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Here’s something interesting real read in this Opinel No 7 Review you may have not known.
In France, the birthplace of Opinel knives, all pocket knives are actually referred to as Opinel’s.
Sort of similar to how people in the U.S. refer to hot tubs as Jacuzzi’s, but really it’s just the name of a hot tub company.
Opinel No 7 Review With Virobloc Locking Collar and Top Grain Leather Sheath
One of the top selling Opinel Knives
Not interesting enough?
Well, here’s something that’s more impressive:
The Opinel knife is well acknowledged for it’s unique and aesthetic design as a pocket knife, so much so that it has been included in the world’s largest museum for decorative arts and designs (Victoria and Albert Museum in London) since 1985 along side the Porsche 911 and Rolex watch.
After reading this THREE times on Opinel’s Wikipedia page, I had to make sure it was true on the company’s website, and sure enough it is.
Still not blown away?
This will knock your socks off:
There are records that even Pablo Picasso used these knives for sculpting!
It’s incredible to think a knife company has a history of such significant recognition for not only it’s design but many other traits I will provide for you in this review of the Opinel No 7
Opinel No 7 Review Specs
The only real difference which tends to be the deciding factor between purchasing it or not is the size variations this company provides.
Although, the lower number models don’t have the virobloc locking mechanism which also could be a deal breaker but their quality is still as high as the others.
The total length of the knife is 7 inches and folds into 4 inches, just enough to practically forget it’s in your pocket.
Typically, the Opinel No 7 review shows it surpasses light tasks like kitchen prep, trimming shrubs, skinning animals, but it’s carbon steel blade extends its multipurpose functionality into wood carving.
Most wood carving knives are made out of carbon steel since it tends to cut wood easier than most other types of steels.
Alternatively, there are stainless steel versions available if you are worried about the carbon steel rusting, more on rust prevention later.
Best Qualities & Affordability
Now, if you haven’t looked at the pricing for this Opinel No 7 review then I’ll go ahead and bring it to your attention that the knife is VERY affordable.
Affordability alone isn’t so impressive, because there are plenty of low priced pocket knives that can carve.
What is impressive is the quality, design characteristics, history, and reliability of the knife for the price.
Here are several key notes I’m talking about:
Virobloc Locking Mechanism
The locking system established isn’t like your generic folding knife with a spring tension folding mechanism.
Instead, Opinel erased the problem of spring resistance and created a much smoother process.
The stainless steel collar fully encompasses the handle while a thin gap allows the blade to pass through. By rotating the collar it ensures the blade will either remain closed or engaged when being used. I’ve never experienced any play or looseness issues when the blade was extended and tightened.
If it wasn’t easy enough to open the knife, a nail nick is employed for those with bigger fingers.
Even easier is engaging the locking mechanism while your holding the knife with one hand!
Just simply swipe the collar to tighten it and you’re ready to rock.
CARBONE contre INOX
The decision to choose between a stainless steel blade (comes on the Sandvik 12C27M stainless steel blades, from “INOXidable, which means “non-oxidizable”) and the carbon steel (carbon translated to french is CARBONE, uses XC90 carbon steel) has created a little confusion among customers.
Carbon steel versus Stainless steel
If we are getting technical here, all steels contain some amount of carbon.
This is by their very definition:
IRON + CARBON (+ other elements) = STEEL
“Carbon Steel” won’t rust unless exposed to moisture. Proper storage space, light consistent maintenance, and using it against dry materials help prevent rusting issues.
Stainless does not corrode with water marks like most general steel types. Though it is unlikely, given the right environment, stainless steel will rust to some degree as well. Typically these environments would have to include low-oxygen, high-salinity, or poor-circulation.
Well, I will go ahead and tell you now is that carbon steel takes to a sharpening stone easier than stainless steel. Not only that, but stainless is a softer form of steel, which means carbon holds an edge for much longer. Although, I would suggest buying some stropping compound to hone it.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you plan to use the knife for.
If you plan to use it as a kitchen knife where you’ll be cutting fruits, vegetables, and even meat then I would suggest the stainless steel version.
Carbon steel is better for light outdoor jobs like cutting wood, wood carving, cutting rope, or possibly cutting boxes.
Thin Lightweight Body & Blade
The Opinel No 7, and other knives of its kind, is constructed with only a few materials: a blade, wooden handle, stainless steel metal clamping band, stainless pivot pin, and the (except on the smaller models) Virobloc locking collar. Literally just 5 and sometimes 4 parts are what create this knife.
It is not lightweight because it only has 5 parts, it is lightweight because the company created it with light materials. This doesn’t require you to know rocket science to figure that out, especially when there are plenty of other knives with the same amount of assembled parts but are heavier.
This does not mean the material is frail. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The Opinel No 7 is assembled in such a way that the tension is supported reliably.
That being said, it can definitely hold its own, particularly the blade.
My first observation of the blade was how thin it was with a little flexibility to it. A single bevel grind travels from the edge to the spine of the blade, also known as a “full flat” grind. Upon actual usage, I noticed it doesn’t flex nearly as much as I had anticipated, nonetheless I probably wouldn’t suggest using this for heavy strenuous work.
Opinel No 7 Review Performance
A variety of tasks I enforced before making my concluding thoughts were done to make sure the knife isn’t garbage or anything short of what I would use myself.
After opening the knife when I first received it I noticed that it certainly was sharp but not shaving sharp so it failed to be consistent with shaving my arm. Although, when I went to test the edge on some paper it performed really well. So some honing might be necessary once you get yours.
Kitchen preparation is flawless when using the Opinel No 7 review. I ended up cutting something like 8 different fruits, some game, diced some tomatoes and potatoes as well to see if it would lose its edge fast. I even cut up a watermelon, got to love the summer!
Great wood carving tool for whittling shapes and spoons, but not for making bowls. Like I said previously, probably not the best idea to use for strenuous tasks like carving a bowl. I didn’t find any troubles with spoon carving, as long as I kept it honed every so often it performed great.
Hard woods will be more difficult to carve with this knife so I’d suggest sticking to soft woods like basswood.
How to prevent rust?
There’s definitely a much longer list in this Opinel No 7 review to like as opposed to things not to like about it. But this knife faces a natural defect to the blade’s material which can cause some headache’s for a few people.
As I mentioned before, carbon steel is susceptible to rust if it is exposed to moisture.
What is another way to prevent it from rusting besides storing it properly?
A pretty popular method is to force a protective patina, type of surface corrosion that keeps the blade from developing damaging rust, that will do a lot to prevent rust in the future.
The easiest way to add patina to your blade is it soak it in a mild acid, such as vinegar, for an hour or so. The longer you leave it in vinegar the deeper the protective patina will be which results in darker colors that form on the blade. After you’re finished soaking it, wipe the blade completely clean until it is dry.
Your knife will now be much more resistant to rust, but not completely. Patina will wear off over time, more quickly if you use the knife often, so be sure to do this again and take care of it.
Obviously, I had more positive things to say about the No. 7 that I believe to be the best leading qualities for customers. And honestly, the price is practically unbeatable. I’m truly amazed by the unique design, its wood carving competency, and the performance overall.
Yes, the blade can rust, depending on which version you buy, but that is the very least of my worries when recommending or buying a knife.
Also, I’m still stuck on the fact the Pablo Picasso used it to craft his own art and I believe that certainly says something to the quality of the company’s product.
Opinel knives size varies according to the product number, so I would pay attention to the size of the knife because that’s seems to be the only real differentiating characteristic, aside from the smaller versions not having the Virobloc locking mechanism.
Be sure to check out our other Opinel knife reviews!