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Magnetic Knife Holders-Bad News for Blades??

Oct 31, 2000
Greetings & Happy New Year All

So I had a guy tell me that all the knives he puts on his magnetic knife holder won't hold an edge like the knives he keeps in the drawer...
does this make any sense to anyone?
I've never heard of such a thing, and can't imagine that magnets can alter a knife temper, but you never know.
Cheers, KC
Never heard. I use mags for my kitchen knives and I prefer it to drawers.

However not even a magnet is that lenient on your knives, it sometimes does scratch the surface of the blade.

I´ve solved this prob. by attaching a plastic tape as a barrier between the magnet and the blade. Works great and holds the weight of the knife just fine

BTTT, as I mentioned previously, I´ve never heard of the heat treatment problem, due to magnetic force. Should be interesting to follow up this issue!
This will effect the structure of the blade, but I have usually seen it described as increasing the edge retention. Many woodworkers will swear by it. I have never tested it myself but have been meaning to.


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My take on it from a woodworking aspect is that if I were to hang my knives and carving tools on a magnetic strip, it would greatly increase their edge retention over storing them in a drawer like I do right now.
Thats because they wouldn't be rolling around in a metal drawer

Or maybe I should just take the time to make an insert for the drawer.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer... but I've got the sharpest knife in the room.
Cliff, help me out here. Magnetic fields Will effect the steel? In what way besides possibly inducing a magnetic polarity in the object?

The metallic elements in the carbides are not going anywhere, their magnetic orientation is fixed. I suppose there could be crystalline rearrangements induced in the cementite (more plastic matrix) matrix, but at relatively low temperatures and relatively low levels of magnetic force, I can't see how anything would have a chance to move around enough to effect the physical properties of the blade.

I remember some crazy stuff about ancient Egyptian pyramids, batteries, magnets, and razor blades with perfect edges in the popular press a ways back, but I don't give much credibility to that sort of thing.

What would be the mechanism for magnetic fields altering the physical structure (therefore edge-holding) of the steel?

I keep a lot of my carving tools on magnetic strips for the reasons Matt just outlined (to protect the edges), I have never noticed any real physical effects from doing this.

Paracelsus, wondering around the universe
Cliff; Paracelsus; I can assure you that magnetic knife holders will not effect the edge on knives. It may Affect them, or effect a change in them, but will not effect them.

However, I think that you have missed the major problem with magnetic knife strips; that is that the knives have a propensity to fall; this is a Bad Thing. Worse yet is reaching for the falling knife. Buy a wooden knife block. One in which the slots are horizontal. Or, if the slots are vertical, put the edge up.

Hope this helps, Walt
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Walt Welch:
Cliff; Paracelsus; I can assure you that magnetic knife holders will not effect the edge on knives. It may Affect them, or effect a change in them, but will not effect them.

Hope this helps, Walt

Of course it helps Walt. Thanks. Although I think it may be you who has an affect. I, Myself have no affect and generally little effect either. And I am a bad speeler and flunked out of grammery school.

As for the wood block idea, I have one of those great big thangs in the kitchen, but for storing many dozens of different small carving tools within hands reach, the magnetic strips do a better job than the tens of of wood blocks I would need to cover my workbench with. Then how would I work?

Paracelsus, considering a career in Magnetism
I've been using the Acme Magnetic knife sharpener for years. It's just a simple magnet shaped like a benchstone. Here's how it works: after I've done all my regular sharpening and stropping, I pass the knife over the Acme Magnetic knife sharpener and it removes that last little bit of wire edge and aligns the final edge. You end up with an incredibly sharp edge!
Interestingly, I've also found that this works wonders for curing the arthritis in my shoulder.


I get some pleasure from finding a relentlessly peaceful use for a combative looking knife.
The magnets need to be shaped EXACTLY like the Great Pyramid of Cheops before they will sharpen your knife for you.
I've worked in a couple bicycle shops the past few years. One of them kept the Allen keys on a magnetic strip, the other had them in plastic holders. I didn't find any difference in how long it took for the Allen keys to get rounded out from abuse (underpaid bike mechanics have perverse ideas of fun), but found the magnetized ones easier to use since they held the bolts better. Magnetized kitchen knives I don't know, but it might suck all the iron out of your food
I remember one of the scientific teams that were investigating the great pyramid of Khufu; they were sending a small robot up the very small passage that goes diagonally up to the surface of the pyramid.

They put some food, some flowers, and a dull razor blade in the pyramid for a few days. The results: the flowers wilted, the razor blade stayed dull, and rats ate the food.

Paracelsus, Cliff; I apologize for correcting your grammar. It is just that sometimes I get a flashback to the penguins whacking my knuckles, and cannot help myself.

Cheops is the Greek name for Khufu. Egyptian pharaohs used Greek after Alexander the Great conquered them (because, of course, the Ptolemaic (or Ptolemic) pharaohs were of Macedonian blood); this had many fortunate effects over the 300 years of their reign, one of which was the Rosetta stone, written in Greek, demotic (an Egyptian script) and Heiroglyphs. This allowed the translation of Heiroglyphs some 2,000 years later. Stele such as the RS were erected, as the Ptolemaic pharoahs could not read Heiroglyphs. The only notable exception to this was Cleopatra VII, the last Ptolemaic pharaoh, who was the one Marc Antony and Julius Caesar knew.

(Old geezer mode off) Walt
Is your friend (or housemate, etc) dragging the edge when they remove them from the strip?

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I can't imagine what would happen to cause this problem, unless maybe enough magnetic domains in the knife aligned to make the knife slightly magnetic, causing it to remain slightly coated with metal shavings when sharpened, and somehow they'd dull it.

Seriously, though, I can't see this causing a problem.
Could it be that your friend just has poor quality knives that don't hold and edge anyway? I'm not trying to be a wise guy, but it's a possibility.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What would be the mechanism for magnetic fields altering the physical structure (therefore edge-holding) of the steel?</font>

Magnetostriction. The alignment of the dipoles increases the modulus of elasticity and thus the tool life. A related treatment is Magnetic fluxing in which the tools are subjected to rapidly varying magnetic waves which cause an effect similar to work hardening.


so you are saying that it IS possible..?

I just thought maybe the guy was scratching them when he pulled them off, or perhaps it was just a lucky coincidence that the crappy knives were on the magnet and the good ones fit in the block

btw: to those who asked, I don't know him personally, he wrote in and asked me if I knew anything about magnets affecting edge retention, so I thought I'd ask the experts..you guys