Introduction: Make a Butter Knife for Spreading Cold, Hard Butter

Picture of Make a Butter Knife for Spreading Cold, Hard Butter

Hello Instructablers.

Here's how you can make a butter knife that can handle cold butter straight from the fridge without ripping up your bread or toast.

The original idea is not mine. I spotted it on Kickstarter:

The project was super-successful, and for good reason; it's a work of pure ingeniousness.

Anyway, with a butter challenge in the offing, I couldn't resist having a crack at making my own. In the end it worked quite well. My fellow Instructablers will certainly be able to improve on the design, but I hope this will at least help inspire someone to have a go.


Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

The only material is some stainless steel. I used the housing of an old submersible bore pump. These things are designed to last so I know it will be good quality stainless steel. The steel is about 1mm thick - you would not want it thinner.

Of course you will also need some tools to cut it out, grind, drill and polish.

  • Sharpie pen to mark out.
  • For cutting I used a plasma cutter, but an angle grinder with cutting discs will be just as good.
  • Grinding disc or bench grinder to clean up after cutting.
  • Centre punch and hammer to locate holes.
  • Drill with 2mm or 3mm drill bit.
  • Flap disc and polishing wheels and polishing compound for finishing.

Step 2: Mark Out and Cut

Picture of Mark Out and Cut

Use your sharpie to m ark out a nice butter knife shape. I traced around a bought one I found in a kitchen drawer.

Cut out the shape.

Grind the rough edges off, and adjust then shape until it looks approximately just right. As m steel came off a cylinder I also had to do some hammering at this stage to make it flat.

Step 3: Drill Some Holes

Picture of Drill Some Holes

I used a larger drill bit to mark the line where I wanted the holes to go.

Just use a drill bit twice the size of the distance you want to mark. Hold the drill bit flat on the bench and drag the steel past it. A 4mm drill bit will leave a mark 2mm from the edge.

Use a centre punch to mark where you want the holes. I actually did mine one at a time to make sure the spacing looked okay.

If you look at the picture you will get the idea. I didn't do any measuring. I just did it by eye, and it turned out okay. I don't think it's a very exact science.

Step 4: Finish

Picture of Finish

I used polishing wheels on my drill with polishing compound. The stainless steel quickly became bright and shiny.

I wish I had the time to make a beautiful handle for this, but I will have to leave that up to you. Please share some pictures when it's done.

Step 5: Time for a Snack

Picture of Time for a Snack

Get some lovely fresh bread. Go to the coldest part of your fridge and get out some rock-hard butter. Don't let the butter soften; just drag your new knife across its surface so worm-like threads of butter are extruded through the holes. Gently spread the extruded butter worms on your bread. While your mouth is hanging open in amazement throw the bread and butter in and enjoy.

If you like my stuff please feel free to check out my Etsy store at deBurghSTEEL.


MrRedBeard (author)2015-07-29

You just changed the game! Butter without having to wait for it to come to room temperature.

tsmith70 (author)2015-02-24

Try using a glass and tile drill. The cutting edges are tungsten carbide and the small sets can be had cheaply at harbor freight.

christopher.roskosh (author)2014-11-18

Love this little bit of brilliance, even if it isn't originally yours. For years we've just been putting the butter container (we get Amish butter and put it in our own container) on top of the coffee maker first thing in the morning. This of course melts the bottom butter and leaves the top nice and hard anyway, I'm giving this a try with a mismatched knife we somehow acquired.

SonikaJAnand (author)2014-11-17

Nice and innovative idea..

cammers (author)SonikaJAnand2014-11-17


Silver2107 (author)2014-11-16

Thank you for this nice instructable. I might even try it with some hard plastic. You can get butter slicers that use wires but I always felt the slices would be too thick. This looks just right. Then I read that butter doesn't have to be refrigerated. Just keep it covered and a stick will be good for 2 weeks. I go through a stick a week. Enjoy.

punkgirl (author)2014-11-14

The suggestions of drilling into an existing knife and using graters etc are great and all, but there's is something so satisfying in making a project completely from scratch. I think it's great you went the extra mile and made your own knife, well done! :)

cammers (author)punkgirl2014-11-15

Thanks Punkgirl. You clearly get why we makers make stuff.

MrIlson17 (author)2014-11-14

Can I drill some holes in a butter knife?

tisaconundrum (author)MrIlson172014-11-14

this is what i was thinking as well. This approach sounds easier XD. Either way this is an excellent and humorous 'ible

cammers (author)MrIlson172014-11-14

good idea.

rimar2000 (author)2014-11-12

Very clever!

cammers (author)rimar20002014-11-12

Hi Rimar. Haven't seen you for a while. How are you?

rimar2000 (author)cammers2014-11-13

Thanks for your concern, cammers. I tired a little, making instructables. I am doing diverse things, but no one of them deserves a publishing.

cammers (author)rimar20002014-11-13

Very good. Nice to see you.

I had a year or two off. Then tempted back in by the metal contest. I think I'm hooked again now.

rimar2000 (author)cammers2014-11-14

Today I begun to make my own "muscle powered" honing stone, maybe I will publish it, depending on the result...

cammers (author)rimar20002014-11-14

I look forward to seeing it.

kitemancake (author)2014-11-14

Two suggestions: Drill holes in a plastic knife.

I currently use a fork, which creates large curls (No drilling required.) Try it!

janar100000 (author)2014-11-14

You can just use a cheese knife.

4yk4a (author)2014-11-13

Wonderful idea. I think I make the knife a little differently. First, drill holes, and then sharpen one side to the edge of the hole.

cammers (author)4yk4a2014-11-14

Looks good. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product.

kalfalfa made it! (author)2014-11-13

Awesome and so quick and easy!

cammers (author)kalfalfa2014-11-14


mikesters (author)2014-11-13

very nice, but why go through the trouble making a knife instead of simply drilling some holes in one. buying one rather than reducing your stock might avoid some domestic conflicts ...

cammers (author)mikesters2014-11-14

You are right of course. And the pics of modified knives that have been posted look better than my home made one, but I like making stuff.

qewt (author)2014-11-13

Great idea!

cammers (author)qewt2014-11-14

Yes it is. I wish it was me who thought of it first.

petercd made it! (author)2014-11-11

I modded an existing knife using a 2.5mm bit with 5mm hole spacing.

I drilled from the left of the knife seeing as Im right handed, cleaned off the burr on the back of the blade with an oilstone and left the butter side untouched. I imagine any chamfering of the holes on the butter side will reduce its effectiveness.

Works well, thanks. :)

Groaker (author)petercd2014-11-13

Great idea -- I was thinking along those lines myself as I am to lazy to go the full route of the OP.

How hard was the drill that you used? I usually work with wood where that is not a major issue. Do you think that a TiN coated or cobalt drill would do the job?

Esmagamus (author)Groaker2014-11-13

Both drills you mentioned will drill steel.

To prolong drill life, always lubricate the tip. Anyone who uses metal drills should have a bench grinder. Mine saved me a lot of money as for some time I had no option but to replace dull drills instead of sharpening them.

CityGirl70 (author)petercd2014-11-13

oooh, maybe I will give this a try.

cammers (author)petercd2014-11-11

Well done! Actually my first attempt was to modify an existing knife, but the blade was so hard I just couldn't cut the holes.

The Lightning Stalker (author)2014-11-13

It takes a really hard drill bit to drill stainless steel.

DaveB13 (author)2014-11-13

Looks great to me. Looks like a good lemon zester and Futurama shoehorn as is!

jdykty (author)2014-11-13

Awhile back someone suggested using one of those handheld wire type cheese slicers for hard butter. It works great.

YappleD (author)2014-11-12

Or you could just angle a regular butter knife and scrape gently across the top of the stick of butter, or if that's not good enough for you, use a microplane or small grater. I dunno about your toast, but my toast usually melts the butter fairly quickly anyhow.

cammers (author)YappleD2014-11-12

Yep. But then one would never know the joy of using a butter knife with holes in it.

steve.wanke (author)2014-11-12

Why not just drill holes in an old butter knife? You can get them at Goodwill for like 25 cents. I'm gonna try it.

cammers (author)steve.wanke2014-11-12

Certainly. Petercd did just that. See comments below for his pictures.

IrmantasA (author)2014-11-12

I just heat cold butter from fridge with hair dryer for a few seconds, it gets soft and you can spread it easily without messing your toast bread etc.

cammers (author)IrmantasA2014-11-12

Good idea.

Qwertyfish (author)2014-11-12

Also what other metal could I use

cammers (author)Qwertyfish2014-11-12

You could try any metal, but stainless steel is easy to work and polishes beautifully. You could also just modify an existing knife like petercd did in the comments below.

Qwertyfish (author)2014-11-12

Could you make a box or letter opener using this kind of metal?

cammers (author)Qwertyfish2014-11-12

Yes. Anything.

NathanSellers (author)2014-11-11

Cool idea. Thanks for the instructable.

cammers (author)NathanSellers2014-11-12


DconBlueZ (author)2014-11-11

Cool! Are the holes drilled at a right angle to the blade? Trying to wrap my head around how the holes dig into the butter when the blade is pulled across it.

petercd (author)DconBlueZ2014-11-12

The holes are at right angles, but you hold the knife almost flat against the butter and then lift it slightly to lift the the leading edge of the holes which allows the trailing edge to scrape the butter surface thereby creating the butter worm curls.

The curls are so thin that they start melting fairly quickly. I pulled out a block from the fridge for my tests and in the time I had started up the camera, the curls had already melted somewhat as seen in my pic below

cammers (author)DconBlueZ2014-11-11

Hi. The holes are just drilled straight through. Even so it works surprisingly well. It appears to me that the butter is extruded rather than cut.

About This Instructable




Bio: To see more of my work you are welcome to follow me on Instagram @cam_de_burgh
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