OPINEL KNIVES ASSEMBLY AND MATERIAL
capital is still held entirely by the descendents of Joseph Opinel, the
brand’s founder. Located in Chambéry, in the Savoie region of France, Opinel
employs around a hundred people, produces 4 million knives per year and
makes 50% of its turnover from export sales. Since its inception in 1890,
260 million knives have been sold in more than 70 countries across the
Opinel headquarters at the
Chambery la Révériaz
A firm respect
for its mountain traditions has led Opinel to perpetuate its policy of
protecting the environment, in terms of the selection of raw materials,
manufacture of the product and its packaging.
Opinel perpetuate its
policy of protecting the enviroment
To avoid a
negative impact on the environment of securing supplies from distant places
(pollution due to transport, deforestation, etc.), 95% of the wooden handles
produced by Opinel come from French forestry operation
Lugares de Obtención de madera:
In 1872 Birth of Joseph Opinel in Gévoudaz in the Savoie region. Seen here
as a young man, he was a keen photographer, this being his second love after
Joseph Opinel Family,
1890 As an edge tool maker in the Albiez workshop, and
against the advice of his father, Joseph produced the first Opinel knife
models. "Good sense, the feeling of comfort when gripped, the convenience of
being able to put it in your pocket gradually determined the overall shape
of the Opinel knife".In 1897 The series of twelve sizes, numbered 1 to 12,
Joseph Opinel built his first factory in Pont de Gévoudaz and produced a
machine for making the handles. In
Joseph Opinel registered his first
knife-making trademark and chose the "Crowned Hand" as an emblem.
Opinel first trademark,
Crow Hand as an emblem.
start of mass
Joseph Opinel took over an abandoned
tannery (with its waterfall, the Hyères canal) in Cognin, a suburb of
Chambéry, to set up a new factory closer to major communication routes.
From 1920 onwards, installed in the new factory, Joseph successfully led
Opinel’s industrial and commercial development, supported by his two sons
Marcel and Léon.
A fire completely
destroyed the factory, but a modern new factory was rebuilt and opened at
the end of 1927.
Opinel new factory later
than 1926 disaster, completely destroy the factory.
From 1930, Marcel Opinel built special production
machines from scratch. In 1950 Maurice Opinel (the son of Marcel) joined the
business, which now had 50 workers and on 1955
The safety ring was invented. This simple and effective device was a
significant improvement on the original knife.
In 1960, Death of Joseph Opinel at the age of 88.
creation of the
Chambéry La Révériaz factory. Automated production (wood).
At the Chambéry La
Révériaz site, construction of a knife assembly workshop and a logistics
platform. The headquarters and blade and safety catch production workshop
were kept at Cognin.
Opinel was recognised in 1985 as one of the hundred best
designed objects in the world at the “Victoria and Albert Museum”, alongside
the Porsche 911 and the Rolex watch.
The Virobloc safety catch system was modified in 2000 to
ensure safety during carrying (the blade can be locked in the closed
New security lock Virobloc.
In 2006 the “Phaidon Design Classics” the Opinel was
designated as one of the 999 most successful designs of all time by a jury
of international designers.
of wood obtaining:
Cameroon and Gabon
With attractive purplish veining, relatively hard and heavy
Brush-making, tabletterie (ornamental woodenware), cabinet work
for decorative panels
is the hardest of our woods, pinkish yellow, with an even grain.
addition to marquetry and fine sculpture, it is very sought-after for
Far East , China
Very hard and very resistant, pale greyish wood.
Tools, snooker cues, and, in the past, butcher’s
blocks and yokes.
Pale yellow to pale brown wood. Annual hollow vein of varying tightness,
depending on the plantation density.
External woodwork, parquets, doors, panelling, frame structures.
Also used for boat-making, furniture, decorative panels, etc.
Resistant, pearly white with brownish veins.
Tool handles, snooker cues, skis, sledges, cart making or joinery.
Central and Western Europe but present on all three continents of the
White or very pale brown, fine, even grain, with straight lines.
Widely used in furniture, brush-making, toys, parquet, etc.
Hard and resistant, with a brownish pink to yellowish pink colour, with
a fine grain.
Ornamental in parks and gardens. Cabinet work, solid furniture or
veneering. Engraving, toys, rifle butts.
Stable, very fine, reddish brown with greyish veins, fine, even grain.
Cabinet work, sculpture, rifle butts. It also gives green walnut shell
used to dye fabrics and stain light woods.
Asia, then spread from Greece to Provence .
light beige with dark brown veining, even grain.
Excellent for cabinet work and tabletterie (ornamental
woodenware), it is traditionally used to make the pestles, bowls and
spoons that are found in Provence .
Medium-hard brown wood, with a rough grain.
Staircases and solid furniture or veneering.
Different origins, depending on the varieties: Central America ,
. The rarest is Brazilian Rosewood, the trade of which is regulated by
the Washington convention.
Reddish-brown wood with black or purple veins, with a very fine grain.
Used solid or as a veneer for luxury furniture and pianos.
STEEL, AN ENDLESSLY RECYCLABLE MATERIAL
Opinel knife blades are made using steels with a high carbon content, which
is what makes it possible to achieve the excellent hardness after heat
treatment, guaranteeing the good strength of the cutting edge, resistance to
wear and easy sharpening.
Carbon has a low
resistance to corrosion caused by moisture, which means that certain
precautionary measures are necessary when using and storing the knives: we
recommend that you avoid damp environments and that you dry and grease the
blade after use.
The hardnesses obtained
after heat treatment are theoretically slightly greater in steels that do
not contain chrome. The cutting strength is therefore better with a “carbon”
steel and sharpening of carbon steel blades is much easier than sharpening
of stainless steel blades.
The addition of chrome very markedly increases resistance to corrosion
caused by moisture. Steels are then called “stainless” and they can be used
with fewer restrictions. The stainless steel capable of undergoing the heat
treatment that gives it its good hardness is called martensitic. It has a
carbon content of at least 0.40%, giving it a good cutting edge but which
explains why knife blades are not totally corrosion-proof. Only a
carbon-free steel would be, but it would not have the hardness guaranteeing
a good cutting quality and the excellent strength of the cutting edge.
Opinel Stainless steel
STAGES OF PRODUCTION.
are everyday objects, making them involves multiple techniques, which are
actually very complex to apply on an industrial scale; the process involves
making the handles, working and treating the steel, sharpening the blades.
Blade - cutting out
In a single
operation in a 120 T press: the steel strap is cut out, punched with a
groove and the “crowned hand” mark.
Blade – quenching
is conducted in special controlled-atmosphere furnaces, with the
temperature, which is maintained with a precision of 1°C, constantly
indicated on recording tapes.
The carbon steel is heated to a temperature of 900°C and quickly cooled by
“quenching” in a bath of specially refrigerated oil.
This transforms the internal structure of the steel.
The effect of quenching is to make the steel very hard and very brittle.
Quenching is "softened" by a ”tempering” operation, consisting of heating
the blades up again to a temperature of around 300°C and then leaving them
to cool slowly in air.
The blade then takes on a lovely blue colour. The steel has become very hard
and can now only be worked using an abrasive grinder, with liquid spraying.
Stainless steels with a high chrome content undergo a different type of heat
treatment. Among other operations, they must be heated to at least 1050°C to
transform their internal structure.
Obviously, the hardness of treated components is also constantly checked
on-site, using devices to measure the Rockwell hardness.
Blade - grinding
sharpening of each side of the knife is performed continuously, with each
blade put in position, then pressed onto the grinder by a handling robot.
Blade - polishing
fitted with fine-grained grinders
Removal of grease by ultrasound.
Made from wood
squares by 9 moulding machines:
cutting to length , safety catch fitting, moulding, bevelling of ends,
sawing of slit, sanding, varnishing, marking.
Opinel penknives handles
ready to Assembly.
The knife is
finally ready to be assembled, with the blade and the safety catch.
of Opinel penknives.
A series of
checks is performed at each of the major stages in production, generally by
sampling, and each product is individually checked at the end of assembly.
Some products randomly sampled after production undergo fatigue tests to
measure the cutting quality, its durability and its resistance.