The Opinel Black Pocket Knife has a deceptive design. When open, you might be lead to believe that this is a classic steak knife. The wood handle is reminiscent of many steak knives found in kitchen drawers around the world. Save for the serrated edge and the thumb slot, you could be fooled. But the Opinel Pocket Knife is indeed a pocket knife. The blade folds into the handle and is locked in position by the innovative Virobloc safety ring.
Starting with the handle, you start to get a grasp on why this blade is so unique. Opinel used beech wood for the handle because of the hardness and durability of the wood. It is also very homogenous in appearance, with only a minimum of color variance. The numerous small, dark dashes that are natural to beech combine nicely with the black stainless steel used for the blade and ring. The steel used is Sandvik 12C27—a stainless steel modified with chromium to increase its anti-corrosive properties and more carbon to improve its cutting edge.
The Virobloc safety ring was first invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955. The lock has two sections—one fixed and the other sliding. When the ring is slid into the locked position, the blade will be kept open during cutting. When the blade is closed, you can also use the same lock to keep it closed.