Saturday, 31 March 2012

Opinel No. 8 Review

Key Info
  • Available in High Carbon or Stainless Steel.  
  • Locks both open and closed.
  • Wooden handle.
  • 8.4cm blade length.
  • 2mm blade thickness.
The Opinel No. 8 is an excellent, French made, folding knife, and is part of Opinel's extensive range of folding knives, ranging from No. 2 to No. 13, based on blade size. It is available in either High Carbon steel, or some kind of Sandvik Stainless steel. There is a rotating “Vibroloc” collar on the top of the handle, which serves to very strongly lock the blade open or closed. The handle is made of Oak or Beech (depending on if you order carbon or stainless steel), and is very comfortable to hold. For the money, the Opinel is one of the best folding knives available.

The blade is available in High Carbon Steel or Stainless Steelwhich is some kind of Sandvik stainless. Both the carbon and the stainless have a fairly 'sharp' spine, so can be used to strike a firesteel. The blade is 2mm thick, and 8cm long, and is a straight edge, which is perfect for most tasks. The blade locks both open and closed, and has no blade play from new.

The carbon steel blade holds a better edge than the stainless, and can be used to create a spark when struck against a piece of flint, quartz, or similar hard rock. However, the carbon steel blade is also very prone to rust. It must be cleaned after use, and a light layer of oil should be applied.

The stainless steel is very resistant to rust, and still holds a very good edge, though perhaps not quite as good as the carbon. It has a hardness of around 57 HRC and is easy to sharpen. If you are going anywhere that involves water, the stainless steel is likely to be a better choice.

Other Info
The locking collar, or “Vibroloc”, is a good lock design. It is very strong, and will take a great deal of punishment before failing. However, if abused, the locking mechanism may begin to embed itself into the handle, or work loose. It should be noted that this lock type does not engage itself. It must be twisted, in order to lock, otherwise the knife is basically just a slip-joint. This can be handy though, as if you are just quickly cutting a piece of string, or something, you may not want to have to disengage a lock after doing so. Another thing about the “Vibroloc” is that it will lock the blade closed too. This is achieved by twisting the collar one the blade is closed, and is a very good feature, as it prevents the knife opening in your pocket, and cutting your fingers off when you go to retrieve it!

As stated above, the handle of the Opinel is available in Beech or Oak, depending on blade steel. This means that it is very nice to hold, and wont hurt your hand after long cutting tasks, but it also means that when the handle gets wet, water can soak into it, meaning that it is nearly impossible to open the blade, as the wood has swelled up! However, this only happens with prolonged exposure to water, and is unlikely to be a problem.

Nicely made leather cases and small sharpening steels are also available for the Opinel, and can be very useful when in an outdoor environment.

The Opinel No. 8 like the whole Opinel range, is a very good folding knife. It is the perfect length for a wide variety of tasks, and strong enough for most things. Both the stainless and the carbon steel are very good, and hold an excellent edge. For the money, the Opinel has to be one of the best folding knives you can get, and they're available on

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