So you finally got the knife of your dreams! Yeah 🙂 Now lets talk about the safe storage and display of that lovely blade.
Priority one is the Edge or the cutting edge.
There are two aspects to caring for your knife edge, when in use and when not in use.
When using your knife (depending on hardness) not cutting through bone or frozen foods or anything harder than you could chew for example – that will chip your edge or even shatter your blade.
Use your knife on a surface that is softer than your knife. Your knife will dull when used on surfaces that can’t be penetrated. Think of a hammer on an anvil, there is no edge there.
Surfaces to stay away from with your knife (in order of harm to your edge)
- any kitchen counter (so you get invited back:)
- wood or bamboo composites with large concentrations of glue bonding them together
Surfaces that are not as damaging are;
- most woods (boards, edge grain and face grain)
- composites like Epicurian.
Surfaces that you should use and are the most knife edge friendly are ‘End Grain‘, sometimes called butcher block.
They are a certain cut of wood where the rings of the trees they are made from are visible on the surface. You are cutting with the grain and the fibres open for the blade edge and then close up again leaving minimal marks on the surface of the board and no resistance to the edge so little dulling of the knife cutting edge.
Within the category of end grain boards you have lots of selection of various woods and can choose based on size, weight, look, feel and overall aesthetics….
The second aspect one needs to consider is the Surface of the blade.
In this picture the surface is the side of the knife or where the engraving is.
Surface care can vary depending on the grade of steel or other metal your knife is made of.
The sides of your knives can be scratched many ways and depending on the hardness of the metal some scratch easier than others. Will the scratches affect the cutting edge and functionality of your knife – no!
Do you want to see your knives all scratched up? NO! So how to avoid scratches?
- Use a professional sharpener or learn how to sharpen properly. Inexperienced stone sharpening will show scratches due to learning curve.
- Hone regularly to avoid above 🙂
- Avoid using a magnetic strip to hang your knives on as metal on metal will scratch.
- Avoid putting knives in an area where other metal objects will come into contact and scratch the sides of your knife. The best example of this is a drawer with other cutlery.
- Other damage is usually rust. Here is a super cool blog on rust care on carbon steel knives.
Another area one needs to protect is the Point and the Tip of the knife.
Some people use the tip of their knives a lot while others do not. A Nakiri for example is a knife without a tip. The majority of knives do have a tip and some are supper sensitive like a fillet knife. Whether you love it or leave it it is worth protecting. How do they get damaged?
- Running interference in your cutlery drawer…
- Being put in a knife block slot that is too short (and the point crashes into the bottom)
- Doing silly things like using your knife as an arm rest. (we love you Jonathan Collins OutdoorsChef)
- Using the point or tip in other silly ways (gore warning – see avocado hand)
The last area of your knife that needs protection or care is the handle.
Most knives have very easy care handles. The more natural the handle material the more care required. Here is a super write up on handles. If they are wood the handles should be dried before being put away. Also various woods, depending on their finishes need conditioning so they don’t dry out. If your knife is one with a classic tang construction the way they are dried is also important so as to not contribute to rusting out the tang.
Given all of the above – what then is the best way to store or display your knife? Here are some options;
- in an organized drawer – here is our current favourite version of this
- in a drawer with a blade cover – Blade covers for any size. – as an aside some knives come with their own covers as they are intended to be stored in drawers.
- In a knife block (on the counter)
- On a display rack (protected magnetic rack) – see below
- As a Samurai would 🙂
If you are a traveling chef – Knife rolls are another option for safe storage and transport.
When Choosing a knife block
the main points to keep in mind are;
- Is the edge being dulled by how the knife is put in? (hint you can put knives in edge up)
- Will moisture be allowed to drain?
- Is the handle able to dry adequately and in a direction that won’t affect tang?
- Is there enough room for the tip to not come into contact with something?
- Will the blade be scratched?
- Do you have the counter-space for the footprint of the knife block?
Here are some examples we like 🙂
Larch Wood Ent – You can see all the knives and loose no counter space. Edges and blades are protected and handles can dry. Knives can be handle up or down. Handcrafted in Cape Breton, Canada out of locally harvested Larch trees.
ArteLegno – You can see if your blades will fit with out dulling edges, they can dry and the stand has a smallish footprint. Hard to find in North America as these are handcrafted by a small family business in Italy out of Bass wood. They have a variety of modern designs that both display and protect.
And something for the DIY’s – using bamboo skewers or even pasta, careful of your tips!
Take care of your tools and you will have them your whole life.
“Red Green: Now, this is only temporary – unless it works.”
“Red Green: Learn from my mistakes – someone should.”