I had previously just had a magnetic knife bar at my old apartment but the new place didn't have anywhere to mount them so they just were banished to a drawer and that wasn't acceptable. So it was time to make a knife block. Most of the ones I have seen completely hide your blades or aren't very interesting in general… that is until I came across this post (imgur.com/bppbZva) which oddly enough had the same brand of knives as I did.
So as with most of my designs I like to utilize CAD to help me visualize proportions and dimensions. Depth is based on my longest knife allowing it hang freely.
For the top slats I am using 1/4" walnut so I ripped the boards I had to 2" and used my sled to do the cross cuts, all 15 of them (one extra just in case I fucked up), the sled came in super handy with these repeated cuts. I don't have a picture of the initial set up but it's basically like this but the stop block was clamped further over.
So you'll probably notice that the kerfs here weren't on my original plans. After the initial cuts I brought them over to my knives and noticed the handles on my knives don't have flat hilts like the ones in the reference photo
So I had to improvise a bit. I added channels 2 saw kerfs wide and about 1/8" deep to each end a little over 3/4" from the edge. I then realized that that basically made every other slot useless so I added a center channel on the back side in the middle. On the end pieces I didn't need the center channel so I left that out. Here is how they will be laid out, only 8 are shown here rather than the total 14 in the final product.
The basic process was to do the 3/4" location first flip the piece do the other end and repeat for all the pieces, then move the stop block over a blade width and repeat… then find the center on the back side adjust your stop block so the kerf falls on one side of that line then rotate the block again and then you have a center channel 2 blades wide. This picture is after completing all the pieces and applying danish oil
The overall width ended up needing to be 7-1/4" and my material was 5.5" wide so I had to glue up two pieces to make the width. I cut two pieces to 24" which was a bit oversized but I wanted to make sure everything was squared up and give me a bit of play if I messed up one of the cuts later on. Ripped these two pieces to half the final width and glued them up.
After the main cuts I had to cut the finger joints for the walnut slats, thankfully I have a dovetail jig and it had a jig for 1/2" spacing so with that in place I centered my work piece on it and used a 1/4" router bit and went to town. Centering was super important here as the jig is made for a max of 3/4" material and they usually have a bit of roundover on the inside of the joint for my application however that wasn't really acceptable so I could only get through about 1/2" cleanly then I flipped the board over and came from the other side to finish each finger. If you don't have a jig like this it could have easily been done on the cross cut sled or with hand tools, plenty of guides on how to do box joints/finger joints with varying tools out there.
You want these joints to be fairly tight so you can slide the slats in with a bit of "negotiation". I just used a bit of sandpaper until things fit properly
Test fitting everything
I glued everything up, I just used painters tape on the back side of the joints and then folded the pieces into position after applying glue.
I then slid in a pair of the pieces of walnut to make sure the top was at the right width as my miters seemed to be a bit off. I actually liked a bit of overhang here so there is about a 1/16"-ish on each side
After it dried I thought some splines would look nice so I got my spline jig (link to the one I built jayscustomcreations.com/2014/05/splined-miter-table-saw-jig/) out and added slots for some scrap 1/4" walnut.
Next step is the finish, I picked up some Vintage Maple transtint and followed these steps: www.thewoodwhisperer.com/videos/pop-goes-the-maple/ which is basically adding 7 or so drops of the dye to 1/4 cup of Bullseye Sealcoat then waiting an hour or so and sanding it back, this is before sanding/scraping
This is after scraping the surface and adding a layer of Waterlox
I ended up using 3 layers of waterlox and just did a quick 600 grit sand in between to get rid of any dust nibs. After applying the finish all that was left to do was to coax the slats into place and put it to use.
From another angle if you liked this I have a few more build photos on my new blog I started to keep track of all my projects, I also have my screw ups shown there: justinsww . blogspot . com/2016/09/diy-walnut-and-curly-maple-knife-block . html