Universal Knife Blocks

A few weeks before Christmas, I came across a neat idea for a versatile knife block on Instructables, created by Martin Robisch.  It utilized hundreds of bamboo skewers in a wooden box to hold just about any kind of knife. Previously, I never really liked knife blocks because they only work well for a specific number of knives, each with a specific size.  I liked how this idea solved that problem and I decided to make a couple as Christmas presents for some loved ones.

I bought about 2000 bamboo skewers, dusted off my table saw, and got to work.  I designed my knife block to angle forward to make it more comfortable to move knives in and out.  I also included an open section in the front to show off the texture of the bamboo.  This was similar to a beautiful design I saw at: Where Wood Meets Steel.

Another goal I had for the project was to show off some beautiful types of wood that came from the forest where I grew up.  The first block has Oak on the front, including the bark, and Cherry on the sides, with Red Maple on the base.  The second block is Red Maple on Front, Cherry on the sides, and something softer like Beech on the base.  The Oak, Beech, and Maple came from locally cut boards that I found in the garage of my Dad’s childhood home.  The Cherry came from a log in our wood pile at home that I split by hand with an axe and cut square on my table saw.

All the parts were cut to size then glued and clamped.  After drying, I cut the beveled edges and smoothed everything out with a belt sander.  To finish, I used fine sandpaper and a palm sander then rubbed on a light coating of mineral oil to bring out the color and grain of the wood.  The last step was to fill the inside with bamboo skewers, about 800 in each!

They’ve been working well for the past 10 months.  They fit just about any knife or pointy kitchen utensil and they double as a skewer dispenser too!

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