Opinel Lays Groundwork for New Projects with No. 8 Black Oak

Opinel is releasing the latest version of their best-selling No. 8 model, dubbed the No. 8 Black Oak. The company believes this new variant points towards exciting long-term plans for Opinel.

The Black Oak is a simple addition to the No. 8 repertoire. “The Black Oak knife is about blending our classic No. 8 with a new design-forward trend, pairing light wood with a black locking ring and blade,” explains Opinel’s Alex Delecroix. The goal with the Black Oak is to play up the visual appeal of the Opinel knife in a modern way. “We see this appealing to design lovers who want a knife that looks beautiful, but that is also practical and meant to be used.” The anodization process used on the blade and locking collar does offer some minor performance benefits compared to a standard stainless steel No. 8. “It’s mainly a cosmetic choice, but the treatment does help prevent corrosion of the stainless steel over time, too.”

Delecroix acknowledges the differences between Opinel’s approach and that of many modern knife companies. Some outfits churn through dozens of new models in a year, but Opinel maintains a core product that hasn’t changed dramatically since the locking collar was added to it in 1955. “There’s a reason our folding knives haven’t changed much in decades: They’re beautiful, practical, and well-made,” Delecroix explains. But the company recognizes that changes need to come, and is working on ways to do that while respecting the traditions that made them successful in the first place. “In the case of the Black Oak, playing with ways that modern design trends can be applied to this knife that’s been around since 1890,” Delecroix adds.

Other companies have seen success with products that target specific niches in the knife world, and Opinel will adapt in that way too. They’re working on the Nomad Kit, a set of blades specifically for cooking at campsites. “It bridges the two worlds our knives live in, outdoor adventures, and culinary kitchen tools,” Delecroix says. Further undisclosed collaborations with both designers and artists will continue to push Opinel products in new directions.

Opinel is also expanding its production capabilities at its Savoie, France headquarters. The mechanical expansions come on the heels of increased international demand for Opinel products. “We’re expanding our factory in France even more later this year to fulfill worldwide orders,” Delecroix notes. “Opinel is extremely well known in France, and we’re excited to see more and more people learning about the brand outside of our home country.”

Knife featured in image: Opinel No. 8 Black Oak

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