Wooden Sheath for Cook's Knife





Introduction: Wooden Sheath for Cook's Knife

About: I'm a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences living the dream with my wife, two dogs, and a basement that overfloweth with homebrew.

I have a knife block full of medium grade stainless steel knives for general use, but I also have a high quality forged cook's knife I keep separate.  The duct taped cardboard it came in was okay for a while, but I wanted to make a proper sheath for it.  I decided to make a wooden sheath, sort of a one knife block.  It's a pretty simple build and I've very happy with the end product.

Step 1: Cutting the Wood

I started with a 1/2" x 4" poplar board.  You can use whatever hardwood you want, but in the big box stores around here you get poplar or red oak.  Place the knife on the board and mark down 1/4" on either side plus a little buffer.  Cut two pieces of wood to the marked dimensions.  I wanted a bit of a thinner sheath so I planned one block down to 1/2" thick.

Step 2: Rout the Groove

I used a bench top router and a straight plunge cutting bit to rout a U shaped channel through the thicker block making it deep enough for the knife, but not so deep as the knife it extremely loose.  Start shallow and continue until you have a proper depth.  Use wood glue along the edges and clamp the blocks together to set.

Step 3: Cleanup Work

I wanted a slight curve to the shealth edges so I ran it through a 1/4" round over bit on all but the side the knife will enter from.  That was followed with 60-100-150 grit sanding, a coat of water-based stain, and spray on gloss enamel.  I didn't worry about staining the interior because it won't be seen and I don't really want my blade in contact with the stain anyway.

Step 4: That's It

It's a pretty simple, straight forward wood working project.  It probably cost about $2 worth of wood.  It's easy enough to bang out in an hour or two over the weekend, but a quality product that will hopefully be around for a while.  You may even consider padding the interior of the sheath with some felt.



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15 Discussions

Neat. The final sheath hides the 'glue' line well. How about adding (countersink) some neodymium magnets inside? That way the case doesn't slip off? Maybe it would hurt the finish? Line it with felt or leftover beaver pelt. (Ok, that last part was a joke)
Good mod, man.

1 reply

If you wanted to go the magnet route, I would suggest recessing it in the wood inside the sheath and then protecting it with something that won't retain moisture (so, probably not felt). The right two-part epoxy might work, or even just veneering over it. I would avoid putting it under a plug, because magnetic force decreases significantly over distance, and the plug would need some thickness to give an adequate gluing surface. That said, the magnet idea seems elegant and permanent (no o-ring to degrade, felt to rot, etc.) so I might give it a try for my chisels. If it works, I'll write an Instructable!

I've seen similar objects use an "O" ring glued to the inner side of the sheath to give a bit of resistance or tug for removal.
You have the router, you could route a small flat round "dent" about half the depth of an "O" ring and glue it in.  I'd suggest epoxy as it might last longer.
I have a Stihl F40 pruning saw.  The sheath it comes with has the type of catch that would really work well for a knife.
see it here-

Then go to a Stihl dealer and inspect the sheath for construction details.
Great instructable - Thanks

could you attach a leather strap to it that would wrap around the bottom edge of the blade and hold it in. I guess a cheap easy way to do this would be a velcro attached strap, then it could still wiggle within the block but not slide out. Like glue one side of the strap on one side, and then use a flat screw or velcro to either attach the strap like a button holed belt, or adhesived velcro attached to the wood and the strap.

I like this instructable idea. My friend has a knife but no block so it's exposed and abused. I don't have any wood working equipment, but I have favorited this ible for future reference

Thin hardwood here:

The sheaths I make are for blade protection; if you can't wash and dry the blade before storing, you shouldn't be using my knives...

By making the slot slightly undersize (crosswise) you can get a little friction on the blade. Takes a lot of trial and error though. A thumb push block on the top helps for the stickier ones,

A thought might be to look into some of the techniques used in saya or sheathes for japanese swords. There is a method of shimming used to get a tight fit using a softer sacrificial metal (usually brass). Might be something to look into to really spiff this idea up..

1 reply

What a great basic router project! Useful, quick, and pretty easy. And the end result looks nice.

Does the blade rattle around in its sheath? If so, would that perhaps damage the fine edge of your lovely Wüsthof knife?

2 replies

It has some play, but it's similar to any standard knife block. Any contact with the wood it has is no worse than using it on a cutting board. That said, if I did it again I'd probably try doing it with felt inside.

The wood is fine and won't harm the blade. I'd avoid felt because it's a means to trap water and other gunk in there if the blade isn't entirely dry when you put it away. The general rule with microbial life is, "if it dries, it dies", so having the route go all the way through and a little 'play' in the fit is a good thing to allow drying.

I used the standard kitchen knife block as a design inspiration and those channels usually run all the way through the base. It's also a little easier to cut but you could just as easily seal up one side.

I suspect one reason the knife block channels go all the way through is to avoid build up of muck at the bottom, and also for ventilation on the blade - it stops water sitting on the blade.

Does your sheath slide on and off freely, or did you add a little resistance so it does not slide off just when you do not want it to?

1 reply

It slides pretty freely, which is fine because it will either sit on the counter or in a drawer. If you wanted some resistance you might make the slot a little wider and glue some felt to each side.