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Knife blocks to build...hardwood or plywood.

Knife blocks to build . . . hardwood or plywood

Scraps of plywood or short lengths of hardwood can be doweled together to make these handsome knife blocks. Glued 1/4-inch dowels hold the wood sections and keep blades from hitting each other--no nails or screws are needed. Each takes only a couple of hours to make.

The 8- by 10-inch rectangle, made of 3/4-inch birch plywood, can store up to a dozen 2-inch-wide knives (or more if you store smaller knives, but put them back to back to avoid chipping blades).

The 8 1/2- by 10-inch hardwood stair-step version can hold 6-, 8-, and 10-inch knives, including cleavers up to 3 inches wide. To make it, we used about 41 inches of 1-by-10 maple. We first trimmed it to 8 1/2 inches wide, then cut it into four 10-inch pieces.

Both were sanded smooth to show off the grain, then sealed with Danish oil.

Cut the wood. Using a table, radial-arm, or handsaw, cut the wood to size as shown in the drawings. If you are using plywood, try to find clean edges without knots or other blemishes; otherwise you'll need to fill the hollow spots.

Drill dowel holes. Mark dowel holes on one of the middle sections as shown. So the dowels won't show through to the outside, you'll need to drill all the way through the two middle sections but only halfway through the outside sections. To do this accurately, start by numbering the four sections. Then clamp in order sections 1, 2, and 3.

Mark the depth you need to drill by putting a piece of tape around the bit or setting a drill guide to stop at the proper depth (this should be 1 7/8 inches for three layers of 3/4-inch-thick material). Next, remove section 1, clamp in place section 4, and drill back through sections 2 and 3 and halfway into section 4.

Cut and glue dowels. You'll need about 4 feet of 1/4-inch hardwood dowel, cut to 2 1/2-inch lengths and sanded smooth. The space for knives in each slot should be about 1/8 inch--roughly the thickness of two nickels. Test-fit the block together.

Glue the dowel ends into the outside sections and clamp, using spacers between the wood sections. Once the glue dries, clean off excess, give the block a final sanding, and finish as desired.

If you like, you can space dowels differently to suit the knives you own. In the stair-step, you could make room for a steel by drilling, routing, or cutting a groove in one slot of the tall section.

To protect countertops, put tack bumpers or stick-on felt dots on the bottom.

Photo: For rectangular block, follow this pattern. Center dowel holes 1/2 inch from edges

Photo: Drill guide ensures holes will be aligned. Cut boards to equal size, number in sequence, mark, clamp, and drill. Nickels make temporary spacers when gluing

Photo: Laminated layers of birch plywood give distinctive look to countertop knife block

Photo: Stair-step block made of maple stores 6-, 8-, and 10-inch blades; middle section can hold 3-inch-wide cleaver. Follow pattern to cut wood and space dowel holes

Photo: Four wood sections are joined by dowels, which also separate and protect blades
COPYRIGHT 1986 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Feb 1, 1986
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