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Installing a magnetic knife bar without drilling?

I have a magnetic knife bar that I had used in my previous apartment. Now I've moved but there isn't anywhere in my new kitchen that I could drill/screw into.

Any ideas on how to mount it without drilling? I'd attach it to tile or metal. Will any superglue be strong enough?

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  1. Well, you can drill both tile and metal, FWIW. Most (sharp) drill bits will handle metal just fine. For tile, you need a tile specific bit--a couple of bucks at the hardware store.

    Superglue=no. There are other adhesives that would probably work. Silicone or construction adhesive come to mind, but I would NOT recommend these at all. If you go that route, you'd need to tape or otherwise adhere the bar to the wall until the adhesive is completely cured. And good luck getting it off...

    That double stick foam tape (made by 3M) works pretty well and holds fast depending on the circumstances. I'm not sure how well it would do in a kitchen though. IME this is also pretty tricky to un-adhere, but YMMV.

    1. We used to move a lot and my magnetic knife bars always accompanied us. Once, my husband installed one inside a cabinet door. In another house, he attached it to the side of the fridge. I'm sorry I cannot tell you how he did the latter.

      1. For metal drilling, especially stainless steel, which is fairly hard, you'll have much better luck with a pilot point type of bit, preferably cobalt steel; failing that, drill a pilot hole with a 1/8" or so bit. Twist drills will cut steel fine once they're in far enough for the spiral to engage (there's a better word, but I'm getting old), but can be slow to get started.
        Hot melt polyurethane glue would be the best bet for gluing, but requires special equipment to apply- min. about $100. Epoxy would be the next best- select one that's recommended for the materials you're gluing- but you'd have to find a way to hold the rack firmly in place while it set.
        Gluing is probably not a good idea if you don't have a lot of experience with it- it's chancy if not done perfectly, and falling knife racks are not good.

          1. It goes without saying that a knife bar needs to be *really* secure. Not only is it a question of how much damage could be done to the knives if a bar gives way, it's a question of how much damage the knives could do to things they fall on, including flesh. ::shudder:: I wouldn't ever rely on an adhesive unless you could do it permanently enough to use an industrial epoxy.

            With that in mind and just in case there are possibilities you haven't explored yet, I have mounted bars under my cabinets and inside cabinet doors. Note that the horizontal storage is limited to lightweight paring knives. Also a possibility that might present opportunities is making the length of the bar more flexible by mounting it first to something that can be mounted to the ultimate destination. In the case of my larger knives, I used nearly invisible Plexiglas in order to be able to make the connection with the deeper frames of the inside cabinet door.

            Both installations have held up for about 4 years now without a fail.

            If you don't find any spots where a bar can be securely screwed in, there are horizontal blocks that go inside drawers. I use one of those too.


            1 Reply
            1. re: rainey

              This is exactly what I needed! Love the Plexiglas idea - and stealing!

            2. I have a magnetic knife bar from Ikea. I noticed it sticks to the fridge just fine, but with the knife surface facing the wrong way. Too bad they don't make them double-sided magnetic.

              16 Replies
              1. re: pdxgastro

                You could screw 2 of them together through the little provided pre-drilled holes. You'd just need to get a couple screws that are longer and are fitted with bolts. Then you could let one side stick to your fridge and the other face store knives.

                Really very clever and, possibly just the sort of solution the OP is looking for.

                1. re: rainey

                  I'm not a scientist, but I believe the two magnets would cancel each other out. Also, there would be some difficulty in getting the nut side countersunk.

                  1. re: oldunc

                    They would only cancel out or repel each other if the poles were not opposing, either pole will be attracted to ferrous metals, so you can stack magnets, they just have to be stacked properly.

                    I have some rare earth magnets that if you get them close to each other, the attraction is so hard you can't keep your fingers out of the way and you get pinched when you try to stack them. These are Samarium-cobalt, and will easily hold through 1/4 to 3/8 inches of wood.

                    1. re: mikie

                      I have some of those rare earth magnets - tiny, cheap and easily strong enough to hold up a knife bar

                  2. re: rainey

                    Actually, the better way to go would probably be to dismount one set of magnets from their bar and mount them to the reverse side of a single bar so you wouldn't have the whole affair sticking awkwardly out into space.

                    1. re: rainey

                      That would increase the tendency of the magnets to cancel each other.

                      1. re: oldunc

                        It would be worth experimenting with if I had 2 knife bars hanging around. I think all you'd have to do is reverse one set 180˚ to get compatible polarities.

                        There would be a significant hunk of wood in there between them interrupting the attraction. That's why one set of magnets (magnetic bars already come in pairs of magnets, you know) wouldn't be sufficient to attract both knives and the steel fridge door without a second pair.

                        1. re: rainey

                          Where ARE all the blasted scientists? I'm pretty sure they can either reinforce each other or counteract each other, they can't ignore each other. The chunk of wood wouldn't offer much insulation, it would depend on the strength of the field, which would need to be pretty strong for this to even be worth considering. And the wood would need to be fairly thin, to keep a low profile.

                          1. re: oldunc

                            Well, then, maybe it's not worth continuing with. ::shrug::

                            1. re: rainey

                              Thanks for the suggestions! I'll have to drop by IKEA and give this a try-- won't know till then. Magnet-mounting on the fridge would be pretty ideal.

                            2. re: oldunc

                              You don't need a scientist, one direction they attract each other , flip one over it pushes the other away, get 2 magnets and try it, BTW rare earth magnets are something else for strength

                              1. re: Dave5440

                                We know that- the question is if there's any way to orient the double magnets of a knife bar so that they'll attract in both directions and if the wooden bar will provide enough insulation to keep them from effecting each other.

                                1. re: oldunc

                                  Yes you put the mags back to back so they stick to each other the they will also stick to metal on both sides, if i understand you correctly, can't find my camera or I would attach a pic

                                1. re: oldunc

                                  Scientist here says you are correct

                        2. We have a similar situation in our kitchen (noplace to mount a magnetic bar). There isn't enough height along the wall betwen the cabinetry bottom and top of the Silestone backsplash to allow for any of the longer knives to be placed vertically. And there is not one bit of blank wall other than that: everything vertical is either window, cabinetry, or side of fridge. Cabinet doors are all glass, so no option there.

                          Most of the knives live in a knife block on the counter but speaking of magnetic mountings, may I vent for a moment and say that I've been waiting NINE MONTHS for the Messirmeister-clone magnetic knife block sold by Chef's Depot?! I ordered it in December 2010 thinking I could get it for the holidays (ha!) and it has been backordered since then. Of course my credit card was charged at the time of ordering and thus they've had my $$ but I have zip in the way of an additional and very necessary knife block. I now have 4 knives that absolutely do not fit into any of the slots in my traditional one (when I first ordered the magnetic block I had just one knife needing a home).

                          Sorry for going OT somewhat (hey, at least it is magnetic, LOL) but when it takes longer to get a kitchen/cookware item than a baby, that's just wrong. :-/

                          I'm hoping that our next kitchen will have the appropriate wallspace somewhere for a wall mounted rack, especially if I keep buying knives and/or never do receive that magnetic block!

                          To the OP: I agree with the others, Superglue won't be adequate. Remember that even if it would hold the weight of the bar + full of knives, each time you remove a knife you'd be applying torque to that bar and its adhesive. Over time all of those little pulls are bound to take a toll and somewhat loosen the adhesive (or the tiles it's stuck onto!) OR if it the adhesive did permanently hold, then what happens if you move again and want to take the knife bar? Especially if you're currently renting, I don't think your landlord would be too happy about chunks of tile or metal, plus the drywall they're mounted on, being yanked off the wall along with the knife bar when you leave. Drilled holes are a lot easier to repair than anything like that.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: skyline

                            Haha yeah I've been looking at the Messirmeister blocks, but they're all "out of stock" and who knows when they'll be back in?

                          2. There are a number of adhesives that would hold a magnetic strip to a number of different substrates. You have to match the adhesive to the substrate. Consturction adhesive works on a number of substrates, wood, tile, some metals, etc. Silicone adhesive works well wtih glass, ceramic tile, etc. Polyurathane (gorilla glue) will adhere just about anything, but you will need a way to clamp it to get good adhesion. The obvious down side is if for some reason it fails, then you could have serious issues, that 8" Chefs knife would look odd sticking up out of your foot if it should come unglued. Most substrates can be glued, but they can also be drilled, unless you don't have a substrate you can freely drill into, that would be my first choice.

                            1. Silicone and construction adhesive are probably too flexible, though CA is pretty tough, maybe if you could somehow clamp it really well. Gorilla glue doesn't work well on non-porous materials; it is activated by moisture in the objects being glued. Hot melt polyurethane is a different matter; it adheres instantly to just about anything, and is ridiculously tough, much like epoxy, and able to fill gaps. It can be remelted, so your rack might fall if your kitchen burns down; on the other hand, you should be able to remove the rack with a heatgun, though it's doubtful you could clean up the tile or metal enough for a landlord.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: oldunc

                                CA has little to no gap filling capability, probably not a good choice. You can hit Gorilla glue with a mist of water before clamping and that provides all the moisture necessary. But you still need to clamp it.

                                1. re: mikie

                                  It will help it cure, but not to bond to the substrate. That's why it's not recommended for nonporous materials or woods with very low moisture content. I've tried it on both metal and finished wood, and the bonds failed after time. CA will fill gaps, but with no real strength (as will Gorilla Glue)- I agree it's not a good choice, but this whole thing is taking on a tone of desperation. Best to go back to basics and screw the thing on; if you can't mount a bar in a reasonable way, there are other ways to store knives; bars have a pretty large downside anyway, as they are usually in places where inadvertent contact is too easy.

                                  1. re: oldunc


                                    please read the following: http://www.titebond.com/ProductLineTB...

                                    or see the first column in the chart: http://www.gorillaglue.com/glues/glue...

                                    These manufacturers reccomendations is what I base my suggestion for polyurathane on. Regards,

                                    1. re: mikie

                                      Well, since most of my information is from experience, magazine articles and reading of glue bottles a few years ago, it's perhaps true that Titebond really does have a new product as they claim. They do, however, recommend a clamping pressure of 175 to 250 psi on hardwoods, which would be a bit difficult to achieve with a knife rack, and make no claims of durability, specifically not recommending it for structural applications. I still like screws. By the way, if you never tried one of those Hi-Pur-Former setups for hot melt polyurethane, the performance of the adhesive is amazing, but the delivery system had a lot of holes, at least 5-6 years ago, and I couldn't really recommend the expenditure except for a pretty specific purpose.

                              2. We don't have a good place in our current kitchen, and so far, our knives have been living in a drawer. One of these days, we'll figure out a better solution.

                                1. My magnetic knife bar is mounted on the side of my refrigerator, which is situated next to the counter. I purchased some tiny but heavy-duty rare-earth neodymium magnets to fasten the bar to the side of the fridge. It's been there for a month, loaded with two 8-inch chef's knives, a cleaver, santoku, paring knife, slicing knife, and kitchen shears, and so far it's held up well with no sign of slipping. I do have to be a little careful when removing blades from the bar; one time the bar did slip when I yanked the cleaver directly off of the bar. But otherwise it looks great and feels great.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Modemac

                                    Not necessary to yank. Rotate the handle toward the back of the knife blade. It's easy to pull away from that lesser connection.

                                  2. Well, looks like I found solution-- just picked up a Kai "Stonehenge" redwood knife block (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kai-Stoneheng...) here locally in Hong Kong. Very expensive-- but so gorgeous. Thanks for the advice all.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. I've had success mounting many things using 3M "command adhesive" strips. they're easy to remove without a trace, and hold well. since the magnetic bar doesn't have a lot of flat area on the back, just mount the bar to a flat sheet of Masonite (say, clipboard sized) so you could use extra adhesive strips.

                                      when I mount things using command strips, I use 90% isopropyl alcohol from the drugstore to THOROUGHLY clean both surfaces. and I usually order the strips from amazon - best prices.

                                      for EXTRA security (may be overkill) you could run some strong monofilament from the Masonite to whatever's above it. it's the same monofilament used to hang artwork dorm picture rails. that would really be a "belt and suspenders" technique!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: docflash

                                        I use Command strips frequently too. Command is a great product but they do fail over time. The adhesive just gives out without warning. I've had things fall right off the wall. Some were breakable and are now memories (terra cotta cookie molds). Sometimes the Command adhesive held out for years. Sometimes not nearly so long. I suppose the weight it was bearing made some of the difference.

                                        I wouldn't want to see a rack of knives come down. Not good for the knives. Not good for anyone standing nearby.

                                      2. Heavy Duty velcro strips with adhesive backing..ne mess no fuss will work great, but make sure it is the HD.