Reclaimed Wood Magnetic Knife Rack




I have been wanting to order high powered neodymium magnets for sometime now.. well my friend recommended k&j magnetics and i purchased 100 of their 5/16" D55 with 5 pounds of 'pull force'.. They are basically about the size of an eraser on a pencil.. to give you an idea how strong they are.. about 3/4 of the people i have given them to could separate two magnets, and a 1/4 could not.

I decided to make a magnetic knife rack and put it on the side the side of the fridge.. which would otherwise be dead space. I reused damaged the doug fir floor boards, and some door casing that were pulled out when we started the project.

Material and Required Tools:

5/16" D55 Neodymium Magnets
Wood scraps, reclaimed floor boards
Antique/distressed hardware

Table Saw
Drill Press/Power Drill
5/16" Drill Bit
Painter's Tape
Wood Glue

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Step 1: Select, Cut, and Glue

Gather assorted wood scraps or reclaimed floor boards that have similar dimensions in length, width, and especially thickness. Organize the boards in a way that mixes colors, woods, and is aesthetically appealing. You will need to decide on a thickness that you will use for all boards, the lowest common denominator will always be your baseline for thickness.

-Check each board for nails and other non-wood material, and remove, this will prevent the planer blades from being damaged.
-Set your depth and begin to run the boards through a planer, remember to take light passes usually no thicker than 1/32"
-Next you will need to run each board through your table saw taking off just enough of each side to create a clean and square edge
-Once you have squared all your edges, dry fit the boards up next to eachother and see if there are any gaps or breaks in contact, if so flip the board over on the saw and give it another pass to square the edge up
-Now you can apply wood glue to each board edge that will be making contact, ensure that there is total coverage for each contact point. Excess glue can be removed, too little may make for a broken seam. 
-Set up your clamps on an even surface and place the boards in the clamps, allow 4-6 hours to dry if in a low-humidity, room temperature environment. 

Step 2: Drill, Insert Magnets

Next you will need to order/obtain (75) neodymium high powered magnets..  Make sure to have a drill bit that matches the diameter of your magnets. I ordered 5/16" diameter x 5/16" thick magnets because it is a common size and it would be small enough to fit inside the old floorboards i was repurposing. 

-For the magnets to be most effective you will need to get as close to the surface of the wood as possible, leaving an 1/8" layer of wood if possible
-If you have a drill press you can set the depth and start drilling your holes for the magnets
-If you don't have a drill press, you can do what i did below and use painters tape to mark your depth on the drill bit to prevent from breaching the surface
-Try and dry fit a magnet in the hole you have drilled, if its snug you might be able to hammer it in with something that is softer than metal and has a similar surface area as the magnet. (this will prevent the magnet from chipping or being damaged)
-If there is any wiggle room, or it can be tapped in without much pressure, you will need to back fill it with epoxy to make sure it will stay in place

Step 3: Mount, and Enjoy!

Now you will need to attach the knife rack to your wall/fridge/cabinets.. i used the original hinge screws and wood as a clever way to secure it to the side of the fridge. You could also countersink the screws, or if you are going into brick you can use  lag shields to anchor your board. If you are mounting onto drywall/plaster I would recommend molly/toggle bolts to securely fasten it. 

The thicker the knife, the more force the magnets will have.. so this board is going to be ideal for your larger cleaver's and french knives. You may want to put extra antique hardware on your board for you bread and paring knives that have a slimmer profile. 

Hope you enjoyed this project. :D

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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I realize this is an old instructable, but to anyone who does this, be careful with the wood. That looks like lead paint on those boards.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    This is cool. Where did you get the magnets from? You need som more knives :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Went to K&J to price out magnets for doing this. 75 magnets at $0.95 a piece is pretty stinking expensive for a reclaimed wood knife rack...

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    This was my first go with the magnets.. the closer you get to the surface of the wood the more powerful the force is.. i think i could redo the project knowing what i know now and do it with just 20 magnets.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I would have figured the magnets would pull out onto the fridge once mounted. Are they kept in place by friction alone or did you do something else?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    The magnets i tapped in are very snug, i had to use quite a bit of force to install them.. So they are held in by the pressure of of the wood alone. To ensure they will not move, you can always back fill the magnets with epoxy.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Just wondering if one could use an unsharpened pencil (eraser end down) to gently tap the magnets in? This is a great 'ible and yep, the wheel's are turning for me! Thanks bopp!

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    good point ebend12, i actually did chip off a small piece of one magnet when hammering it into place. thanks, ill add that right now.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    you should add that since those magnets are made out of ceramics, they can be very brittle and should be hammered with care or some sort of absorbent martial between the hammer.