Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Magnetic Knife Strips

What you are looking at is a strip of spalted maple, 18 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 7/8 inches thick. Embedded in the back of the wood are 17 rare earth magnets, each of which is rated with 50 lb pull strength. All I did to finish it is wipe it down with mineral oil, the same way one would wipe down a butcher's or chopping block. Routed into the back of the strip are two keyhole-mounting slots. Put a couple screws into the wall; it will hang securely.


I'm selling them on the etsy now.

Spalting is the black coloration that you see along the grain pattern. Effectively, spalting is the name given to the effect of a kind of fungal rotting process that is stopped at just the right time so there is a gorgeous visual effect, but not a weakening of the structural integrity of the wood. Spalted maple creates a vivid color contrast between the light colors of the original maple and the crisp black lines caused by the spalting. Because the spalting process is unpredictable, lumber yards charge a premium for spalted materials.

I chose spalted maple for a couple reasons. First and foremost: I love color contrast. I think that designing pieces with color contrasts, especially naturally-occurring color contrasts, is strikingly beautiful. Secondly, my knives have black handles, so I thought the black coloration in the spalted maple would go well with my knives.

I made another knife strip out of a different material, afromosia:

The construction is the same as with the spalted maple strip, the only thing that is different is the material. Instead of spalted maple (and its black-contrasting-white color), I built this using an exotic hardwood called afromosia, which comes from West Africa's Congo rainforest. Afromosia is beautiful, dense, heavy, expensive, and "endangered." Afromosia production is regular, but is regulated. (No I'm not burning down the rainforest but I do make things out of wood so tree huggers may be offended by the contents of my life).

Afromosia, as you can see, is a rich, tight-grained, dark brown. I like the way it turned out. My brother made two large pieces of furniture out of it and this was a scrap left over.

Feel free to email me if you want any more information about these knife strips, if you are interested in buying one, or if you have any questions about them at all.


  1. 17 magnets with 50 LBS of pull strength EACH? Seems like this would get really expensive. Can I ask where you purchased the magnets and what size you decided on?

  2. You can buy rare earth magnets at your nearest home depot.

  3. Or you can buy neodymium magnets from

  4. No way it's 50lbs. I'm sure they're N50 which is rated at 14lbs. Otherwise you prob slice your face off when the knife finally pulls free.

  5. I think you might be underestimating the rate at which a magnetic field's pull strength deteriorates when it goes through a dense material like hardwood. You also might be neglecting to acknowledge that various magnet ratings, like N48 or N50, come in more than just one pull strength.

    You might also feel free to continue anonymously snarking though. Thanks for the feedback, Anonymous.