Introduction: Wall Mounted Magnetic Knife Block

Picture of Wall Mounted Magnetic Knife Block

My girlfriend is always leaving knives around on the counter. I have a habbit of finding accidents waiting to happen. I thought I'd do us both a favour and build a knife block before the xmas turkey needs carving, something that was going to be well easy to use and not take up any space on our limited counter top.

wall screws | Magnets from old harddrives | piece of wood | knives = wall mounted magentic knife block

Step 1: Behind the Magic

Picture of Behind the Magic

Open up some old harddrives, you'll need the pair of magnets from each drive for every 1.5" of knife block. Dispose of harddrive wastage responsibly.

Mortice out the back of the knife block, to 1/4" from the block face.

I hung it with 2 screws, the screw head hooks were washers till I went at them with a hacksaw. Glue in place. Tip: use a sheet of paper against the back of the block and mark where the screws need to go, then place the paper against the wall and use a level for once.

Do not put up in an earthquake prone area, keep out of the reach of children, etc etc.


WarriorWoodwork (author)2013-06-02

Not sure if anyone's interested, but I've been doing this with hardwoods, particularly exotic hardwoods, and rare earth magnets (haven't been using hdd magnets). For those that are interested I have a post on it on my blog:

fyi: I found that the wood that remains in front of the magnet significantly lessens it's pull strength. I've been using 50 lb pull - rated magnets for my knife strips and am confident that will hold just about any knife.

yemoss (author)2008-05-01

this is a cool project, thanks for posting it. getting the magnets out of the hard drives is tricky business though. as i've always loved to destroy things, cracking open a HD was pretty tough. the drive i opened up had torque screws (star-shaped), so you'll need a torque screwdriver to do it cleanly. miraculously, i had one, but it was too large for the screwheads. (i had a T10, and it looks like you'll need a T8 or T6 if there's such an animal). so with a hammer, a strong flathead, a crowbar and a good pair of pliers, I got to the magnets. and man they are strong. now i need to find some more hard drives. good luck.

GeekTinker (author)yemoss2010-08-22

Wouldn't it have been easier to make a trip to any hardware store and buy the correct torque driver? Any hardware store worth it's salt is going to have these. For the sake of safety, I would not recommend that anyone use a hammer, flathead, crowbar, and pair of pliers to disassemble an old hard drive. The chance of getting injured is too high and a trip to the hospital is just not going to be worth it.

emerson.john (author)GeekTinker2010-08-22

Ridiculous. Why spend the money if you can do it with what you have? Most readers of this site can use a screwdriver or hammer without personal injury! If reassembly is not necessary, there is no need to buy a #4 Torx for disassembly. Get out the hammer and tongs and have some fun! Good project.

GeekTinker (author)emerson.john2010-08-23

Since when is personal safety considered ridiculous? The very notion of blowing off the safety concern while working on any project would be ridiculous. There are just as many young readers of this site as their are old tinkering sorts. The cost of that #4 Torx driver is much less than the cost of an eye or a trip to the hospital for stitches. My theory is that if you need a tool (especially one as inexpensive as a Torx driver set) for one project, you are likely going to need that same tool for another project in the near future. If not, consider borrowing one from a friend or relative. It's just common sense. Safety should always be in the forefront of any project. You shouldn't assume anything about the readers of this site. If most were honest, I'd bet the stories of getting injured while not using the right tool for the right job would never end.

globeadue (author)GeekTinker2012-04-13

I agree with Geek Tinker,
5-10 years ago i had no problems with drilling / bashing / warping my way into a hdd just to take it apart, they were entirely metal then, and the metal platters made nice windchimes, nowadays your looking at glass platters etc, you bash your way into one of those and your looking to be rubbing out glass dust of your eyes for weeks once you crack it open. (over dramatization but you should get my point)

wanderer_roch (author)GeekTinker2010-08-25

If you're not saving the screws then just drilling out the heads will usually take them out cleanly and without 'special' tools. but I think we all like collecting tools...

ZokiS (author)wanderer_roch2011-07-04

Personal safety is important, but it's common sense not to be obsessed with safety. I'd smash a hammer in an old monitor any day, just for fun!

Spendlebury (author)2008-02-21

I am looking at making a knife block for my GCSE rm project. I was wondering where did you get the magnets from even though my idea is a free standing unit it could still be an interesting way to secure the knives Sam

jello666 (author)Spendlebury2010-08-03

Hobby shops carry rare earth magnets.

BGreenHVAC (author)jello6662011-04-03

I was thinking the same thing. I like how strong the rare earth magnets are. You have to be careful though, they are a little fragile.

thay are hard drive magnets take any old hdd apart you should get 2 out of one hdd

rpb (author)2010-08-23

Great project! It might not be as environmentally friendly, but one of these would be awesome using electromagnets instead of hard-drive magnets! Not only could you incorporate a handy push-button release for each knife, but it would add spice to every power cut! 8-)

lisascout (author)2010-08-22

Hi, I've been wanting to make one of these for some time, had a roommate once who had one over the stove and I thought it was very, very useful. I have obtained an oak stave (from a wine cask) for the purpose, and using your serious magnet idea is perfect, as I should have ready access to several of them and it solves the curvature problem (wasn't sure how I would do it with a curved surface and a straight strip of magnet, which is what her design looked like). SUPER! Thanks for the tip, I will try it out, it's on my list of spiffy improvements for my kitchen (and then I can get rid of that ugly, chunky knife block with the big footprint). BTW, I have nice German knives - and so did my roommate - and we never ran into a problem with metal shavings, etc. Lisa

dasclown (author)2010-08-22

Quick and neat project. I will be doing this when I get some ambition. I have piles of hard drive magnets. One little nit-pick though. Is the middle set of magnets on backwards?

kibukun (author)2010-08-22

does San Diego count as an earthquake prone area? :D

abkeith (author)2010-08-22

this is a great use of materials. I'll have to try making one. thanks for the instructions.

andreq (author)2010-06-10

Nice instructable ! Here is the one I've made with my step father (he did most of the wood working). I used 40 1/2"x1/8 neodymium disk magnet. We did 20 holes and use 2 magnet in each + a metal washer (supposed to add some magnetic strength) This is "Birdseye" maple (if that make sense... we call this "Érable piqué" in French) It hold quite well, but I wouldn't put my knife blade side up as it would need a bit more strength, the magnet aren't strong enough. If I was to do this again, I would use 1/4 tick (or more) magnet.

Exiumind (author)andreq2010-08-22

it looks dangeous heh

Ninzerbean (author)2010-08-22

Fantastic. I have the kind you buy but I have to be so careful to place them without hitting the blade against the metal magnetic strips, I am going to put a thin piece of wood over mine to protect the blades - thanks to your idea!

gadsden (author)2010-06-20

Very nice, attractive modification of the old magnetic holders. It combines the best features of a solid wood storage block and the all-metal magnetic type: The wood pads the blades yet you can also see which knife you want. For those having trouble getting the magnet from a hard drive, try a sledge hammer (with eye protection !!)

cheat (author)2010-06-04

This is a brilliant ideal but anybody who lives in earthquake zones do not need to have one. 2 thumbs up.

mbstrlbstr (author)2006-12-20

You could also use this as a cool Key holder, if the magnets are stong enough

linkspast (author)mbstrlbstr2006-12-31

Keys are not magnetic (well none of mine are) I guess if there on a ring of some sort.

mbstrlbstr (author)linkspast2009-10-05

My keys are on a Keyring, and those usually are magnetic. BTW if you are wondering if a strong magnet could wipe your thumbdrive, or screw with your automatic car door opener, it can't. I'll post a picture of video of my "Invisible key ring" later.

abadfart (author)mbstrlbstr2010-03-13

 i know a guy that has a magnet on his keys so he can put them on the fridge 

feiming (author)2009-08-28

Should use metal plate or a metal tray. It's thin,so you don't need to many magnet and it will remain in place without glue.

Cbrown (author)2006-12-17

it might be safer if you made the block the full length of the knives, so the tips aren't exposed below the block. Now you can drink and not worry about your knives.

Broom (author)Cbrown2009-06-21

Hmm... starting to sound like a scabbard, which is "a case designed to trap moisture against a knife or sword blade, to ensure rust during long-term storage".

Of course, if the back was recessed a bit above the magnetic strip, the wood wouldn't be in contact with the carbon steel, and rust wouldn't ensue. Even oiled wood traps moisture.

mundane (author)2006-12-17

Knife blade up avoids stabbings, allows you to reach up for the knife more easily, and puts the weight at the bottom to keep leverage from being your enemy. Knife blade pointing down means that your hands are above the action, but your feet are more likely to be under when reaching. On the plus side you have the hilt of the knife catching on the top of the block, however if it has a beveled edge it could be a wedge to push the knife away from the magnet. Handle on the bottom looks to be the winner. I wonder if putting some vertical metal strips on the back might increase the magnetic pull.

Broom (author)mundane2009-06-21

Dec 17, 2006. 9:54 PMmundane says:
Knife blade pointing down means that your hands are above the action, but your feet are more likely to be under when reaching.

Depends on where the strip is located: above or below your shoulders (approximately).

Low mounting means you want the tips pointing down, so they won't fall far, and the countertop "shields" the tips.

High mounting means you want the tips upwards, so you are less likely to reach back and slice your fingers open. If they fall, they're falling a greater distance, and the handles will hit first.

My take on the issue, anyway.

radiorental (author)mundane2006-12-18

this is over a counter, I would think it quite foolish to have this in an open space.

Jack Daniels (author)2006-12-16

i would just like to point out that this is a great idea But one problem can arise. over time your knives will magnetise. So what you say.well this changes the structure of the metal and after some time (days/years depends on the metal) your knives become weeker and more likly to dull or break.

Broom (author)Jack Daniels2009-06-09

Um, save your nickels for Metallurgical Engineering school. Magnetized knives won't be significantly altered in their microcrystalline structure. It takes quite a bit of energy - as when the knife is heated until it blues - before the temper is broken.

Jack Daniels (author)Broom2009-06-09

the process will help the knives pull iron and other magnetic particles to it helping corrosion and dulling the knives for cheep knives don't worry but walk into any high class restaurant and you will not find the knives in anything but a vertical block. If that's still not enough reason a magnet pulls hard and the slapping of the knife to the object can can chip dull and warp knives.

Broom (author)Jack Daniels2009-06-09

OK, now that makes sense. I've seen the slapping you are referring to, and no doubt it can chip an edge. And certainly iron particles clinging to the slightly magnetized knife can't do the edge any favors. Apologies for my snarkiness earlier.

vrogy (author)Jack Daniels2006-12-20

"your knives become weeker(sic)" Yeah, um... sure, whatever. It's bad to get nitpickers, but it's worse when they're idiots.

Speidumb (author)Jack Daniels2006-12-16

By the time these cheap knives magnetise, they won't be worth using anymore anyways. This is a popular way to store knives at many restaurants, sandwich shops, as well as butcher blocks, mostly because they're ready to grab when you need them, then put back when you're done. Besides, to magnetize them, you need to run them along the magnet, end to end, with the same polarity each time. The way that you just pull them off then slap them back on minimizes any chance of magnetization.

canida (author)2006-12-15

I'd recommend storing the knives blade-up, because when they do fall (freak earthquake or just a bump when you're grabbing another knife) you DON'T want them falling pointy-end first. There will be blood and/or lectures from the knife sharpener who has to re-edge an otherwise perfectly good knife. This may require some magnet repositioning.

radiorental (author)canida2006-12-15

oh contraire mon ami, you'll be wanting your hand above the action if any goes south in a flurry. In all seriousness, this is actually a really practical design. The magnets have a very good grip, its not as easy as it might seem to knock a knife off. I'm more than happy with the results.

canida (author)radiorental2006-12-16

We've got commercial strips, which are clearly not as burly as your recycled magnets, so we've knocked them off before. I've been quite happy with my relative ability to not die when they fall point-up. We've also got expensive knives, so I'm happier to bounce the handle on the counter than the tip or blade. Of course, we could solve most of these problems by making our own (stronger) magstrips using your design, but we're lazy and have a reasonably working solution already in place. I'll put it on the list, though.

radiorental (author)canida2006-12-16

Broom (author)radiorental2009-06-09

Well said, sir.

canida (author)radiorental2006-12-16

Hey, stop that! I've got too many other project to finish first. But I'm properly convinced- this is moving WAAAY up the list.

radiorental (author)canida2006-12-17

those knives are awfully light, if I were to build one for larger, heavier knives I would use larger, heavier magnets. Eric has a phd right? (o;

canida (author)radiorental2006-12-19

I remain unconvinced that a PhD has any correlation with practicality or sense. If he's at all competent, it would be despite any higher education.

benny_boy (author)canida2008-02-06

Happy little saying I ran across in virginia:

BS = Bullpoo
MS = More poo
PhD = Piled Higher & Deeper

And yet I still intend to get a degree....:)

xenobiologista (author)canida2007-01-24

My friend's dad, who used to be the head of a science department of a major public uni, said "Some people think a PhD means you're very smart. A PhD is like a driver's licence. It just means you can drive, not that you're a good driver."


canida (author)radiorental2006-12-16

Eric says: "Those knives look awfully light."

visionFoo (author)radiorental2006-12-15

I can vouch for the strength of the magnets -- I put one on our refrigerator and neither my wife or daughter could remove it.

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