Picture of Rainbow Wood Magnetic Knife Strip
IMG_2841 (1).jpg
This is a magnetic knife strip that is made from cut-offs of fine hardwoods that I had lying around the shop.  Glue them all together and you get something I'm calling rainbow wood.  It also has a line of rare earth magnets embedded in it so it's got surprisingly strong knife-holding power.  

My issue with conventional knife holders is that they're often covered in metal, which means that there's the potential for the blade edge to get a nicked or damaged.  That's just simply not a possibility with this wooden one.  Furthermore, the ones that are made of wood are often cheaply made with weak magnets that don't sufficiently hold large 8" or 9" chefs knives.  This knife holder does double duty as being both uniquely decorative, and is a step up from what's commercially available.
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Step 1: Make stock material and cut off a strip

Picture of Make stock material and cut off a strip
This knife hanging strip was made from a piece of scrap, scrap wood material.  First, make a bunch of scrap wood material as described in this instructable here.  Then, cutting across the board and using a sled so that the wood doesn't bind, cut a strip of scrap material off of the end.  For a very long knife strip, or if your scrap wood blank is particularly short, cut two and glue them together.

Other tools this Instructable will require are basic wood working tools like:
  • miter saw
  • table saw
  • router and router table
  • palm sander
  • various clamps

Other materials this Instructable will require are
  • Elmer's® Carpenter's® Wood Glue
  • rare earth magnets (.5"x.5"x.125")
  • two part epoxy
  • scrap wood
  • food safe wood finish
  • keyhole hangers

Quantities of these materials depends on the scale of the project.

Step 2: Miter saw edges to prepare for gluing

Picture of Miter saw edges to prepare for gluing
I made a large knife rack that uses two strips glued together.  Before gluing the two strips end to end to make one long one, I chopped the edge to be glued on the miter saw to make sure it was absolutely square.

Step 3: Glue two strips together (if necessary)

Picture of Glue two strips together (if necessary)
Glue the ends of the two strips together and clamp them well using another strip of wood to act as a caul opposite the clamp. 
wizawuza1 month ago

Going to try my hand at this project when I move into my new place (another couple of months).

Have you put any thought into two rows of magnets, to help prevent the knives from rotating? Or is that not a concern with the strength of these? Right now I have a store-bought block (, great quality, but the knives can rotate if I'm not careful.. plus I like the lack of visible holes on your design.

shazni1 year ago
Please may i know if N35 magnets will do? I'm looking into trying out this project...but confused about these numbers anther instructable
it said D55
jonficke shazni6 months ago

N35 is just a classification of magnet strength family. The best way to think of it is that the number after the N sets the upper bound on how strong the magnets in that classification could be. Example with made up numbers: An N35 magnet might have a pull strength from .1 to 10 lbs. An N 37 magnet might have a pull strength from .25 to 15 lbs.

If your magnet is directly in contact with your knife, then you need a pull strength at least as strong as the weight of the knife but not so strong you struggle to pull the knife off the rack. I hide the magnets behind hardwood on mine, so I use very strong magnets as the pull strength is weakened by going through the wood.

I use magnets with almost a 40 lb pull strength.

txgrinch jonficke4 months ago

This is a brilliant design and will be perfect for my holiday gifts this year. Unfortunately, I have to make a bunch (30) and am wondering whether I need the 40 lb pull strength. Can I go with something less to keep the cost down?

How long do you usually make the board? I was thinking 12 to 15 inches.

Lufkum1 year ago

Just to cut a step I would not cut the groove till the end so I don't need to cap it

Nice project!

marstery1 year ago
Looks great! You mentioned the size of that magnets you used. Do you know what pull strength they were?
clazman1 year ago
Very nice job!

I love your attention to detail, such as the velcro strips to act as "springs" to preload the mounting. Very nice! Af\ter my own heart!!
You sure are big into rainbows. :) Good to know...

Your "rainbows" could probably stand a little inclusion of argentine osage orange and some pink ivory, though.

wilheln2 years ago
Nice project! Where'd you buy your magnets?
noahw (author)  wilheln2 years ago
I usually order from just because they have a nice website, but there are many retailers for rare earth magnets online now.
nmvb2 years ago
what was the pull strength of the magnets that you used?
sarawelder2 years ago
great ible and photos. looks like the perfect wedding present to me. I certainly plan to have a go at this one!
flamesami2 years ago
are those knives custom? The one nearest the camera in the first picture is damascus, right?
noahw (author)  flamesami2 years ago
Good spot! I like to cook quite a bit, so I've taken the plunge and invested in some hand made Japanese knives sold at The Japan Woodworker in Alameda, CA. I always bought decent knives (Henckel, Wustoff etc...) in the past, but these Japanese knives are out of sight. They retain an edge better and longer than conventional knives and have a much thinner blade, yet still extremely rigid structure, which makes cutting easier and more precise because you're pushing less knife (thickness) through your material. It's like dragging a piece of fishing line through a carrot instead of a 1/4" steel cable - it's thinner, so it's easier. Hope that made sense. I could go on about the merits of Japanese knives forever...
flamesami noahw2 years ago
You'd be preaching to the converted if you did ;). If only I had the money....I would buy loads from my friends on Wonderful people they are, I'm a member myself (it's a forum)
ripperman22 years ago
multi colored wood, really a great project. I can't wait to make something like it. Where do you get all the different wood, or is it dymondwood?
noahw (author)  ripperman22 years ago
You can get those woods at a lumber yard if you've got one close to you. The bay area luckily has some great lumber yards that stock tons of varieties. Although, good lumber yards are becoming harder and harder to find. In a pinch, you can mail order small amounts of wood online from woodworking catalogs.

What is dymondwood?
Thanks! Dymondwood and Pakkawood is real wood, impregnated with color and resin, laminated together. I'm a wood carver and ran across carving knives made with Pakkawood by Helvie Knife. Gorgeous handles plus they make their own steel and are exceptional blades. I did some research and found dymondwood and pakkawood for sale on the internet.
I even found some on eBay one day. But I choose not to make my own knives, so I'm looking for storage ideas and your magnetic holder would keep me from stabbing myself both with knives and palm gouges. Yes, I've done both. Those pvc tool holders found on the internet are cheap and easy, but ugly. Wood should be involved with wood projects. :)
andreq2 years ago
I made one some time ago using birdseye maple.

Yours is fantastic!
noahw (author)  andreq2 years ago
The birdseye maple looks great - nice work! I see you've got your mounting screws going right through the front - I was going to do the same on mine before sourcing the keyhole hangers. Before I found the hangers I was thinking about the idea about getting some cool fasteners for mounting, like some big brass thumb screws, decorative wing nuts, or even, a brass wood screw with a decorative head. Just something to think about. With your birdseye, I think some stainless steel hardware would look real nice too. Anyway, great work and thanks for posting the pics.
Nxtfari noahw2 years ago
Wow! Fantastic job! Just one concern though: I'd recommend mounting the knifes the other way (blade upwards), for safety's sake. If the magnets were to ever fail, getting hit by the handle is a lot better than being pierced by the blade.
andreq Nxtfari2 years ago
The problem is that my magnet are really weak. Putting the knife the other way around make them slowly slide and almost fall. The wood itself is as smooth as it can get, so there's not much to grip on.

Anyway, it's been like this for a while now and nobody ever got stabbed. The knifes sit above a spice rack that block the way if anyone want to go there.
andreq noahw2 years ago
I'll try to find picture of the back. I used circle magnet. All we did was to drill some 1/2" hole one next to each other until there was very little wood left. There's like 1/16 of an inch left between the magnet and the front since my magnet where less powerfull than expected (I did use rare earth magnet). Next time I'd use thicker magnet considering the price. I paid ~$18 and the thicker one were only ~$26.

Your method of using square magnet into a slot is way easier and brilliant! Using a solid piece of wood instead of stripe would still be possible. All someone would have to do is to use a router to make the "slot" and stop before reaching the ends.

I'll have to make another of those knife holder one day. It was a great project to start learning wood working.
Jayefuu2 years ago
Beautiful work Noah! Nice to see a woodwork project with good photography too.
noahw (author)  Jayefuu2 years ago
Thanks for your support James.

I've got a lot of projects in the hopper and they're finally getting published!
Jayefuu noahw2 years ago
:D Next time I visit SF I'll definitely spend more time in your woodshop :D
Where did you get your magnets from? This looks great by the ways. Awesome work.
noahw (author)  jfunderburk4562 years ago
I order rare earth magnets from either MagCraft
noahw (author)  noahw2 years ago
whoops, that should read:

"from either MagCraft or Applied Magnets depending on who's cheaper.
reno_dakota2 years ago
Beautifully done!
dorybob2 years ago
beautiful work. And thanks for instructing about the Vix bits.
This is beautiful! My husband was just mentioning how he would like a magnetic knife strip. Thank you for such detailed instructions and great photos! Now if I can get motivated to start making it in time for Father's Day :)
Ninzerbean2 years ago
So well done I'd give it 6 stars if that was possible.