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Make your own magnetic knife rack

Can I make a knife rail with magnets?

Often, we have customers reaching out to us inquiring about DIY knife magnet racks, so we made a DIY / informative video about it to address any concerns.

Pro tip: To increase the effectiveness of your magnetic knife rack, aim to minimize the distance between the magnet and the knife. For example, we recommend you mill a groove or a pocket into the material you intend to hang the knives on. Taking this extra step will give you the best result, and less distance between the magnet and knife will require less bearing capacity. Less bearing capacity magnets are less expensive than high bearing capacity magnets, therefore, ultimately you will have to invest less for a quality magnet knife rack. Also, keep in mind you can place magnets directly onto the knives, so you do not need to have a piece of wood, cork, drywall, or tile in between as a buffer. Such materials are only necessary if you are attempting to hide the magnet for aesthetic purposes.

DIY video about magnetic knife racks (in Danish)

Watch the video even if you don't understand Danish as the distance problems are shown in the video. Would you rather read about knife magnets instead of watching the video? Follow along below.

Our best-selling magnets for knife rails are:

  • Disc magnet size 15x8 mm (0.591 inches)
  • Block magnet size 20x20x5 mm (0.79 inches)

And for the largest projects (for chefs and for manufacturers of knife racks) we sell magnets in varying sizes, such as 25x7 mm (0.98 inches) and 35x5 mm (1.38 inches).

In most scenarios, you can drill grooves/pockets onto the back of a wooden plank and glue the magnets into the holes. Ideally, you should not fully penetrate the groove/pocket all the way through the wood, because your goal should be to have hidden magnets from the front.

Pro tip: Remember that the strength of the magnets decreases as the distance between the magnet and the knife increases.

A good rule of thumb is that the carrying capacity of the magnet deteriorates by 30% when 2 mm (0.079 inches) is between the knife and the magnet. At a 5 mm (0.197 inches) distance, the magnet will have an 8% original carrying capacity measured in direct pull.

EXAMPLES

Magnet size 15x8 mm (0.591 inches):

  • Carrying capacity in direct pull: 6.7 kg (14.771 lbs.)
  • Bearing capacity in direct tension w/2 mm (0.079 inches) Wood: 2.0 kg (4.409 lbs.)
  • Bearing capacity in direct pull w/5 mm (0.197 inches) Wood: 0.5 kg (1.102 lbs.)

Magnet size 25x7 mm (0.984 inches):

  • Carrying capacity in direct pull: 12 kg (26.456 lbs.)
  • Bearing capacity in direct tension w/2 mm (0.079 inches) Wood: 4.0 kg (8.818 lbs.)
  • Bearing capacity in direct pull w/5 mm (0.197 inches) Wood: 1.5 kg (3.307 lbs.)

Ultimately, it all depends on the distance between the magnet and the knife. We recommend a maximum distance of 3 mm (0.118 inches) between the magnet and the knife. Usually one (1) magnet per knife should be sufficient, but it is also possible to build up your knife rail with two (2) magnets above each other in a vertical line. So, no need to worry about securing your heavy chef’s knives and worrying about hanging problems, simply add two fixed contact points per knife.

Magnet calculator - for knife rack:

How to use the magnet calculator: Measure the thickness of the material for your knife rack (thickness of the wood, glass, tile, fabric etc.) and move the first calculator button accordingly. It is important that you use the final distance after a possible drilling in the material, as distance is a big factor for magnetic strength loss. Afterwards, check the weight of the knife and move the second calculator button accordingly. Then you will get info on strength needed to help you find the ideal magnets for your knife rack.
5 mm
1 mm
10 mm
250 g.
1 g
500 g
Ideal strength is
0 kg
Find the right magnets here

Related products - Make your own magnetic knife rack

Make your own knife rail with magnets

If you prefer to read rather than watch the video:

You can make a magnetic knife rack from a piece of wood, but it can also be cork, tiles, or plastic. The concept is the same, and a good tip is that there should be as little space between the magnet and the knife as possible. This means that if you have the option of embedding your magnets just like on the test tree shown in the video, you increase the “control” of the magnets and save on your project cost.

The outermost part of the test tree is 1 cm (0.394 inches) in thickness, while in the fold there is only 3 mm (0.118 inches) distance between the blade and the magnet.

Our best-selling magnet for knife rails is a 20x20x5 mm (0.787 inches) block magnet made of neodymium. It has a carrying capacity of approximately 6 kg. (13.228 lbs.) in a straight line. As you can see in the video, the magnet can easily carry the chef’s knife despite the distance and will equally carry smaller knives. Just keep in mind the lowered magnetism compared to the heavy knife with the increase or decrease of distance between the knife and the magnet.

If you choose not to embed your magnets onto the wood (or another material), then watch our video on why it is a bad idea to have a 1 cm (0.394 inches) distance, or greater distance, between the knife and the magnet. In the video we are using a neodymium magnet size 20x10 mm (0.787 inches) for demonstration purposes. With a carrying capacity of approximately 11 kg. (24.251 lbs.), which is a strong magnet, the 20x10 mm (0.787 inches) neodymium magnet cannot hold the knife up. Let us explain why the magnet failed to hold up the knife. In addition to the distance between the knife and the magnet, there is too much weight downwards from the knife. The downward weight gives an indirect pull on the magnet that a strength capability magnet of 11 kg. (24.251 lbs.) cannot hold firmly due to the pull and distance.

You do not need a piece of wood or other construction material to make a row of knives at home. You can simply place a magnet on the fridge, the hood, a piece of steel, or on another magnetic surface and then put the knife directly on the magnet. In the video, we are using a 10x10x10 mm (0.394 inches) magnet for demonstration purposes. The magnet used has a carrying capacity of just under 4 kg. (8.818 lbs.), the chef knife used weighs 0.5 kg. (1.102 lbs.). As you can see, even if there is a large downwards (indirect) pull on the magnet, you should still be able to effectively secure the chef knife.

You could also choose a smaller magnet to directly hang knives. Just keep in mind that magnets tend to follow what is most magnetic and, in this case, it is the knife blade that is far more magnetic than, say, the fridge. Therefore, the magnet will go with the knife not the fridge. We suggest that you choose a magnet that is a good size for your project, so that it is easy to remove the knife and place again the knife back on the fridge.

Knife magnet with direct contact

We have been tipped off by a customer from Pinterest, where he has made a knife rail with direct contact between his magnets and knives. He sought to make his magnetic knife rack with magnets that offer less strength; this type of magnet makes the project much cheaper (financially) and easier than having to use a piece of wood as we explained above. See his solution here, where he used pot magnets sized 13 mm (0.512 inches). Submerged:

With Ø13 mm pot magnets you can make your knifes hover on the wall

As you can see, he achieved a nice-looking knife rack where you cannot see the magnets. It looks like the knives are flat and floating on the wall, which offers a minimalist appeal in any kitchen.

The pot magnets simply need to be screwed onto the wall, by fastening the magnets you are eliminating the need for drying time when compared to gluing. By screwing the magnets, you can just start using the pot magnets immediately.

You can also choose some stronger magnets, but it is not necessary at all. We recommend you use stronger magnets only if your knives weigh more than 500 grams (1.102 lbs.) per piece. Remember: A stronger magnet will make it more difficult to take the knives off the wall, and it will cause a bigger “hit” on the magnet when placing the knife back onto the wall. These “hits” can result in scratches on the knife blade and faster demagnetization of the magnet. Fortunately, we have a solution if your magnet becomes dull. To re-magnetize the dull magnet simply pass another neodymium magnet over the dull magnet a few times. This will cause the poles to align again and help revitalize your dull magnet.

TIP: The metal pot magnets are slightly rounded on the edges so they will not scratch the knives, unless you are very careless and run the knives over the pots and/or the pots are broken/scratched.

We do not recommend using magnets that have a strength capability of over 8 kg. (17.637 lbs.) in direct pull with direct contact, because the blades will get too much resistance from the magnets. Equally important, if the knives weigh well below 800 grams (1.764 lbs.), the weight of a standard chef’s knife, then we recommend a magnet with a maximum capacity of 5 kg. (11.023 lbs.) in strength. Rule of thumb: 3-4 kg. (6.614 lbs. - 8.818 lbs.) feels the same way as when you open a refrigerator.

You can also choose to use rubber coated magnets, but it is not necessary to use rubber coated magnets, unless you always hang up wet knives or choose a very low strength where you depend on the knives not sliding down. Otherwise, rubber coated magnets are not necessary. However, metal pot magnets must always be kept dry. They are made of metal that is suitable for kitchen use, so they can also be used in commercial kitchens. But remember to remove water from them, otherwise in time the magnet will rust.

Pro-tip: Paint a thin layer of nail polish or another clear varnish over the pot magnets so that they secure “tightly” on the surface, this will ensure that the magnets effectively withstand water.

So, what should I use?

To summarize:

If you want to make a knife rail with wood, or other construction materials, in front of the magnets, you must calculate strength loss as in the table above. And then you need magnets that are VERY strong to compensate for the magnetic strength loss from having your board between the knife and the magnet.

If you want to screw magnets onto the wall, we recommend pot magnets. Pot magnets protect the magnets from the direct blows of the knives and provide a height advantage, so you can grip around the knife handle. See the solution above (photo).

And finally, if you want to glue the magnets to the wall, you will need to go for a magnet that offers a little height. The purpose of the additional height is simple, to help ensure that the handle of your knives will not bend the blade. And then you must find a way to protect the magnets from the direct blows you will face when you hang up the knives. Potential solutions we can offer are, you can glue a piece of felt on top of the magnets, where the knives hit, or you can choose a rubber magnet, which can also withstand the blows. Read more about how to glue magnets HERE. You need a special type of glue, and then you need some fine-grained sandpaper.

ATTENTION! READ THE TEXT AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE BEFORE YOU CHOOSE THE MAGNET!

If you have any questions for us about knife magnets, you are welcome to contact us via e-mail or telephone.