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February 25, 2019 3 min read


Meet Emeline Ducrocq, the team leader for wood craftsmanship in the Opinel artisan wood workshop. She leads a team of fine woodworkers in the design and manufacture of our luxury handles that feature rare and exotic wood varieties and intricate marquetry. The artisanal wood shop is currently staffed entirely by women who use their knowledge of woodworking, their eye for design, and their creativity to make the most special Opinel pocket knives of all.

Could you introduce yourself in a few words?

My name is Emeline Ducrocq, and I lead the team of artisan woodworkers. After training as a tiler, I joined the Opinel team by way of my sister, who already worked for the company, and who had told me a lot about this position. After beginning in assembly and then working for a brief time in the woodshop, I moved to the artisan wood workshop, where I am best able to use my creativity and precision skills.


Can you explain the different stages of manufacturing a knife handle in the artisan wood workshop?

First of all, we begin by selecting the exotic woods which we will cut, using a bandsaw, into wave shapes or angles of 30° or 40° depending on the model of the handle to be made. Then we use a traditional process of gluing and clamping under pressure, using an impact wrench. After waiting six hours for the glue to set, the blocks are finished on a bandsaw to remove the excess glue and clean up the wood, so that they can then be shaped. The last step in making the handle is buffing, in which we hand-apply wax to the handle to give it a shiny and smooth appearance This takes the place of a more traditional varnish.

Which one of these steps is your favorite and why?

My favorite job is cutting the wood. 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. Each handle created in this workshop will therefore be entirely unique.

What is special about the artisan wood workshop?

It is the only workshop where everything is done artisanally by hand, except for the shaping. Even our tools are, in some cases, manufactured in the traditional craftsman’s way. Another particularly special feature of this workshop is that, despite the fact that this is generally considered a masculine profession, our team is currently entirely female.

Can you describe the handle that you designed?

It is a walnut and ebony handle, with two veneers incorporating these two species. A 30° cut is made at the heel, then the walnut and ebony are assembled, glued and pressed. Once worked and shaped, the handle is finally buffed just like all the other handles manufactured in this workshop.

How did you develop the idea for this handle?

I was looking for a way to limit the waste of the damaged ebony, which we were throwing away, so I created this handle, allowing us to recover this wood that would have been scrapped. In addition, I found the contrast of the walnut, which is a soft wood, with ebony, a very dense species, give this handle a lovely finish.

Photos Credits : Opinel, Sémaphore

Did you have a lot of freedom in terms of design?

I was entirely free to create this handle. I started from scratch, without any rules, from the choice of wood to the cuts

How does the process of creating a new handle work?

First of all, we choose the species of wood we’d like to work with, then we determine the cut we will make in the workshop. Then we do a series of tests until we find a handle that we like, which is then approved by the marketing department. Finally, we refine and adjust our handle to get the best possible result.

How would you describe your work in the artisan wood workshop in one word?

Passionnant.Engaging. What I really like about working with wood at Opinel is the tremendous freedom we are given to be creative. Moreover, I find it very interesting to work by hand with precious wood species, which is what makes this workshop so beautiful.

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4 Responses

John Miller
John Miller

January 31, 2023

My wife bought me one of your knives and a love affair with Opinel knives was started. I have several of your custom knives and the quality and beauty has been consistent. Thank you….John from Eugene, Oregon, USA

Pat Bodkin
Pat Bodkin

May 10, 2022

ive always admired the chaperon knives will you have any available that contains the purple wood incorporated in it? id love to have one and cant seem to find any

Donnie Coffman
Donnie Coffman

November 18, 2019

Will you have 2019 Tour De France knives. Consider a unique handle showing all Jersey colors,
Viva la France, viva la domestics, viva la Opinel

Allan  Bistyga
Allan Bistyga

November 18, 2019

I love the beauty,passion, art and craftsmanship you put into your wonderful Opinel knives. From your friend in
Tampa, Florida……Thank you. Je vous remercie

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