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In 1985 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London published its “Good Design Guide”, a collection of the “100 most beautiful products in the world”. One of those products is the Opinel knife. It is also exhibited by the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) as a masterpiece of design, alongside other industrial objects which have defied time. The simple but ingenious design, which has remained virtually unchanged for a century or more, is widely felt to have made the Opinel into something of a design classic.

Opinels are light to carry and not expensive to replace if lost.The models with carbon steel blades do require a certain amount of maintenance (regular sharpening and oiling of the blade to prevent corrosion), but if looked after well they will last a long time, and the steel blade and wooden handle acquire a pleasing patina with age. One of the foremost advantages of this simplicity of design and manufacture is the low price – other “classic” knives such as theLaguiole and Nontron knife are very expensive – which makes it possible to own several knives, perhaps in different sizes, colours or materials. The Opinel is cheap enough to be marketed in boxed presentation sets or as a corporate gift. Some owners even use their knives as raw materials for their own creative efforts, decorating the wooden handle with pokerwork or carving it into fantastical designs of their own invention. Opinel created the “Opinel wide handle” models aka “les ébauche” to cater to knife carvers.  The traditional beech handle takes stains well, and is easily worked to a person’s liking with common sandpaper.

-Article from Wiki