When it comes to precise cutting performance, the correct storage of your Japanese knife is of equal importance to cleaning and maintenance.
Investment in a good quality Japanese knife warrants a proportionate level of investment into suitable storage that keeps the blade safe and secure when not in use. Careless storage can blunt and damage the fine edge of a Japanese knife, so we should not be cutting corners when it comes to their safekeeping.
The best methods for Japanese knife storage are knife blocks, knife racks, or a knife drawer.
While these may seem like general recommendations, the type of product that you select will need to be specifically designed for or adapted to, the storage needs to be required by Japanese knives specifically. These take into consideration minimal contact with the edge of the blade and ensuring that the storage is dry to prevent the knives from rusting.
In this article, we are going to look at 3 suitable methods to both keep your blades safe, secure, and maintain their sharp cutting edge.
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Suitable Methods For Japanese Knife StorageJapanese knife storage is an important consideration to ensure that your knives do not become damaged and there are some key points to consider when it comes to choosing the most suitable method of storage for you and your Japanese knife.
Firstly, it is important to visualize how the knife block will look in your kitchen or workspace. Both the placement and aesthetic qualities it will bring should not be ignored in your decision-making.
A professional kitchen will need to opt for an efficient and easy-to-access storage method, whereas a household kitchen might want a storage method that is not accessible by young children.
Secondly, consider the practical elements of each storage method. Is it safe, handy, and easy to access and also consider how much counter space or drawer space do you have available?
Finally, which choice is the most suitable or appropriate for you? For example, if you plan on using your knife for a particular purpose like preparing sushi, an ideal choice may be the one that allows you to quickly and easily grab your knife-of-choice.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to suitable methods for Japanese knife storage is to choose the one that most seamlessly fits into your cooking workflow, as well as your available kitchen space.
Below are the three best methods that we’ve found for storing Japanese knives and they take into consideration the Knives blade material, delicate cutting edge, and also functionality/frequency of use.
Method 1: Knife Blocks
An essential kitchen accessory, knife blocks, are a popular choice for storing knives when not in use. Knife blocks are versatile, in that you can easily move them around and they can be placed on any worktop as a countertop knife holder. They are straightforward, functional, and can be kept close to your work station for quick and easy use.
When it comes to chef knife storage in general, a classic knife block is the most widely available option. If you buy a set of knives, they will often be sold as a package with their own block. There is also no assembly involved, and they are a great option if counter space is not an issue.
By design, a Japanese knife stand suspends the blade by its handle in order to protect the sharp edge. They offer an ideal alternative to knife racks for those that do not wish to drill into the walls of your home or commercial kitchen. It is also worth taking into consideration universal blocks that allow for different knife sizes or even accessories like a honing rod.
One important thing to note, however, is that they are notoriously unforgiving on cutting edges when misused, and can easily damage your knife-edge as a result.
Storage Tip: When it comes to inserting your Japanese knife into a block, the blunt side of the blade must be pressed against the block to protect the cutting edge. Likewise, when removing the blade, it is important to avoid dragging the sharp edge of the blade against the block.
All in all, a knife block is a simple and effective way to store knives. If you plan on investing in a knife block, they are a practical and reliable choice.
Method 2: Knife Racks
Magnetic knife racks provide a means to simply and elegantly organize your workspace. Their seamless flat knife holder design makes it a wonderful accent piece for your kitchen, and they provide an attractive way to showcase your prized cutlery.
A knife rack makes for efficient use, especially in a professional kitchen, since your blades are readily available for you to reach and grab in one glance.
Gone are the days of pulling out every single knife from the drawer to find the one you need. They are also an ideal choice when it comes to maintenance as they are easy to clean and make minimal contact with the cutting edge of the knife.
Knife racks are also an ideal choice for you to maximize kitchen space. If you have a small kitchen, a magnetic knife rack is an obvious choice whilst also making the most of any unused space on the wall.
When it comes to placement, magnetic knife racks can be mounted behind the stovetop, a backsplash, underneath cabinets, or even on the side of a fridge.
When initially positioning your knife rack, make sure to leave adequate clearance above and below for your knives to sit comfortably when mounted without running the risk of clipping them. They may also be ideal if you have small children and want to keep your sharp objects out of reach.
Make sure to invest in a knife rack with strong magnets and quality wood. Cheap magnetic racks are widely available, however, these are often made using weaker magnets and low-cost materials that imitate wood grain patterns. The higher the quality of magnets and the cut of wood, the more expensive the rack.
Stainless steel racks are a common option for stainless steel knives, however, metal-on-metal should be avoided with Japanese knives as they can leave scratches on the side profile or knife-edge which can be a particular concern if you are using a Japanese knife made from Damascus steel.
Wooden surfaces are much more suitable for preserving the knife edge and are possibly much more aesthetic when keeping with a traditional Japanese design.
A knife rack is a great option for maintaining your blade as the knife can safely mount the rack without making contact with the cutting edge. Due to the slightly angled blade edge of a Japanese knife, only the flat part of the blade will touch these strips as long as you do place the knife by the beveled edge onto the rack.
It is also important that you do not overload a knife rack as this runs the risk of you clipping the heel of one knife over another which could lead to chipping or scratching.
Storage Tip: When placing your knife on to the rack, the first point of contact should be the spine of the blade before gently rolling the blade sideways. This significantly lowers the chance of chipping the knife edge against the rack and will maintain the sharp knife edge.
Magnetic knife racks offer a more visually aesthetic addition to your home or workspace. They are a safe, stable, and secure method of storage for your Japanese knife.
Method 3: Knife Drawer
Knife drawers are a sleek, discrete and, importantly, hidden location to keep your knife. If you have space, they are a great option.
If you have multiple knives, a suitable slotted knife drawer prevents jostling, since each knife gets its own slot. Most knife drawers can hold up to seven or more knives, which is more than enough space for a home kitchen. If you need to keep your knives safely stored away from small children, a knife drawer may be the most suitable choice.
Storage Tip: When using a knife drawer, we recommend investing in the extra protection provided by a saya for your Japanese knife.
Sayas are wooden sheaths that guard the blade of a knife and means that you can safely store your knife in a drawer without having to worry about damaging the cutting edge. An unsheathednblade in a knife drawer not only risks damaging the blade itself, but it also poses a safety risk to the user reaching into the drawer to grab a knife.
Overall, if you have space, a knife drawer provides a dedicated location for you to house your Japanese knife. They are also a great choice if you want your knives out of sight, or if you have small children around and require an extra level of security.
Final ThoughtsIn this article, we have looked at three suitable methods for chef knife storage that each possesses a unique and, most importantly, functional purpose with some aesthetic quality to match that of the knives.
Careful storage plays a crucial role in ensuring the longevity of Japanese knives and maintaining their quality. We’d go as far as saying that the investment into proper storage for your knife is of equal (if not greater) importance than the initial investment into your knives!
When stored correctly, however, you can rest assured that your Japanese knives will last for years to come, so be sure to invest in one that is fit for purpose.
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