Intro: Universal Knife Block (Design Martin Robitsch)
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.
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")
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
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.
Step 1: Assembling the Box
The hardest part is glueing the box together. I may seem simple, but it is difficult to glue 5 pieces together, keeping right angles everywhere. So I decided to help you with some step by step advice :
1. Put one side on a flat surface
2. Glue the bottom on top of it : Align the bottom, and one corner (in my pictures I aligned the bottom right corner)
3. Glue one extra side at the opposite corner (so I added a side to the left)
Apply clamps and some weights (I often use books)
5. Glue the remaining sides, one by one.
6. Finish by applying a bit of glue to all inner joints with your finger.
Remark : ideally, the side will stick out just a little on all four sides. That's OK (better than being too small). This excess will be removed in the next step.
Remark 2 : It is important to take your time, take it one part at a time and let it dry enough. (my glue takes about 30 minutes, but 24h for full hardening out). So patience is your friend here !
To keep all panels exactly square, this could help
Step 2: Trimming the Sides of the Box
This could be removed with sanding it, but I always use a router for this.
You need a straight router bit with a ball-bearing. This will trim the panels to be exactly flush with the adjacent sides.
Here is a youtube video that shows how to do this :
I understand that not every hobbyist has a router, but this is such a powerful technique, that I want to introduce it here.
You could also fo this with a sander, but it will take more time and will not be as precise.
Step 3: Sanding the Box
Now use a sander to finish the box : it should end up nicely square, and all panels need to be clean and smooth.
I usually start with the belt-sander, using a grain of 80,
Then I finish with the orbital sander, using a grain of 120 or 180.
Important tip : when using the belt-sander, keep the direction of the belt more or less parallel to the grain of the wood. If you you sand it across the grain, you will get visible scratches which are harder to remove. Always keep your belt-sander moving over the piece, never let it rest in one position. If you keep it still, it may leave a groove which is again hard to remove.
Step 4: Trimming the Bamboo Skewers
In my case, the Bamboo Skewers were 25 cm, but still they varied a bit in length.
A little variation is no problem, but still I decided to adjust the ones that were sticking out too much.
Here is how I did it :
Cut a piece of wood that fits in the box.
Then put the skewers in, with the tip pointing down
Because of the extra piece of wood, the sticks will stick out, and the longest ones will stick out the most.
Use the belt-sander to carefully trim them down, so they are more even.
Note : the dust will fall in the box, so be carefull when you remove the sticks, as some saw-dust will fall out.
Remove the temporary piece of wood at the bottom of the box. If it is hard to shake it out, put in a screw so you can pull it out.
Step 5: Surface Finishing the Box
Oil the box, or use any other finishing of your liking.
I like oil, I think if the wood could talk, it would prefer the oil as well :-)
In this case I used Skydd from IKEA. Actually I don't like IKEA's consumerism: cheap, disposable, imported, mass-produced furniture, but I like to use parts of what they sell, and make long-lasting products with them.
After applying the oil, I added 4 felt pads at the bottom, in order to not scratch any surface I later put the Knife-block on.
Step 6: Adding the Bamboo Skewers
Finally add the bamboo skewers. Make sure they all go in nicely parallel to the length of the box.
Admire your result, and if you are proud, send me a picture of it !
Happy Woodworking & happy Cooking !
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