Knife blocks are awesome - just grab the knife you need without searching through your drawers and start cutting. I got my basic inspiration for this project from the instructable "knife block" by Christian Knuell, which reminded me of the so called "voodo knife block". (Just type this into google images...)
However, I wanted to improve this design to look more realistic and to increase the number of knifes it can hold.
The resulting knife block resembles a spartan like warrior and can hold 15 knifes of different sizes
Here is the list of materials and tools I used:
- 6 mm and 12 mm ply wood (any other type of wood should be okay as well)
- Spray adhesive
- Scroll saw (alternatives: Jigsaw, CNC mill, ..)
- Wood glue
- Lead beads to fill the base (nails, nuts or any other heavy materials will do the trick as well)
- Sand paper
- Double-sided adhesive tape
- Magnet - 6mm diameter
- Power tool with a drum sanding kit (can be accomplished with other tools as well)
Step 1: Making the Base
Since the knife block is supposed to hold a high number of knifes, I wanted the base to be heavy to achieve a good stability. Therefore, the base will be filled with lead beads (or any other heavy objects you have available, like nails or nuts).
Print out the attached pdf files for the base and use spray adhesive to attach them to 6 mm (bottom and top layer) and 12 mm (middle layer) ply wood. Then use your scroll saw to cut out the three parts.
Glue the bottom layer and the middle layer together. Once it is dry, fill the lead beads into the hollow space and glue on the top layer.
After drying, sand all sides of the base until satisfactory.
Step 2: Making the Warrior
For the warrior part print out the attached drawing and use spray adhesive to attach them to 6 mm (2 side layers) and 12 mm (middle layer) ply wood. Check out the instructions on the first pdf file. Then use your scroll saw to cut out the three parts.
Since the warrior fills out the whole A4 page it is possible that your printer can't handle the drawing. For that case, I additionally attached the warrior in two parts on two separate pages. Print out both of them and first attach one half onto your piece of wood. Then, cut some holes into the second half of the drawing. Place these holes in the overlapping section of both drawings directly on the lines. This way you should be able to properly align the second half of the drawing.
Glue all three layers together and be careful to properly align the three layers. During gluing press together all parts of the warrior using clamps (legs, arms, head....).
(The hands of the warrior on the images look different from the drawings because I made the design on the go. I provided the final design on the drawings for you.)
Use a 5 mm bit to drill a hole into the middle layer just above the head of the warrior (see drawing). Drill only halfway through! Then fit the 6mm magnet into the hole. It should be a tight fit. You can use a vice or a similar tool to press the magnet into the hole. In case you are using hard wood, you probably have to use a 6mm drill. If necessary, use glue fix the magnet in place.
Finally, use a power tool with a drum sanding kit to work out the warriors hand. Start working from the side where you placed the magnet. Sand down roughly until the middle of the wood (~12 mm). Depending on the shape of the knife handle, which you plan to place into the warriors hand, you can work out the hands shape to properly fit to this knife handle.
When I was finished with this part, I noticed that the wrist, which was going to hold the shield, was very thin. Therefore, i drilled a 4mm hole into the arm until i reached the elbow. I then entered a 4mm brass rod into the hole and glued in in place to strengthen the wrist section. In the uploaded drawing, I made the wrist thicker, so it should be fine. However, if you don't trust your wood, make the wrist even thicker or do the same as me.
Step 3: Sanding the Warrior
Sanding down the sides of the warrior part can be a pain, because you want to progress carefully to preserve all details. However, there is a nice trick.
There are special sanding strips available for your scroll saw. (enter "sanding stripes scroll saw" into google) I found them to be somewhat expensive. As an alternative you can make your own sanding stripes.
Apply double sided adhesive tape onto the back of some sanding paper. Take a preferably wide scroll saw blade. Cut of a stripe of the sanding paper with adhesive tape with a width of roughly 6 times the width of the scroll saw blade. Fold the stripe along the middle and then remove the back of the adhesive tape. Place the scroll saw blade with the flat side into the middle of the sanding paper and fold it again.
Now you can mount the self made sanding strip in your scroll saw and sand down the sides of the warrior until satisfactory. You will probably have to replace the sand paper on the scroll saw blade a couple of times during this process. If a lot of glue leaked out of the sides during gluing, you might want to remove the dried glue with a knife before you start the sanding.
Step 4: Adjustments for Your Knifes
The good thing about such a knife block is that it looks really nice. The bad thing is that it is not suited for all knifes. When the knife blade is heavier than the handle or if both parts are in balance (as it should be), the knife will sit nicely in the knife block. However, when the knife handle is heavier than the knife blade, the knife tends to fall out of the knife block. Therefore, it is highly recommended to adjust this final part for your knifes.
Focus on the knifes where the handle is heavier than the blade. For such knifes I found it best if the slits are about 1-2 mm longer than the height of the blade. For example, I have some knifes with a blade height of about 23 mm. For these I made the slits 25 mm long.
Print out the attached pdf, take a pen and adjust the length of the knife slits according to what you think is best for your knifes.
Step 5: Making the Shield
Print out the attached pdf files and use spray adhesive to attach them to 6 mm (front and back layer) and 12 mm (middle layer) ply wood. If you adjusted this part for your knifes in the previous step, use the adjusted drawing for the front layer.
Then use your scroll saw to cut out the three parts. Do not remove the drawing from the front layer after cutting!
Glue all three pieces together and be careful to properly align the three layers. After drying, sand all sides of the shield until satisfactory.
Use 3mm drills to drill holes at each end of the slits on the front layer. Stay just within the black rectangle of the slits. Be careful to drill in a 90° angle. For the two biggest slits in the middle, use 4mm drills.
Then, use a scroll saw to cut out the slits by cutting along the lines and connecting the two holes of each slit.
Sand the insides of the slits by using the self made sanding stripes for your scroll saw or by folding some sandpaper and pulling it forth and back through the slits. Also, sand slightly the edges of the slits.
Step 6: Assemble the Knife Block
When you finished the base, the warrior and the shield part, check again if everything is sanded properly. I also recommend to slightly sand all edges to prevent splintering later on.
Check if all parts fit together. If not, do some more sanding/ cutting until all parts fit together nicely.
Then glue the warrior onto the base. Make sure to align the parts in a 90° angle.
After drying, glue the shield to the warrior.
Step 7: Applying Finish
Initially, I left my knife block untreated because I liked the look of the pure wood. However, after posting this instructable, I received a lot of comments suggesting to apply a finish for better durability. About half suggested I should use vegetable oil (linseed oil) and the other half suggested to use mineral oil...
I couldn't decide which one to choose. Therefore, I looked for a commercial finish that was specifically made for kitchen items. Finally, I selected the food safe worktop oil from Polyboy. Interestingly, this is a mixture from high quality linseed oil and mineral oil! Additionally, it contains some additives that are supposed to further enhance its performance. So far, I am completely satisfied with this oil finish.
To apply the oil finish, pour the oil over the knife block and use a soft cloth to distribute the oil all over all surfaces. Let it sit for a few minutes to let the wood absorb the oil. Then use a cloth to remove all the excess oil and let it dry for about a day. You can repeat this process to apply multiple layers of oil to further increase the durability. I applied two layers so far.
Since I used two different kinds of wood (i think birch for the middle layer and beech for the side layers), the resulting color after applying the finish is different. This gives a nice effect making the face and the crest on the helmet brighter.
Now you are done and can equip the warrior with your knifes.