Shop Projects: Making a Chinese kitchen knife stand

I was recently in China and, as tends to be the case, I came home with a selection of tools and kitchen knives.  Unfortunately, as Chinese kitchen knives tend to have taller blades than most others and even vegetable knives have more of a cleaver than a knife profile, I had no place to properly store them, and the approach I had taken with the one I bought in Tokyo of having a wooden blade guard and leaving it wedged between a knife block and the microwave wasn’t going to work anymore.  At a restaurant supply store in Shanghai I had seen a “knife box” out of sheet metal with a wooden insert, but it was bulky and didn’t really fit my needs for a home kitchen. The height of the blades made a single piece wooden box untenable, and I didn’t feel like gluing up a block out of smaller pieces.


In the end I left the knives sitting out in the shop for a while waiting on inspiration to come, which it did in the form of a wire shower shelf that was on clearance at a local store.


While I liked the way the rack held the knives in a visible display as well as kept their edges away from fingers, I didn’t like the thought of them digging into the countertop or accidentally hitting each other when being put in or taken out. A scrap of from a salvaged board came to mind, and after cutting some grooves on the table saw (note the wider one to accommodate the thicker blades of the two heavier knives) and a dado I had a blade holder.  There is also a small dado on the bottom of the horizontal piece to go over a wire in the basket, which keeps the piece securely located side to side.


Once sanded and assembled I had a relatively quick and easy stand that doesn’t look too out of place on a kitchen counter.


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