What is a Knife Block?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A knife block is a piece of kitchen equipment which is used to secure knives. There are a number of different styles of knife block on the market, ranging from traditional and literal blocks of wood with slots for knives to magnetized strips which grip knives. Most kitchen supply stores sell several knife block styles to meet different needs and to match different kitchen designs.

A knife block keeps utensils nearby for use during food preparation.
A knife block keeps utensils nearby for use during food preparation.

It is important to take good care of kitchen knives since they can last for years if they are properly maintained. By using a knife block, cooks can ensure that blades are not damaged by being knocked around. The knife block can also prevent warping of blades while they are stored, and it makes knives convenient and easy to access. A knife block can also be a great safety tool, as it gets knives out of drawers and off of counters and into an organized location.

For people who are especially concerned about safety, some knife blocks have child locks which need to be opened before a knife can be removed. These locks also prevent knives from falling during earthquakes, and they ensure that curious pets cannot injure themselves on knives either. It is also important to ensure that knives fit all the way into a knife block; if part of a blade protrudes, it can be very unsafe.

A basic knife block simply consists of a piece of wood with slots of varying sizes to insert knives into. The block may be designed to sit on the counter, or mount to the kitchen wall. Such knife blocks can also be built into kitchen cabinets or kitchen islands. Other materials may be used as well, although wood is a good choice because it will not nick blades as they are inserted. Cooks who prefer a leaner design can purchase magnetic strips which are designed to mount to walls or cabinets; the magnet holds knives against the strip and they can quickly be removed when they are needed.

Some kitchen suppliers also sell blocks which can fit into drawers, which can be convenient in a kitchen with limited space. This can also be safer, as the drawer can lock or tightly latch to prevent unauthorized access. When picking out any sort of knife block, look for one with solid construction, and avoid purchasing a knife block which comes with knives or other kitchen supplies, as you may end up with cheaply made or unwanted extra products. If you are purchasing a block for your countertop, remember to get one with feet so that the block will not sit in puddles of sauces, grease, or other spills.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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