L.L. Bean Opinel Number 8

Opinel Knife Reclaims Century-Old Submerged Wood

A collaboration between L.L. Bean and French knifemaker Opinel presents a new knife made from logs preserved under a lake for more than 100 years.

L.L. Bean Opinel Number 8
Logs floated for transport on Moosehead Lake, Maine, in the early 1900s; photo Collections of the Moosehead Historical Society

In the early 1900s, lumberjacks moved logs down rivers and across lakes in massive rafts of timber. A few of those “sluicing” logs sank. The low oxygen levels of the cold water preserved these logs for more than 100 years.

L.L. Bean Opinel Number 8

Today, divers hunt these lost logs to produce submerged lumber. The quality of this wood is enhanced by its long soak, which removes much of the resinous sap. The old-growth timber also tends to have tight annular rings and grain structure.

L.L. Bean – Opinel No. 8 With Submerged Wood Handle

If the idea of a brand new knife with 100-year-old wood in the handle sparks your interest, jump on this Opinel No. 8. At $40, the unique story bumps up the remarkably low Opinel price (the standard No. 8 costs just $15). But it’s still a very affordable blade.

L.L. Bean Opinel Number 8

The No. 8 is a stalwart model that’s proven its worth time and again as a camp knife. The 3.25″ blade is a good size for many tasks, from slicing apples to cleaning small game or whittling a stick around the fire. It’s made of 12c27 Sandvik stainless-steel, which is easily sharpened to a keen edge and has good corrosion resistance.

The blade locks when extended with a rotating safety ring that also locks the knife closed when not in use.

Wood reclaimed from Moosehead Lake in Maine forms the handle. Lumberjacks likely lost the log in the early 20th century. That’s around the same time L.L Bean (1912) and Opinel (1890) were founded.

History buffs and knife nuts alike can preorder one online now.

Sean McCoy
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Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.