The eternal problem – how to best store your sharp Japanese knives. If you love your knives, you probably already know the basics: You have to have them sharpened regularly and cleaned after use. You also need to keep them out of the dishwasher. Or don’t leave them in the sink. Or remembering of drying them before storing them.
When it comes to storing your knives, there are few solutions which you may consider. Finding the right home for your knives is more than just a question of kitchen organisation. The right knife storage can help your knives stay sharper longer—and help your kitchen look fancier, too.

Knife Drawer

 

kitchen knife drawer

Source: Ikea

The first problem with drawer trays is finding ones to fit your knives. Deba that’s too thick? Extra long sujihiki or yanagiba? You’re out of luck for those Ikea standards.
The other issue is that space – many people don’t have drawers to spare. What most of us have, however, is plenty of wall space. Some kitchen cooks joke that they would rather have guitars and knives up than paintings.

Other than using an in-drawer knife block storage method, we strongly suggest avoiding this unless you have absolutely no other choice. Free storage of knife blades in a drawer can chip the handle or the blade itself, knives will go dull easily, and you could even break the knives when too much strength is applied when opening/closing the drawers.

If you really want to store your kitchen knives in a drawer, never leave them loose. We repeat: it damages the blades and makes knife accidents very hard to avoid. Using a special knife block made to store your knives in a drawer is critical.

Pros: In-drawer knife storage keeps your knives out of the way and off the counter. You can put extra safety blocks if you have small children at home. In-drawer knives storage are also useful in small kitchens that have enough drawer space.

Cons: If you have children, storing knives in a drawer isn’t safe. However, you could install a lock on your knife drawer, but that means it is a pain to access your knives when you need them. Also, the blades would have to be stored upright, and that vertical position puts stress on the blades, just like a block, meaning you’ll have to store them upside down and blade up to protect the blades. Accident waiting to happen!

Knife Block

knife block

Original knife block made out of wooden chunk

This seems to be the most common form of storage for commercial knife sets, since many knife sets come with their own knife block storage, and many people buy an empty knife block to store knives purchased separately. Countertop kitchen knife holders like these seem ideal. However, knife blocks also have some limitations depending on the block itself. Universal knife blocks can overcome some of those issues.

Pros: You’ll have all your kitchen knives in one place, and storing knives in the block can help keep the edge longer, as well as avoiding accidents between fingers and knives when reaching for them.

Cons: Bad idea for those Japanese knives of different thickness, shapes and sizes. If your knife block doesn’t come with your specific knife set, the pre-sized knife slots are may not fit your knives, especially if you do like we do, and acquire additional preferred knives outside the knife block set. Also, you need to be sure to get a block that stores knives sideways to prevent dulling of the knife blades. If you have to have a vertical storage knife block, store your knives upside down to protect the edges. Unfortunately that does add a safety issue, so sideways storage is best. Or you could find a block that uses plastic storage rods or other material that doesn’t harm the knives resting on them.
Blocks tend to blunt the blades as they normally get dragged over the wood every time. If you are not careful, they are the perfect spot for growing nasties which can help spread food poisoning due to just plain nasty looking gunk that’s near impossible to clean out.

Magnetic Strip / Magnetic Holder

walnut magnetic knife rack strip 12'' 30cm

Some people believe that magnetic strips could possibly cause misalignment on a molecular level – nothing further from the truth! We brought up this conversation with a mechanical engineer once and he assured us that that was impossible.

Good magnetic knife racks (strips) have their magnetic part hidden inside the wood so they are neat, perfectly safe for your knives and still extremely strong. Good magnetic knife strips hold the knives firmly on the rack and pull them close with a nice slapping noise. The clever bit about using wood is that unlike metal magnetic racks it protects the blade from chipping or scratching.

Some people hang their knives up side down, others handles down. It’s whatever feels more comfortable for you.

Pros: Racks are an easy way to organise your knife blades and keep them safely off the counter. They are quickly available as all you have to do is reach up and grab your knife of choice. And, most importantly, they keep your knife blades stable, which avoids damage to the knife or its edge.

Cons: Magnetic strips put pressure on the tang of the knife when removed, so if you don’t have a full tang knife, it can stress the knife stability over time. Magnetic racks aren’t safe with children in kitchen unless the magnetic knife strip is mounted high enough that even the knife bottoms are out of your children’s reach. And, as you may have already guessed, you also can’t use them with ceramic knives.

Last notes on proper knife care

Storing your knives in a right way is not enough. As we already mentioned in this article, you have to remember about few things to keep your shiny Japanese beauties in top working order for long.

However, there is one thing we can’t stress enough, and this is – always clean your knives immediately after use and before storing them away.

There are a number of reasons for this, including:

  • Sanitary reasons: The longer you wait to clean your knives after use, the more likely the knives will not be washed properly and food particles can accumulate. Also, with poor storage, the knife blades may not be stored in sanitary conditions, meaning reuse could result in an unsanitary blade. Germs anyone?
  • Preventing damage to the knife blades: If the blades aren’t completely clean and dried properly before storage, the blades can start to deteriorate and dull the edges or even damage the knife construction.
  • Avoiding spotting or metal corrosion: If you work with tomatoes or citrus or other acidic foods, not cleaning, drying and storing your knives immediately and correctly can cause corrosion or deterioration to the metal. Spotting is also pretty common and that is a sign that the blade material is being damaged slowly.
  • Avoiding dulling the blades: Washing your knives in the dishwasher — even if they are dishwasher-safe — is a bad practice. In the dishwasher, your knife blades are exposed to damage from knocking against other items. And detergents are harsh on the blades. Plus the high heat of a dishwasher can also deteriorate the blade edge.

(For more advice check our article about 10 knife care tips learned from master blacksmiths.)

Our winner: Magnetic Knife Strip

walnut magnetic holder

Although you’ve got a lot of options for storing your knives and knife sets safely to avoid damage or deterioration and still maintain knife safety in the kitchen, for us, magnetic knife strip is with no doubt the best way to store and care for our knives. For that reason we import and sell only that. Not only it’s the best (in our humble opinion) way to display your large knife collection (we can see those envy looks of your guests already), it’s also the most ergonomic and safe way to keep sharp objects in your home, especially with children around.

Example:

https://japana.uk/shop/12-magnetic-knife-holder-walnut-magnetic-knife-strip-jpna

Some would say: Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.
But before you make any judgement, please understand why Patryk, born and raised in Poland, is on the quest to teach young Japanese generation how to make knives their country is famous for.

Blacksmithing is a dying industry. Japan as a country is ageing fast. There are less and less young people thinking of making career in craftsmanship, and old masters do not want or can pass their skills to willing apprentices.

It’s 2015 and on the other side of the globe, in Polish town Reda, Patryk, a self-taught blacksmith has an idea: he will try to revive his industry by using power of technology. On his YouTube channel he publishes vlogs, both in Japanese and Polish showing all that he has learned so far, passing the knowledge along. He is not trying to imitate Japanese perfection for his own good. He just shares his greatest passion.

A gift for dad

Patryk became fascinated with Japanese culture and their art of blacksmithing when he was just a kid. He once came across a TV program treating on Japanese katanas. At that moment he decided that one day he will make his own. Over the years he became more and more obsessed with this noble craftsmanship. Finally, at the age of 16 he decided to make a viking’s knife for his father.
His passion, however, was for Japan and their katanas, so he chose to specialise in the knives – the ones Japanese chefs and foodies use in the kitchen. Kitchen knives evolved from katanas and they are crafted in almost the same way. The times of katanas may be gone, but methods and technique of blacksmithing remained the same.

kaminari knives interview

kaminari knives interview

After the first knife for his dad, there was the second one, and then some more for his friends and family. At that point Patryk understood that blacksmithing could be his full-time job. Kaminari Knives was born.
In the meantime he was practicing Japanese language under the supervision of his Japanese friend, hoping that one day he will go to Japan to study the art of blacksmithing under the watchful eye of a Japanese blade master.
kaminari knives interview

It’s a long way to the top

Patryk’s beginnings as a craftsman were not easy. Resources needed for collecting blacksmithing equipment are substantial and Patryk could not afford to buy all of it.  He worked two jobs to put the money down for building workshop. It was his biggest dream: to set up a real workshop. His own. He managed to build it in the spring two years ago.

In the beginning, he was working in a badly isolated tin hut. If you’ve never been in Poland during winter, you need to know that in some areas of the country temperatures drop to -35°C.
Patryk neither had professional tools. He was collecting parts and materials at the scrap yard. He built a hammer, a hardening electric furnace and gas furnace for forging. With his hammer and provisional anvil he was crafting reinforcing bars just to get the feeling of treating the metal. He was heating and then hammering it, repeating this two step process over and over again. That was the young blacksmith’s first concept of blacksmithing.
Today Patryk says that the old times feel to him like it was a child’s play. Learning the art of blacksmithing requires a lot of trial and error, losing nerves and of course – costly materials.

kaminari knives interview

At the workshop, where magic happens

Harnessing high carbon

Until recently, all of the Kaminari Knives were made from high carbon steel – a material easy to get but hard to maintain. Despite that, it’s widely used in professional chef knives as high carbon knives are known for their incredible sharpness and edge retention. The best Japanese knives are hammered from high carbon steel.

kaminari knives interview

Kaminari Knives on the grinder at the workshop.

kaminari knives interview

Mesmerising heated steel.

When master notices you

Nowadays Kaminari’s knives are used by many professional chefs around the world. It not surprising that even the world Sushi Master, Alon Than, is using Patryk’s knives. The fact that Alon won the title when using Kaminari knives only proves that with a strong will, hard work, passion and the Internet, you can teach yourself almost anything.

…and for these reasons and many many more, we @Japana are really happy to be starting collaboration with Kaminari Knives 🙂 More details to follow.

kaminari knives interview

Fittings for the knife handle

Like this story? Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to know about our progress of this collaboration.

We stumbled upon this video and we had to share it. This video is not only relaxing and somehow..satisfying, but also demonstrates perfect sharpening tricks.
At the start, the knife looks to be in pretty bad shape (lightly saying). It’s spotted, stained and totally rusted, but with a little tender, love, and care, the steel is coming out shining, sharp and beautiful once again.

All knives we sell are hand made by experienced Japanese blade-makers to provide years of reliable service. Like most high-quality equipment, these knives need a little love and care. When sharing things with other people, we can’t control everything what happens to our items, but we should educate those who use them. Take for example cleaning the dishes:

1.  You put your knife in the dishwasher.

Knives should never go in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and along with the banging around that happens during a wash cycle, will take the sharp edge right off your knife. Plus, it’s not safe for the person unloading the dishwasher!

Always wash knives by hand in the sink with dish soap and water. Keep the blade facing away from you and the knife low in the sink. Also, don’t leave your knife to air dry. Instead, take a tea towel and, holding the knife with the blade facing away from you, dry the knife in short vertical motions perpendicular to the edge. Running a tea towel horizontally along the blade is very dangerous, and a sure-fire way to cut yourself.

Even if you are aware of the destroying nature of the dishwasher on your knives, your close ones may not. When buying new Japanese products, always educate your family to avoid putting knives in the dishwasher.

2. You store your knives unsheathed in the utensil drawer.

rusted japanese knife maintenance

There are a few reasons this is bad: first of all, it’s dangerous to have a knife loose in the drawer. Secondly, an unsheathed knife rubs against other things, which causes it to get dull very quickly. The best way to store your knives is on a magnetic knife strip or in a knife block. Magnetic knife holders are actually our favourite (ps. soon we will introduce them in our offer : ). They are the best way to store and showcase your beautiful collection of the knives. Choose the wooden knife strips as it’s just a block of wood so it doesn’t get much easier to clean than that, no hidden nooks or crannies. You can simply wipe it clean and you are done.
If you’re really short on space, don’t like the idea of hanging your knives at sight and need to store those knives in a drawer, just slip them into a blade guard first!

3. You slide your knife, blade down, across the cutting board to clear away what you just chopped.

That’s a nasty habit many of us admits to be doing. Do you do this? After you’ve got a pile of chopped veggies, you scrape your nice, sharp knife  blade down — right across the cutting board to clear some space. Of course when you actually think about it, that’s a terrible way to treat the blade!

An easy solution: just flip the knife over before you slide. That way the flat spine side does the clearing, and you don’t ruin your blade.


Do you admit other sins of treating your knives bad? Write them in the comment section below so our other Japanese knives lovers can learn from mistakes of others.

Remember these 3 rules to give your knives a good, long life (良い長寿命):

壱. Don’t put your knife in a dishwasher, ever.
両者. Store your knives either on the magnetic knife strip, knife block, or sheathed in the utensil drawer.
参. Don’t slide your knife, blade down, across the cutting board to clear away what you just chopped.

Use & Care

All knives we sell are hand made by experienced Japanese blade-makers to provide years of reliable service. Like most equipment, knives need a little love and care. Here are a few tips to help you get lasting service from your knife:

  • Keep your knife dry – the entire knife, not just the blade.
  • Keep your knife sharp. Remember, a sharp blade is safer than a dull one. Use only professional sharpening tools and whetstones – We have some really good ones in our offer.
  • Do not use the cutting blade as a can opener, chisel, pry bar, screwdriver or for any heavy work for which your knife was not designed. Also, don’t use the back of your knife as a hammer. It may break the springs, handles or pin.
  • Handles made of wood can be occasionally rubbed with furniture polish or oil. Brass can be polished with household brass polish.
  • Avoid prolonged immersion in liquids (water, solvents, etc.). This can have a detrimental effect on not only the metal parts, but handles made of wood or other porous materials as well. Before using your knife on food items, wipe clean with alcohol, or wash with hot soapy water and rinse clean. Remember to re-clean and lubricate your knife after the food job is done.
  • Periodically apply a small amount of lubricant to the working parts of the knife, particularly the pivot points of a folding knife. Then apply a thin film of lubricant to the entire surface of the blade. This will help prevent surface oxidation and corrosion from moisture.
  • Sharpen your knives using high-quality sharpening tools such as natural stones or whetstones. Speaking of which….

For more knowledge read our articles:

3 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Japanese Knives, Unaware

How Should I Sharpen My Japanese Knives?

Knife Steel Composition Chart

How to take care of your sharpening stones:

Before use:
Do not soak in water finishing stones #3000 and above. If needed splash with water only.

After use:
Let the stone dry thoroughly. Returning a stone into its box while still wet or damp will result in molding and might decrease in quality.