So here’s how it went down. I’ve been living in China for almost a year, and I went back to Canada for a month before returning for a year contract. While there, I thought it would be a good idea to grab my knife set out of storage and bring it here. I also picked up a SWEET Shun blade (16 layers of hand pounded Japanese steel… YES!). Life was good. I got back to China, thinking I could easily find storage for my babies. I thought wrong.
…Now is a good time to start scrolling if you are only interested in the How To, and care not for my trials and tribulations during my Asian Adventures…
First, the Chinese knife set, in general, is limited to ONE knife. One huge cleaver, to be exact. The knife skills shown with said cleaver would BLOW YOUR MIND, I kid you not. Granted, many sets they sell have four knives, at this point you might start to see my problem. I had fifteen…
Everything is made in China, right? How hard could it be to find a universal knife block, or even some sort of storage for my mixed collection of Chinese, German, Japanese and French knives? Well, let me tell you… it was an issue. I went everywhere, looking for a knife block. I would find some that would hold five or six, but most only held four. The vendors were very helpful, first pointing me to a “dish drying rack” looking metal thing, then to a small box that had four slits to put knives into. Ugggh… Metal on metal.
I then went to IKEA (yes, the Swedes are here too) and found something I had used in Canada… a magnet that attaches to a wall. Solution? No. No dice kids. I would have had to drill through tile, then CONCRETE, to attach it. Considering I did not bring my drill with me… this was not going to work. Another issue is that in my kitchen (and many in China) there are no drawers to use some sort of insert. Sigh…
I had seen in the past a universal knife block that used thousands of tiny rods, and decided to make my own. There was one thing I could find here… bamboo. Bamboo skewers to be exact. After buying around 2,400 of them (and explaining what I was doing to the vendor in broken Chinese) I was on my way to a viable housing project for my knives.
How to make a Universal Knife Block
A DIY universal knife block is perfect for a mixed set of knives
First, buy a WHOLE LOT of bamboo skewers. I used around 2,400 for mine. Best way to find out how many you need? Bring your holder/bin to the store with you! What length you ask? This is important! MAKE SURE YOUR SKEWERS ARE LONGER THAN YOUR LONGEST KNIFE!!!
Choose a pretty holder, or in my case, the only thing with straight sides I could find… a garbage can… I will probably have a bamboo one made for me here, but for now, my knives are protected.
1. Put the skewers into the bin. You can put the skewers in pointed end up or down. Pointed end up will allow your knives to slide in better, but points may bend or break over time.
2. Put your knives in.
3. Wow, that was hard! Better grab a beer.
Alternate Universal Knife Block
Instead of using bamboo skewers, an EVEN more affordable solution is to use rice. Please, for the love of your knives, make sure to have cork, wood, SOMETHING at the bottom of the block. The rice can/will move and the points may sink enough to become damaged by the bottom. A more permanent solution is to use the bamboo skewers, shown above.
Outcome? WIN :)