Japanese knives are expensive yet worth the price and purchasing several Japanese knives for excellent cooking is a significant investment. No matter how many premium knives you have picked so far, they don’t necessarily come up with proper storage and safekeeping solutions but you need to take care of these knives as much as you can. You might be holding a collection of knives just like me.
You may not use every single knife but you should still protect everybody of it as it might become useful later in a few weeks or months. Not just you need to protect your knives from rust, but you should also make them safe so they don’t break out, don’t distort and especially everybody can stay safe from their sharp blades.
If you keep your knives in a safe way or in proper storage, you will see the improved cutting performance with their blades, and your blades will stay safe and secure even while they are not in use. Because there is a huge chance of losing your knife’s precision when they are not in use than in actually using it in a work.
Now, you can’t just simply store them, there are some specific ways to do so. You can’t store all your kitchen knives using the same solution every time. Methods for storing Japanese knives could include Knife Racks, Knife Holders, Drawers, Magnetic holders, Knife Bags, Knife Rolls, Knife Blocks, Covers and Knife Sheaths.
How to Maintain & Store Japanese Kitchen Knives
1. Japanese Knife Holder Racks (Magnetic Knife Holder)
In these 10 years of my cooking career, I can say magnetic knife holders are the best way to store and secure knives. Ergonomically, economically, and technically as well. The reason I say that is the portability it has to offer and the simplicity it provides is amazing. It creates almost zero mess and takes up no space.
You might have seen this thing before in kitchens out there. It is a common thing that is used in professional kitchens because several chefs are working in a kitchen with so many knives. And, they don’t have a lot of space on the countertop to put their knives. The knife holders solve their problem and they just stack their knives on them. For home chefs as well, it is an amazing choice.
These popular magnetic knife racks feature a magnet in their wooden strip to hold the knives from their metallic blades. The strip could be of metal either or it could be wooden but there will be a magnet behind that holds your knives. Now, the problem with metallic or magnetic holders is their rails that may create noise or pull the knife hard which may damage your knife in some cases.
Although I have never faced such an issue, I myself opt for the wooden straps magnetic knife holder. The strip is wooden here in this design and the magnet is hidden. Though they cost slightly more, keep all your knives safe though. Also, it’s better to prefer wooden straps because magnetic straps may scratch your blades.
A magnetic knife holder is the best way to store your knives safely and nicely. Thanks to its magnet that keeps your knives every single second too for months even without touching them. However, the magnet may not work on all types of steel. As a result, it may not work with all sorts of knives.
The magnet works pretty nicely with carbon and high carbon steel knives as it will keep holding your carbon steel knives. However, the holding power with stainless steel knives could be less due to low carbon content which may prevent it from holding for a long time. As a result, your Stainless knife may get loose on it and will fall on the floor resulting in a huge loss of its blade making it almost useless.
However, you can use a magnetic knife holder with metallic and magnetic rails as they feature more power due to the association of metal and magnet. The magnetic power doesn’t fade off and you can use it to hold your stainless steel knives. However, the issue of scratches will still be there but let’s resolve this as well.
When putting your knife on a magnetic strip knife holder, you should head the spine of your blade on the strip and move it slightly before putting the rest of its face, that too with care. Don’t move your blade freely on the strip.
Instead, get your knife from it and then rearrange it with the rest of the knives instead of sliding on it to protect your knives from scratches. Similarly, twist your knife until its spine is and then pull it when you are removing your knife from that magnetic holder.
Best Japanese Magnetic Knife Holders | How to Maintain Japanese Knives
There are multiple space saving magnetic knife holders available out there on the market. But, they mostly mix up the good and bad models. Cheap models are usually cheaply built, featuring mediocre build quality and a low quality magnet with low hanging power. Avoid such holders as they will only ruin your knives.
Let’s take a skimmed look at a couple of nice options available in the market that we have used and tested already in our test kitchens.
Jonathan Alden is an established player in the category of manufacturing high quality knife holders that we use in our kitchens. You can find this wooden magnetic knife holder in two sizes, i.e, 16 and 24 inches along with two magnificent colours which are cherry and our favourite os walnut.
The wood is finished nicely and features a nice build quality providing an enhanced look and performance to be used in the long run. Jonathan features a firm design holder and the holes are all over its strip. These knife holders can be wall mounted as you will get all the necessary things to install them safely and with perfection.
Jonathan integrates a nice quality neodymium grade 1 magnet that prevents the knives from not falling off and maintains a good holding power for months and years. The holder is extremely balanced and you can easily put or get your knife from it. A good thing for carbon steel knives but still not a good deal for SS knives.
Well, Jonathan Alden’s knife holder was wooden but expensive though and if you don’t want to get an expensive thing, you should get a Norpro magnetic knife holder which is economical and you can put your stainless steel knives in as well. You can find this holder in up to three sizes that contain 12, 16 and 24” long bars.
Linoroso comes with one of the most premium knife holders featuring dual magnetic strips inside the wooden strips that you see on top. There is a metallic plate right next to the strip of the magnet that reinforces the working power of the magnet. The wood plate is not that thick here and this thing enables it to hold even stainless steel knives with a little bit of effort at the start, of course.
It is a multi layer knife magnetic holder featuring amazing build quality and long term performance so you can have a nice experience with this thing. You can put up to 6 to 7 knives on its 16 inch long track, enough for a chef’s household usage.
Nova Wood is on the list with its 24 inch long magnificent wooden knife holder that has a lot more to offer compared to its reasonable price. Like the previous ones, this one is also offered in walnut and acacia woods to provide a decent look and an impressive build quality that would last longer.
The best part is its double storage capacity as you can use both of its sides to hang your knives. Mounting it is also not a big deal and it allows you to put up to 15 knives which is by far the largest offering. The 16 inch version may house up to 8-9 blades. Its neodymium magnet works outstandingly and keeps your blade longer.
There’s a slight chance that your knives may fall off if those holders don’t feature a good magnet. However, with the right magnet integrated your knives are still not going anywhere. But if you want to stay safe in every condition or you don’t want to risk your knife from potentially falling, it’s a good idea to get a Boker’s block.
This is an expensive choice though, but it is the safest thing you can get to protect your knives from any kind of damage. You will get this block in black, olive and Makassar colours and believe me they all look mind blowing and pretty attractive. It is a lightweight block with a depth of 10 inches and a width of 6 inch, I believe. This is a good design for knives with 2 inches or wider blades. It’s not meant for smaller blades though and you can display up to 8 large chef and santoku knives.
There is an outstanding magnet behind each knife spot that stakes the knife with a strong grip. To get the knife, you need to pull it on its spine so it can safely get in your hands. Otherwise, the wooden surface eliminates the risk of any scratch and you can use this magnetic wooden knife block to keep your knives safe and clean.
2. Japanese Knife Block | How to Maintain Japanese Knives
Another good solution for storing your knives safely when they are not in use. A lot of people may argue about its effectiveness but we still think it’s a good thing if not the greatest one out there. If you are a novice chef or a chef at home with not a bundle of knives, a block could fulfil all your needs for storing the knives.
These blocks look very spectacular on the kitchen countertops that you can use to put a limited number of knives as per the block’s capacity. Normally, if you opt for the kitchen knife set, you get these blocks always with them that cover the cost. Each knife set has its own design block and you can only insert those knives.
You get a paring knife mostly in every set but if you don’t need one, you’re just overpaying. So, that’s a kind of drawback with knife sets with blocks that may not seem economical and a wise decision. The size of the slot may only fit that particular knife making it useless for knives outside this set.
But they do look quite good on the counter top and you can showcase your collection this way. On the good side, a block may prevent injuries, accidents and damage to your blades. It does not create a mess and everything stays safe and clear. But, their slots could not fit every knife and the internal side is not finished nicely which may scratch the blades. They are expensive and of non-universal size.
Thankfully, you can find and use aftermarket knife blocks for your needs so you don’t need to worry about it. In this category, you can get blocks to add up to 25 knives at once which is not possible to do with magnetic knife holders. Let’s take a look at a couple of the best Japanese knife blocks.
Wusthof does not need any introduction or their knives and products. We have got you with the largest capacity knife storage block having the support of up to 35 slots that you can use to store up to 35 knives of various shapes and sizes. This is a nice looking block with many variants like Acacia, Walnut, Bamboo, Cherry and black woods and colours. They all look impressive but Acacia & Walnut is the best.
It weighs around a kilo making it portable to use and easier to move. Although the weight will move up after filling every slot with a knife in it. We will definitely come to its capacity later, but it is easy to clean design is what makes it outstandingly beautiful. The slots feature a comparatively better finish.
Out of these 35 slots, 12 of them have a width of 1”, there are about 10 slots having a width of 2 inches each, a slot for a 1.25” knife, six slots to hold 1.5 inch wide knives, two 2.5” slots, one slot for 3.5” and 4 more slots with random width. From chef knives to Santoku and Paring knives, you can put everything in them.
This block from Cook Standard costs is available in bamboo and acacia woods in which you will find 25 slots. With this block in your kitchen, you may not need to get anything else in order to arrange your knives with safety and care. This is a durable block and it weighs 8 pounds, one of the bulkiest blocks.
The slots from inside feature a good standard finish so it will never scratch your knife blades if inserted and taken out smoothly. A couple of these slots have a depth of around 9 inches and you can easily put your 8-inch chef knives in it and a bread knife as well. You can use it for your chef, santoku, paring, utility knives and cleavers as well. Overall, it is a nice addition to completely shelter your arsenal.
Well, storage blocks shouldn’t be expensive and I strongly agree with you. That’s the reason I grabbed CNH’s Acacia block, which has a capacity of 20 slots in it. This one as well is a bulky block which weighs around 5 pounds but is strong enough to provide good durability. The external finishing is nice but it’s not outstanding inside. However, it still does not scratch the blades either.
You can use this versatile block for different types of knives. Out of these 20 slots, 10 they are 2 inches wide and 9 inches deep and a couple of other sizes are there for different types of knives. You can put nakiri to santoku and paring knife.
Despite having a lot of options in the blocks segment, we preferred Henckels to be listed here with their 20 slot knife block featuring Asasia wood build and design.
This one can keep any kind of knife be it steak, paring, utility, bread, cleaver, santoku or a chef knife of course. The cleaver should not exceed 8 inches though. This is the only anti-slip block with rubber padding downwards. Overall, it organizes all your knives pretty impressively and the price is economical too!
3. Knife Bag for Portability | How to Maintain Japanese Knives
A knife block can be effective for storing up to 35 knives in a row, but it can’t be a deal of portability when you need to take your knives on a tour or outside. Because a block itself weighs a lot, filling every single slot will make it difficult to move. So, a knife bag in that case seems to be the easiest thing to opt for.
In fact, it is common thing for professional chefs to carry their knives with them. But they are still pretty useful even if you are not a professional or commercial chef. Especially if you don’t want one out of your drawers solely for keeping knives. You can load your knives into and carry this on your picnic easily.
Most bags are cotton or fabric, they will be useless when you keep them in a wet area. So make sure it is not a wet countertop before you put it on. These bags come with shoulder straps as well so you will find them comfortable to carry. The storage capacity is undoubtedly low, but it can still get your work done.
Asaya makes nice quality and convenient Japanese knife roll bags and this particular roll bag model alone features up to 6 different colours. This includes brown, black, blue, green, red and grey obviously. This canvas is built nicely and features a nice zip inside so your knives could stay safe from water or rain.
There are around 10 slots for keeping different knives in each of them. The width of each slot is almost near to identical and there is a spot for keeping your clippers as well. If you have a knife with over 15 inch long blades, this could still be a great choice because the bag can hold up to 18 inches long knives in it.
This chef knife bag from noble is itself noble and convenient enough for your needs. Noble uses polyester and canvas to make it and there is a zipper as well so it could stay safe from water splashes. This easy to carry bag has removable shoulder straps and it is comfortable as well. You can put a lot of knives into it.
Currently, it has the capacity of holding up to 9 knives including a cleaver for meat. Plus, there are some spots for keeping a couple of other kitchen tools in it. The build quality is pretty good and the bag itself is easy to clean. Overall, it is a safe bag and you can add your name card for remembrance as it comes only in black.
Another decent Japanese knife roll bag you can get at a fair price and receive an impressive price. Hersent launched its waxed canvas roll bag a couple of years ago and it has been successful since then. Currently, you get this bag in 4 colours such as blue, green, grey and tan colour. They all have a good zipper inside them.
You can use it to add up to 11 multiple knives in it and a couple other accessories as well. There are random different slot sizes for this bag in which you can put your paring, Nakiri, santoku, cleaver and vegetable knives. The bag handles the cuts and scratches nicely without tearing apart. Overall, it is a great functional knife roll bag with ease to carry and flexibility in use. A good bag indeed.
4. Blade Protectors for Knife | How to Maintain Japanese Knives
You must know these things or you will be using them already. A kitchen knife sheath, shield, protector or cover are different names for one thing. This is a great way to protect your blades if you don’t have a plethora of knives or you just want to protect a specific knife from rust. They are mostly made up of magnolia (talking about the highest quality knife sheaths) and cover the entire blade easily.
We have a complete article regarding this topic that you can read here in order to find its complete pros and cons along with our list of best Japanese kitchen knife sheaths. Must take a look at it so you can give it a complete try.
You can carry your knives with these guards without any problem and you don’t need to grab a bag just to carry one or two knives. They are available in wood, plastic and leather and all look and feel good. Not just that, they are economical and durable as well. Knives from Yoshihiro already come with a Saya or a sheath.
5. Knife Drawers – Safest & Hidden
If you want to organize your knives in a way, but don’t want to expose them due to safety reasons, putting your knives in a drawer is the best option indeed. This seems to be very organized, however, you need to dedicate a complete drawer.
Inside it, you can add a nice cork solution if you don’t want to spend money on drawer organizers. It is a good hack that saves you money and protects the blade almost nicely. Although it is not the best solution, it still gets the work done temporarily. But if I were you, I’ll rather opt for a magnetic block holder instead.