drawer inserts?

cpartistDecember 2, 2010

My kitchen is almost complete. I am so excited and can't wait to use it.

I need your advice, thoughts and what you like and don't like about your kitchen drawer dividers. I'm looking for advice for knife block inserts for cooking knives, and also how you have organized all the spatulas, spoons, whisks, tongs etc in your drawers. Do you have a good way to keep all those utensils separated and easy to find quickly? If you used a particular brand of insert, can you please direct me to where I might find it? Did you have it custom built and if so, can I please see a picture?

I have 2 24" drawers on either side of my cooktop, and an 18" drawer to put in a knife block. is that big enough for about 13 working knives?

Thank you in advance.

In the same vein, what did you do with your spices? Do you like your solution?

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I didn't do built in dividers because I didn't know how I would clean them. My drawers are 30" on either side of my stove. I got my dividers from Bed, bath and Beyond. they are expandable utensil trays made of Bamboo by Seville classics. The one for the cooking utensils is 18" deep and will go from 13" wide to 23" wide. The spaces are really wide and fits all of my stuff. There is a matching one for cutlery and I got a smaller one for my husbands bar drawer.
I've had them for 3 months and so far, so good.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 10:32PM
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We made custom inserts using the Lee Valley insert makers linked below. I learned about them on this forum. They are easy to make, but take a little time. I only have a pic of our silverware drawer, but we made inserts for many drawers, including spatulas and all the other random gadgets.

We have our knives in an 18 inch drawer (frameless), actually in the same stack as the siverware. We used a Wustoff in-drawer knife block: it holds 14 knives and we have room on the side of the knife block for our can opener, a couple of pair of scissors, and measuring spoons. We got ours at Sur La Table, but you might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere:

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee valley drawer dividers

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 10:42PM
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We purchased all of our drawer utensil holders at Target (about 8 months ago, so not sure what they have in stock anymore). TheyâÂÂre Michael Graves and there were different sizes so we mixed and matched to fit our drawers. Some of our trays have 3 or 4 compartments, and others just one. All in all it seems like they were meant for our drawers!

The interior width of our drawers is 26âÂÂ. Like Pudgybaby we have our knives in the Wustoff flat knife block -- itâÂÂs only 5.5â wide so itâÂÂs terrific space-saver. We got it at a kitchen store, but Target sells a similar one called Hampton Forge (online at least).

Spices? Still a work of progress in our kitchen (thatâÂÂs mostly for DH, who cooks the most around here). We have a narrow pull-out spice and oil rack next to the cooktop, but IâÂÂd like to label all the little jars on top so I donâÂÂt have to look at every one of them to find what I want (DH just âÂÂknowsâ what they are).

Have fun! This means you ARE almost done!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 12:27AM
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pudgybaby: i need new flatware and your is gorgeous! will you share? if not, no worries. i will crawl into a dark corner and cry. TY.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:02AM
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sorry to the OP! but, is it lincoln by oneida?? is it heavy??

and about the inserts: i think the best way to figure it out is to give the knives to the cabinet maker and have him figure it out. or, i had some inserts custom made for my last house. they were for our silver flatware. -called one of the companies that makes the liners and gave them the pattern and how many pieces and they were a perfect fit. not sure if your interested in such a thing, but it's another option! (sorry again to hijack!)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:10AM
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I can't wait for a spice drawer insert! Have you seen them? Your spice jars lay on their sides but tilted up a bit so you can see the labels. Mine are in an overhead cab now and I seem to lose stuff in the back all the time. I have a lot of spices! Most of my stuff is bulk in those little sacks so I'll need to buy some more empty glass jars.

Here's Lee Valley's nice wood version. I've seen plastic ones as well.

With the teaser pics I've seen of your kitchen, I can't wait to see it all finished. Hurry up, would ya? ;)

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley spice drawer insert

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:17AM
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kateskouros: Yes, it's Oneida Lincoln and it's pretty heavy. My silverware has to be able to scoop ice cream since my teen boys rarely use an ice cream scoop. It meets this requirement quite well. Really, just something I picked up at BB&B, but we like it.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:12AM
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Pudgybaby: One more question please! With the custom drawer dividers, what did you use as a source for your 1/4 inch wood - did you buy wood and sand/stain or is there a source of wood strips that only need to be trimmed? Thanks and most grateful!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 7:28AM
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I have custom made drawer dividers using the Lee Valley Drawer Dividers like pudgybaby has. I bought the wood strips to make the dividers at Lowes. Near the trim aisle the should have poplar and oak project boards that are 2' by 4" by 1/4" thick.
These boards are already sanded smooth so the only hard part is ripping the boards from 4" wide down to the desired width. It takes 30 secs with a table saw, but if you don't have one you might be able to do it with a hand-held circular saw and a good straight edge. Then to cut the boards to length you can use a table saw, a miter saw, or even a good hand saw and a miter box.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 10:39AM
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bob_cville, you were one of my drawer insert inspirations! Thanks you so much for the idea. We love the custom inserts and put them in 5 drawers!

So, it's not surprising that I, too, got my wood strips from Lowe's. I used maple because that's what my drawer boxes are made out of. I sprayed on a couple of coats of polyurethane, but it's really not necessary.

We used a hand saw with a miter box. You don't need to be exact - the brass channels from Lee Valley are pretty forgiving.

We used a face clamp (see link) to push the barbed part of the channel into the strips - this might have been a hint from bob_cville, too. It was from someone on this forum! It worked well.

Here is a link that might be useful: face clamp pic

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 1:54PM
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Bob_cville....I am getting ready to do the inserts. Lowes has wood that is 4" high X 2' long X 1/4" thick? The insides of my drawers are 4 1/2" high. Would the Lee Valley divider things work if I kept the wood 4" high? I don't have a table saw and have been trying to figure out if I am that steady with the circular saw. If the 4" board will work, I'm ordering those Lee Valley Drawer Divers ASAP.
Let me know. Thanks!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 3:20PM
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eks6426: I'm curious to hear what bob_cville says about the 4" high pieces. I think that they would work with the Lee Valley dividers ok, but it might get hard to get fingers in to reach the bottom of the compartments unless your compartments are fairly wide.

I used the 2.5" wide pieces and didn't cut them down. The Lee Valley dividers are just a hair shorter than 2.5" high. My drawers are 3 3/8 inches high on the inside. You have deep drawers!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2010 at 6:40PM
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I just wanted to get on and say a quick thank you. I have been so busy getting deliveries, etc that this was the first time I had to even get on, and I have to run now, but will be sure to look at all the wonderful suggestions and respond later. Again, thank you. Also when I get back to NY next week, I promise to post pics.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2010 at 9:25AM
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I used the Lee Valley brackets also, with 2" high boards from Lowe's. The brackets stick up a bit but I did not need to try and cut the boards down.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 5:19PM
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I'm a lee Valley divider fan too. Have them in all my drawers and did them myself (with dh's help at the saw, but I did all the measuring and inserting) WHOOHOO.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 5:44PM
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I have bamboo dividers I got at BB&B; they're okay, not the greatest, it's not a custom fit. My spices I have in an upper corner cabinet not far from the range. I have them alphabetized and on 3 carousels, two 2-level and one 1-level. It's easy to give them a spin and since they're alphabetized it's not hard to locate what I want.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 6:21PM
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This is my knife drawer with 2 Wustoff inserts (the one on the left is the 9"wide/14 slot block and the right one is the 3 1/2" wide/7 slot block). I absolutely love them and got them on Amazon.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 7:48PM
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Loews will probably saw the boards for you if you have the patience to find a person who will do it for you.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 10:27PM
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Thank you everyone. I'm glad someone else brought back this thread because I couldn't find it!

I will definitely let you all see what I decide when I'm done. We head back to FL next week so I'll then have to make a final decision. Since DH is all thumbs and I don't have the equipment to do the work, I'm going to show the lee valley dividers to my cabinet guy and see if he can put them in for me once I decide how to divide up the drawers and decide which things go in which drawers. (Right now everything is in bags on the dining room floor.

For my regular cutlery drawer, I think I'm going to go with the bamboo cutlery trays I saw in HD.

And I love the wustoff inserts for the knives. Of course first we have to buy a set of knives!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 10:34PM
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What are the perceived advantages in using an in drawer knife block vs. an on counter block? I think having to open a drawer constantly to get at the knives would get tiresome after awhile.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 11:08PM
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Johnny for me, I'd rather have them off the counter and not getting greasy and dusty on the counter. Plus, I personally find those knife blocks so ugly and after spending 6 months getting my dream kitchen, I don't want ugly on my counters. :)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2010 at 11:37PM
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an aside...
In the thread about Vermont slate, there is a photo of Sandyponder's countertop knife slit and her comments about it.

Here is a link that might be useful: knife slit by range and slate countertop

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 7:58PM
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Florantha, that is a great idea. Unfortunately my granite is already installed as is all my cabinets. Wish I had seen that before I finished the counters and cabinets. I would have probably added it behind my cooktop and bumped out the cooktop.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Also a timely thread for me---has anyone tried the Rev-a-Shelf wooden inserts that you cut down? They happen to be about the size we need for our drawers, so I'm wondering if that's a better plan for us than the Lee Valley route since we wouldn't need to modify them much (since they're pretty comparably priced, if you count the cost of the boards).

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 10:29PM
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The Lee Valley inserts have prongs. Are these prongs metal? Are the prongs suppose to be pounded into the sides of the drawer? Won't that put holes in them? That seems like a real problem to me if one wanted to reconfigure the drawers.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 3:30AM
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Springwater, a lot of people make a frame for the inside of the drawer, and then pound the Lee Valley brackets into the frame so that the drawer itself is not damaged. That's what I did. But, the prongs are pretty small, so when and if you do want to remove the dividers the holes may not be very noticeable.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 10:21PM
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Alternate for flatware: I used a mesh insert from Amazon


which I love. I wrote a review for it which says, in part, "I divided the flatware up into dinner forks, salad forks, regular spoons, soup spoons, all-other-size spoons (iced tea, serving, demi-tasse, etc.), and table knives. Because that leaves extra front-to-back space in the drawer, I put large serving spoons and steak knives crossways in front of the organizer. It works, although I'll plan a different place for the sharp knives in our new space. Only the table knives wouldn't fit in the two crossways sections. I used those two for salad forks and odd-sized spoons, but it doesn't really matter.

Pros: good divisions for useful sorting of flatware, great to be able to remove the entire basket and wipe out any debris at the bottom of the drawer, won't become brittle and break over time like plastic alternatives

Cons: would be nice to have an additional full length crossways section to use up the extra 3-1/2" front-to-back in a standard depth drawer."

Spices: My sister just moved into a house where the kitchen was custom remodeled about 10 years ago. She put her spices into jars which fit the depth of her drawer and labeled the lids. This use of space allows more spices to fit in the drawer than the tip-back organizers. I think she said she got the idea from one of the TV chefs.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2010 at 5:10AM
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Sorry I never noticed your question. It might be too late, but if your drawers are 4 1/2" deep I think the 4" boards would be fine, with the Lee Valley Dividers. Although that might make the divisions too deep for flatware. If you look at the large image of my silverware drawer, you'll see that the flatware partitions are much less deep than the drawer.


Yes, the prongs on the Lee Valley Dividers stick into the wood, but as kitchen_angst mentioned, some people make a frame inside the drawer and stick the dividers into that, I didn't for the couple of dividers I decided to move you really don't notice the tiny holes where the dividers were.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 5:44PM
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I have the 14 slot Wusthoff too, I love it. I store my sharpening steel in the middle slot.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:31PM
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