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Thread: Alder and Purpleheart Knife Block WIP

  1. #1

    Alder and Purpleheart Knife Block WIP

    Hey folks. I finally got a chance to get started on some of the small projects on my list. I bought my GF a cheap knife block set a few years ago and she hates it. It stays in a kitcheb cabinet at all times. So i recently bought her a new set of kitchen knives, and now we need something to put em in.

    I havent broken down and bought her a really great set yet so i thought a box-style universal block would be appropriate for when she adds or replaces knives in the future.

    This is my first WIP here so a quick disclaimer. Im not a proffesional or master woodworker like many of you. Im a carpenter/multi-tradesman on custom homes and have taken up woodworking as a hobby in my garage. I use mainly portable carpenters tools and lefover mateials from work. But ive seen people do amazing work with alot less so thats no excuse!

    The lumber is Knotty Alder leftovers from a rustic guest house job, highlighted by some not-so-purpleheart. The slab of PH was given to me cheap by a friend and has aged well beyond being purple. Ive tried a few tricks to bring back the color to no avail so its brick red heart now :-).

    I decided to try out jointing on my router table. The Alder Im using is pretty crooked and wild because we used all the good stuff on the job. The fence on this Ryobi table is a joke so i made my own and shimmed the outfeed with a thin strip of plastic.

    After some tuning it works really well as long as im doing short stock.

    Glued up a panel 3 boards wide with #0 biscuits and tried to get a decent grain match on the joints.

    Then i mitered up the panel into four 7" box sides and glued that up. Lesson learned there, glue-only miters need good clamping in all directions during glue-up. They looked perfect when i walked away but a few of them moved. As u can see below i need more long clamps! I just threw 2 on there to oppose the main clamping direction but it didnt work so well.

    While waiting for the box to dry i ripped and rabbeted some PH for the base and cornice, to be added later.

    Next it was time for a new jig. Seems like every project requires atleast 1 new jig :-). This one worked but after using it i thought of a much better design so it will be replaced if i do miter keys again.

    Lesson: A table saw with a ripping blade isnt great for miter keys. It left the little v-groove in the kerf. Fortunately the Leatherman Wave came to the rescue with the exact right size file to clean them up, but i think a router will do a better job of this.

    Got the PH keys fitted and trimmed and had some little gaps due to the hand filing. After some repair work i think theyll be acceptable. I also feel that the keys a disproportionate to the box. 1/4" may have been better.

    Next was a weird idea i had to add some character. I ran 3/16x3/16" rabbets on each corner to give the keys a M or W shape. It looks OK but apparently my bit was dull so i have some burn and tear-out to deal with. It also gives the box a Native American or Tribal look which i dont care for. I think i can down play that with the rest of the design.

    More to come when i get the time, thanks for looking. :-)
    Last edited by Ryan Smith; 01-27-2014 at 03:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Looks like you are off to a great start Ryan

    I find that band clamps work very well when gluing up a mitered box. Getting all the parts to stay in place with clamps has proven difficult for me as well.

    I wonder how a 3/16" square strip of purpleheart would look in the corners ???

    Nice job. I'm looking forward to seeing the next set of photos
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Delton, Michigan
    i think that the corners would look nicer filled as well.. but your off to a great start.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    I will be following this thread as well. Thanks for all the pics.
    Chinese Proverb: Man who eats many prunes gets good run for the money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Bedford, NH
    Coming along nicely.
    I just experienced the problem clamping miter joints that you referred to. Miters are slippery when glued. Looks like band clamps are in order; perhaps I can make my own from extra ratchet straps.
    I had the same thought as Bob & Larry where corner strips would dress the block up very nicely.
    Thoughts entering one's mind need not exit one's mouth!
    As I age my memory fades .... and that's a load off my mind!

    "We Live In The Land Of The Free, Only Because Of The Brave"
    “The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living."
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Great job Ryan! And welcome to the family!

    So will this be one of the blocks filled with bamboo skewers? I like the corner details, very nice job on those.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  8. #8
    Thanks everybody. I like the idea of corner strips. When i rabbeted the PH base i did it on the table saw so i have some strips that could be fitted and planed flush.

    Do you think i would have problems from the opposing grain direction though? The strips would be vertical.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

  9. #9

    Re: Alder and Purpleheart Knife Block WIP

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    Great job Ryan! And welcome to the family!

    So will this be one of the blocks filled with bamboo skewers? I like the corner details, very nice job on those.
    Yes it will get filled with bamboo skewers amd made with easy to remove base so that if the skewers take a beating over time its easy to cut them off and replace.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

  10. #10

    Re: Alder and Purpleheart Knife Block WIP

    Added the corner strips and it looks much better. Hopefully i can do the top and base tomorrow and then prefin before adding the bamboo.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk

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