Knife roll/bag/tool box ideas needed

Joined Aug 3, 2010
I am heading off to school in a few weeks and need some suggestions for the best way to manage all of my knives and equipment while at school.  I have been using a tool box but now that I have acquired more knives I think I need a knife roll too.

Please let me know how you carry all of your stuff around...what works...what doesn't.  Will there be room in the class/lab for a tool box or will I be limited to only a few items?

Thanks so much...tchuss!
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Never been to "culinary school", however, I HAVE been to other "trade schools" and they generally frown on bringing ANYTHING to school, except that provided by or authorized by the school.

Besides, how willing are you to having your knives borrowed/misplaced/mistreated/liberated?

FMLE, not everyone has the same view of "private property rights" so I would not take anything that would upset me if it turned up "missing" or damaged!
Joined Aug 6, 2010
label everything! But I use a roll, a pretty large one, but it works pretty well for me. I havn't started school but I am pretty territorial over my knives at work, so make sure you pick up that habit.
Joined May 4, 2010
tool box is great for when you need everything (see: practical exams), but i use a simple knife roll week to week and add special equipment as needed, eg a candy thermometer.

label everything indeed. avoid ink, think about sanitation in whatever you do. pretend you are the NSF.
Last edited:
Joined Oct 28, 1999
I encourage my students to invest in a quality tool box (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc) with a hasp and pad lock. Also, a Dremel (high RPM drill-like tool) is wonderful for etching initials/name into handles, etc of tools you wish not to walk away.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
I have a huge orange toolbox with a lock that I got at the depot. A knife roll for me is to small, what with cleavers etc.  I used to love riding the subways in New York knowing I was really safer then the average, but that was years ago
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Rolls of the Non-Kaiser Persuasion:

It doesn't make sense to carry everything you own with you everyday.  A knife roll that's not too large to carry just what you need on  a given day makes sense for school.  

Messermeister rolls are inexpensive, everyone uses them, and they come in enough colors and patterns that yours can remain distinct.  Every girl needs an LBD, but not an LBKR.

Koobi rolls are fantastic.  They're better than Messers.  Colors but not patterns. Probably not worth difference for a student.

Yak Pak come in the best patterns, are extremely well made, and decently priced.  Good luck finding them.  Everyone seems to be out.

If the school forces you to buy a "decorating kit" with a lot of small tools, it will usually come with its own bag.

Tool boxes are great.  The newer heavy-duty plastic ones are built with flat tops (recessed handles doncha know) so you can stack and bungee them on a little cart.  If you have to schlepp a lot of stuff, it's the way to go.  You may want to use a knife roll or two along with your tool boxes to protect your edges. 

Things They Never 'Splain:

They'll tell you about the fish spat, offset pallette knives, heat resistant silicone spats, and a lot of other things.  But there are a couple of small tools that might not mention. 

French Whisk -- Take it from an old (ex) saucier, buy yourself one of these beauties.   They're not necessarily sold as "French," so recognize them by their stiff, heavy tines as opposed to the piano wire tines on "balloon whisks" and the girly whisks sold for home cooks.  A French whisk can stand up to any task, and is the whisk you'll use for everything other than whipping egg whites and cream,

Melon baller -- 'nuff said.

Vegetable peeler --  ALWAYS carry several of whatever you're most ocmforatble with, so you always have a sharp one.  If you like the 79ct ones, so much the better.  Just make sure you have what you like -- new and sharp.  A dull one can wreck your hand and your day.

Can opener -- you probably won't need it for school, but you always want one.  Think everyone has one in the kitchen?  Nope.

"Church Key" bottle opener/ can piercer -- Need, need, need.

Emergency Knife Repair and Sharpening Stone or Gizmo) --  Norton IC-8 or IB-8 is the way to go if you can sharpen.  If not, you'll need a gizmo.  It's for emergencies, and not necessarily a part of your routine knife maintenance kit -- neither is it your steel.  So if it's on the aggressive side, that's alright.   Whatever you carry, you should be able to use it.

Second to Last Piece of Unsolicited Advice:   Don't spend a fortune on knives.  If the school store sells Shun, resist the pressure.  Similarly don't let them talk you into any of the high-zoot Germans either.  Not yet.  If you must use German style, heavy, forged knives Mundial are fine for school. 

Heavy knives (except for a few limited purposes) are old school.  The modern trend among skilled cutters is to use lighter, more comfortable knives which can be made signficantly sharper and hold their edges better than the heavy, old fashioned knives. 

Quality matters a lot for the chef's knife.  Otherwise, not so much.  You want something that gets very sharp, won't make you fight it, and doesn't cost a lot.  Forschner rocks.   If I were sending a daughter it would be with Forschner Rosewood or Fibrox for everything except a Japanese made, French profile chef's. 

For the chef's, something like a Togiharu Moly, Misono Moly, or even splurge a little on something like a Tagayaki VG-10.   A good chef's knife makes a huge difference.  Go 24cm (or 10" on a Euro) with the chef's, not shorter.  The school should actually teach the grip well enough that the length isn't a problem.  On the other hand, don't go all macho and buy a 12 incher.

You can and will buy better "core" knives once you've figured out what you really like. 

Last Piece of Unsolicited Advice:

LEARN TO SHARPEN AND LEARN WELL YOUNG PADWAN.  Sharp knives are a pro's friend.   Dull knives will destroy your hand and wrist while sucking the joy out of prep.  Don't wait for the school to teach you.  Even if they do, they won't do a good job.  

Sharpening freehand on bench stones is a useful skill for any pro.  If you find stones too intimidating, buy and Edge Pro Apex.  If an EP is too expensive, at least get a Chef's Choice electric.  

OK, I lied.  One More Thing:

PM FrenchFries.  He started school last year, like you as an adult.  He's beaucoup smart and nice and can help with you a lot of things which go beyond knife rolls.

Hope this helps,

Joined Aug 3, 2010
Wow! what wonderful advice......hubby just brought me his engraver and I have my tool box open already.  Thank you everyone.

Yes, I have adequate working knives for now with no intention to buy "good" knives until I am more aware of what my true needs are.  Thank you very much for the recommendations.  I agree whole heartedly that a sharp knife is the prime objective...even when I cut off the top of my was with a freshly honed knife!

The requested knives on the required list are: 6" boning, 8" santoku, 3.5" paring, peeler, 2 1/2" turning.  On the optional equipment list is an 8" min. chef's knife and a 12" min. granton slicer.
Joined May 4, 2010
invaluable equipment for school (if not always, at some point):

- lighter (for relighting pilots), as a former smoker for 20 years, I recommend large (standard size) Bics for their dependability

- candy/deep fry thermometer (preferably not glass)

- lots of cheap $2 pairing knives (so you don't lose your good one)

- salt (in anyway you can do it in a compact way that you keep in your kit for emergencies or when no one knows where the salt went, add any other critical seasonings as needed, eg white pepper)

- extra [non-absorbent] cutting board skids (eg shelf liners)

also, not crucial but bloody nice to have when its needed:

- Japanese mandolin or something like it

- microplane

- genoise rings, at least a small and medium and large one (for baking/shaping as needed, and because you never know when you'll be cooking outside of bakeshop)

- silpat(s)

- mallet

- extra cheesecloth and butcher's twine

PS - ROFL Ed about the cleavers hehe. I'd love to hear you expound on the need for/use of cleavers. Seriously, I have a few myself that I use frequently (or were you just pointing out that they don't fit in knife rolls very well?).
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top Bottom