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Re: Custom knife blocks

Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:49 am


Sorry for the delay. The final template has been completed.

I will update this thread later this evening with the template, specs, additional info, and cost.


Todd in Chicago

P.S. I'm completely jazzed about this!

Re: Custom knife blocks

Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:37 pm

Definitely interested.
2 weeks ago I bought a 12' cherry board with a nice grain planning on following this with a few mods. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqKZmR3NL-E
If a pro is going to make one which would be nicer sounds worthwhile,


Re: Custom knife blocks

Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:31 pm


Per the recommendation of Mel, I’ve partnered with John Loftis of Lone Star Artisans on the creation of a custom knife block. John took on this project out of curiosity, and I’m glad he did.

John is willing to do a limited run of these blocks. What this means is once he sets up his equipment to do this run, he’ll make as many as are ordered, and that’s it. It is definitely not in his financial interest to make these one off. In the future, if there is enough demand to build up another “batch”, he may decide to do another run….or he may never do these again. I don’t know, and that is clearly up to him.

John has access to some really top grade woods and is willing to do this design in Walnut, Maple or Cherry for $300 plus shipping. IMHO, this is a crazy low price. John’s passion for quality is exceptional (he will not make something that is not meant to last, and his pieces are a work of art), and this will be a handcrafted piece, not something that was made in a factory in a foreign land. 100% handmade by a master craftsman right here in the USA. For those looking for more of an exotic wood, it is available, but those prices are expensive with some woods costing $400 just for the raw materials. If you want a block in that type of material, John will simply pass on the cost of any exotic woods to you.

Between John and I, we have put in easily over 20 hours of design work already to ensure that this block has the right balance of using the available space to create as many slots as possible without overcrowding.

I can't seem to attach a template of what the slot portion of the block will look like, so send me a pm with your email and I'll send you the Excel sheet that has dimensions of the block and slots, etc; to assist you in seeing if this will hold the knives you would expect it to.

This block is not small, yet is much smaller than the original design we started with and should be able to hold up to a maximum of 11 standard size gyutos. There are some slots that are deep enough to hold bread knives and 270mm slicers.

In all there are 17 larger sized slots, 2 medium sized slots, 14 smaller sized slots (think petty’s or steak knives), a slot for a 4 inch high cleaver, slot for a honing rod, slot for a pair of shears, and slot for a meat fork/herb scissors. For me, this will hold my current collection and allow some room for growth. For others, it may not hold all of your knives, and for others still, may hold what you have now and allow room for a huge amount of future growth.

This will be a beautiful handcrafted product by a master craftsman, not a cheap mass produced block. It was designed to hold a knife collection that most “normal” people could not even conceive (only folks on these types of forums). It will be made to last a lifetime.

Dimensions are a little hard to state as blocks are on an angle, but here are the dimension I can state.

The footprint will be approximately 15.5 inches from front to back, approximately 13.5 inches high (this is the highest point, block is on an angle), and approximately 11.25 inches wide. John indicated that all of the side margins may change by a small amount (most likely ¼ inch in all dimensions), but the slots, their spacing and their depth will remain the same. We are also planning to have the slots go all the way through the block and having ¼ inch gap before a wood “base” plate. That design would ensure air flow as well as if you should accidentally put in a longer blade in a shorter slot, your tip won’t bounce off your counter top (I’ve had that happen in my current block).

The best way to see if this is right for you, is to first see if you have the physical space for this block. Second, are you willing to spend this amount on a handmade custom block (I’ll be the first to admit, it’s not for everyone). And lastly, take out the knives you would be interested in putting in the block (or all of your knives), and measure blade height and length and see where you would put them in the block.

I have had this idea simmering for well over a year. John has offered this at a price, quite frankly, I would not have expected. Take a look around the Internet and see if you can find something comparable; I’ve found blocks that have a lot of slots….but not slots that are wide and deep enough to accommodate more than 1 or 2 gyutos. Also, my wife won’t allow me to put cr*p on our countertop. With the quality we can expect from John, this will be a quality piece.

I’m very excited about this project and it has finally come to where the rubber hits the road.

If you are *seriously* interested, please post here or send me a PM. Until we are ready to order/cut wood, I can funnel info to John. However, when it comes to actually purchasing and invoicing, you will be dealing with John directly as I’m only a passionate customer who started this madness and am not in any kind of business arrangement, and I’ll be paying the same price as everyone else.

In my research on CKtG and with my own blades, here are the common dimensions of blades:
Most 270 gyutos
2 inches high by 10.6 inches long

Most 240 gyutos
2 inches high by 9.5 inches long

Most 210 gyutos
2 inches high by 8.5 inches long

Most Nakiri’s
2.5 inches high by 7 inches long

180mm is approximately 7 inches

1.25 inches can accommodate a Konosuke HD Wa-Petty Ho 180mm

Please post here or pm me if you have any further questions.


Todd in Chicago

Re: Custom knife blocks

Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:35 am

I'm surprise the price is as low as it is. That's a fantastic deal for custom wood work.

Re: Custom knife blocks

Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:37 am

I like storing my knives in these Ekobo Mikoto Knife Holders with washable "free-form", skewer-filled bamboo from France. Imagehttp://www.ekobohome.com/mag/en/search_list.php

Knives slip in and out of them much more easily for me than with wooden blocks, and they're easier to expand and more sanitary in my mind. I have one for knives that my whole family can use and a smaller size for my own special collection. There are three size and many colors, as well as matching eco-friendly storage for utensils.

Unfortunately they're are not tall enough for the biggest Japanese knives but here's one that is:

Maybe food for thought on your custom design....

Re: Custom knife blocks

Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:57 am


Sorry about trying to upload files, it has been quite challenging.

On my lunch-break here, soI have uploaded several of my files during this project up to the "cloud".

Here is a link: http://1drv.ms/1gQ9Z4r

Here is what you will find:

Pictures of my current block, and note that the new block will have much the same design, meaning a block will be on an angle, and may have a "foot" attached at the front for stability, see my existing block for reference. It is possible that due to the size of the new block, the foot may not be needed. Also, in my current block note that the slots for the smaller knifes are actually contained in the foot. To aid in cost reduction and ease of fabrication, we have moved the small slots in the design from the "foot" to the main block.

Pictures of various measurements, drawings. Please excuse the quality of my working documents, they are not that great, but please post any questions and I will be as diligent as possible in answering them. As you can see, I even made a cardboard template to stick my knives in to make sure the measurements worked (they did).

Perhaps the most important is the Excel spreadsheet.

Here you will find the measurements that will help you to determine whether or not this block will be helpful to you.

Remember, if you are putting this underneath kitchen cabinets, to verify you have enough clearance to pull your knives out.

Also, there will be 1/2 inch added to the bottom of the design to allow for a small piece of wood so the knives do not bounce off your counter top.

Please let me know if you have any questions.


Todd in Chicago

Re: Custom knife blocks

Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:28 pm

I know that some may have a hard time visualizing what this will look like.

I am planning to make a full size prototype out of 1/4 matboard, and hopefully will have done this evening. I can then post that picture here.

That should help with understanding on how this may look.


Todd in Chicago

Re: Custom knife blocks

Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:22 am


Sorry for the delay, making a prototype took much longer than I thought.

It took a while, but I created a prototype out of ¼” matboard (used to mat photos for framing). Even though mat board is very, very light and the whole block is hollow, it is able to hold all my knives and does not seem easy to tip. Based on this prototype, I no longer believe we need the foot at all. The "foot" is what you see on the pictures of my old block; the foot in the old block held some smaller knives and also provided stability so the block would not tip.

The only thing missing from this prototype (besides a high level of craftsmanship! LOL) is ¼” spaces along the bottom and then the ¼” bottom “plate” to prevent knife tips from hitting your countertop.

The spacing is more generous than my old block and appears to work as expected. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Here is a link to all of the information on the project. In here you will find a folder called "Prototype", that is the folder that contains all of the pictures of the prototype. The prototype is not designed to look "good", but rather a sanity check for all measurements and final fit.

******** L I N K Here is a link: http://1drv.ms/1gQ9Z4r ************** L I N K **********

Please let me know if you are interested, as I am thinking that the orders will be closed by the end of this week with construction starting next week (pending John's schedule).


Todd in Chicago

Re: Custom knife blocks

Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:47 am

Todd - very nice work on the foam core prototype. This made all the difference in visualizing the end product. Will the Gyuto slots be wide enough at the spine end to accommodate hand forged Gyutos with thicker spines at the heel/handle? Some are 4+mm in this area.

Re: Custom knife blocks

Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:27 am

SteveG wrote:Todd - very nice work on the foam core prototype. This made all the difference in visualizing the end product. Will the Gyuto slots be wide enough at the spine end to accommodate hand forged Gyutos with thicker spines at the heel/handle? Some are 4+mm in this area.

Hi Steve....

In terms of the "thickness" of the slots, there are only two sizes; all of the larger slots have 1/4" width. This should accommodate up to a 6.35 mm thickness blade (a very thick blade, my Dexter cleaver will fit in a 1/4 slot, and that is a monster. Look at some of the other photos (not in the prototype folder) and you will see blade measurements against the spines of 4 of my blades.

The smaller slots at the bottom of the block are designed to hold petty's, steak knives, maybe some utility slicers and possibly fillet knives. Those slots are will have a 2/16ths' thickness. You can also see these measurements in the Excel file that's posted.

Hopefully this helps.


Todd in Chicago
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