kitchen knife blockI love innovative ideas, especially when they can enhance our lives, and what better place to do this than in the kitchen. I wish I could take credit for this neat idea, but I suspect it has been around for many, many years it countries where bamboo grows quite prolifically, and has been in use for a variety of building needs for centuries. Building this knife block has been on my list of things to do for about 2 years. So much so that I even went out and purchased (what I thought) would be more than the correct number of packages of bamboo skewers to build this unit. That shows you how wrong I can be sometimes - I had to go out 2 more times to purchase more. The block that I made has take about 20 packages of bamboo skewers. Next time I will be a bit more careful on the size.

To start off, I search through my somewhat extensive collection of cut-off pieces of wood and came up with a few likely suspects. One piece that I like was both figures and somewhat spalted, and it was even a live edge piece. I decided to plane it down enough to see the grain and then to determine if I would have enough wood left if I were to split it into 2 halves, which in fact worked out fine.

Those 2 pieces would turn out to be the sides of the knife block and finding pieces for the front and back was much easier as these could be less exotic pieces.

I trimmed off the live edge as I felt it would not add to this particular project, I then cut the bottoms of the sides to an angle of 25 degrees after determining this was enough of an angle that I probably would not need a support foot on the front of the block and that it would still give a bit of "life" to the finished knife block.

I figured out the height of the block by using one of the longer existing knives I had, and still left a bit of room for longer ones. Based on this measurement I carefully converted those measurements to all 4 sides and cut them off on the sliding mitre saw. After checking the dry fit, everything fit well enough to proceed to gluing. 

Because I was gluing long grain to long grain (no edge grain involved) I used ordinary yellow glue and my 23 guage air pinner to fasten the sides on. I you watched the video you can see that my 23 gauge pinner died on the first attempt, which left me know choice except to go to a slightly larger pinner, my 18 gauge, which worke out fine, it just left slighlty larger heads, which, based on the wood I was using, is almost impossible to spot anyway.

After the carcass was dry enough to work with again (I let it harden for about an hour) I resumed construction by adding the bottom of the knife block which was 3/4 inch plywood which I used 5 minute, 2-part epoxy glue to fasten on, because it dries and hardens quickly, and it has great bonding power.

After all the parts were glued and hardened I did one more quick sanding, then gave the knife block the first coat of Osmo, which of course is the most exciting coat because it reveals what the wood is really going to look like when finished, and as I hoped, it looked awesome.

While the Osmo was still wet, I couldn't resist filling the knife block with bamboo skewers to and trying a couple of knives in it ... wow, what great little project. I often get emails on where people can purchase Osomo. For Canadians interested in the product, one place to check out is  in the US, Osmo is available from

If you tackle making one of these, think about the size you will need, I didn't give that as much thought as I could have and ended up using many, many, many packages of bamboo skewers which at about 2 dollars per package and upwards of 20 packages ... well, you can do the math.  I think a smaller one would have been just as effective, but in the end, I loved making this project, something you can easily do in a day and what perfect project for a gift. Another one of woodworkings innovative and usefull projects.

Copyright Colin Knecht