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Opinel Slim Series Fillet Knife Review

Opinel knives have been around for a while. Originally developed by Joseph Opinel in Savoie, France in 1890, they were originally intended to be simple working man’s knives. In a way, they still are. The Opinel knives of today are unfussy, affordable, and have changed little since the 19th century. 

I recently picked up an Opinel No.10 Slim Series knife. It’s very similar to the original Opinel, but with some modifications that make it well-suited as a fillet knife. My old Rapala 4″ Fish’n Fillet Knife, after 20-plus years of faithful service, was beginning to show its age, so that’s exactly what I needed.

Opinel Slim Series: First Impressions

Opinel’s knives have never been about aesthetics, though there is something elegant about their simplicity. That said, they’re known for their basic, unadorned design, with simple collar locks and unfinished beech wood handles. 

I have no problem with any of that, but I was happy to see that the Opinel Slim Series knives are a little more artfully designed than their forebears. While all the basic elements of an Opinel are there, both the blade and the handle have an elongated, gracefully curved shape. It fits my hand beautifully, and it’s light as a feather. 

It’s simply a beautiful knife. Typical of Opinels, you can get these in various sizes, with numbers representing the length of the blade in centimeters. You can also get a few different handle wood options. 

Measurements & Specs

The blade of the Opinel Slim Series No.10 measures—you guessed it—10 cm, or just a hair under 4 inches. Its full open length is about 8.8 inches, and it’s about 4.9 inches closed. The blade is made of Sandvik 12C27 Stainless Steel, and the handle (mine, anyway) is padauk wood. Beech and olive wood handles are also available. 

It weighs about 1.4 ounces, which might sound impossibly light if you’ve never held an Opinel knife. But if you have, then you know these things are about as close as a knife gets to being weightless. They’re often considered to be good hiking knives for that reason. 

Blade Shape & Steel

Typical of a fillet knife, the Opinel Slim Series has a blade that is long, narrow and thin. It’s designed to cut through and around bone, so it needs to be sharp and flexible. It’s both, easily passing a paper test right out of the box and continuing to do so after I’ve cleaned a few fish with it. 

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In place of the clip point blade you’ll find on a classic Opinel, the Slim Series has a trailing point blade; the spine is straight along most of its length, but arcs gently upward at the tip. Again, it’s well-designed for its intended purpose. The blade comes to an exceptionally fine point, which is good for piercing. 

Sandvik 12c27 is not a high-end steel by any means. It’s pretty cheap stuff, which isn’t too shocking when you consider how affordable Opinel knives are. That being said, it has some good qualities. 

It’s a very old steel alloy that contains a high amount of chromium (around 14%), making it exceptionally corrosion-resistant. It has good wear-resistance too, so it keeps an edge nicely. It’s also reasonably easy to sharpen compared to many other high-chromium stainless steels. Originating in Sweden, Sandvik 12c27 is really quite ideal for a filet knife. It’s also commonly used to make razor blades. 

Locking & Deployment

The Opinel Slim Series has a collar lock, also known as a ring lock, which is one of those “it is what it is” features. Sure, there are better knife locks in the world, but the collar lock is essentially Opinel’s calling card at this point. It would be weird if it didn’t have one, and you pretty much know what you’re getting. 

The lock can be slid back and forth between “locked” and “unlocked” one-handed with your thumb, but the blade cannot be deployed one-handed. It’s an old-school friction folder, which predates the invention of the slipjoint, so you’ll need to grasp the spine of the blade and pull it all the way out and around. Rotating the collar will lock the blade in either the open or closed position. It’s charmingly old-fashioned, though definitely not a fidget knife. 

For me, it’s also not really a pocket knife, because the lock, when in the closed position, isn’t quite tight enough to keep the very tip of the blade from peeking out of its channel within the handle. My fillet knife lives in my tackle box, so that isn’t a huge issue. But the lackluster lock really creates the possibility of cutting yourself when reaching into your pocket for the knife.

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Handle & Grip

The handle of the Opinel Slim Series No.10 is thoroughly comfortable. It has a very ergonomic contour, and the blade channel is unnoticeable against my palm. It’s quite nimble as well, making finely detailed tasks (i.e. filleting fish) easy and comfortable. Although it has no grip texture to speak of, the natural wood does a nice job holding tight in my hand, even in wet conditions. 

Speaking of which, the padauk wood used to make the handle has excellent water resistance, at least by wood standards, so it’s less inclined to expand or crack with prolonged and repeated water exposure. It’s beautiful wood too, with a warm reddish color and handsome grain. Of course, wood is still wood, so it’s by no means waterproof. Dry it after each use, and oil it periodically to keep it in good condition. 

Final Thoughts on the Opinel Slim Series

I bought this knife with a specific purpose in mind, and I really like it for that purpose. Most fillet knives are fixed-blades, and this is one of the best folding fillet knives I’ve seen. Everything about it, from the shape and sharpness of the blade to the types of steel and wood used, make it an ideal fishing knife. 

Like all Opinels, the Slim Series knives are almost jarringly old-fashioned if you’re not used to them. There are a lot of folks who absolutely adore Opinel knives, and there are also plenty of people who hate them. 

I tend to fall somewhere between those two camps. This isn’t a knife I would reach for on a day-to-day basis. It’s not at all heavy-duty (although it is quite a bit more sturdy than it looks in pictures) and I wouldn’t want to have to rely on it as my sole blade. But it performs beautifully when it comes to skinning, gutting, filleting and deboning fish, as well as other food prep.

For what it’s worth, the Opinel Slim Series No.10 is just the right size for cleaning fish like panfish, trout and small bass. For larger fish, Opinel makes these knives all the way up to No.15. 

The Best-Selling Opinel Knives On Amazon Right Now:

Bestseller No. 1
Opinel No.08 Carbon Steel Folding Pocket Knife with Beechwood Handle, Brown (2540089)
  • This essential tool is unchanged since 1890 and is a must have for outdoorsmen and handymen alike
  • The Stainless Virobloc safety ring has two sections, one fixed and one sliding for secure locking
  • Opinel’s carbon steel is extremely hard, thereby guaranteeing excellent cutting quality
  • Handle is made from hard, durable Beechwood from France
  • Opinel products are guaranteed under normal use and exchanged in case of manufacturing defects
SaleBestseller No. 2
Opinel No.08 Stainless Steel Folding Knife with Beechwood Handle
  • This essential tool is unchanged since 1890 and is a must have for outdoorsmen and handymen alike
  • The Stainless Virobloc safety ring has two sections, one fixed and one sliding for secure locking
  • Opinel’s stainless steel blades are made of Sandvik 12C27 modified stainless steel
  • Handle is made from hard, durable Beechwood from France
  • Opinel products are guaranteed under normal use and exchanged in case of manufacturing defects
Bestseller No. 3
OPINEL – Complete Picnic+ Set – Folding Pocket Knife No. 08 + 2 Inserts, Fork and Spoon + 1 Microfibre Towel Case – Made in France
  • The must-have for your on-the-go meals: Designed and designed in collaboration with the designer Franck Fontana, the Picnic+ set contains all the utensils you need to eat comfortably, whether in the office, picnic, bivvvy, camping.
  • SET CONTENTS – Smart, durable and practical, Picnic+ contains the iconic Opinel N 08 beech wood pocket knife, two inserts, a fork and a spoon, attaching to the handle of the knife, and a clever microfibre towel case that serves as a storage and cleaner.
  • Stainless steel inserts: both inserts are made of stainless steel, which ensures comfort in the mouth, hygiene and robustness. If you already have an N 08 knife, check out the Picnic+ accessories offered without the knife.
  • EASY FIXING: To fix the fork or spoon, take the knife with the blade in the closed position, and open the ferrule. Attach the fork or spoon to the ferrule in the small gaps, and close the ferrule… the insert is attached
  • OPINEL QUALITY: In 1890, in a small village of Maurienne in Savoie, Joseph Opinel invented the pocket knife that today bears his name. OPINEL is always run by its descendants and produces products whose quality has made the brand reputation for nearly 130 years.
Bestseller No. 4
Opinel No8 Trekking Stainless Steel Locking Folding Knife With Leather Lace and Kahaki Green Dyed Hornbeam Wood, 8.5 Centimeter Blade
  • Minimal Packaging: Opinel Knives are traditionally sold without any retail packaging to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Knives have been minimally packaged in clear plastic zip bags, fitted to the size of the knife
  • This knife features the Virobloc safety rings. Invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, the Virobloc safety ring is fitted to all folding knives sizes No6 through No12. Cut out of stainless steel, the Virobloc has two sections, one fixed and one sliding
  • In addition to locking the blade open (safety while in Use), it is now possible to lock the blade closed (safety on the Go)
  • Easy to clean knives with a stainless steel blade are highly resistant and can be easily cleaned with a sponge, warm water and dishwashing liquid
  • Strength and resistance from woodwork to steelwork, as well as new materials like top-of-the-range synthetic polymers, our knives are designed to last a lifetime and will often be passed down from father to son
Bestseller No. 5
Opinel No.08 Stainless Steel Folding Knife with Olive Wood Handle
  • Iconic French design that’s versatile and suited to a wide variety of cutting tasks
  • Stainless steel blade made from Sandvik steel provides an excellent cutting edge and superior corrosion resistance
  • The mythical tree of the Mediterranean ! This hard wood has a yellow to orange appearance and has a dense and often tortuous veining. Soft to the touch it has a nice polish.
  • Patented Vibrobloc Locking System locks the blade in the closed or open position as needed
  • Stamped with the “Crowned Hand” — Joseph Opinel’s chosen maker’s mark — to guarantee authenticity
SaleBestseller No. 6
Opinel No.08 Stainless Steel Folding Knife with Sheath
  • This essential tool is unchanged since 1890 and is a must have for outdoorsmen and handymen alike
  • The Stainless Virobloc safety ring has two sections, one fixed and one sliding for secure locking
  • Opinel’s stainless steel blades are made of Sandvik 12C27 modified stainless steel
  • Handle is made from hard, durable Beechwood from France
  • Opinel products are guaranteed under normal use and exchanged in case of manufacturing defects
Bestseller No. 7
Opinel N°06 Pocket Folding Knife – Stainless Steel – Safety Ring (Green Sage)
  • Minimal Packaging: Opinel Knives are traditionally sold without any retail packaging to reduce waste and promote sustainability. Knives have been minimally packaged in clear plastic zip bags, fitted to the size of the knife.
  • This knife features the Virobloc safety rings. Invented by Marcel Opinel in 1955, the Virobloc safety ring is fitted to all folding knives sizes No6 through No12. Cut out of stainless steel, the Virobloc has two sections, one fixed and one sliding
  • In addition to locking the blade open (safety while in Use), it is now possible to lock the blade closed (safety on the Go).
  • Easy to clean knives with a stainless steel blade are highly resistant and can be easily cleaned with a sponge, warm water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Strength and resistance from woodwork to steelwork, as well as new materials like top-of-the-range synthetic polymers, our knives are designed to last a Lifetime and will often be passed down from father to son
Bestseller No. 8
Opinel Picnic+ Cutlery Insert Set for No. 8 Folding Pocket Knives, Fork and Spoon Insert, Micro Fiber Napkin, Made in France
  • DITCH THE DISPOSABLE: The Picnic+ cutlery inserts are smart and durable accessories for on-the-go meals and camp cooking. Part of our Nomad Cooking Collection, you can ditch the disposable cutlery and replace it with our Picnic+ set
  • MINIMALIST AL FRESCO TOOL: Perfect for hiking, weekend picnics, or just everyday lunches, the Picnic+ set utilizes the Virobloc safety ring on our No.08 folding knife to hold the fork and/or spoon insert in place
  • MEALS ANYWHERE: Specifically designed to be lightweight and versatile, the Nomad collection is made up of a range of products that will make eating outdoors easy!
  • COMPATIBILITY: Fork and spoon inserts compatible with all wooden handled No.08 folding knives equipped with the Virobloc safety ring. Picnic+ inserts are NOT compatible with No.08 Slim knives, No.08 Gardening knife and No.08 Mushroom knife
Bestseller No. 9
Opinel No.7 Folding Chestnut and Garlic Knife, European Chestnut Wood Handle, 12C27 Stainless Steel Blade
  • Tool Fit for Food and More: The No.07 Chestnut and Garlic knife is very versatile, it makes a very precise whittling knife, cutting small and intricate designs into any wood. Use it in the kitchen, as a box opener, or even as a garlic peeler
  • Drop Point Blade: Snub nose blade makes it very agile for precise, small cuts. Easily remove pits from apricots, plums, and other stone fruits; peel garlic at the campsite kitchen, or score and peel chestnuts before roasting them on an open fire.
  • Sturdy Folder: The No.07 Chestnut knife features our Virobloc safety ring holding the blade open while in use, or locks shut during transportation. The blade is 12C27 Sandvic Stainless Steel making it very low-maintenance and will hold a sharp edge.
  • European Chestnut Handle: Bright, light, and sustainably harvested Chestnut wooden handles, housing the 1 ½” blade when not in use. Hand wash, air dry.
  • An Icon of French EDC: Produced in the heart of the French Alps since 1890, Opinel pocket knives draw simplicity and durability from their mountain roots. The Opinel folding knife has been adopted worldwide and is recognized as a design icon.
Bestseller No. 10

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