Knife Block and a Spagnuolo Special

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Project by ColeHarbourNS posted 12-28-2008 04:44 AM 2490 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well – this is my first posting of any project I have ever made and my first exposure to the LJ community.

Where I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, there is a company in Pictou ( that makes fabulous kitchen and hunting knives. My wife and I have a few, but this year we decided to give a set as a gift to my in-laws. I thought that a Marc Spagnuolo cutting board would be a perfect accessory. (Also, I recently purchased my first jointer and planer and felt the cutting board was a great first project to test out my milling skills.) Finally I built the knife block/holder to match the set. Kind of a cutting/knife theme this year. The block is walnut and hard maple, with gel varnish and paste wax finish.

Just as a side note I would like to say that Marc Spagnuolo is the best thing that has happened to woodworking in a long time. ( It is so refreshing to have a young, progressive and tireless person promoting woodworking and making it so entertaining and educational in the process. The quality and accessibility of the content he produces is second to none. It is indeed through his website and podcasts that I found LJs. His sense of style, the types of projects he chooses, and his design/constructions philosophies are very much in line with my interests. I thank him for re-viving in me a sleeping enthusiasm for woodworking.

12 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4218 days

#1 posted 12-28-2008 05:25 AM

Nice looking project. Welcome to Lumberjocks!

You don’t have to sell us on Marc’s value to our little community…. you’ll see copies of his projects posted all over this site.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View LeoZ's profile


28 posts in 3470 days

#2 posted 12-28-2008 05:33 AM

great idea, adding a knife block! how did you make the slots?

-- just another woodworking newb

View Karson's profile


35121 posts in 4400 days

#3 posted 12-28-2008 06:17 AM

Great looking set. A nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 12-28-2008 08:01 AM

First of all, thanks for the kind words Cole. You flatter me! We are all just doing our part in this great community. And in fact, I think you will find Lumberjocks to be the finest, as well as the most technically advanced place to hang out. Martin sure knows how to build a site!

The board looks great by the way. And when you get a chance, tell us more about that knife block. We just bought one for the kitchen, and after seeing yours I am starting to wish I made it instead.

Good luck!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View Rxmpo's profile


268 posts in 3745 days

#5 posted 12-28-2008 09:26 AM

Great work and an even better message! I’ve just come up from my basement shop where I just finished sanding three of the four “Spagnuoloboards” I made as gifts. The podcasts are awesome and done with a sense of humor. Thanks Marc.

Great job Cole, welcome to Lumberjocks!

View birraej1's profile


6 posts in 3438 days

#6 posted 12-28-2008 09:50 AM

Great job! These are just beautiful!

I also did a Spagnuolo special based on the pod cast and it was the nicest thing I’ve built to date and made great gifts. What an invigorating project. I know alot of wine enthusiasts talk about the bottle that “did it” for them—that got them into wine in a big way. I wonder how many people would say that Marc’s project was the one that “did it” for them and got them thinking more seriously about wood working. That’s certainly the case with me.

Thank you Marc for making these projects accessible and thank you ColeHarbourNS for sharing your great results.

-- Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass -- it's about learning how to dance in the rain.

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3449 days

#7 posted 12-28-2008 12:32 PM

great looking set…like the different colored wood…looks real good

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4161 days

#8 posted 12-28-2008 01:41 PM

ditto on all that has been said!!!

love that knife block. Way cool. Fantastic gift set!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3875 days

#9 posted 12-28-2008 02:01 PM

I echo the sentiments about Marc. He is a tremendous asset to this community. Your board and knife block are very nice.

View LeoZ's profile


28 posts in 3470 days

#10 posted 12-28-2008 05:08 PM

Marc I smell a (mini) video on making a knife block coming up.. :D

-- just another woodworking newb

View ColeHarbourNS's profile


6 posts in 3437 days

#11 posted 12-28-2008 07:56 PM

Well Thanks everyone for the great feedback, amazing – it’s been less than 24 hrs and already so many people have given such encouragement! What a great place – I agree Martin has created a wonderful community.

So I posted a couple of more pictures of the knife block. As you can see from the third picture, the inspiration for the block came from Marc’s magazine rack in terms of the sweeping “Asian flair” curves.

The construction was pretty straight forward – I’ll explain it in detail here:

I re-sawed a block of walnut. The walnut was not wide enough for the base so after planing the re-sawed parts, I cut and edge-glued the boards together, and then did the same with the maple.

Using the curve templates I made for the magazine rack project, I cut and flush routed only one of the walnut pieces. This is important because my flush bit is not tall enough to cut more than one of the boards at a time and I felt I needed to have a flat surface to run against the table saw fence (more on that below). I cut the maple to length, then used the two corners of the long curve of the walnut to position the pieces as I glued the maple to the first piece of walnut.

After curing, using the flat part of the maple against the table saw fence, I cut the knife slots. For each cut I also made matching cuts in the second piece of walnut. Then I used the first walnut piece as a template and flush routed the maple. Then using the same approach I glued the last piece of walnut to the rest of the block. Placing a paint-stick in the large slot helped keep things aligned (I removed the stick before any glue cured). Then it was repeat again with the flush routing of the last piece of walnut.

Note – Unfortunately I forgot to glue the walnut pieces back in the correct order, so I didn’t get the continuity of end grain on the top of the block, kind of bummed about that… I was in a bit of a hurry it seems…

Lastly – If I was to make this block again (and my wife tells me I will be…. ), I would make the front of the base extend farther forward, the block is a little more top/front heavy than I would ideally like. Also, I would consider finishing the inside of the slots, prior to the last glue up.

For the next block, it will need to hold more than 2 knives…. so I’m still trying to figure out how this will all come together…

View Hacksaw's profile


185 posts in 3376 days

#12 posted 02-27-2009 04:59 AM

I too will be starting a project like this as I recently purchased some new kitchen knives and have outgrown the old one any chance you’ll be starting soon? I sure would like more pics of the construction as it progresses.Great looking project!

-- Nothing's just gets expensive

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