Knife Block 101 – Features, Tips & Recommendations
Do your knives get dull too quickly? Don't blame it on the quality, sometimes it's how you store them.
If you keep them in a common drawer with other kitchen items, they're not likely to stay sharp for long. They'll rub against other items and become dull quicker than expected. A safe way to store knives is the knife block. They come in all shapes and sizes, so here we'll just deal with the most common types. Here goes!
The Wooden Knife Block
The most common type of knife block is the wooden knife block. It's an upright block of wood with individual slots for individual knives. These types of knife blocks are usually made of easy-to-clean hardwood such as oak, maple, or cherry.
Sometimes knife blocks get a bad rap because the slots can make a knife go dull, but that only happens if the slots are vertical and if knives are stored without caution. Vertical slots mean that the edge of the blade will rest on the wood and get constantly rubbed when the knife is pulled out. You can avoid this by pressing the top of the blade into the slot when pulling out the knife so that the knife-edge doesn't rub into the wood.
Alternatively, you can get a knife block with horizontal instead of vertical slots such as the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Four Star Knife Block 7 Pc Set. With horizontal slots, the knife rests on the flat of the blade, so there's no risk of dulling the blade with constant friction.
Knife blocks typically hold knives only but some come with an additional slot for kitchen shears and sharpening steel. Some knife blocks come with their own set of knives while others come as a standalone item. When buying one, make sure you know the exact measurements for your knives so you can compare them to the knife block dimensions.
Countertop knife blocks have a number of advantages:
- They keep all the knives visible and accessible
- They're safer than just keeping knives in a common drawer.
- They save on space.
- They can be placed out in the open or hidden in a cabinet if need be.
- They're made of an easy-to-clean material. Usually, all you need to do to clean them is to wipe them down.
Drawer Knife Block
What if you want a knife block but you don't want to have it on the countertop? Perhaps you have kids and you don't want them having access to your knives? Or you have a cat that likes to knock things off the countertop? Then the drawer knife block is the one for you. With a drawer knife block, you can keep your knives in the drawer and still protect them from damage.
The Self-sharpening Knife Block
Some knife blocks have slots that sharpen knives as they are pushed in and drawn out. This has both pros and cons. You save time sharpening knives, but then again the constant sharpening might actually wear out the knife blade.
The Universal Knife Block
Sometimes the problem with the conventional slotted knife block is that you can't just slide any knife into the slot. If your knives don't fit into the knife slots, then the knife block is useless. This is especially important if you have knives from different manufacturers that won't all fit into one knife block.
You can solve this problem with a universal knife block. A universal knife block is similar to a wooden knife block but with one difference. Instead of slots, it features rubber or nylon rods attached to a base plate that can accommodate any size of the blade, as long as it doesn't exceed an average of 20cm. Actually, you can still put in longer knives, but they would stick out and it wouldn't look nice.
Universal knife blocks are knife-friendly as the rods don't lead to a dulling of the blade because of friction. And you don't have to worry about blades colliding and rubbing against each other- the rods keep them separate. Finally, the rods can be removed to allow you to clean the entire block, so this type of block is very hygienic.
The Countertop Dock
One disadvantage of wooden knife blocks is that once the knives are slotted in if all the handles look alike, you can't tell one knife from another. You have to pull out each knife before you get to the knife you need.
A countertop dock saves you this trouble. It consists of a wooden or plastic stand with a transparent material on the face like the F Dick Knife Block 4Knives (Empty). Blades are slipped into space in between the glass so that they're enclosed but still visible.
The Magnetized Knife Block
If you don't like the idea of inserting your knives into slots and you still want to store your knives on the kitchen counter, why not try a magnetized block? Think magnetic strip meets wooden knife block. It's basically a magnetized block of wood on which knives are attached by magnetism.
Magnetized blocks save you the trouble of having to pull knives in and out of slots because the knives are all visible. And, you can have them on the counter, just like any other knife block.
A big problem with conventional slotted knife blocks is that you can't get into the slots to clean them properly. A magnetized knife block doesn't have this problem. Cleaning is as easy as pie. It doesn't end there.
You can also have a block featuring a magnetized face on one side and knife slots on the other like the Tojiro Wooden Knife 10 Pc Block with Magnet (Empty). It can hold 6 knives in slots and 2 on the magnetized side. This is useful for knives that don't fit into the knife slots- they can go on the magnetic face.
With a good knife block, your knives will remain a cut above the rest and you'll have them in good shape for a long time!