In a small building, adjacent to the main factory, is the wood workshop responsible for the artisan handles at Opinel that can be found on select folding knives; No.08 Chaperon, No.06 Chaperon, No.08 Ellipse, and the No.08 Workshop.
A team of (all women!) artisan woodworkers, led by Emeline Ducrocq, spend their days crafting Opinel knife handles entirely by hand. To make these unique handles, the team cuts the wood - using a band saw (and no template!) - into wave shapes for the No.08 Chaperon, curves for the No.08 Ellipse, or angles for the No.08 Workshop. They then glue and clamp the wood combinations together and apply pressure via an impact wrench. After drying for upwards of 6 hours, the team then cleans the excess glue off and moves onto shaping the handles in that classic Opinel shape (done via machine). The last step to crafting the handle is to apply a wax to the wood and buff to give it a shiny and smooth appearance.
“Personally, I find it extremely interesting to handle the band saw, since we do not use a guide: we make everything freehand, by listening to our senses, which ensures that each handle created in this workshop will be unique.” - Emeline Ducrorq
Originating from the release of the No.08 Chaperon designed by Bruno Chaperon in a way that requires a unique assembly of the woods, the artisan wood workshop has been creating truly unique Opinel handles since 2007.
True to the Opinel ideals of ever-evolving practices with sustainability in mind, the team in the artisan wood workshop is not only creating beautiful knives, but is finding ways to limit our waste by repurposing wood that might have been otherwise discarded.
The No.08 Workshop handle was created out of Emeline’s desire to salvage the ebony wood too damaged to be utilized for our No.08 Ebony knives. To limit the waste of that damaged ebony, the handle on the No.08 Workshop knife allows Opinel to recover wood that would have otherwise been scrapped. The result is a handle crafted with a mix of walnut and ebony wood separated by a sheet of maple wood.
“What I really like about working with wood at Opinel is the tremendous freedom we are given to create. Moreover, I find it very interesting to be able to work by hand with precious woods, which is what makes the workshop so wonderful.” - Emeline Ducrorq
Comments will be approved before showing up.