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Opening Your Opinel

5 September 2014

The internet is full of suggested “modifications” you can make to either the handle or the blade, to help assist you in opening your Opinel folding knife. But the “Savoi Tap” and the traditional one-hand technique are probably still the best…

Where did this method come from?

As a regular in various parts of France, especially the Alps and Pyrénées, I’ve been to many a trade fair, worked with many an artisan; from stone masons to farmers, and have acquired this approach watching them.

Modern knife aficionados will see a problem here because this method requires the user to lever the blade fully open by pressing it (lightly) against another surface. And I’ve received quite a bit of criticism from knife “experts” about this.

That’s because these “experts” are thinking more about the knife, than the task to hand.

For the average French artisan, the job to be done is more important than the tool. S/he might be freeing an ewe from barbed wire, trimming a closing on a chicken shed, dressing the wooden belt to go around a heifer’s neck. They will have only one hand available. The other will be securing a beast or a bird.

This knife is a consumable, they’ll have more than a few.  Bought from the agricultural co-op or the village ironmongery they are cheap and disposable. Not to be wasted, it’s something they will maintain as a matter of unconscious habit. But certainly not the focus of a collection fetish or man-drawer clutter to be  worshiped as a “small object of desire”. It just does what it’s supposed to do.

What is an Opinel knife

If you are completely new to the Opinel knife, then let me introduce you.
Here’s my earlier review


Updated: 8th September 2016


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