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Knife storage quandary

First of all, I hope that everyone had or is having a very happy holiday. :-D

I am very happy because Santa (in the shape of dear son and darling daughter) presented me with my coveted Shun Bob Kramer (Sur la Table version) 8" chef's knife! I was hoping for a gift certificate of some denomination or other, but got the Real Thing instead. I confess it was all I could do to not jump right up from the Xmas tree saying "Excuse me but I need to go chop something"! LOL But I managed to restrain myself until afterward. ;-D (awesome knife)

However, I also later discovered that I now have a bit of a knife-storage quandary, because the widest horizontal slot in my recently acquired Shun 11-slot knife block


is NOT wide enough for the new SBK to fit into more than about 2/3 of the way. Apparantly this block was designed to hold Shun Classic knives specifically. It was an upgrade from an in-drawer slot which I no longer use because I don't want the knives to sit on their blades. First question: Anyone know if these slots can be enlarged?? That would be the easiest way to solve the problem.

Failing that, these are my options/non-options:

22-slot block ( http://www.amazon.com/22-Slot-Bamboo-... ) : Seems to have one very large slot which looks like it would accomodate the SBK chef's, but a user review says that their 2 3/8" wide knife (same as the SBK) does NOT fit into the biggest slot -- so despite the pic, this won't work either. And the steak knife storage are would be a waste since my house is no longer a carnivore's den; a steak knife hasn't been used here for literally 8 years.

Block designed specifically for this set ( http://www.surlatable.com/product/shu... ) : Obviously it will fit, but it's $100 (are they kidding?!), is hugely wide (somehow it reminds me of The Flying Nun, I have no idea why, LOL) , and only holds 8 knives. This is what I currently have:

Shun Bob Kramer (Sur la Table) 8" chef's
Shun Bob Kramer (Sur la Table) 5" utility
Cuisine France Sabatier 8" slicing knife
Cuisine France Sabatier 8" chef's knife
Cuisine France Sabatier 6" utility knife
Sabatier USA 3" paring knife
Cuisine France Sabatier 9" serrated breadknife
Wusthof Classic 3 1/2" paring
Dexter V-LO 9" offset serrated (just got this;chops chocolate great! :D
Sabatier 5" serrated "tomato knife" (good for plum/grape tomatoes anyway
)Cuisine France 5" boning knife
Cuisine France poultry shears
F. Dick 10" smooth honing steel
Chefs Choice 10" diamond steel (which I will probably never use, now that I'll be just straightening edges + having them pro sharpened once a year)

So 11 knives in all (all other than the Shuns and the Dexter were bought 10-12 years ago while I was clueless, as you can see). Only 9 slots in my current block, so the 5" tomato knife and the 5" boning knife, being rarely used, reside in makeshift cardboard covers in the back of a drawer. The shears only go halfway into my block's square, because they're too thick, so they're in a drawer as well. Current block cost $45, btw. :/

Anyway, back to my "options":

Magnetic strip on wall: No possible way; I have ZERO drywall space in my kitchen. Absolutely noplace to mount it. Backsplashes are tiled, and there isn't a large enough appliance-free area there anyhow, even if it wasn't. I can't even nail up a calendar, but have to get the kind with the magnet on the back so it can stick to the thankfullly-not-SS fridge.

My current knife block takes up the one and only counter area that is both next to where I prep AND is comfortably reachable. If I were to buy the "Flying Nun" Shun block, it would have to go onto the counter at the opposite end of the kitchen from where I use my knives. It's too wide to fit where the current block is now.

Blade guard knife sheath: I found this, made by KAI, but according to this it is 'approximately' 2 1/2" wide. My SBK is 2 3/8" actually. Cutting it really close (no pun intended). Depending on how it's constructed (does it have a hard edge??) this may or may not be workable. Does anyone have one of these? I emailed Kershaw to ask whether the SBK/Sur la T chef's will fit, but due to the holiday I don't expect an answer anytime soon.


Can anyone think of a storage solution other than what I've listed? Or am I stuck with shelling out 100 bucks for the "Flying Nun"?

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  1. There are a number of knife blocks that allow for different sized knives. For example, see this: http://www.stylehive.com/bookmark/mom....

    Re: the magnetic sheaths, I have several Victorinox ones (http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Cutl...) and flip my Shun fusion knives the other way so that the blade faces the 'hinge'. This allows for wider knives to fit without the blade sticking out dangerously (the spine will stick out instead).

    1. In the past I've used a hack saw blade to widen a slot in my block, worked fine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: treb

        Agree. It's easy to widen a slot by 1/4 or so using a hacksaw blade, a thin file, and a bit of elbow grease (and patience).

      2. Wow..quite the enigma..and the fact that you typed all that out.

        1. If you have the cupboard space, a magnetic strip inside a cupboard would work.

          Someone handy with a Dremel tool could enlarge the opening of the block.

          1. Congratulation. I wonder how your son and daugther have guessed about the Shun Bob Kramer knife. I guess you were very discreet about your wish, were you? :)

            As for knife storage, there are other options. There are the magnetic knife blocks, which are usually not cheap:


            There are the magnetic knife protectors or magnetic knife shealth. They don't have to be the same width as the knife blade, for they enclose the blade by magnetic attraction:


            There are the Kapoosh knife holders which some people really like, but some don't:


            There are the bamboo rod versions which are more durable.


            As you can see, they are fairly expensive for a very simple design, so a few people build their own:


            1 Reply
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Oh I was the absolute SOUL of discretion, LOL! :D

              I have no idea how all those Sur la Table links ended up in the emails I sent them recently. Must have been some kind of Trojan lurking in my computer or something. ;)

              That Chefs Depot magnetic knife block intrigues me. I'm going to make a scale drawing to see exactly how much knife space is on the sides, to map out what would fit where. At the sale price it'd be within only few dollars of the Flying Nun, but take up a heck of a lot less room on the counter. In fact, it just MIGHT be able to sit right next to my current block, should I ever magically acquire any more knives in the future...not that I am PLANNING to, or NEED to, you understand... I'm just hypothesizing. Theoretically. You know.

              I wonder if the sale price is still good for a pre-order, or whether the pre-order would be at the higher price (which would eliminate it, frankly). I shall inquire. :D

            2. Didn't realize that Cuisine France Sabatier were such "clueless" knives. I've been using their high carbon and Wusthof in restaurant kitchens for more than 20 years.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PBSF

                "Clueless" meant in the sense that I wasn't aware of the existence of Shun, etc. :D

                However, your CDF Sabatier knives are almost certainly better quality than mine, if you've had them that long. Found onlin re: Cuisine France Sabatier and Sabatier USA from the era when mine come:

                "Article date: February 15, 1999
                The Sabatier name will soon extend from cutlery to flatware, according to Harmon Stein, president of Excel Importing Corp., which carries the Excel, Retroneu, Farberware and Sabatier brands. The Sabatier flatware collection will make its official debut at the Gourmet Products Show in May and will be supported by a national advertising campaign in both trade and consumer outlets, including bridal and gourmet magazines. Last August, Excel acquired Sabatier USA and penned a licensing deal for the Sabatier and Cuisine de France brands."

                also from the same time period:

                "Swiss Army Brands, Inc. announced today it has signed a letter of intent to sell Cuisine de France Limited the exclusive North American distributor for fine French cutlery under the Cuisine de France Sabatier trademark to a new company that includes as a principal Bob Candler, CDF's national sales manager. Terms of the planned sale were not disclosed. Swiss Army Brands acquired Cuisine de France in 1992. In addition to its line of Swiss Army Brand Watches, Swiss Army Brands also distributes Victorinox(R) Watches and cutlery under the R.H. Forschner brand for professional use."

                If you've had them for 20 years, your CDFs are probably from the Swiss Army Brand era, if not even earlier.

              2. For $100, you can have knife block made for you. I did. Mine is mahogany and maple and is designed to hold extra wide knives like Chinese cleavers and Japanese Debas. I went to the local hardware store/lumber yard with home drawn dimensions and they cut, glued and finished the block for $100. You can also get dimensions from the internet.

                2 Replies
                1. re: bgazindad

                  Wouldn't it be cool if The Boardsmith also made knife blocks? :D

                  Maybe as different dimension 'blocks' (possibly different wood combos as well) with the slits sized to the customer's order.

                  1. re: dessert_diva

                    I think Boardsmith does make knifeblocks. I would write him and ask, but I seem to remember some knifenuts talking about their custom blocks from David.

                2. We found ourselves in a similar situation, too many knives, not enough big slots. I got a second knifeblock, a Henckel's, for $1.80 at a thrift store. Not sure your Shun would fit but I have seen them at Goodwill with slots for cleavers.

                  1. I have two of these drawer storage 'trays' from Totally Bamboo in a drawer, and I really like them. They are a bit large, so make sure they would fit in your drawer first. Also, don't get the Wusthoff one even though it looks the same. It isn't as good.


                    Here's a picture of my knife drawer. Sorry it is sideways.

                    Each side holds 5 large and 6 smallish knives. The nice thing is that you don't have to worry about blade size.

                    1. DD:

                      My vote is for the mag strip inside a cabinet (How many Ferraris do you see parked outside?).

                      If you have but one "slot" in your existing block to enlarge, the hacksawblade trick above will work, but it can be laborious--a file actually works better. Or, the block can also be SAWN apart, the slot enlarged, and then have it rejoined, but unless you can do this yourself, it'll cost more than $100 to have a millwright do it.

                      From the "odd options" file: If others are not to be trusted with access to your Kramers, you might consider keeping your "expendable" blades where they are, and putting your Kramers away in a "chef's roll" or fabric knife suitcase. I have one made by Messermeister that I use for my breakers, boners, siders and caping knives. Also useful if you plan to cook while traveling.

                      Fourth option: If $$ are tight, you could do as I have done: Look for a block at garage sales or thrift stores that has a taller slot intended for a small cleaver. My heavy Bob Kramer cleaver won't fit in it anyway, so that slot is perfect for "taller" chefs' knives.

                      1. Hi dessert diva,

                        I have thé Kai magnetic sheath for thé Shun classic double hollow ground Santoku that does not fit into the 11 slot Shun block.

                        I bought both at Williams Sonoma this fall.

                        It works well and I keep the Sumo (sheathed) right on top of my block.

                        1. I had the same problem when I recently started to add some Shun knives to my existing block, including some that you’ve named. My block had enough slots, but they just were not wide enough to accept the new Shuns and allow me to still keep the other knives that I had accumulated.
                          I opted to enlarge some of the empty slots that were too small. I used a Stanley® Folding Pocket Saw that is able to take a standard 12-inch, six-teeth-per-inch reciprocating blade. This blade reaches all the way through the block and is fairly easy to control. It made quick and efficient work of five expanded slots. I used a fine flat bladed file to finish the slots. They look pretty much like the larger slots that were put into the block when it was made.
                          This block now will accept all of my planned expansion without the cost of going to a larger block (with more large slots). The big disadvantage of a larger block to get more big slots is that you will undoubtedly have a lot of unused slots or feel forced to buy more knives (than you probably need) just to cosmetically fill the open slots.

                          1. If you have drawer space.

                            We bought a set of hard foam tool dividers with tool slots at Sears. Cost was $20ish. Mount them with the stick-on rails provided, knives in their sheath. All Japanese knives are there.