Aikiko's Knife Block

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Project by vicrider posted 07-16-2010 09:38 PM 3261 views 3 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So my friend Aikiko had a knife block that she dearly loved that fit her favorite knives, but it was looking pretty shabby (she did get decades of use out of it). She asked me to recreate it in the same shape and configuration.

I had some spalted maple that was approximately the same age ( I have that old woodworkers disease: keepwoodpiecesforeveryoumightuseit-osis) and a short piece of 1X cherry so I made this piece. The internal parts are solid 2” maple with cherry veneers on the front and sides. I ran out of cherry so I didn’t veneer the back. The top slotted pieces are 1/8 maple, and the bottom is Ipe installed with screws so if it ever needs to come apart (like when your grandson thinks it’s a bank) the bottom comes off.

In case you can’t tell ;-), the last picture is the one I copied.

-- vicrider

5 comments so far

View Jonathan's profile


2609 posts in 4382 days

#1 posted 07-16-2010 10:58 PM

Nice job on the reproduction, with your own touches added.

It looks like the knives in the back row would just fall out the back of the old one. I’m sure that’s not the case, but that’s what it looks like.

Were they just really fine veneers on the front of the old one?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Stevinmarin's profile


838 posts in 4407 days

#2 posted 07-17-2010 12:52 AM

Nice. I like this because the knives stick up vertically. Most knife blocks tend to be angled outward and take up too much space on the kitchen counter. I may use this design: my knives rattle around in a drawer, thereby remaining constantly dull!

-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers.

View vicrider's profile


188 posts in 4229 days

#3 posted 07-17-2010 06:17 AM

The back of the original was only laminate. Years of use had worn the backing away so it’s hard to see from the front. The front and sides had a variety of veneers that were peeling away from the substrate and discolored from moisture. I had some 2” maple to use for the piece but I didn’t like the split down the side, so I decided to make some cherry veneer and cover that. Then the front of the maple was discolored from spalting (I had cut this tree down in 1985 or so and these pieces are about the last of it) so I covered that too. Sometimes spalting can be quite dramatic and really enhance a design but that wasn’t the case here.

Originally there was no bottom so long knives would chip her countertop. Her late husband had applied a piece of plywood to the bottom to prevent that. You’re welcome to use the design, it’s not mine…... :-)

BTW, it’s 10 1/4” high stepped down to 6” in front, 11” long, and 4” deep.

-- vicrider

View AUBrian's profile


86 posts in 4002 days

#4 posted 03-18-2011 03:59 PM

Beautiful work! May I ask about the slotting and how you did it?

Maybe a dumb question, but you said the old knife block was being damaged due to moisture. Because spalting is caused by mold, is there any concern about the mold restarting? I know in typical furniture uses, it gets dried out, sealed, and since mold requires water, it will just stay dormant and not start growing again. In a case like this, what will prevent the same moisture that damaged the other from restarting growing?

View vicrider's profile


188 posts in 4229 days

#5 posted 03-19-2011 03:05 AM

Hi AUBrian,

I glued internal maple segments to thick veneers to form the internal slots, then added slotted pieces of maple for the top of each section to cover all the joints.

The original was purchased by Aikiko’s husband. She liked the specific design, and requested it have a closed bottom. The moisture damage was to the veneer. There was no indication of mold on the original, just de-lamination and damage to the finish. That particular piece of 2” maple had been setting in my shop here in the rainy Northwest for about 20 years without any change. It had some slight bluing, enough to not use it for show, but not enough to preclude its use for this piece.

Thanks for your comments.

-- vicrider

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