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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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AW Extra 9/13/12 - Countertop Knife Rack

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Countertop Knife Rack

Improve storage in the kitchen in an afternoon, using only a tablesaw and a plunge router.

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.


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.

Click any image to view a larger version.


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.


Fig. A: Knife Rack Layout

Fig. B: Knife Blade Shield


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