Last year I was given 2 Opinel's a No.7 Carbon blade & a No.8 Inox blade(thanks again Tony & Neil).One of the things I REALLY like about Opinel's is their blade locks. In 1955 Marcel Opinel designed the 'twist lock' called the Virobloc & it has been used with minor improvements since 1955. The Virobloc lock is simplicity personified & enables a drum tight blade lock up
I found out about the Cold Steel's Twistmasters here at MTO, Benner is a fan
. Once I got my 2 Opies my interest was sparked in the Twistmaster. Twistmasters were made in 3 sizes small , medium & LARGE.I recently got my medium sized (just under 10cm long) , made in the USA, Twistmaster, I like it
Twistmaster at top , No.8 Opie in the middle & No.7 Opie at the bottom. The Twistmaster is very similar in construction to the Opinels even sharing the high carbon steel blades that many Opies have. Cold Steel call the blade metal Carbon V & go to extreme lengths to warn owners of the risk of the blades getting rusty should you get them wet & store them without drying them
The big differences between the French & American knives are their handle material & the locking ring. The Twistmaster's handle is very solid & gripey, it is made of Zytel , I find it really odd that Opinel has not made a non wooden handled version of these knives,to my knowledge , they have made millions of these knives & will make millions more. I hope they explore different types of materials for their handles at some stage
. Especially so given Cold Steel has not made the Twistmaster range for some time now.
The Twistmaster's lock works in the same way as the Opinel's it's just not quite as refined or smooth as the Opies. Opinel's Virobloc locks in both directions ; clockwise & anticlockwise when twisted.The Twistmaster's only locks in a anticlockwise direction , the Opies lock will also lock the blade in the closed position , the Twistmaster only locks with the blade deployed , not really a issue given the Twistmster's blade is a little stiff to open & highly unlikely to inadvertently open.
I like the bumps on the Cold Steel's lock , they act as a thumb stop/grips when using the knife & are not nearly as slippery as the Opinel's. The not so good aspects of the lock is it seems to be a bit cruder in it's construction compared to the highly refined Virobloc lock & is a LOT harder to twist into the lock position. Note the ridges in the Cold Steel's locking ring at 12 o'clock & 6 o'clock. The Twistmaster's lock does not engage as far as the Opinel's does , I do not think it is a big issue as the lock up is tight & not likely to become unlocked accidentally
. I could file the lock's ramp down a bit more so the lock engages a little further if it becomes a concern.
The Twistmaster has a small raised tab that sits in the lock's groove , I think this tab helps to hold the lock in place on the handle.
I really like this knife & I am looking forward to using it. I gave the edge a strop out of the box & it's now very SHARP
The large version must be a beast
. It is a shame Cold Steel no longer makes these , hopefully Opinel does some plastic handled versions in the future.