Feb 28

DIY Knife Block

I’ve been wanting to build a new knife block for some time now.  However I don’t own a “set” of kitchen knives I simply pick up interesting knives as they are needed.  This leaves me with the problem of not knowing what size and how many slots to put in a traditional style knife block.  Online i have found many interesting examples of Skewer style knife blocks where knives can be placed anywhere in the block between a large number of bamboo skewers.  Received 1500 bamboo skewers today and will begin building a knife storage block very soon.

1500 Skewers

Perhaps my favorite example of this type of knife block->LINK

I started by first selecting some walnut lumber from my lumber rack and milling it down to 3/4″ thick and 8.25″ long by 5.25″ wide.  (in hindsight thinner stock would have been better)

Next i cut a 45 Degree edges on the two long sides where the knife block will be glued

Knife block sides

Next this block will need a bottom panel.  I want the skewers that will fill this block to be about an eighth inch below the top surface so the next step i need to tape is get a skewer and marking knife and mark off the top edge of my cut.

Marking top edge of slot that will hold bottom panel

Now that the top edge is marked I will go through and cut a slot that will house the bottom panel of my knife block.  Since the bottom will never been seen and it will be covered in skewers I will simply use a piece of hardboard or masonite for the bottom panel.  I make this cut by simply taking off a little at a time with my table saw until the bottom fits snugly.

Knife block sides with slot cut out for bottom panel

Then measuring carefully cut a masonite insert to fit into the slot when the block is all put together.  It is important to make sure that this part fits well and is ready before the rest is glued up since it will be trapped in place by the glued walls.

Next I use an old trick for mitered boxes that i learned online….TAPE.  If you flip the edges over, line them up perfectly and tape them then when you flip them back over all you have to do is squirt some glue on the mitered edges and kinda roll it up.  I’ve found that this works very well when makin

g boxes with mitered edges, at least at holding it until you can get a few clamps on them.

edges taped ready to be flipped over
Glue on mitered surfaces
everything taped in place

a few clamps for good measure

Glued box, ready for finish and then skewers

I could be done at this point, just sand, throw some shellac on the outside and fill with skewers, however I made the beginner mistake of assuming lumber on my lumber rack had been jointed, which it hadn’t and have a few small gaps at the corners.  To make these less evident I will also be adding some maple corner inlay stripes which will cover up this mistake as well as improve the look of the block.


Inlay strips taped in place

Next I trimmed the strips flush with a flush trim bit at the router table, then sanded starting with 120 then 220 and finally 320 grit on the random orbit sander and finally put a coat of 1lb cut shellac on it followed by filling it with skewers, the final product turned out quite nice

finished knife block

1 comment

  1. iamthemandy

    super great DIY project. Excited to see the final product once you add in the corner inlays and skewers along with knives.

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