Bring Me Back Something French: My Opinel #9 and Why You Should Carry a Knife

Christmas was crazy when I was a kid.  Food, driving all over town, snow, tons of family members, toys of course and more sugar over a few day period than I was allowed to eat for the entire year.  As crazy as the days were for my brother and I there were constants.  Country ham, snickerdoodle cookies, presents wrapped in the same cordless phone box every year, Home Alone, The Christmas Story, random relatives and my grandfather’s pocketknife.  It was a brown, wood handled, buck folding knife like the one seen below.  He brought it out every year to open packages, boxes, and bags, and it was a thing of beauty.  As a kid I remember thinking that I could not wait until I was old enough to carry a knife.

This is what my grandfather’s knife looked like. I wish I would have had the wherewithal as a kid to keep it after he died.

Eventually I was old enough (in theory) to have my own knife, which I bought with my allowance at the gift shop in Mammoth Cave National Park in my home state of Kentucky.  It was a piece of crap but I loved it.  I also remember cutting myself multiple times with it over the first weekend in which I owned it.  I could tell you exactly what it looked like, but like many others, it did not last long in my possession.

When I was about twelve I was wading in a creek catching minnows and crawdads, a favorite pastime, when I found a Boy Scout knife in the muddy bottom.  I took it to my dad who let it soak in something that took the rust off of car parts and it cleaned the knife off beautifully.  I have not seen that knife in years.

At one point I decided I wanted a Swiss Army knife, the big one with all the tools.  I saved up and bought it at a sporting goods store that no longer exists.  I used all the tools, except the corkscrew and eventually lost both the tweezers and the toothpick.

A girlfriend once gave me a lame Christmas present of a mini Swiss Army knife along with a University of Cincinnati hat which was an extremely odd choice (I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns which would necessitate an entire rack.  What am I gonna do with a gun rack?).  The knife lasted longer than the hat, but again I have no idea where it is today.

I have purchased roughly one hundred cheap knives at Wal-Mart for various fishing and camping adventures, all of which are broken or lost today.

This year I found the pocketknife equivalent of my wife, which is to say my knife soulmate,  in my Opinel #9.  It has the classic look of the knife my grandfather carried, the simplicity of my first pocketknife, and the durability of the most expensive knives out there.  It only cost me about twelve bucks and I carry it with me everywhere I go.  There are a ton of different sizes, I chose the #9 because it was bigger and though it is a bit bulky for an every day carry knife because of the rounded handle, it still fits nicely in my back pocket right next to my wallet, I often forget that it is even there.  It does requires a little maintenance because of the fact that the blade is carbon steel (it needs to be soaked in mineral oil from time to time) but it is a great knife that I highly recommend.  I feel pretty confidant in saying that Opinel knives are France’s greatest contribution to the rest of the world, well at least top five.

My Opinel #9. A great knife.

Every man must carry a knife.  For one it is a versatile tool, you can do everything from eat an apple like a mountain man, to open a package, fashion something out of wood, or clean a fish if needed.  The list of uses is endless.  A good knife is also just as much an accessory or conversation piece as it is a tool.  Your knife should be an essential when you walk out the door like your wallet, car keys, and whatever else it is that you carry with you every day.  Don’t think that because you work in an office that you do not have a need for a knife; once you start carrying one you will realize all of the possible uses.  There is a knife out there for every kind of guy.  Are you an outdoorsy kind of guy?  Rugged? Bearded? Try a buck knife or something from Case XX, or maybe find an awesome fixed blade (please don’t carry a fixed blade knife to work).  Are you a computer guy?  In the office all the time?  Try a Benchmade or Spyderco.  Are you a handyman?  Always looking for the right tool?  Try a Leatherman or another multi-tool.  Are you an executive?  Do you wear a suit to work?  Do you care about style and fashion?  Then you must have a Douk-Douk knife from Bench and Loom.

Actually, it doesn’t matter if you care about fashion, this Douk-Douk knife is just plain awesome. So is everything else from Bench and Loom

There is a knife out there for everyone, regardless of your type of manliness, yes there are many ways to be a man.  Many people are afraid of knives and not without reason.  Knives are serious weapons in certain situations, and should be carried with caution and thoughtfulness.  I have no intention to ever use my knife in a fight, one because I am a pacifist (the topic of another post) and two because I have no desire to ever be stabbed*, which I think is a pretty good reason to never use a knife in a fight..  A knife is not always a weapon, but it is always a useful tool.  So start searching the country for your perfect knife.  Also, don’t go out and buy the most expensive or shiniest knife you can find, put some thought into it, do your research, find out if there is an old knife in the family somewhere or if there is a knife company out there that fits your personality.  After all it isn’t just a knife, it is your new best friend.

Got a knife you love? Let us know what you carry and why it’s great in the comments.

 More Pocket Knife Stuff

Every Day Carry– A simple idea.  People send in pictures of the things that they carry with them every day, which often includes pocket knives.

Opinel Knives– A French company, click on the English version

*Being stabbed is on my list of things to never experience.  Other items on that list include but are not limited to, kidney stones, being shot, being bitten by a king cobra (though seeing a king cobra is on my bucket list) going to a Kenny G concert, being stranded on an island full of dinosaurs off the coast of Costa Rica, meeting Kathie Griffin, going to a Rascal Flatts concert, and having a hernia (again).

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10 Comments on “Bring Me Back Something French: My Opinel #9 and Why You Should Carry a Knife”

  1. Thomas Benefield
    May 15, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    I have carried a knife with me for years, but I always get stymied when I go to a baseball or basketball game. It’s just another thing in my pocket. I forget that it’s there, and then I’m stuck at the gate with the people giving me the side-eye. What do you suggest?

    • curtisrrogers
      May 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

      Thomas,
      I have never actually had that problem as I don’t think that any of the stadiums that I go to actually pat you down before entering. Actually, I do believe Yankee Stadium did but I have only been there once. It is an unfortunate situation that some crazy people out there have ruined it for the rest of us but I guess the only way to solve the problem is to know if you will be searched ahead of time. Let me know if you think of something, and thanks for reading the site.

  2. May 15, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    When we moved to Alabama two years ago, I told my wife I needed a pickup truck and a knife. So, she bought me a knife. It’s a small Case that fits in my pocket without announcing its presence too obviously. A (former) friend who grew up on a farm near here took one look at it and announced: “I believe they call that a PEANUT.” I surrendered my Man Card on the spot, earning it back only after reciting 10 “Roll Tide’s” and a “War Eagle.”

    • curtisrrogers
      May 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      Dave,
      See I would have to disagree with your (former) friend. It is not about the flashiness of a larger knife, it is about the practicality of the one you carry. Without trying to sound too much like a euphemism the size of the knife in no way reflects the masculinity of a man. Some guys might need to carry a bowie knife with them, but others might get by on a small case. Also, you should probably stop hanging out with Alabama fans. Thanks for reading!

  3. Bubba Q
    February 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    I still have all of my grandfather’s knives, although I don’t carry them. Too sentimental for daily use. I do however carry an Opinel #8 and a Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker. I keep the Opi next to my wallet, and have it for more heavy duty type of stuff(cutting rope, food, camping, etc.) and the Super Tinker next to my Zippo and Parker Jotter. Opinels are good solid workhorses and the handle is very comfortable. I really like the locking ring because once you twist it, it almost becomes like a fixed blade knife. I’ve had mine since X-mas 2011 and don’t leave home without it (or my Super Tinker). They really are France’s one good contribution to the world, next to cheese. Bon Oui!

    • curtisrrogers
      February 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      I wish I would have had the awareness as a kid to now to keep my grandpa’s knife. I love my opinel, it offers the best in function and form. Some guys I have talked to said that it is too bulky, but like you, I think it fits perfectly next to my wallet. Running it over a stone a few times gets it razor sharp too. I am sold on opinels for life. I even saw that they make various models of different woods, I have had my eye on the olive wood opinel for quite some time. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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