Project Plans: Simple Knife Block

Build this custom knife block to keep your cutlery safely and beautifully at hand.

This knife block is made from red oak. I designed it to be smaller and simpler than traditional chunky knife blocks. It requires some customization to fit the recipient's set of knives, so you'll need to be sneaky and measure the knives ahead of time without getting caught.

The knife block requires a bit of customization. You’ll probably need to modify the dimensions in the cutting list, but it's pretty simple (see the illustration, shopping list and cutting list in the PDF below). Before you begin, gather the set of knives to be stored in the block. Measure the longest one (in my case, the sharpening steel). The bottom (H) will need to be 1/2 in. longer, the sides (J) 1-1/2 in. longer and the dividers (K) 1/4 in. longer than this measurement.

The width will be based on the number of slots, the thicknesses you decide to make the dividers and the spaces between the dividers. Avoid making the bottom (H) any wider than 6-1/2 in. And, remember that gluing wood pieces cross-grain to other wide pieces is never a good idea, because you'll end up with problems caused by unequal expansion and contraction.

Building this project requires a table saw, a belt sander, an orbital sander, two 6-in. bar clamps and two 18-in. bar clamps. You may also need a wood planer if you decide to make the dividers a nonstandard thickness.

Cut all pieces to the dimensions in your modified cutting list. Finish sand the exposed surfaces of the parts. Glue and clamp the ends (I) to the ends of the bottom (H). Glue and clamp the outside dividers (K) to the bottom and end. Add the other dividers one at a time, placing a spacer between each pair.

Glue and clamp the support (L) in place; then add the sides (J). Finish sand, apply the finish and attach a rubber bumper foot in each corner of the underside.