Introduction: Magnetic Wood Sheath for a Kitchen Knife

About: I'm a woodworker/maker on YouTube

Recently I made a kitchen knife. I specifically wanted it to be a big knife, a real show piece, but the problem is it's a bit of a nightmare to try and store because of it's size. It doesn't fit in my cutlery draw, so I made a magnetic sheath to store it in the second draw.

It's made using cypress pine I milled 18 months ago, and some store bought meranti. I chose these woods because of their contrasting colours, but also because cypress has a beautiful smell when cut. My hope is that the unfinished inside of the sheath will continue to give off that smell.

Step 1: Prepare the Stock

The first step was to cut the shape of the knife blade out into cypress. This would be sandwiched between the meranti and I wanted it to hold the knife in place. I flattened the cypress then traced the outline of the knife blade. I could then cut this out on the bandsaw.

When I cut the meranti I paid attention to grain matching, creating a book matched look down the spine of the sheath.

The next hurdle was to get the cypress milled down to the thickness of the blade. You could do this on a drum sander, but I don't have that tool. I do have a thicknesser, but that won't cut material that thin. So to get around this problem I first glued the cypress in place on the meranti, which was roughly 19mm thick. Once that glue dried I ran the new piece through the thicknesser until I was happy with the fit of the blade.

Step 2: Add Magnets

Because I didn't want a clip to hold the knife inside the sheath, I used magnets instead. These are 19mm wide neodymium magnets. I tested the strength as I went, settling on 3 magnets along the length of the blade, 2 on one side, 1 on the other. This was just enough to hold the knife in place but not too much to make pulling it out a chore.

I made sure to orient the magnets so they had the same poles facing each other inside the sheath. This would keep the blade more centred and stop it snapping to one side.

Step 3: Add Second Side and Shape

Then I brought the other side of the sheath together with more wood glue. I waited for this to dry then trimmed the edges flush. Until now the cypress had sat below the meranti on the spine. This was fine because I had kept enough of the cypress to bring the meranti down to it, and then some. Trying to glue all 3 pieces together and keep them flush is unnecessarily difficult.

Step 4: Add an Inlay

I chose to add an inlay to the piece using some more of the cypress. Using one piece I "wrapped" it around the meranti, keeping the grain in one orientation.

I started by setting a 10 degree angle on a sliding bevel and working from that. I marked where I wanted the inlay and then another line for my router to follow. I clamped a block of wood to it and ran the router through.

Once all the notches were cut I could fit the inlay. These had to incorporate compound angles but because of those small they were it was easy to cheat. Where the cypress wrapped around it had to retain the 10 degree angle as well as have a 45 degree mitre. I used a bandsaw to cut these because they were so small.

Then I could glue them into place. Once the glue had dried it was onto the belt sander to get the inlays flush and then I added a chamfer around the entire piece. The sheath was very angular, from the 15 degree point at the front, to the 10 degree inlay. So adding a sharp 45 degree bevel to the edges looked right.

Step 5: Add Finish

The last step was to add finish. I went with a natural oil and only applied it to the outside. I might drill a small hole in the front to allow air movement inside, to prevent mould build up.

Now I can store the knife and sheath in a draw and not worry about the edge becoming dull or the steel getting scratched.