Square slot question

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Forum topic by ndhwoodworker posted 06-22-2015 09:17 AM 780 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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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

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2587 posts in 2436 days

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

drilling & chisels? mortiser?

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Rick M.

7699 posts in 1800 days

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

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1591 posts in 844 days

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

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2 posts in 492 days

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

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

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5676 posts in 906 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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7119 posts in 1997 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 1630 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.

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497 posts in 861 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.

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76 posts in 606 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 1630 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?

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3979 posts in 2391 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.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

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Rick M.

7699 posts in 1800 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.


View oldnovice's profile


5651 posts in 2788 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!"

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3891 posts in 2663 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 651 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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