I decided to go about things differently with this try.
It doesn't matter how the rack looks if it does not function correctly.
I tried a few different spacings and think I found what will work best.
My goals were for the strip to hold the knife secure, but not too hard to remove. And for the knife not to spin on the strip.
Here I have 2 pieces of wood I will be using for the test mock up.
I drilled out holes for the magnets with a spacing that I think might work. The other piece is so I can figure out how thin I need the wood to be that will be covering the magnets.
Magnets in place
Taped to hold them in
Now the 2 pieces taped together. Surface piece is still too thick.
Had to go pretty thin for a good secure hold.
Taped pieces together to give it a try. I didn't have any kitchen knives here so I used a couple files.
Looks like it might work.
Now I will take the dummy strip home and see what happens with actual kitchen knives.