A utilitarian kitchen utensil holder that’s easy on the eyes

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Project by Brad posted 01-09-2014 01:57 AM 7225 views 18 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I hate fighting with my better half over kitchen stuff. Take this utensil holder for example.

See how it’s crammed full of spatulas, ladles, spoons, spoons and a spoon with a hole in it? That’s about half of what we’d like to have at hand. But noooooo. That circular ceramic holder just doesn’t have the real estate. And its enclosing circumference has the added frustration of packing the rubber utensil handles together. So that when you try to ease one out, it pulls the others out with it. Then there’s the slick bottom. It’s no good as a stop to prevent anything else around it from slip-sliding hither and yon.

So after the latest utensil-spill-that-triggered-an-adjacent-cutting-board-avalanche-into-the-knives, I resolved to build a utensil holder that even my lady wouldn’t mind having in the kitchen.

The available space was tailor made for a rectangular container…with two dividers to make three compartments. One for spoons, one for spatulas and one for…what look like surgical tools and such.

So I gathered up some pine boards, which, of course, weren’t wide enough to give me the desired 6 5/8” of height I sought. You see, if the sides were too low, then utensils would splay all over like petals on a wilted flower. Since that would defeat the purpose of a compact holder, I opted instead to add a 1.5” wide border. What a perfect opportunity to add a nice contrasting hardwood. I set out the options of walnut, red oak, mahogany or cumaru (a Brazilian legume tree) for my lady to view. She went with the latter I suspect because of its reddish hue and beautiful grain.

Pretty though cumaru may be, it sure is a bear to work with in a hand-tool shop. It’s damn hard. Not unlike hickory, which makes it difficult to do anything with it except look at it. It also has some funky grain, which promotes nasty tear out no matter which direction I plane it.

To build it I rabbeted the ends being sure to drill 1/8” holes to accept brass rod “dowels” to reinforce the joinery. The plywood bottom and dividers seated into grooves routed to house them. I stop-dadoed the grooves for the dividers short of the hardwood border to maintain a cleaner look.

After glue-up and finishing, I cut rubber shelf-liner bottoms for each section and epoxied rubber bumpers to the bottom. Final outside dimensions: 14” long x 6 5/8” high x 5 ½” wide. Dividers roughly placed to yield two 4 ½” and one 3” compartments.

The finished product passed Gail’s inspection…

…and it found a new home atop our counter.

It has room for all the utensils we use. Plus, with the rubber bumpers, it doesn’t slide around, which means it acts like a bookend to keep the cutting boards to the left in check. And it doesn’t bother the knife neighbors either. In fact, it works so well that we’ve stopped arguing over which utensil to put out, or why I knocked this or that over. Such is the power of wood to promote harmony in our house.


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

15 comments so far

View Skippy906's profile


123 posts in 3447 days

#1 posted 01-09-2014 02:07 AM

Nice job. Very thoughtful project for the wife too.

-- Making progress

View Kryptic's profile


294 posts in 3121 days

#2 posted 01-09-2014 02:18 AM

huge improvement over the previous clutter

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4691 days

#3 posted 01-09-2014 02:55 AM

Good job.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Frank Smith 's profile

Frank Smith

101 posts in 3368 days

#4 posted 01-09-2014 03:58 AM

Nice project. Good luck with your wife.

View jeff's profile


1458 posts in 4925 days

#5 posted 01-09-2014 05:16 AM

nice upgrade for the utensil holder…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Mosquito's profile


11761 posts in 3753 days

#6 posted 01-09-2014 05:30 AM

Nice work. Something like this is definitely in my future. Moving to a place with a kitchen that has more counter space, but only has 1 drawer in the whole thing!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View KMT's profile


608 posts in 4123 days

#7 posted 01-09-2014 06:42 AM

That’s a good one, I need one now, ... dam! Another project on the list!

-- - Martin

View realcowtown_eric's profile


642 posts in 3397 days

#8 posted 01-09-2014 07:06 AM

Dig it…I think the technical name for it is a “spurltle box”

Made one for SWMBO 40 years ago, and it’s still in use! Looks like hell, but maybe it’s time to replace it!



-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Brad's profile


1149 posts in 4200 days

#9 posted 01-09-2014 02:28 PM

Spurtle box…interesting. Apparently a spurtle was originally a Scottish spatula type thing that evolved to be more of a rod-shaped utensil used for stirring oatmeal and such. Do you have some Scottish heritage Eric?

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View larson1170's profile


32 posts in 3072 days

#10 posted 01-09-2014 02:37 PM

I will be stealing this idea. We have the same problem at my house and yet we keep getting more things stuffed in the jar!

View Sanding2day's profile


1018 posts in 3307 days

#11 posted 01-09-2014 05:51 PM

Great project! Thanks for sharing… Did not even occur to me that I had an issue but sure enough, thank for identifying the problem and the solution :)

-- Dan

View recycle1943's profile


7008 posts in 3083 days

#12 posted 01-09-2014 10:21 PM

@ Brad – Such is the power of wood to promote harmony in our house.

-:¦:-•:’””:•.-:¦:-• ‹(•¿•)› -:¦:-•:’””.-:¦:-•

great idea Brad

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View NormG's profile


6576 posts in 4464 days

#13 posted 01-09-2014 11:36 PM

Nicely done project

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


642 posts in 3397 days

#14 posted 01-10-2014 01:24 AM

Brad, the only scotttish heritage I have comes as an astringent amber liquid. I do believe the scots invented it to keep the Irish from ruling the world!


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4300 days

#15 posted 01-10-2014 12:53 PM

Keep it simple and it looks good as well as preforms.
Nice job.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

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