Knife Storage

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2013

Wooden knife blocks are a traditional way to store knives, but will the act of sliding a knife into a slot day after day eventually dull its edge?

Most people we know who own knife blocks slide in their knives blade side down when the slots run vertically on an angled face. To investigate whether this damages the knife, we first sharpened our favorite chef’s knife until it could smoothly slice a piece of paper (our standard method for gauging sharpness). We obtained a knife block with slanting vertical slots and then, to mimic daily activity, slid the knife in and out of the slots repeatedly, stopping every 10 strokes to check the blade’s sharpness. After just 70 strokes, the knife was unable to cleanly cut through a piece of paper—a clear sign of dullness. We sharpened the knife and repeated the test again, this time storing the knife on its spine in the block rather than on its cutting edge. This time we found no discernible damage, even after 200 strokes.

Our recommendation? Magnetic knife strips, a universal knife block, or an upright wooden block are your best bets if you’re concerned about damage from storage. If you own a wooden block with vertical slots, store knives on their spine rather than on their cutting edge, as this will help them keep a keener edge longer.

DON'T TAKE THE EDGE OFF: Storing knives on their spine prevents them from dulling.