Step 1: The Knives and Sharpening Steel
Step 2: The Basic Pieces
This is the basic piece I used. Five are required. Each is made up from strips of oak scraps taken from old church furniture destined for someone's fireplace. The strips were glued together for a butcher block effect. I used a rotary planer attachment on my radial arm saw as a thickness planer to make pieces about 5/8 inch thick and smoothed them a little with a sanding block before gluing the five layers together. But, that gluing operation comes later.
The five pieces are in the shape of an elongated trapezoid. The long dimensions are 10 1/2 inches. The longer end is five inches. The shorter end is two inches.
Step 3: Hole for the Sharpening Steel
Step 4: The Rest of the Steel's Hole
Step 5: Make Recesses for the Knife Blades
Step 6: Glue Up the Five Pieces
I rounded the corners on all horizontal edges. A file or a belt sander works well.
Step 7: The Base
The upright portion of the base is two pieces of oak glued together for a total thickness of about 1 3/8 inches. Before cutting it, I used a fulcrum and experimented with where the fulcrum should rest to achieve the angle I wanted and to find a balance point so the knife block would be stable when standing on the counter. The upright portion of the base holds the knife block about two inches over the top of the flat horizontal part of the base. The flat horizontal portion is 4 3/8 inches square. I used the router to make a quarter round profile on all four sides.
The curves in the upright portion were done with two sizes of hole saws. I smoothed them with a sanding drum on my radial arm saw.
A long sheet metal screw (head recessed) goes from under the flat horizontal piece through the vertical part of the base and into the knife block. The pieces are also glued.
After sanding, I rubbed on mineral oil. It does not become rancid and makes a pleasing finish.
Step 8: The Finished Knife Block
Do not insert knives with food particles on them into the recesses for the blades, or it could make a nest for bacteria.