Universal Knife Block (Design Martin Robitsch)

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Martin Robitsch designed this knife block, and I immediately loved it.
Because it is quite expensive, but not too hard to make one yourself, I decided to contribute another instructable.

Materials :
4 pieces of 255 mm * 140mm * 9 mm (10" * 5.5" * 3/8") in nice solid wood (I used Oak), these will be the sides of the box
1 piece of 130mm * 130mm * 8 mm (5" * 5" * 3/8"). this will be the bottom, invisible and so it can be some MDF or plywood
~2000 bamboo skewers, 25 cm long (9.8")

Other :
Wood glue
Wood Oil

Tools :
Saw : only needed if you need to cut the 5 pieces yourself
Sander : ideally a Belt sander (I use the Bosch PBS 7 AE) for rough sanding, and a Orbital Sander (I use Bosch GSS 280 AVE) for finishing
Router (optional, I use Bosch POF 800 ACE)

Effort :  takes about half a day

Cost :  about 30$ - 25 euro. The Bamboo skewers I bought were 0.85 euro/100 pcs

Remark :
You could modify the dimensions if you want to : I just made it to the size of some Oak I had left over, and the final result is about the right size for 3 to 6 knives.
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Zaphod Beetlebrox made it!26 days ago
Thanks for sharing inspired me to make one. Wood is 1" walnut, oiled with mineral oil. Knives (aside from the masakage) where made by me. Check my ible' if you want to see how.
kbc210 months ago
That is really cool! Approved by my better half as my next project. Thinking depth of box would be best determined as being a little deeper than the longest blade.
ola.singsdal made it!10 months ago

I did my own version with a split in the middle, where the upper part is suspended by gluing it to the sticks.

I also swapped out the bbq sticks with spaghetti, as i had trouble finding a shop selling big amounts for an affordable price. I thought i might as well, as they can be swapped later anyways.

The wood is norwegian pine, with a burnt finish coated in raw linseed oil

2014-09-22 22.42.40.jpg
rknutson841 year ago
I made my very own as a "happy new kitchen" present for a friend. I had some scrap Koa wood I had used for a butcher block island top, and with a dark stain.
banzi061 year ago


I actually used a half-gallon mason jar for mine. It is still not finished, because I have to use some shorter skewers to fill in the space around the inside wall of the jar, but my knife test proves that it does work.
canable2 years ago
I very much like this idea. I have always been concerned about microbes, viruses, and whatever else that may make you sick. Protecting the edge is very well done with this design, and I like it! I would like to suggest plastic skewers , or quivelant, to prevent the amazing ability of germs, viruses,microbes,e-boli. whatever, staying alive in dry or non life giving areas. I am also in agreement with " mid _life_crisis " as a very good way to facilitate cleaning.
In labs where things are cultured plastic is used. From pipettes to petri dishes. Bamboo is naturally anti bacterial (well according to the web).

However I am betting the plastic skewers would look perty and if you wash you knifes like normal would work.

I would love to see one made the way you suggested. If you made it will you post the pictures? Thank you.
Studies have conclusively shown that plastic surfaces are far more conducive to bacterial transfer than wooden ones.
ben.chapman2 years ago
I saw your instructable before Christmas and decided to make one for my girlfriend and one for my parents!  Thanks for the inspiration!
strooom (author)  ben.chapman2 years ago
Well done !
I see you like the Wusthof knives as well :-)
Thanks for posting the pictures, I'm glad I could inspire you and I'm sure your version will futher inspire others.
frapedia2 years ago
great idea, beautiful effect and most important its totally effective!
Very simple and effective.
wchoy2 years ago
I'm always washing my knife. So I would be more concerned that my blade of my knife would rust, if it sat on a wet sponge.

Cork sound better.
shazni2 years ago
OK...here is my 2 cent worth of advice...push a thick piece of Styrofoam inside the box...prick your skewers in... and you are done! the sticks wouldn't fall off and you can easily clean up. so no gluing up needed too :-)
bajablue2 years ago
I love this! Is there a reason you haven't entered it in the Holiday Gift Contest?
strooom (author)  bajablue2 years ago
Well, I was a bit too busy to notice the contest, but thanks for your suggestion : I've submitted this instructible. I made one for my parents as holiday gift and they were really happy.
Best of Luck to you!
ArmandJess2 years ago
So simple, but incredibly useful, thanks for sharing
mrsthursday2 years ago
A client I clean for has one of these and it's several years old and she's still happy with it- so there's an endorsement for ya.
SandLizard2 years ago
Brilliant. Simply brilliant!
Dr_Stupid2 years ago
Only problem I see, the knife's weight rests on the point, not the hilt. You'll find your points become duller and duller.
amauri122 years ago
excellent am going to build it.
Henge2 years ago
Do you have problems with the skewers being pulled out with the knives? How closely are they packed?
strooom (author)  Henge2 years ago
Normally they stay down. Once in a while, when pulling out a knife, one or two skewers slide up a few cm, then you need to push them down, which is very easy.

The tension between the skewers is easy to adjust by adding more or less skewers.
what I did was the following :
* the last `100 skewers I added in batches of 10..20 pieces (in fact that's about the amount you will get in at once, at the end)
* after adding I tested by dropping a single knife (20 cm blade) : the knife was held with the tip just above the skewers, and then dropped.
* if the tension is good (# skewers correct) then the knife falls in and stops in a smooth way with the blade completely. If the knife falls to deep you need more, if the blade doesn't slide in completely, you need less.

* with that tension, it is the right amount of skewers to put in 3 to 6 knives. Remember that also the knives take space and so increase the tension a bit.

mtbgrinder2 years ago
I just realized an improvement to suggestion #2. Instead of cross drilling, carefully measure up maybe 3/8ths to 1/2 an inch from the bottom edge of two opposite sides and drive one inch brads into the inside of the side panels to create "pins" that the bottom can rest on. Glue the sides but not the bottom. When it is dry, take the bottom out and sand it just enough so it slides easily and drop it in from the top then put in the skewers. When you need to clean, just push the bottom out through the top opening.

* How do you edit a comment?
One suggestion for holding it all in place while the glue dries and another as an improvement.

1) Make a second scrap piece the same size as the bottom and position it where the top should be. Wax the edges so the glue won't stick to it. This provides support at both ends so you can wrap large rubber bands around the assembly with all four sides in position at the same time. You'll have a few minutes to work with it and get the sides straight before the glue sets up.
2. Don't glue in the bottom. Cross drill from the sides to fit in small brads that can be pulled out with needle nose pliers or tweezers so the bottom can be removed for cleaning.
kyshak2 years ago
but won't the tips of the knives get dull and chipped from the bottom?
strooom (author)  kyshak2 years ago
Actually the knives don't touch the bottom, only the blade goes in. As long as the box is deeper than the length of the blade of your longest knife, it is a safe way to store your knives.
XardoX strooom2 years ago
i just added a flat cork piece to the bottom of the box just to be sure in the case someone is not me throw the knife on it and it goes down to the bottom, so it wont get dull or chipped :D

Thx for the Instructable ^_^
Vodika kyshak2 years ago
They should not be damaged as long as you don't ram them in as hard as you can, just use common sense.
john3347 kyshak2 years ago
The soft OSB used as a base is plenty soft to not cause any damage to any knives that are long enough to touch bottom.
Ask any professional wood-butcher (carpenter!) why they use respiratory protection when working with Oriented Strand Board or any other manufactured wood product. One of the many nasty things about OSB is the formaldehyde. I believe it's part of the glue/resin mix. Hang on a second and I'll do a quick search..... Okay, here's one of the first results from a "OSB toxicity" google search http://www.healthyhouseinstitute.com/hhip_769-Oriented_Strand_board_OSB
Put a sponge or something really soft at bottom
caityjay kyshak2 years ago
I'm thinking you could probably fit a little silicone pad into the bottom to prevent that.
to protect your knives add a few vent holes at the bottom to let any water drain away
Vodika2 years ago
I realy like this, I have three knife blocks and they only hold certain knives made for them, but this one I can make it any size I want and hold any knife I want, this is great and it's muct safer than just throwing them in a drawer and wont damage the knifes cutting edge.
It's easy to adhere to the "be nice" comment policy with this one. It's brilliant! Thanks very much.
tharper2 years ago
Great project! very elegant solution
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