Sep 17

Custom Knife Block

14316914_10154119250564888_9156062539987613271_n A few years ago, I saw this knife block. I don’t like wood, but this thing was beautiful. I asked my dad to make one for me, because he likes wood working, but he never had a chance to get to it. Time went on, and I kept thinking about this block. Finally, I decided to make it myself. I had watched my dad build things often enough to have a pretty good idea how to do it. It took me a little over a year, mostly because I’m lazy and got distracted with other things. If you’re actually committed, it should take a weekend, with glue time.

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First, I got the wood. I got Zebrawood for the face, because I have always loved Zebrawood. I got African Blackwood for the back and sides because it offered a nice contrast and I wouldn’t have to stain it. I got Birch for the base, because it was cheap. I also needed a metric fuckton of shish kabob skewers. I ended up needing 3400 of the stupid little bastards. All told, I think it was less than $100, and most of that price is based on the wood you get.

I wanted a live edge window thing on the front, but it turns out those are insanely expensive, and pretty much only come in large pieces. Since I didn’t have the tools to work with that, I had to improvise.

12190818_10153375726549888_252521201424487043_nThe first part is simply to measure it. This was my big mistake because I can’t math. Plus, at the time, I didn’t have a saw, so I had to go to Home Depot and rent one of theirs. I ended up cutting one side too short. Eventually my landlord was remodeling one of the apartments, and one of the guys fixed the cut for me. So now we were rolling. But then I forgot that I wanted an open “window” in the front. I used a chisel and went WITH the grain, about half way down the piece of Zebrawood. Since Zebrawood has a relatively straight grain, this worked out surprisingly well. But, that did add half an inch (the gap) that I hadn’t taken into consideration. So I had to tweak my plans a little. I slid the base back and trimmed the extra. Then I used a scrap from the Zebrawood, to fill in the corners.

14102167_10154082062139888_887780316952665698_nAlso, I didn’t plane the wood, so the corners looked terrible. Well, after I glued it all together, it was time to sand. Naturally, my sander/rotary tool died three seconds into the project. I got a new sander online, and it was really good. It was cheap, but comfortable and powerful. I think it took less than half an hour to sand it down. I rounded the edges, leveled everything off, smoothed everything. This was probably the only part of this project that went smoothly, other than the sander dying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14222212_10154098930894888_6785700559040037718_nSince the Birch base was now visible, I had to cover that. I could have gone with a stain, but it didn’t have anything pretty about it, so I just painted it black. Taping it off was pretty easy. Yay for right angles. Then I just put a couple of layers of clear coat on it.

 

 

 

 

 

14354945_10154109510479888_3124347944674147676_nLastly, I had to fill it with shish kabob skewers. Originally, I had bought six packages (100 skewers each) of the normal grilling skewers. They were a foot long, so I had to cut them. I randomly picked a length that looked right, and cut the first 100 skewers. At this point, I realized that it was going to take for ever. I could only cut two at a time by hand, and couldn’t use a saw because the table saw I had bought by this time was too powerful and too loud. I also noticed that I didn’t have close to enough skewers.

Not by a long shot. While I was looking online for more, I found someone who sold 1600 that were six inches long. I went to check the ones I had cut, and they ended up being EXACTLY six inches. Purely by accident. So I bought a box. Then I saw that I was only half way done, so I bought another. I still had to cut another package of the long ones, but finally I got it filled. I had to sort of rearrange them, because they weren’t even. Once that was done, so was I. Oh. I found some little rubber feet from something else, and put them on the corners.

Then I was done.