DIY Knife and Cutting Board Drawer

Well, I promised to show my knife drawer, and I have finally gotten around to finishing it up. I decided to make the drawer a combo knife, cutting board drawer. So, I hope that everyone enjoys this easy how to.

Knife Cutting Board Drawer

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Knife Cutting Board Drawer

So as you can see, I have converted this spice drawer into the perfect place to store my knives and cutting boards. Since, I have two of these spice drawers (one on each side of the cooktop), I was really only using one for my spices. This one was really only holding a few extras. So, I decided to put it to better use.


Just as a reminder, these are the drawers that I have been working on in my kitchen. If you have been following my blog, then you know that I converted the top drawer (closest to the oven) into a utensil storage drawer, and the top drawer (beneath the cooktop) now has a dish drawer organizer. I am gradually customizing the interior for all of my drawers and cabinets, and the results are being shared here with you.

Knife Cutting Board Drawer Details



  • 1/4″ planks cut to 12″ in length x width of drawer opening. (amount will vary)
  • 1/4″ square dowel rods cut to 12″ lengths.
  • 5/8″ square dowel cut at 12″ lengths.
  • Food grade wood glue (I use Titebond)
  • Finish appropriate for cutting boards, such as mineral oil, etc.
  • Nail Gun (hammer can be used if you don’t have a nail gun)
  • 1/2″ Brad nails (or finishing nails if using a hammer)
  • clamp
  • Sander or sand paper at 120 grit.

51YK1UBIEIL._SL1000_I used Stanley Brad nails (18 gauge, 1/2″) for this project. A 1/2″ pneumatic nail is not very easy to find in the big box stores. The smallest size that they tend to carry is 5/8″. However, anything longer than 1/2″ will be too long. As a result, I ended up ordering my nails through Amazon. If you prefer to use the 5/8″ nails, you will need to adjust the thickness of the wood planks or the dowels. If you would like to order the nails that I used, you can order them here. 

Instructions for the Knife Block
  • Cut all planks and dowels to precisely 12″ in length. The more precise you are with this, the less amount of sanding that will need to be done later.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerMeasure the width of the drawer opening or, (if your drawer has the top wooden braces) measure the space between the top braces.
  • Cut planks to width. (For example: my planks were 4″ x 12″).
  • Determine which end of each plank/dowel will be the top. (Try to get the roughest side all on the same end)
  • Beginning with the knife block,  we will make the opening for the scissors. I have 2 sets of knives, so I have made 2 openings. If you do not want two openings, you will need to double the dowels on the outer edges in this step.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerApply the glue to one side of a 5/8″ dowel section. I like to use a craft brush to evenly distribute the glue. A thin amount is all that is needed. Too much glue will result in a lot of overflow when the dowel is attached to the plank.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerLine the glue side of the dowel up with the edge of the plank, and clamp it in place.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerUsing the nail gun, place approximately 4 nails along the length of the dowel from the plank side. (Tip: do not place any nails closer than 1″ to the top or bottom edge. This will keep the dowels from splitting).
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerClean away any glue that is squeezed out the side. Judge by this amount how much you need to increase or decrease the glue for the next steps.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerRepeat the above steps for the other edge of the plank and the center to create spaces for two sets of scissors. When you have finished, it should look like the image.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerNext, apply glue to the exposed side of the 3 dowels. Again, make sure that you do not apply too much glue. A very thin, even amount is best.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerAttach a plank on top of the dowels, so that the dowels are sandwiched between the two planks. Tack in place with the nail gun. Remember to use at least 4 evenly spaced nails, no closer than 1″ to the top or bottom edge.

Knife Cutting Board DrawerYou should now have something that looks like this image. Notice that I am keeping all of the rough ends together. This will make it easier to sand smooth later.

At this point, we will switch to using the 1/4″ dowels. They will be used for the remainder of the project to create the knife openings.

  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerContinue by attaching a 1/4″ dowel section to each edge of the knife block.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerAt this point, begin creating the openings for your knives. If your not sure how far apart to place the  dowels, it is best to use your knives to determine the layout.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerHowever, for most large knives, one dowel placed in the center will most likely work. For steak knives, you should be able to fit at least 3 in each section. Try to leave plenty of wiggle room for each knife. This way, the block will work if you ever decide to use a different set. (Tips: for the cleaver, just use the outer dowels and leave the entire section open). Continue sandwiching the dowels in between the planks in this fashion until you have space for all of your knives.
  • Once the knife block is complete to your satisfaction, sand all sides smooth. Remove all dust from the inside of the knife block by using canned air. (like what is used to clean electronics)
  • knifeblockfinishApply the finish to the block. (Tip: to get the finish down into the inside of the knife block, I used pipe cleaners.)
Instructions for the Cutting Board Organizer
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerUsing two of the planks, attach them at a right angle (one plank is the bottom of the organizer, one plank is the front). Repeat to attach the back plank to the organizer.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerUsing a square, test for square and mark 3″ from the bottom. Repeat for the other side. (This mark will be where the sides will line up).
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerAttach another plank to the side of the organizer, lining the bottom edge up with the mark made in the previous step. Repeat for the center divider and the other side of the organizer. When finished , the cutting board organizer will look like this image. (Tip: click any image to expand it). You can choose to omit the center divider if you like. I added it because I like to keep my plastic boards separate from my wooden boards.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerFor the top, I cut one of the 4″ planks in half. So, that I had two planks that measured 2″ x 12″. I used just one of these pieces to provide support at the top of the cutting board organizer. (as seen in the image). I left the other side open for easier access.
  • Sand smooth, and apply finish.
  • At  this point, you can nail the knife block and the cutting board organizer together if you like, or you may keep them separate. I chose to attach them.
  • Knife Cutting Board DrawerOne thing that I added, after placing my knife block/cutting board organizer on the shelf in the drawer, is two corner brackets. This keeps the organizer in place. (Tip: make sure that your knife block and organizer can both fit and still allow for easy removal of the cutting boards . In my drawer, I could not go much farther back on the drawer shelf, because the granite protrudes out right above these spice drawers. To have built all the way to the back of the drawer would have made it difficult to get the larger cutting boards out of the organizer. This is why I chose to leave the space at the rear of the drawer, and use the corner brackets as a stop).

41RT904DKMLThese are the brackets that I used. They are available at most big box stores, or you can get them through Amazon.

Finished Product

Knife Cutting Board Drawer

I was able to still keep one extra shelf at the bottom. So, I can keep my extra spices here as well as the knives and cutting boards.
Knife Cutting Board Drawer
A closer view
kitchen drawers And a view of all three drawers that I have completed so far. You can see the dish drawer and the utensil drawer that I did in this image.

Final Thoughts

I hope that you like this latest DIY. If you do, please share it with others through one of the many social media outlets available. 🙂

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This project was also linked up with Remodelaholic.

6 thoughts on “DIY Knife and Cutting Board Drawer

  1. Carrie says:

    Great idea. Making it taller you could do cookie sheets. Now I’m getting some ideas too!

  2. Crystal Mack says:

    You are so creative! I will be starting a kitchen reno in Feb and I am loving the practical money saving storage ideas.

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks Crystal. Congratulations on getting the new kitchen! It’s very exciting to see your ideas realized. 🙂

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