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Thread: Magnetic knife bar location

  1. #1

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    Magnetic knife bar location

    Hey all,

    I'm planning on making a wooden magnetic knife bar for my kitchen and am looking for recommendations on location (yes, I know each kitchen is different). I don't currently have a magnetic bar, nor do I currently have nice knives (I'm about to order my first few...a 150mm petty and a 240mm gyuto, with more to follow). I have an island, where I end up doing the majority of the knife work. If I'm not cutting on the island, then it's between the sink and stove.

    Unfortunately, due to the cabinets, I don't feel like a knife bar will work well on the walls under the cabinets/above the counter tops. It would just be awkward to grab a knife it seems. The sides of cabinets tend to be in areas where people would walk.

    The two options that I see would be on the wall behind the sink or on the side of the fridge. The side of the fridge is a bit further away from the "active" area of the kitchen and is a little more out in the open where guests would be, although there isn't fear of it being bumped or anything. So that location isn't my top choice. That leaves the area behind the sink. Has anyone put a magnetic bar there? Any concerns/problems being close to the water? I don't really get splash marks on the wall that I've seen and at least for now, I'm planning on going with stainless steel knives, although I may try some non-stainless in the future.

    Also, what lengths tend to work well? Since I'm making the bar, I can customize the length, up to about 30" if I put it behind the sink. I was thinking something in the 24" range to hold my current cheaper knives, the two I'm about to purchase, and room for expansion in the future. I know Benchcrafted makes some nice ones with 12" and 18" options.

    Thanks!
    Tyler

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mucho Bocho's Avatar
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    Tyler, Knife magnet bars are quite deceiving. At first its like, just get some magnets and put them behind a wood board, cheap and easy right. Deceiving.

    First you have to find the right wood. It has to be thick enough to hold the knifes off the wall. Then the wood has to be routed so that the magnets are close enough to the knives so that they attract the steel. Then you have to get the magnets. Rare Earth Magnets (neodymium) is probably the strongest you can buy, but they aint cheap.

    Then you have to find a way to mount the bar. Sure you could just screw through the wood but would not look the best. After all that, your only looking to make one and the first one you create will certainly going to look like a prototype. So for 25% to 30% more $, you can just order one from some of the makers on this forum: Marko Z and the Boardsmith guys sell them I think?

    Just a thought, not trying to discourage you or anything.

  3. #3
    I would not put it near the sink. It isn't just water droplets or splashing that you need to worry about but also the increased humidity and steam from hot water. Also stainless knives can still be affected by prolonged exposure to water. Finally the water would eventually mess up or ruin the magnet strip that you are making, especially if you are making it out of wood. So it sounds like the fridge is the best place from the description you gave us. But I'm sure if you post pictures someone will come up with another idea.

    As far as length goes plan for the size you want your collection to be. If you just want a gyuto, a petty, a bread knife, and a slicer then 12 inches would probably work. But knowing how this addiction goes you will probably want 30" and another room for storing the rest of them.

  4. #4
    They're only $20 for a good one at kitchen supply stores. I would find it a hassle to make a custom one because you need to get the magnet strength just perfect. You don't want to build one that is too strong (Like the ones at Williams Sonoma. Don't ask!).... Yet, you need it strong enough to grip the knives. You'll probably end up spending more than $20 on materials to get it right.

    The kitchen sink is a pretty bad idea. Even if you have all Yo handle stainless knives, they'll still get lots of water seeping into any minuscule cracks around the handle and eventually ruin it. Forget about owning wa handle knives or carbon knives in that situation.

  5. #5
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    I agree with the above. You don't need a custom bar nor do you really need to make one yourself. There are tons of available options. I bought a really strong one once and didn't like the scratches it put in the knife. I coated the metal strips with a spray on rubberized coating and it has lasted for over 10 years. Holds 6 knives securely without damaging them. Looks great. 22$.

    For your sink location it depends on a few factors. What kind of knives and handles you have and just how much exposure to moisture they are going to get, etc. It sounds like it is going to have to be trial and error. No one can say for sure till you try but that being said it doesn't sound like an ideal location.

    To speak from my own experience regarding location what is paramount to me is that the knives remain adjacent to my primary cutting location. Nothing bugs me more in a kitchen than having to run around for a tool when I need it. If I'm cutting something and need to change knives nothing beats having it next to me. I would suggest that your overall design allows you to keep you most commonly used knives at your cutting station.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mucho Bocho View Post
    Tyler, Knife magnet bars are quite deceiving. At first its like, just get some magnets and put them behind a wood board, cheap and easy right. Deceiving.

    First you have to find the right wood. It has to be thick enough to hold the knifes off the wall. Then the wood has to be routed so that the magnets are close enough to the knives so that they attract the steel. Then you have to get the magnets. Rare Earth Magnets (neodymium) is probably the strongest you can buy, but they aint cheap.

    Then you have to find a way to mount the bar. Sure you could just screw through the wood but would not look the best. After all that, your only looking to make one and the first one you create will certainly going to look like a prototype. So for 25% to 30% more $, you can just order one from some of the makers on this forum: Marko Z and the Boardsmith guys sell them I think?

    Just a thought, not trying to discourage you or anything.
    I appreciate all the concerns/warnings regarding making my own magnetic bar, but woodworking is my main hobby, so I am confident that I have the knowledge, supplies, and equipment necessary to make a magnetic bar. I can even use some water-resistant woods if necessary (teak or others). Yes, I could easily buy a beautiful one, but part of the fun would be ending up with something that I built to my specs. I also recognize that it's a fine art to getting the magnets at the right location in the wood so they pull strongly enough on the knives but not too strongly.

    I am planning on getting wa-handled knives. It sounds like above the sink wouldn't be a good idea for a number of reasons, including the wa handle. The sink is relatively close to where I do all my work in the kitchen (including close to the island), so that area seemed like a good option, minus the moisture concern. It'd be nice to hang them on one end of the island, but those are also high traffic areas, so that wouldn't work out well. In terms of keeping them close to or on the island, the only other option is keeping them in a drawer.

    I'll try to post a couple pictures tonight to see if people have other thoughts.

    Thanks!
    Tyler

  7. #7
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    SpikeC's Avatar
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    How about a fence like structure mounted on the island that the bar could be attached to?
    Spike C
    "The Buddha resides as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain."
    Pirsig

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeC View Post
    How about a fence like structure mounted on the island that the bar could be attached to?
    Good idea. Come to think of it I've seen pictures of knife storage setups where slots were made through islands and the exposed blade was covered with some type of enclosure. With woodworking as a hobby I'm sure the OP would be able to construct something appropriate.

  9. #9
    Since you're a woodworker, maybe building a knife block would be a better option?


  10. #10

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Cardenas View Post
    Since you're a woodworker, maybe building a knife block would be a better option?

    And mount it to the side of the island.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

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