Knife blocks are available in a wide array of materials. In addition to the standard counter top wooden knife block, you can use a drawer mounted or a magnetized strip to store your knives. These units protect your kitchen knives from dulling and damage caused by banging against other utensils.
Why Get A Knife Block?
Knife blocks give you a place to store your knives. This will protect you from reaching into a drawer and getting a nasty surprise from an unexpected blade. It will also protect your knives from dings and dents caused by bumping against other knives.
To keep your knives sharp, it's important to keep them separate from other blades.
Knives are made of steel of varying hardness. In addition, handles can be made of heavy plastic, wood, or stainless steel. Softer steel blades can be damaged by hard steel exposure, and bumps against handles can cause dull spots on the edge of your knife blades, resulting in awkward cuts and difficult handling.
How Well Do They Work?
A wooden knife block can easily protect your knives from most damage. If you hand-wash your knives, simply wipe them dry with a towel and store the knife it its own slot.
Drawer insert knife blocks are an ideal choice if you have the space. Your knives can stay protected from damage and tucked out of sight in a tidy wooden rack, sized to fit most kitchen drawers.
Types Of Knife Blocks
Hardwood Or Bamboo Knife Block?
Wooden knife blocks are available in a variety of stains and colors. Bamboo is a lightweight lumber product, built and glued into sandwiched layers of grain and stained for a striking look your your countertop.
Because bamboo can be compressed, it can also be curved. Modern knife blocks offer open blade storage and an architectural appeal in traditional wood tones.
Hardwoods such as walnut, beech, acacia and maple provide different tones and solid blocks of color. The wood grain on these knife blocks is particularly unique. Working with local artisans can give you the chance to purchase a one of a kind knife block.
Magnetic Knife Block
Magnetic blocks are often long strips of magnet inside a bracket built to be fastened to the wall. These magnetic strips suspend your knives where they can be quickly accessed.
Be sure to plan this location carefully; while the clear space of wall behind your stove look like an ideal spot to hang your knife bar, having to reach across your hot stove for a knife could be hazardous. Also, if you drop a knife, you'll have to move the stove to retrieve it.
Another magnetic option for knife storage is the drop down tray, which fastens to the underside of an upper cabinet. Lower the tray, and your knives are neatly laid out and held in place by powerful magnets.
These units are generally built with extremely stiff hinges and held in place by friction, but some have catches that must be fastened to keep the tray elevated. You'll need to review your cabinet configuration to make sure you purchase and can easily install the best unit for your home.
Floating Knife Blocks
Floating knife blocks offer tremendous visual appeal for a few select knives. These panels are free-standing units in a variety of materials with a powerful magnetic insert inside the knife block.
The outer layer of the panel can be any material, even wood. Your knives will appear to hang suspended on the block. If you have the counter space, this tool is a real conversation starter!
Cooks who prefer a more modern look will enjoy a clear knife block. These units feature a rack on the top for handles to rest on, and a clear box on the bottom for displaying the blades. These units can also feature clear panels held together with visible metal fasteners for a striking visual effect.
If you're a fan of a more whimsical decor, you can even purchase animal-themed knife blocks. These units are often ceramic, and have a durable plastic knife block inserted within the decorative ceramic piece.
Drawer Knife Block
For those of us with limited counter space, in drawer trays are built to keep your knives resting on the blade edge and separated from one another. The majority of these pieces are made of bamboo, and are narrow enough to be set up in series for those with several kitchen knives.
Review The Base
Be sure to select a knife block with stable rubber feet. You don't want your knife block sliding around while you're trying to put your knives away.
A tipping knife block results in a lot of sharp metal sliding onto the counter or floor!
Additionally, get a block with enough weight to stand upright when fully loaded. While a well-built knife should have enough blade material and length to balance out, wooden-handled knives can be quite heavy at the handle end.
Select a knife block to suit your decor. If counter space real estate is precious, a drop down magnetized panel or in drawer unit may be your best bet.
Whatever you do, don't leave your knives to bump around together in a drawer; you'll lose cutting power because of dings and risk cutting yourself because you have to force the knife, or you'll spend a lot of time sharpening your knives.