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
Opinel No. 8 Pruning Knife
Opinel No. 8 Pocket Garden KnifeN.B.: More ways to cut through the underbrush:
- My Most Versatile Garden Tool: Hori Hori Knife.
- 10 Easy Pieces: Pocket Knives for the Gardener.
- Tools of the Trade: Barebones, with Bamboo Handles.
- 10 Easy Pieces: Sickles.