CULTRIVOR - Custom 30 Knife Block




About: Daniel Bauen breathes new life into objects that have met their untimely demise in the junk pile.

For when you have too many knives.
I have a lot of kitchen knives, but since I do a lot of cooking, I need them all readily at hand. I buy good quality knives individually, and I couldn't find a knife block that would hold all my knives in a compact, attractive, easy to access fashion. So, I built one myself that met all my requirements.
- Wall Mountable to take up less counter space.
- Visible Blades for quick selection.
- Doesn't damage blades (Like metal magnet wall mounts can).
- Holds a combination of large and small knives, including a chinese clever.
- And of course, can hold at least 30 knives.
- Blades can be put in without drying, and any water that drips can just be wiped off the countertop.

See more cool projects at:
Cultrivor is adapted from the latin word, Cultrivorous: Devouring knives; swallowing, or pretending to swallow, knives.


Step 1: Tools and Materials

Tools I used:
- Band Saw
- Scroll Saw
- Dremel tool with drum sander
- Sandpaper, preferably with a material backing, not paper
- Drill

- Wood - 1, 30 inch piece of 2x4 OR 2, 30 inch pieces of 1x4 to laminate.
- Lexan sheet
- Small wood screws

Step 2: Shapeing the Large Knife Holes

I laminated 2 pieces of 1x4 poplar together, because I could not redily find a 2x4 piece of wood that was not soft pine, and I wanted something denser. Oak or a denser wood may have been better, but the poplar seems to be holding up well.

To make the slots, I sketched the layout on the wood, then drilled a hole slightly larger then the slot at the end of the slot. I liked the keyhole look, it makes cutting on the bandsaw easier, and it gives the knife handles a position to rest in. After the holes were drilled, I cut the slots out on the bandsaw.

To shape the slots, I first beveled (chamfered) the edge with a dremel tool using the drum sander attachment in order to quickly remove some material. Then I used long strips of sandpaper, threaded them up through a slot, over the wood, and then back through the adjacent slot. Using a pull pull motion on the sandpaper ends to round off the edges of the slots. Start with rough sandpaper, and then move to a smaller grit for a smooth finish.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Smaller Knife Holes

The left side of the block holds smaller knives, like paring knives.

1. Sketch the pattern on the block for the position of the holes.

2. Drill a hole at each end of the small slots.

3. Use the scroll saw to cut out the piece of wood between the hole pairs. Cut from the tanget of one hole to the tangent of the other.

4. Once they are all cut out, I rounded the edges using a strip of sandpaper, pulling it back and forth through the slots like a piece of floss.

Step 4: Creating a Template for the Clear Lexan Face

To keep the knives in the block and protect the blades, I made a lexan faceplate that attaches to the block. This can also support the block if you just want to stand it up on the countertop.

1. Create a cardboard mockup of the faceplate. This will be used as a design stencil for the final lexan faceplate.

2. Test fit the cardboard mockup in order to see how well it works. The little tabs will be the screw points underneath the block.

Step 5: Making the Lexan Face

The cardboard mockup is used as an outline on a flat piece of lexan.

1. Cut the lexan out to match the cardboard mockup shape

2. Bend the lexan using a heat gun. There are other good instructables on how to bend lexan with a heat gun, so I won't go into any details about this.

Step 6: Pocket Key Screw Hole

I wanted a solid screw mount to the wall, but I had no space for the screw heads to go through the front of the block, and I didn't want an ugly screw showing. I modified a technique that I often use to hang custom made picture frames without using a cheesy wire or frame hanger. This allows for a hole to the front that is only big enough to fit a screwdriver, and the screw head lives in a pocket in the back. The block is upside down in the pictures, because it is easier to make it this way. The last few pictures are right side up when the screw is being test fit.

1. Drill a through hole just large enough for the screwdriver tip, and the screw shaft to fit through, but not the screw head.

2. About half an inch below that, drill a larger hole that the screw head can fit through. Do not drill all the way through. I wrapped tape around the drill bit to limit the drill depth. It needs to be deep enough that there's about a quarter inch of wood between the base of the screw head and the surface of the wood.

3. Using the router bit and attachment on the rotary tool, set the depth to the bottom of the large hole, and route a path between the small and large hole that is tangent to the small hole.

4. Now, attach a slot cutter bit that fits inside the big hole to the rotary tool. Set the depth of the slot cutter bit to about 0.15 inches. You will be cutting a pocket behind the slot for the screw head to fit in.

5. Insert the slot cutter all the way into the large hole. Follow the perimeter of the slot with the shaft of the slot cutter. This will be the inside surface on which the screw head will apply pressure.

6. Change the slot cutter depth to the depth of the large hole, and repeat step 5. There will probably be a sliver of wood left in the pocket. Move the slot cutter in and out to clean out any thin walls left in the pocket.

Step 7: Apply a Finish to the Wood

I applied several coats of a high strength polyurethane to protect the wood from the knives and water. I like the natural finish of the wood, and it brought out the grain better.

You can use other stains or finishes to make it look however you like.

See the pictures below for a before and after comparison.

Step 8: Put Some Knives in It and Use It

Now, all that's left to do is to screw the lexan face back on, hang it up on the wall, stock it with all your knives, and use it.

Because the slots are also open to the front, not only the top, it makes it extremely easy to put the knives back into their places. You don't have to aim very well, because the rounds center the knife blade, and the knife slides right in.



    • Party Challenge

      Party Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Gardening Contest

      Gardening Contest

    25 Discussions


    8 years ago on Step 2

    soooooo much sanding...why not use a round over bit in a router?; ^)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    They sell sheets of it at Home Depot, or Lowes. I bought the piece for this at Home Depot. It's in the windows section where they also have pieces of glass, and acrylic.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    can you teach me to bend lexan? i searched on instructables and google but didn't find anything clear or specific. thanks.


    10 years ago on Step 6

    Your very cleaver using tools at hand. There is a router bit called a "Keyhole" bit for making the slot for the screw head in one step. If you do this regular it is a worthwhile investment, and does a very neat job. Great project BTW, I just may have to make one myself!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea for a knife block. Awesome instructable. Well written and good clear photos. The "Pocket Key Screw Hole" portion is worthy of its own instructable.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Ya, I was thinking about writing up a separate instructable for the pocket key hole. This is how I hang all my pictures frames, or any wood wall art I make (without the front hole). It's great, because it requires no extra hardware, and the frame is flush to the wall.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Wicked Instructable. I'm almost tempted to make one for work. One question: Can you use a thinner single piece for the block as opposed to a double laminated or a thicker single? I'm going to want to do the cutting for the block with a router and I'm not sure there are router bits that can cut a piece of wood so big. Later. :D

    3 replies

    You could, but the reason I made it thick, is because of the hole width to height ratio. If the holes remained the same width as they are now, and the height was decreased, the blades could have a tendency to lean and hit each other. However, unless the knife is handle heavy, most of them tend to hang straight down, and they don't lean against the walls of the slot. I only have one knife with a short blade that has a heavier handle, and the thick slot height prevents it from flopping over. So, if your knives all have a heavier blade then handle, it should work fine to use a thin piece of wood. Alternatively, you could decrease the width of the slot, but that makes it more difficult to put the blades in.


    F-ing fab. Considering I'm wanting to invest in a fine set of cutting edge (literally!) ceramic knives for my job, having a block like this with the more balanced modern knife is wicked. Again, fine idea and fine execution. One more question: What other types of wood would work best for the top? I'm thinking a nice heavy hardwood might be best but does it matter save that it resists warping?


    For the amount of time you will spend making it, use as nice a wood as you like. A denser wood will be more resistant to knife marks. The most time consuming part was sanding, and that would have taken even longer with a denser wood. I really wanted a nice block of wood, but I didn't know where to get one at the time, so I settled with poplar. Although not very dense, it worked out well, and still looks like new. Cool that this inspired you!


    10 years ago on Step 6

    Fantastic Instructable! I will be making one of these soon to get our cleavers more safely into daily rotation. But - why drill through the piece at all for the hanging screws? Why not simply create pocket holes in the back of the piece, determine how much shank/screwhead to leave protruding from the wall, pre-sink those in the wall and then hang the piece from them? That'd leave no holes visible from the front, though at the cost of being able to adjust the mounting screws.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    You're right about the pocket hole, if you are mounting to a flat wall. I forgot to mention that the reason I had to drill the front hole was to be able to tighten the screw to keep it from wobbling because of the mounting location. If you look at the main picture, you can sort of see that it's mounted to the window frame, which is slightly curved, and protrudes from the wall. Mounting it with a regular pocket hole did not give the block a solid feel. I had to be able to tighten the screws to give it a nice solid feel. The holes are pretty well hidden in the slots.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Much more attractive and less threatening in appearance than those magnet strips for knives. takes up less space too. Great Job.

    aside from building an awesome kitchen addition, the name is hilarious. if i had a little puppy, i would name him cultrivor.