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Having many knives in the kitchen is a good thing since it is wise to use a knife for the purpose for which it was built. However, having a bunch of sharp knives around poses a danger unless they are stored safely and correctly.
One way that many people store their knives is on a magnetic strip that is mounted to a wall to keep the knives stored safely. But is this good for your knives? Do magnets damage knives?
Magnets that come into direct contact with the steel of the blade or the sharp edge of the blade have the potential to damage the finish on the knife or damage the sharp edge of the knife because of the direct physical contact. The magnetic forces of the magnet are not capable of damaging the knife.
A common method of storing knives is to mount a magnetic strip, usually on a piece of wood, and fix this to the wall. The knife is then held in place to the wall mount by the power of the magnets.
There are some concerns that the magnetic strip could cause some damage to the knife, especially when the knife is placed on the rack and removed from the rack.
If you are interested in checking out the best magnetic knife holders for walls you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Can Magnets Damage Knives?
Magnets do not generally damage a knife when they are holding the knife in place. The actual magnetic forces are not a problem for the metallic structure of the knife or the surface finish of the knife.
Magnetic knife holders can, however, pose some problems that can cause damage to a knife in certain circumstances. Much of the problems caused by these magnetic holders are in the quality of their manufacture and their holding ability.
The potential problems that a magnetic knife holder can cause include the following.
- Weak magnets
Weak magnets pose a danger in that they do not hold the knife securely enough. This can be a potential problem if there is some moisture on the knife or a lubricant, which can cause the knife to slip from the grip of the magnets.
Even the weight of the knife could cause the knife to fall off. A falling knife is a danger to anyone near it but also has the potential to damage the knife when the knife hits the ground. The tip of the knife could get bent, the edge could get damaged, the finish marred, or the handle cracked.
- Exposed magnets
Magnets that are exposed and come into direct contact with the blade of the knife can damage the sharp edge of the knife if the knife is placed on the magnet incorrectly. Likewise, when removing the knife, the sharp edge could scrape on the hard manet surface and dull the edge.
Metal magnets that touch the knife could also scratch the finish on the knife if the knife is dragged across the magnet when removing or replacing the knife on the rack.
Some may think that a strong magnet is detrimental to the knife because the strong magnetic forces could cause the blade to deform while it is being pulled by the magnet, which could be detrimental to the thin sharp edge of the knife.
Magnets that are used in knife racks are not strong enough to deform the blade or the edge of the knife in any way.
So if this was your concern about using magnets to hold your knife in place, you don’t need to worry about this aspect of the magnetic forces damaging the blade.
Magnetic Knife Holders That Won’t Damage Your Knife
The best way to use a magnet to hold your knife in place is to have the magnet embedded in a softer material so that it is slightly below the surface of the material and never actually comes into contact with the metal blade of the knife.
In many instances, this softer material that is used to house the magnet is wood, or plastic, or some other similar material that will not scratch the surface of the blade or dull the sharp edge should the edge come into contact with the material.
Some cheap magnetic knife holders are made from steel strips that hold the magnets, but these are not good for your knife.
Every time you place the knife or remove it, you will be dragging the knife over the steel strips, which have more potential to damage the knife.
Some well-made, classy magnetic knife holders completely hide the magnets so that they are not visible at all, and there is no chance of the blade of the knife coming into direct contact with the knife.
The magnets will be placed in the back of the holder, and a thin strip of wood at the front of the holder will hide the magnets from view and also prevent them from contacting the blade of the knife.
The magnets on these types of holders need to be strong enough to penetrate the thin layer of wood and still hold a heavy knife in place on the rack.
These racks are generally more expensive because of the better, more powerful magnets that are used and the superior workmanship that goes into making the holder.
Our choice: If you are looking for a great magnetic strip for your Japanese knives we recommend buying this Premium 17 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder for Wall (Amazon link).
Tips On How To Place Your Knife On A Magnet
Often, the damage that is done to a knife when it is placed on a magnet is when the knife gets close to the magnet, and the blade is suddenly pulled towards the surface of the magnet.
This sudden pull of the magnetic force can catch an unaware person by surprise and lead to the knife being pulled onto the magnet or the holder edge first.
There are some varying techniques you can use to place your knife on such a magnetic holder and remove it, which will not result in this kind of damage.
- Attaching the knife to the magnet. As you approach the magnet with the knife to replace it on the magnet, slightly twist the knife so that the spine of the knife makes contact with the magnet or the rack surface first. The magnet will then pull the blade flat onto the rack, and the sharp edge will be safe.
- Retrieving the knife from the magnet. When removing the knife from the magnetic rack, twist the handle of the knife so that the sharp edge comes away from the magnet first before pulling the rest of the knife free from the magnet.
TIP: Not only knives can be damaged. If you sharpen your knives yourself, even whetstones can be damaged relatively easily by mishandling. Check out 5 most common mistakes on how you can ruin your whetstone in the article below:
5 Ways To Ruin A Whetstone (Avoid These Mistakes)
Are Magnets The Best Way To Store Knives?
Magnetic knife holders are usually the preferred method to store kitchen knives that are used frequently and need to be close to hand.
Most chefs prefer this style of the holder because the knives are visible and accessible, and you don’t have to scratch around to find the knife you need.
There are other options that are used to store knives, such as block holders, knife drawers, and roll-up knife holders.
The block holders are usually blocks of wood with slots cut in them to hold the various size knives. The problem with these holders is that you drag the blade over the wood as you extract or insert the knife from the holder, which can dull the blade.
You can also not see the blade of the knife unless you know the arrangement of the block; you cannot be sure of the type of knife you are drawing out.
The knife draws storage types are not recommended unless the knives get individual covers for the blades to prevent someone from being cut scratching around in the draw or the knife’s edge getting damaged by bashing up against other knives.
The roll-up knife storage method is good, but you have to unroll the entire thing to extract one knife and then roll it up and out it out the way each time.
Magnet knife holders are, therefore, the most efficient and safest way to store your knives, but you need to make sure that the holder you get is good quality, well manufactured, and has strong magnets.
TIP: Japanese knives are among the most popular and highest quality kitchen knives. Do you know how to take care of them properly? Proper care of Japanese knives is very important, so find out more in the article below:
How To Care For Japanese Knives: The Complete Guide
Magnetic-powered knife holders are a great way to store your knives and keep them at hand but safe at the same time.
While the magnetic forces of the magnets do not have the capacity to cause any damage to the blades of your knives, physical contact with the magnets can cause damage.
As long as the magnets are strong enough to hold your knives in place without them slipping off, and the magnets themselves are hidden, and you won’t be dragging the blade across any steel, then magnets are the best option.
Magnets not only store your knives safely and accessibly, but they also allow you to display your magnificent collection of beautifully crafted knives!
TIP: When you buy a new knife, do you sharpen it to your liking, or do you use a sharpened knife as you bought it? Find out more if you need to sharpen new knives or not in the article below: