A Size for Every Job: Choosing Your Opinel Pocket Knife
The Opinel pocket knife is an instantly recognizable object, beloved in France and around the world. While the most famous is, without a doubt, the classic No.08, Opinel has long made the iconic folding knife in a number of sizes, ranging from diminutive key chain knives to enormous collectible items.
This range of sizes dates back to the early days of Opinel history; by 1897, seven years after founding his business, Joseph Opinel had developed 12 different sizes for his pocket knife, numbered from 1 to 12. The littlest — No.01 — came with a ring designed to be attached to a pocket watch; the largest, No. 12, fittingly boasted a 12-cm blade. By the 1930s, Opinel discontinued the production of the No.01 and the No.011, but today’s offerings still include a wide variety of sizes inspired by Opinel’s original line.
Trying to decide which knife size is right for you? Read on to hear how some of our customers are using their favorite knives.
Small Utility Knives: No.02, No.03, No.04, No.05
While Opinel no longer manufactures that teeny tiny No.01 that Joseph devised in the late 1800s, we still offer a few diminutive little blades. Our tiny No.02 knife, with its handy keychain, makes a great tool at hand for small tasks. One reviewer called this the “biggest little knife you’ll ever need,” saying that she uses it for “opening letters, opening cardboard boxes, slicing tape off of packages, cutting threads off of clothing, sharpening pencils … the possibilities are endless!”
But be careful, and don’t judge a knife by its size: These little blades are every bit as sharp as their bigger siblings in the Opinel line, and sizes 2 to 5 do not come with the signature locking ring mechanism characteristic of larger Opinel knives.
Everyday Carry: No.06, No.07, No.08
These are the workhorses of the Opinel line, our most popular and versatile sizes. When you think “pocket knife,” this is what you imagine — a handy blade ready to be folded and tucked into a pocket, backpack, or purse.
While the No.08 is the most famous of these everyday carry knives, the No.07 and No.06 options offer a slightly more petite blade and handle, ideal for smaller hands or younger owners. With a variety of wood handles to choose from, as well as the option of a leather lanyard, there’s almost certainly an Opinel pocket knife for every EDC choice.
The reviews speak for themselves. Writes one reviewer of the classic No.08: “To my delight, this stainless steel beauty has proven to be every bit the classic that lives up to the hype. So light you won't know you are carrying it. Elegant eternally classic styling. And the simplicity of the mechanism is just beguiling. I loved it so much I gifted two more to friends.”
Work Knives: No.09, No.10, No.12
Looking for something a little heftier than your average pocket knife? Turn the larger end of our collection of folding knives. Tuck these knives into a toolbox or camp kit, and use them for trimming wood or preparing food at camp. Durable and strong, these knives are also lightweight for their size — a wonderful blend of strength and portability.
“This knife is a must-have if you are interested in the outdoors, do-it-yourself projects, or simply enjoy collecting a variety of knives,” writes one reviewer of the No.10. “I fall into each of those categories, and I am constantly impressed by the elegant simplicity and surprising dependability of the Opinel No.10. As the product listing says, it's a hair too large to be a comfortable pocket knife for daily carry, unless (like me) you find yourself wearing an apron, wearing a tool belt/pouch, or carrying a pack. That said, I've got large hands and it's very comfortable to hold and use.”
The Giant: No.13
Back in the 1970s, Opinel decided to think big — really BIG. And so was born the No.13, originally designed as a promotional item to be used in shop windows. Nearly 20 inches long when fully open, the No.13 was a hit. Retailers and customers alike clamored for the knife to stick around, and today it remains in production and available for retailers, collectors, and enthusiasts alike. Add this to your collection, and it’s sure to be the latest conversation starter among your friends and family.
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