This 12 by 9 by 5-inch beechwood knife block from Wusthof of Solingen, Germany, takes up little counter space and provides convenient storage for seven knives, a honing steel, and kitchen shears. With an assortment of slot sizes, the block holds a chef’s knife or santoku, carving, and pastry knives with room for a total of seven. Slots were created for Wusthof knives — many other well-known brands of cutlery will also fit, but there’s no slot for the truly heavy cleaver blades.
The block sits slightly above the countertop on four small plastic feet with enough clearance to keep the block out of most liquid spills. Splashes clean up easily with a damp cloth — keep the block oiled for best protection against dampness and food stains. Situate the block for convenient access but also pay attention to heat and steam. Uneven heating puts unnecessary stress on the block, and currents of steam trapped below cabinets could cause the block to swell. The best location is a working area away from stove tops and ovens.
European beech is a fine hardwood traditionally used for butcher blocks and many other applications where density and stability are especially important. These laminated blocks may contain several shades of kiln dried wood from different ages of trees and different regions. Generally the darker the wood, the older the tree at harvest. American beech often substitutes for rock maple in cutting boards and other restaurant fixtures. With average care, the block should be stable for years.