By now, you should have glued together the 5 primary blocks for the wooden knife block and let them sit overnight. Follow the steps below to complete your knife block.
Step 1 – Cutting and Joining the Primary Blocks
Cut the primary block end to 5¼x½-inch, 12 inches long. There are no slots in this piece at all. Take the primary block end and the primary blocks that you glued together last night, spread the glue evenly on the side of the primary block with no slots. Spread glue on the block end and clamp the two together wrapped in a cloth for another night.
Step 2 – Sanding the Block
Once it has dried, get to work with the sandpaper and smooth out the rough edges. The final effect is enhanced by the finish so it is worth the effort. The 80 grit sandpaper will take off the worst rough patches. Following this up with 120 grit sandpaper and then 220 grit sandpaper will give you a silky finish at the end.
The tradition with a wooden knife block was to smooth off the corners while keeping the essential blocky geometric character of the piece. Some carpenters prefer severely rounded corners to enhance the flowing effect of the grain in the wood. You will need a band saw to round off the edges enough. Beveling the edges or doing a 45° chamfer are options as well.
Step 3 – The Finishing Touches
Finishing is done with oil, wax, or varnish depending on your taste. Oil sinks in deeper than wax and is preferable as it preserves the wood. Oil will allow the wood to still breathe and not crack. The kitchen is a fairly moist environment so wood can react to the water vapor in the air. Wax will keep the wood moisture-free as will varnish.
Varnishing gives a warm finish to a piece. After using the 220 grit sand paper, remove the dust with a damp cloth and paint a thin layer of varnish onto the wood. When dry sand with 220 grit sand paper. Repeat this process until you have the finish you desire.
Step 4 – Keeping the Slots Clear
Keep the slots free of glue, varnish and sawdust. The raw wood acts to sharpen the knives and keeps them clean. Make sure the knives are clean before replacing them in your knife block so that bacteria are not encouraged to grow in the slots.
Step 5 – Raising the Block
The final touch is to raise the wooden knife block out of the water that pools on kitchen surfaces. Glue four rubber feet to the underside of the block using the wood glue. This will act to protect kitchen surfaces and the block from scratches and water damage.
Step 6 – Mounting the Block on Cupboards
Mounting the block below kitchen cupboards on the wall is a good way to keep the knives right out of the way of children. Position the block under the cupboard, and trace its shape on the underside. Drill 4 holes from inside the cupboard. Get a friend to hold the block in place while you insert the 4 flatheaded screws into the holes and tighten.