I want to have fun fooling around with the pivot.
    So far I have let very thin machine oil soak into the end grain of the handle at the pivot. I just rub a good pool of oil on the end and let it sit upright under a lamp to keep it warm until it soaks in then add another application. I have done this maybe eight times.
    I shy away from submerging it I don't want to clean out the slot and waste all that oil to boot.
    From here I am thinking of adding some applications of Tung Oil to the end grain.

    Mostly I want to hear about tuning the tension of the inner collar etc.
    I sharpened it and have used it some. Mostly it will be carried around the house and used predominately in the kitchen. I'm not too concerned about food safety of the Tung Oil I won't use much Tung Oil, it will cure and become no big deal.

    I make fun of Opinels for the tight joint syndrome . . . yet here I am, once again, enjoying fooling around with another one.
    bucketstove likes this.
  2. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    There has not been much occasion for me to mess with the pivot tension on my Opinels. Over the course of the year, the tension will go from looser in the dry winter air to tighter in the summer humidity.

    One of my eights will loosen up enough that the blade will open with a flick, or fall open of its own weight. Since it is old enough not to have the hold-closed notch, I try to remember to carry it tip-down. Other than that, the blade tension stays within a tolerable range, unless the knife gets fully immersed.

    Only once or twice has a handle swollen up to the point that it was impossible to open either with the nail nick or with the coup de Savoyard. In each case, it returned to normal after it dried out.

    I always melt some Sno-Seal into the joint, but can’t say that it has much effect on the pivot action.
  3. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    Personally, I like to dry the wood as much as possible like a hot car or whatever with the goal of getting it somewhat loose. Then I throw the entire knife into some mineral oil and soak it for weeks. Soak it till it tightens up some. It seems to make it pretty impervious to humidity changes albeit maybe not totally.

    Some people prefer something thicker in the joint like vaseline or son-seal melted in with a hair dryer. From all accounts on the forum from people who have tried both, it all seems to work.
  4. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    Thank you very much for the proper functional link !

    Sounds like you are living right. :)
    I must not be :(
    ALL of mine really, really . . . really bind up if I get only a drop or two of water on the end grain from carefully washing the blade. I must do something to this big one to limit that reaction.

    Ohhhhhhhhhh !
    That explains why to get it VERY dry like his other posters were recommending.
    That makes a lot of sense; I'm surprised he didn't see that.

    OK . . . I'm reconsidering the submerge the whole knife strategy.

    PS: but the knife doesn't swell too tight from being bloated from the oil right ? The oil doesn't have the same effect on the cells as water would ?
  5. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    I actually had that happen to me once. :) It was in the oil for quite a long time, though. Just get it at least somewhat dry to start with and check it periodically. I think it would be hard to get it too tight unless you were a moron and forgot about it. ;)

    PS: After a while in a warm place, it loosened up.
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  6. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    I've never understood using mineral oil on wood. It stays wet forever, keeping the wood fibers swollen and weak.

    I recommend pure tung oil from the start, which eventually stabilizes... even the fake tung oil stuff like Formby's, which is more of a varnish, is better than mineral oil.
  7. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    OK I can see that.
    The oil I was using was extra low viscosity and so it soaked in fast to get something in there that might repel water in the short term.
    Then I began to think it might have been a mistake because it might keep the tung oil from turning to a solid.
    If I had half a brain and wanted to do this right I suppose I would be taking the blade out entirely and looking at some kind of low viscosity epoxy, getting it stabilized professionally, setting up to stabilize it my self or making a handle out of prestabilized wood.

    Like I said, I'm fooling around and would like to avoid submerging it then having to clean out the slot.

    If I mess around long enough I may cut a front end for the knife out of solid Titanium and fit the beach wood handle into the back end of that. But that would make too much sense and be too practical. Crooked River Opinel anyone ?
  8. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    Yeah. Sealing the wood with tung oil would work well but, as you say, it would require disassembling the knife. I've done that. It's not worth it to me anymore for an Opi.

    The biggest reason I don't fully disassemble is that I always had trouble getting the peening on the pivot pin just right. That used to be more critical before the new locking ring design.

    I have modded a few Opi's, but none recently. I prolly won't mod or buy any more due to the new locking ring. I've got 5 or 6 laying around somewhere and I'm 63, so I should be good.

    I ultimately had a quick and dirty modding method. Anything more is fun, but not necessary.

    Shape the handle. An easy open notch, sanding down the bump at the bottom of the handle toward your palm, and possible flattening the sides a little is all that's needed. Anything more is fun, but not necessary.

    Let the handle dry out and get a little loose.

    Dip in wood stain up to the locking ring. Stain has a little linseed or tung oil and that will seal inside the blade groove a little too. Rubbing many light coats of tung oil into the outside is fun, but not necessary.

    Toss the knife into a jar of mineral oil for some time. A tall, narrow, jar will make less mineral oil necessary. That jar of oil is good for soaking rescue knives purchased at yard sales as well.

    Wipe the knife down well. Put in a warm place to absorb oil, maybe. I don't know if I'm lucky, careful, or oblivious, but I've never had the knife bleed oil.

    Oiling wood like that will indeed weaken it. That might not be too important in an Opinel handle. I dunno. Lemon oil is mostly mineral oil anymore.

    As said, some people just work on the joint. Some toss the knife in a cup with mineral oil only covering the joint. Many use something thicker like vaseline on the joint. My thoughts are to try to oil up any place that might absorb water, feeling that osmosis, capillary action, or what have you, might move it through the wood and swell things.

    Many paths to the same goal grasshopper.
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  9. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    It's not an easy open "notch", but wood has been removed where indicated to make the knife easy to pinch open. Didn't flatten the sides on this one although I prefer that. If you do that, be careful not to work much at all near the butt of the handle. It's easy to make it too thin there.

    Much more than this is overkill. It's easy to get carried away sanding and end up with a stubby broomstick. Opinel handles are almost just right from the factory.

    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  10. Stelth


    Jul 15, 2007
    After reading this thread it seems like Opinels require excessive amounts of tweaking simply to function like other knives do straight out of the box. What's the attraction?
    jackknife and bucketstove like this.
  11. jpm2


    Nov 19, 2014
    Price and thin blade performance.
  12. Stelth


    Jul 15, 2007
    Seems like a Sodbuster would work just as well.
  13. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    I totally,totally,totally, agree.
    One attraction is how light they are !
    The #12 is a huge knife (for an inexpensive pocket knife) and it is soooooo light.
    Another attraction is Opinel is not afraid to make the blade the CORRECT thickness for good cutting performance . . . I would go so far as to stay superior cutting performance.
    Also they come a bit convexed on the sides of the knife and this also cuts better and allows more directional control; think cutting curves in the middle of a hunk of double wall cardboard or cutting up hard fruit like apples . . . the difference over a thick bladed knife or a hollow ground blade is night and day better.

    They are very inexpensive and so one can buy several and customize them for aesthetic enjoyment or mod the blades for various specific uses.
  14. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Basic Member Basic Member

    Sep 20, 2015
    . . . yessssss
    I like Sod Busters.
    The Opinel blade locks so that's a plus.
  15. davek14


    May 30, 2009
    Many reasons. For just one, they are a decent blade in a simple handle which you can put in places where you might need a knife. An Opi has been my lunchbox knife for decades, for example. I love sodbusters as well, but they cost a bit more and 12c27 is my favorite budget steel. The 12c27 is actually the biggest factor.

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