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Tool Shed: Opinel Knives for the Garden

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Tool Shed: Opinel Knives for the Garden

November 1, 2017

While Opinel is often equated with high-quality kitchen-prep knives, the origins of the company rest in wood-handled pocket knives: perfect for the gardener.

Don’t let its humble origins fool you: The Opinel knife has become a French icon, used by the likes of Pablo Picasso for carving his wooden sculptures, and is considered by some to be the best-value working knife available. Created by Joseph Opinel in the Savoie region of France as a simple working knife for farmers, winemakers, and even mushroom foragers, the numbered 1 to 12 series of knives dates to 1897. We can see how it would be handy for taking cuttings from the garden, light pruning, or splitting woody perennials.

N.B.: The traditional Opinel knife has a beechwood handle and a carbon or stainless steel blade; carbon is susceptible to corrosion from moisture, so consider the stainless blades for lower maintenance.

Opinel No. 12 Carbon Steel Knife

The Opinel No. \1\2 Carbon Steel Knife, an original Opinel design, is \$\24 at Need Supply Co.
Above: The Opinel No. 12 Carbon Steel Knife, an original Opinel design, is $24 at Need Supply Co.
The folding No. \1\2 knife has a safety ring to prevent it from opening when closed.
Above: The folding No. 12 knife has a safety ring to prevent it from opening when closed.

Opinel No. 8 Pruning Knife

Above: An Opinel No. 8 Pruning Knife with a beechwood handle and Sandvik stainless steel blade, is designed for shrub pruning, grape picking or cutting ties. For readers in Australia, an Opinel Pruning Knife is $33.95 AU from Odgers & McClelland. A No. 8 Pruning Knife is also available for £20 from Le Petit Jardin, and, for US readers, an Opinel Boxed Pruning Knife is $23.95 on Amazon.

Opinel No. 8 Pocket Garden Knife

An &#8\2\20;ideal tool for weeding or picking lettuce or dandelions,&#8\2\2\1; a stainless steel Opinel No. 8 Pocket Garden Knife has a 3.35-inch blade and a beechwood handle; \$\16 from Opinel USA.
Above: An “ideal tool for weeding or picking lettuce or dandelions,” a stainless steel Opinel No. 8 Pocket Garden Knife has a 3.35-inch blade and a beechwood handle; $16 from Opinel USA.
N.B.: More ways to cut through the underbrush:

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