Square slot question

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Forum topic by ndhwoodworker posted 06-22-2015 09:17 AM 1124 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1246 days

06-22-2015 09:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: slots log knife block problem elm stuck

ok so I’m making a knife block out of a solid log. i don’t want to cut the log and use a router to make the knife slots like a normal knife block, so i was wondering if there was a way to make the slots for the knives without cutting the log into pieces and gluing it back together. i want to keep the log one solid piece so that it adds character and also I’m afraid that the bark or outer part might be messed up if i cut it all up…? any tips??

16 replies so far

View michelletwo's profile


2761 posts in 3190 days

#1 posted 06-22-2015 11:34 AM

drilling & chisels? mortiser?

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12399 posts in 2554 days

#2 posted 06-22-2015 11:17 PM

chain mortiser

-- Rick M,

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1594 posts in 1598 days

#3 posted 06-22-2015 11:26 PM

View ndhwoodworker's profile


2 posts in 1246 days

#4 posted 06-22-2015 11:31 PM

@michelletwo and @rickm a Mortiser is too expensive for just this project

View TheFridge's profile


10500 posts in 1660 days

#5 posted 06-22-2015 11:34 PM

1/8” mortising chisel?

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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8481 posts in 2751 days

#6 posted 06-23-2015 12:21 AM

Mortise chisel

Plunge router

& every ones’ favorite The Domino XL

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2384 days

#7 posted 06-23-2015 12:50 AM

Are any of these suggestions good for anywhere near an 1/8” x 2” slot that is 12” deep? Maybe, I’m not the experienced one here, but it doesn’t sound like it.

View jerryminer's profile


944 posts in 1615 days

#8 posted 06-23-2015 01:01 AM

I don’t think there is a real practical way. Would even be tough with a 1/8” mortising chisel—-all endgrain cuts.

You COULD get set up for welding bandsaw blades, then drill a 1/8” hole, cut a 1/8” bandsaw blade, thread it through the hole, weld it, install on the saw, then cut your slot. Repeat for every slot. Not very practical, but possible.

The only really practical approach I see is cutting the log apart, cutting the slots, then re-gluing. Pracice on a scrap and see if you can make an invisible glue joint.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View barada83's profile


88 posts in 1360 days

#9 posted 06-23-2015 01:12 AM

Like Jerryminer said. Cut it apart and reglue. There is really no way I can think of that will make a decent result for your goal of a knife block besides magic, or perhaps lasers.

-- Mike

View altendky's profile


169 posts in 2384 days

#10 posted 06-23-2015 01:25 AM

Depending on the bark perhaps you could avoid the kerf by splitting rather than cutting? It would almost certainly be more work to route a straight slot but with care and some cheating on the back/in side where it won’t be seen you might be able to pull something off. Also, depending on how well adhered the bark is you may be able to remove it, slice away, then replace the bark?

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3145 days

#11 posted 06-23-2015 02:53 AM

Just slice into the log only from the back side, to the depth of the slots; say 3”.
Then glue in some 1/8×1” strips to close the kerfs back up and leave 1/8×2” slots.
May have to remove the bark carefully as a sheet before cutting the kerfs, then glue it back.

View Woodknack's profile


12399 posts in 2554 days

#12 posted 06-23-2015 05:40 AM

Practically the best way is cut it apart. A chain mortiser would work if one existed that was sized for a kitchen knife but they are used on timber framing. The only other option I can think of is burning the slot by heating a piece of steel to red hot and pushing it into the wood—keep a bucket of water handy, you’ll need it.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


7272 posts in 3542 days

#13 posted 06-23-2015 05:51 AM

Thereally are two way I can imagine doing this:
  1. use some long drill bit and drill a sequence of holes, then file, file, and file
  2. hollow out the back/bottom side (using Forstner bits) to a depth so you can cut slots with a router bit. then refill tell area you removed!

Caveat This was only a suggestion as I have never done/used either of the methods for making a knife block!

I have to go with cut it, slot it, glue it back together. To hide the slices used to make the slots, celebrate them by cutting a V groove or similar along the slice over the top and down the other side?

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View MrRon's profile


5137 posts in 3417 days

#14 posted 06-23-2015 06:24 PM

Since the problem is making a thin mortise, make the mortise bigger and make an insert of contrasting wood; mortise the log for the insert; drill and clean out waste Total depth to suit length of knife blades. This is just a general idea.

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1405 days

#15 posted 06-23-2015 07:07 PM


I dont see a way to achieve this. The depth here will kill you. Im thinking on it but I am not feeling this one.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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