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Weekend Kitchen Projects


Weekend Kitchen Projects

Here are three ways to improve storage space in any kitchen. You can whip through each project in an afternoon, using only a tablesaw and a plunge router.

Countertop Knife Rack

Store up to nine knives in a handy rack that puts sharp edges out of the reach of children.We’ve arranged the slots to fit a particular set of knives (Fig.A), but you can alter the pattern to suit your set. Experiment by cutting slots in a piece of cardboard. Then make the rack from any hardwood you like. After cutting, sand the rack smooth and finish it with three coats of spray polyurethane.A spray finish is easy to get into the knife slots.

Install a knife-blade shield under the counter (Fig. B and Photo 4). You may need to slightly shorten a drawer to make room for the shield. Also,make sure the shield doesn’t interfere with the drawer slides.

Fig. A: Knife Rack Layout

Fig. B: Knife Blade Shield

Click on any image to view a larger version.

Store knives within easy reach!
This countertop knife rack stores a complete set of knives right where you need them. The lipped edges conceal a hole you cut in the countertop. You can easily remove the rack for cleaning.

1. Mark the rack’s outline and the knife slot locations on an oversized piece of hardwood. An oversized board provides support for your router and room to clamp a guide board.

2. Cut the knife slots with a plunge router. Cut out the rack, round over the top edges with a router and cut rabbets around the bottom edges to form lips.

3. Cut an opening in your countertop with a keyhole saw. Lay out the opening far enough from the backsplash so the lips of the knife rack sit flat on the countertop.Then drill holes in the corners and saw away. (You may have enough room to use a jigsaw to make the long cut farthest from the backsplash.) Add a couple dabs of silicone caulk to the sides of the rack so it fits tight in the slightly oversized opening.

4. Fasten a blade shield to the back of the cabinet, underneath the knife rack. Build the shield from 1/4-in. plywood and 3/4-in. solid wood.

Sink Cabinet Shelf

It’s easy to customize this catchall shelf to fit your cabinet doors.Measure the opening of your cabinet (not the door!) and plug your numbers into the Cutting List below. The shelf unit clears the opening by 1/4-in. on all sides.

You can mount this shelf on a cabinet door made of plywood or a door with a raised panel. Solid mounting strips get screwed into the stiles of the door, not the thinner panel.

Note: If you have small children, be sure that cabinets containing cleaning products and other toxic substances have child-proof latches attached.

Cutting List


Keep cleaning supplies at your fingertips!
Want a sink cabinet shelf that’s better than store-bought plastic or wire racks? Make one that mounts securely to the frame of your paneled door, has the same look as your cabinet and maximizes space because it’s custom fit.

1. Cut two pairs of 3/4-in.-wide, 1/4-in.-deep dadoes in the sides; a pair for the two shelves and a pair for the mounting strips. Line up the mounting-strip dado with the shelf dado. Note: The guard must be removed for this step. Be careful!

2. Slip the shelves into their dadoes. First drill holes for the mounting screws 3/8-in. from the end of the mounting strips. Glue the mounting strips to the shelves. Drill pilot holes in the sides and fasten the shelves with long screws.

3. Fasten the rails to the front of the shelves with short screws. Finish washers save you the trouble of perfectly countersinking each hole!

4. Clamp and screw the shelves to your door, using 3/4-in. screws and finish washers.You may need to add a third hinge and a magnetic catch if the weight of the loaded shelves prevents the door from closing easily.

Roll-Out Kitchen Trays

Trays on wheels put all the pots and pans in a deep cabinet within easy reach. If your doors can’t open more than 90-degrees, plan on making the horizontal supports wider than shown here.There must be 1/4-in. clearance between the slides and the inside faces of your doors.

Cutting List



(Note: Source information may have changed since the original publication date.)

Woodcraft,, 800-225-1153, Blum 230 Series 22" Drawer Slides, #01V10 $17.49 per pair.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker February 2001, Issue #85.

Reach that stuff in the back!
Roll-out kitchen trays replace awkward, deep shelves. They’ll fit in any cabinet, are adjustable in height and are especially handy for older or disabled people. Budget about $45 per cabinet for the hardware and wood.

1. Mark the dadoes on one wide hardwood board. The four upper dadoes make the top shelf adjustable.

2. Cut dadoes 1/4-in. deep, then rip the wide board into four vertical supports. Cut horizontal supports to hold the slides.

3. Glue the vertical supports in place with a couple dabs of construction adhesive.Then fit the horizontal supports tightly in the dadoes, without glue.The horizontal supports must stick out at least 1/4 in. beyond the face frame of your cabinet door.You’ll need this clearance for the drawer side to travel freely.

4. Build the plywood trays with plywood or hardwood sides.The corners may be simply butted together.Align the slide’s drawer members flush with the front of the tray. Fasten the slides to the trays and the horizontal supports. Place the rear end of the cabinet member at least 1/4 in. away from the end of the horizontal support.