Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife Review: Simple But Good

Like lots of people who were in scouts, I have carried a folding knife with me since I was a kid and continue to do so to this day. It is not uncommon for me to have 1 to 3 different knives on me to fulfill a different task.

One thing that I have been lacking as of late is a nice folding knife that I can dedicate to whittling various sized pieces of wood. My other knives can do it, but they are a little too thick to be effective.

The Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife fills the rolls that my other pocket knives just can’t do. This knife is thin enough that you can easily strip away wood at a rapid pace and uses high quality steel that stays sharp for a long period of time. Plus, at the price that these are sold, you will be hard pressed to find a better knife in the same price range.

Quick Stats

SteelXC90 Carbon Steel
Rockwell Hardness (RC)57-59
Comes SharpYes
Sharp Edge After 30 MinYes
Average Price$15 – $20
Recommended for BeginnersYes

What I Liked

I’m not going to hide the fact that I really like this knife. I like it so much that I purchased an additional sheath to carry this knife on my belt every day and it sits right next to my multi-tool wherever I go.

From knife tip to handle base, this knife has a bunch of features that make it perfect for a folding whittling knife for just about anyone!

Quality Steel

Opinel uses XC90 Carbon Steel on this specific knife series, so if you see the word “carbone” on the side of the knife it is made with carbon steal.

This is a step up from their normal stainless steel knives which is a bit softer on the RC hardness scale. The Carbon series will have a much better edge retention and you can keep whittling for much longer.

Now, there is one downside to using a steel with more carbon in it. This knife has a higher chance to patina and rust if not properly taken care of. Just wipe and clean your knife after use and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Razor Sharp Out of the Box

My knife that I received in was paper slicing sharp right out of the box. I didn’t have any need to hone the blade to start whittling away at a few basswood blocks.

These knives come from the manufacture sharp from tip to base and is immediately ready to use. The knife has a mostly flat grind on both sides and a small double bevel on the cutting edge.

Sharpening is easy and I have only needed a leather strop to keep it razor sharp after use.


I have a knife sheath designed for a 4″ folding knife that I place this in, but this is a small enough knife that you can just put in your pocket and go.

The handle is round, but it isn’t obnoxious when sitting in your pocket. Plus, since the handle is made of beachwood, it is super light weight and wont weigh down your pocket like other full metal design knives.

Comfortable Handle

If a knife handle isn’t comfortable, it isn’t likely that I will be using it for very long.

This knifes cigar shaped handle is super comfortable to hold on to and fits in my hand just right. I have no problems getting a firm grip on the knife and can easily whittle with it for hours.

Super Simple Blade Lock Design

I wasn’t sure how I would like the twist lock design at first, but now that I have used it I absolutely love it. Of all the locking knives I have used, this is the simplest and most reliable design.

Not once did I ever have to worry about the knife blade coming loose, or the safety disengaging on me. This locking mechanism has the added benefit of locking the blade in place with zero movement.

Another awesome feature is the twist lock can hold your knife closed as well! This will prevent your knife from opening in your pocket and is somewhat child-proof as well.

Affordable Price

I think that I speak for just about everyone, I want a nice and effective knife that isn’t going to cost me a lot of money.

The Opinel Carbon Steel Folding Knife series checks off all the boxes for a general whittling knife, and the price of the knife can’t be beat. I picked up my #7 knife for $15 shipped to my door and is worth every penny.

Super Thin Blade

Yes, that picture above is the side profile of the knife. Take another look and you can see the thin line that is the knife.

This thin blade allows you to effortlessly slice through wood. My Leatherman Charge and CRKT M21-14 just can’t compare when it comes to whittling. Those knives have a much thicker blade that makes it harder to make thin controlled slices with.

What I Didn’t Like

Even for a $15 knife, there was very little that I didn’t like. These are primarily nitpicky and easily remedied. None of these “issues” will stop me from carrying my Opinel and using it for whittling.

Blade Length

When whittling, you generally want a smaller blade length for more control and to add detailed cuts. The #7 Carbon Steel knife that I have is 3 – 1/8″ long, that is a bit longer than some sloyd knives on the market!

I still find it easy to whittle with and have adapted to using a longer blade much easier than I thought I would. These knives are still great for an every day whittler and just a fraction of the cost of other dedicated whittling knifes like the FlexCut Whittlin’ Jack.

Minor Chip Out of the Box

Only one thing really bothered me when using my knife for the first time, that was a very small and hardly noticeable chip in the knife edge.

I literally couldn’t see it or feel the defect in the blade, but whenever I made a slice into the wood I could see this long line on this smooth freshly cut surface.

After a few minutes of honing the knife on a leather strop with some polishing compound, the nick went away and all my cuts were nice and smooth.

More Prone to Rust

Because the knife is made of high carbon steel, you sacrifice some of the corrosion resistance for hardness. This can lead to the knife rusting if water sits on the blade for too long.

This is easily remedied by wiping off the knife after use and applying a thin layer of oil like 3-in-1 oil at the end of the day. I haven’t had an issue with mine nor do I oil mine too often. Just normal maintenance is all you need.

Best Places to Buy Your Opinel Folding Knives

I have found 3 excellent sources for these knives and you should check them all out to see who has the best price shipped to you. I personally have found Ebay to be the best price since I don’t have Amazon Prime.

Keep in mind, if you want the versions with a locking blade, select a number 6 or larger knife. The smaller versions do not have the locking blade.


This is the go to for most people, and I always see them for a good price on here. Sometimes you have to pay shipping on top of the price listed but that would depend on the seller. Click here to check out Amazon for Opinel Knives.


My preferred place to buy this knife is on Ebay as you can find it shipped for the listing price on Amazon. If you want to check out the current prices, click here: https://ebay.to/2DAvbQu

Knife Country USA

A wonderful option to buy these knives is the family owned and operated Knife Country USA. Their entire focus is on knives and have just about anything you could want and need that relates to knives. Click here to check out their selection of Opinel Carbon Steel Folding knives.

More Knife Reviews

If you want to see more knives I reviewed, click the link below and find what whittling knife is best for you!

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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