Opinel lock

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by FireDragon76, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76

    49
    Jan 21, 2016
    I got a new Opinel a few weeks ago. It's a #6. I mostly bought it to collect after watching Nick Shabazz rate it as the best traditional knife. I've seen it before, it's an iconic design, but I didn't know much about it.

    My problem with it is that the ring lock is stiff. Is this normal, do they break in over time? The stiffness is a turn off and disuades me from using it as an EDC. Especially because locking it involves putting your fingers near the blade.
     
  2. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
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  3. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    unnecessary post
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  4. Peregrin

    Peregrin Traditional Forum Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2004
  5. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    It could just be a matter of humidity making the wood swell, and so the lock ring is harder to turn. Opinels (like some of the doors in my wood framed house) can be stiffer when it's damp, and swing open when it's dry. There's a whole process some folks use to wax the pivots to try to stabilize this, but I haven't bothered.
     
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  6. Prester John

    Prester John Gold Member Gold Member

    May 20, 2018
    The Opinel was invented in the late 19th century, and sold for many years without a lock. The locking mechanism was invented in 1955, and only locked the knife open. I think the locking ring was further (unnecessarily) modified to lock the knife closed about 20 years ago. I NEVER lock my knife closed, and rarely lock it open. If the knife is used properly, it will not close on you in use.

    Incidentally, I think the No. 8 is a better size for a pocket knife. That's what I have, and it's my second favourite knife.
     
  7. bemymonkey

    bemymonkey

    49
    Nov 12, 2012
    I had this issue on my No. 10. The problem went away after a buddy pulled it open with the lock ring engaged to keep the blade shut. The lock ring went flying off the balcony into the neighbor's yard... after retrieving the lock ring and forcing it back into place it fit perfectly - still has resistance when turning but can be turned smoothly enough that I won't slice off my own finger when trying to lock the blade with wet hands.

    The No. 12 I just received has the same issue and I haven't had the heart to do the same thing to this one yet...

    -edit- nevermind, apparently my No. 10 has the old lock with the two-way ring. o_O
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
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  8. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I have one with the locking closed feature, which I too thought unnecessary. I really tore up my thumbnail at the store before I realized it was locked closed.
    As I recall the thread Gary linked, Opinel later did something to limit the travel of the locking ring, which could be undone by taking the ring off and dremelling something.
     
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  9. afishhunter

    afishhunter

    Oct 21, 2014
    I took the lock ring off of my Number 8.
    I never locked the blade (open or closed) anyway.

    No reason at all, at all to put your fingers where the blade can bite you when applying the lock.
    (Truth to tell, I'm not sure how the blade could bite you when you're twisting the lock ring ... unless you are holding the blade in your fist and squeeze too hard)
    You should be ale to move the ring with the thumb of the hand holding the knife. (using the slot) If not; you have two hands. Use one hand to hold the knife and the other to turn the lock ring.

    By the way, You're "putting your fingers close to the blade" when you open and close the knife, too.

    Forgive me, but I fail to see the issue. The blade on an Opinel has no springs to hold (not lock) the blade open or closed. Unless you are applying pressure to the spine of the blade, it isn't going to close more than half way by gravity, - and that is if the pivot is a lot looser than I've ever seen on a friction folder (to include a straight razor)

    There is on reason to fear your Opinel.

    The normal cutting action forces the blade open; not closed. (and not just on an Opinel.) A blade lock is not necessary.
    The Opinel number 5 and under do not even have the ring-lock.
    Prior to 1955 none of the Opinel had a locking blade.
    It was added (on sizes 6 and above only) only because of "lawyers" (note quotes) fears of liability if someone got seriously hurt.
    (Completely ignoring the fact that no one had in the 60 plus years the knife had been in production, at that time.)
     
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  10. yablanowitz

    yablanowitz

    Apr 14, 2006
    I live where it is generally very dry. When I bought my #13, it was very stiff, but after a few months here it would swing open and shut freely. So freely that I appreciate the locking shut feature as much as the locking open. In fact, it no longer has enough resistance to hold the blade open against gravity if you hold it out edge down. Believe me, you do NOT want that 10" blade swinging shut on your fingers.
     
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  11. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    The previous responders have touched on a number of issues with Opinel, which have been discussed at length on this forum. However, I do not think they have hit on your problem, which sounds like a lock ring that is too tight a fit on the bolster, making it hard to turn. Some of them come that way. It may or may not loosen up over time. You could try moving that process along by lubricating the interface between the lock ring and bolster.

    If oiling it doesn’t get you where you want to go, you can try spreading the ring slightly for a looser fit. I have used a duck-bill pliers with very thin jaws, but you could get the same result by twisting a wide-bladed screwdriver in the gap. The ring will want to spring back to shape, so you have to spread it far enough to take a set, but not so far as to give a sloppy fit. If you go too far, you can crimp it back with pliers. If you somehow manage to wreck the ring, now you have a pure friction folder, not such a bad thing.
     
  12. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76

    49
    Jan 21, 2016
    The ring is fairly firmly secured, and you can't just twist it with finger pressure, the metal is too polished and slick. So I end up using a nail to catch the end of the ring, but that doesn't inspired confidence as you don't get alot of control and it is close enough to the blade to be a concern.

    I will try working in the lock, carefully.
     
  13. Henry Beige

    Henry Beige Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 1, 2015

    I’m sorry. I forgot to mention that you need to remove the lock ring to work on it. The easiest way for me is to use snap ring pliers. Other methods will work, but stand a greater chance of launching the ring into the ether, where you may or may not find it again. If you need to work with the blade open, protect it and yourself with a simple sheath made of cardboard and tape.
     
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  14. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76

    49
    Jan 21, 2016
    I put some Penzoil 10W-30 on the lock and worked it back and forth a few dozen times. It seems to be working better now. I had initially lubed it with 3 in 1 dry lube (teflon), and that didn't seem to be cutting it. It seems you have to grip the lock in the blade slot with your thumb, but it works, and as long as you are careful, the thumb isn't too close to the blade.
     
  15. dantzk8

    dantzk8

    967
    Nov 1, 2005
    As a very long time user here's my advice: dry the knife near (but not too close) a heat source for all a day long. Then sink it in a mix (50/50) of linseed oil and turpentine for a night. As pointed out by r8shell it could be
    a problem of humidity. If it doesn't work then you have a knife made in France. A problem, no solution.

    Dan.
     
  16. biomed

    biomed Gold Member Gold Member

    184
    Dec 30, 2015
    Use mineral oil if you are going to use the knife on any food.
     
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  17. scrteened porch

    scrteened porch Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    I was trying to remember the name of those things, of which I don't have one.

    I was just watching Jacques Pepin harvesting wild mushrooms with a carbon Opinel, at a guess a #8.
     
  18. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76

    49
    Jan 21, 2016
    All my knife blades get a coat of non-toxic CLP.

    When I lubed the locking ring, I just used a tiny amount of oil. I do have some Super Lube extra lightweight oil I could have used, I suppose, and it's non-toxic.
     
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  19. bemymonkey

    bemymonkey

    49
    Nov 12, 2012
    The lock ring being too tight is exactly the problem I was referring to on my No. 12. As it stands it can only be engaged two-handed, and with difficulty at that. Due to the ring being so tight, having the lock fail to keep the blade open is the least of my worries.

    I'll give a few drops of oil a shot...
     
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  20. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76

    49
    Jan 21, 2016
    I got it working OK after a few days of playing around with it. The synthetic motor oil really worked wonders. The locking mechanism isn't that hard to use, once you figure out how to use it (it isn't immediately intuitive).
     
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