Instructables
Picture of Knife Block -- Free-Standing
 My wife wanted a better set of kitchen knives.  I wanted to make a free-standing knife block for her knives.  Free-standing knife blocks like this were very popular at the time, also comparitively expensive. 
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: The knives and sharpening steel

Picture of The knives and sharpening steel
 Here you can see the knives laid out with the sharpening steel.  You can also note the arrangement for the slots in the block. 

Step 2: The basic pieces

Picture of The basic pieces
 I made this knife block thirty years ago, so I will use images created in Google Sketch-Up to describe its construction.  

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

Picture of Hole for the sharpening steel
 I did not have a long drill bit for drilling a continuous hole for the sharpening steel.  (The steel is ten inches long plus the handle.)  So I marked one of the five pieces to show where the steel would be inside the knife block.  Then I cut a trough with a router while using the router free-hand.  

Step 4: The rest of the steel's hole

Picture of The rest of the steel's hole
 Then I drilled a hole from the outside end of the piece into the trough.  No one would know by looking that the space for the steel is not one continuous drilled hole.

Step 5: Make recesses for the knife blades

Picture of Make recesses for the knife blades
 I placed each knife on the wood surface of its respective piece and drew an outline of the blade.  Pay some attention to how you want the handles to be positioned when the block is finished and in use.  I used my router free-hand to make a recess for each blade.  
derhul4 years ago

Pretty cool!! what a way to covert knife block sets.
Phil B (author)  derhul4 years ago
Thank you. Before those in your link came to be popular and available, what I have shown was an option, as I mentioned in my longest reply to 'shooby' below. That was about 1978.
WILL624 years ago
If you put your knives in sharp side up they will they will stay sharp longer because there is no drag on the cutting edge from the block, believe me all that taking and putting back adds up..........
Phil B (author)  WILL624 years ago
One could certainly do that. You probably have a very valid point. The bigger problem in many households is a failure to give a knife a couple of licks on the sharpening steel almost every time it is removed from the knife block. Knives like these should also always be hand washed, not placed into a dishwasher where they bang around against silverware.
red-king4 years ago
 I'm confused about the purpose of a knife block. why can't you just put your knives in a drawer, and use counter space for other things? or is it to make access to knives quicker, or just for looks?
Phil B (author)  red-king4 years ago
A nice knife block adds to the good looks of a kitchen.  But, the main purpose of a knife block is to keep the knife blades from contacting one another, and yet have the knives available and easy to grasp when needed.  If blades contact one another, they nick and dull the cutting edges.  People who make the investment to have quality knives also want to protect their cutting edges. 
red-king Phil B4 years ago
 oh. so it's like a sheath that you can put multiple knives into, essentially.
Phil B (author)  red-king4 years ago
That is a good analogy.  Some knife blocks are made of wood, even different colored woods in the same knife block.  Some are made of creative things, like Plexiglas. 
shooby5 years ago
While this is "free-standing", the nose appears to be very close to the counter, eliminating the space beneath it for other uses.  Why bother having such a small stand, if the space it saves can't be utilized.  Aesthetically it's slick though, and I appreciate designs that intentionally appear precarious despite being stable. 
Phil B (author)  shooby5 years ago
"Free-standing" was the only term I could think of to describe this knife block.  Perhaps there is a better term.  The space under the nose is not really useful for other purposes, and really was not intended to be useful for other purposes.  If space is limited, this may not be the design to use.  I think the important feature for this knife block is the convenient angle at which the handles are held.  Thanks for your interest.
shooby Phil B5 years ago
Right, that's why I use your definition of free standing.  I guess my point is that given this angle angle and elevation, you might as well forfeit the "free standing" feature for a conventional base/stand.  Essentially, your design is very similar to conventional knife blocks, other than being slightly less stable.
Phil B (author)  shooby5 years ago
 This knife block is not a design that originated with me.  When I made this knife block it was one of two fairly common styles.  One was a vertical block with quite a few slots for knives of different sizes.  The other was very similar to what I show here.  Since that time, manufacturers have added a wedge-shaped piece to the side of the vertical blocks so that they can stand at an angle and they no longer make the style shown in this Instructable.  But, what I believe you are describing as a conventional knife block did not exist when I made this one.   

If you read paragraph 2 in step 7 again, you will notice I tested the block for a balance point before attaching the base.  Because the block is mounted over its balance point, it is very stable.  You would need to work at tipping it over. 
shooby Phil B5 years ago
Fair enough! If it works it works.  I wasn't aware that this was one of the standard types.
mrmath5 years ago
I read the title in my RSS feed, and thought it was a technique to stop someone from attacking you with a knife while you were standing up.  LOL!
Phil B (author)  mrmath5 years ago
 I can only hope you were not disappointed.  Thanks for looking.
rimar20005 years ago
Very interesting, I should make one as this.

Phil B (author)  rimar20005 years ago
You do not need nice larger pieces of wood.  I glued together small scraps to make the larger pieces I needed.  But, the wood was nice straight-grained oak, which is quality wood for furniture.  One problem is that this knife block cannot be expanded later for more or different knives.  That means it is best used for a set of knives you really like.    
Jayefuu5 years ago
Nice ible! Really good instructions and drawings. I've never seen a free standing block like that before, it looks really nice, though might take up more space in an already tiny kitchen!
Phil B (author)  Jayefuu5 years ago
 Thank you.  I am glad you like it.  It does take more counter space than flat magnetic strips mounted on a wall.  Thank you for not minding that I used Sketch-Up drawings rather than photographs for some of the steps.
Jayefuu Phil B5 years ago
No I liked the sketch up drawings, made it clearer imo.