Unusual Locking Folder

Opinel make some pretty unique knives. I guess I came to the party a bit late on this one, but I have two of them in my hand right now and they are magnificent! First I bought the Opinel No 6: because a reader (Tim) recommended it (in this post), as follows: ‘Opinel #6 has a lock blade of about 72mm at 27g. Easy to sharpen, very nice to use with its full flat grind to zero. My favourite folding knife when weight matters.: https://www.opinel.com/en/tradition/stainless-steel/n6-stainless-steel‘ He suggested the stainless model but I found the carbon steel one cheap so I bought it: https://www.opinel.com/en/tradition/carbon-steel/n6-carbon It cost me only A$16.99 (delivered) on eBay. A very good buy.

Then a friend (Jock) happened to give me a No #8 stainless for my recent birthday, so I have two to compare. Riches indeed. The No 6 is 27 grams and the No 8 has an 8.5 cm (3 1/3″) blade and weighs 59 grams.

The first thing I discovered was the unique blade lock. I had seen them in the shop and passed them over as I thought they didn’t have one. Instead they have what might be a superior one. At least there is no way this blade lock is going to fail and leave you with severed fingers – as can happen. You can see in the photos I took below how the ring-type lock they have works. They call it the ‘Virobloc safety ring’.  You just need to rotate it to make the bade stay in the open or closed position. Just hook it around with your thumbnail (as shown) though as it wears a bit it will become easier to rotate.

You can see how it moves into place completely blocking the movement of the blade in either the open or closed position.

Now completely blocked.

This is the No 6 Carbon). It has a 7 cm (2 3/4″) blade.

My hands are still pretty scratched up from nearly a week of bush-bashing I see.

It is a very attractive little knife with its distinctive and comfortable beech handle. A rounded handle like this is great on the hand if you have big job to do (such as lots of whittling, pruning or butchering perhaps. For lots of butchering the larger no 8 might be better but this little fellow would get the job done.

As you can see (below) the No 8 fills the hand much better.

This would be an excellent knife for butchering a sambar deer – unless you don’t know how to sharpen a knife (maybe with one of these) in which case you might try the Olfa I mentioned here.

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10 thoughts on “Unusual Locking Folder”

  1. Steve, I have been using opinels in various sizes for years. I liked the way that they held an edge and were easy to touch up. That said I have never had one that only locked one way. I like the way that they lock and unlock with the roll of a thumb while leaving your other hand free.
    Longjok silver

    1. Thank you Jock. They are very beautiful and well-designed knives. They are both in for a long service life with me I’m sure. Cheers, Steve.

  2. It it occurred to me this evening that there seems to be a resurgence of the classic motorcycles such as the Indian. One of which I saw on the footpath in Dunolly being cleaned by the owner, with a few locals standing about reminiscing and appreciating the machine. It turns out that the bike was made in India and was a beautiful machine.
    I remembered what it was like to ride to Port Douglas, or Through Nsw and Sa. as a young bloke on a BSA 500 single or a a BSA 250 single. Just travellin ‘and I remember that I tried to fit all of my gear in a rucksack in order to travel cheaply and to camp wherever the road took me. I upgraded to saddle bags eventually but today there are many who would ride the iron steed who could benefit from the experience of an ultralight hiker.
    There is a huge market for light practical gear in the motorcycle wanderer world.
    Longjok silver.

    1. I too had classic British motorcycles in my youth. Mine was a Triumph. I had saddlebags and a carrier rack. Della and I could go away camping on one for a month at a time. We traveled all over NSW and New Zealand. True much of the ultralight hiking gear is just as appropriate for ultralight biking, whether powered or human powered. I still own and ride motorcycles. I have a Yamaha 225 Serow and a dual range Honda Ag 110cc- the off- road version of the ‘Postie Bike’. They are also handy for getting back to your vehicle after long canoe trips, or long hikes.

  3. Hi, I learnt of these lovely knives back in 1991 when I bought a few in Paddy Pallins in Melbourne. Then I found they’re almost an institution in some parts of Europe, like the SAK. Very cheap but the carbon steel blades are very sharp, stay sharp and easy to sharpen. These do take on a patina after a while but I always leave a light smear of oil on the blade. The wood handles have not cracked till now.. recently I decided to soak them a bit in the leftover linseed oil from soaking my axe handles: it turned out great! But don’t over do it or the blade can be a bit stiff to come out. The handles are good despite not having a bolster. I liked the simple lock enough to make an opinel the first knife I gave to my son when he turned 7 a few years ago. (Told him not to tell his peers at school for fear I’d be reported – don’t want Family Services breaking down my door hey..). Love your articles, thanks!! Rgds from Melbourne, Tuckyin

  4. I love the opinels and have a few although not sure which size. I have noticed on some models the lock ring only operates one way where as on others it can go either way (not sure if that is a new or older feature). the carbon steel is great, so easy to get sharp but maybe dulls quick? great if you like to maintain your tools but maybe not for people who prefer disposable type knives.


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