Opinel has just teamed up with L.L.Bean to offer an exclusive new version of the Opinel No. 8 with a meaningful connection to the outdoor apparel retailer. Called the Moosehead Knife, it dresses up the classic No. 8 pattern with handles made from 100 year old maple reclaimed from Moosehead Lake in Maine, L.L.Bean’s home state.
The maple on the Moosehead Knife was pulled from the floor of Moosehead Lake (shown below) and shipped to France, where Opinel crafted it into these knives. Opinel produces knives in a range of sizes, but the No. 8 is particularly revered for its ease of carry and versatile 3.25-inch blade.
L.L.Bean might not be a knife guy’s go-to retailer but the company has sold blades from the very beginning. “Since our inception, we have offered a variety of knives for the outdoorsman, both L.L.Bean-branded as well as additional brands, and they continue to be immensely popular,” says L.L.Bean’s Ryan Larsen. The company even releases a Collector’s Knife each year for aficionados.
Today, with over 25 retail locations and outlets, and plans to expand to over 100 by 2020, L.L.Bean is a growing channel to the consumer. But it also holds marketing clout since it puts knives in front of mainstream buyers who might otherwise never see them. Their selection also includes models made by Böker, Benchmade, Buck, Gerber, and Spyderco. Opinel was first added to the assortment in July 2016.
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Making knives out of reclaimed and recycled materials is an established practice. Last year, Victorinox used recycled Nespresso coffee capsules for a run of Pioneers, and Bloodroot Blades incorporates all manner of customer-supplied goods into their knives. On the historic front, Ernest Emerson has worked with wood from George Washington’s farm, and Atelier JHP specializes in 5,000 year-old bog wood from France’s Brière wetland.
The Moosehead Knife is now available online and at all L.L.Bean retail locations. The knife is not a limited run. Larsen says that other sizes in the reclaimed maple are not out of the realm of possibility. “We have discussed further opportunities if the customers respond. Our supply chain is in place to make this happen in a relatively quick time frame if needed.”
Knife featured in image: Opinel Moosehead Knife