the solution: remove the knife block from the counter & put them in a drawer
I took some old pieces of 2x6 lumber I had & cut knife slots in it. I set the depth of my sleek Bosch mitre saw to ensure uniform depth of every cut. I then cut a 45 degree angle on each side of the block to give a more interesting shape. Then I took a palm sander & rounded-over all the angles of it and got the whole block totally smooth. I then stained & polyurethaned it.
I made an insert to fit snugly on the bottom of the drawer out of some old paneling I had lying around. I liguid nailed & screwed the knife block to the paneling insert., making sure the screws did not come up through any slots. Then I glued cork to the rest of the paneling insert. I made the whole thing as an insert in the event I ever wanted to go back to using the drawer in its original form. I love the functionality & space-saving aspect of it. I never made anything like this before, so I was thrilled with how it turned out.
liquid nails $3
had wood, stain & poly in shop
Here's the "before" pic & bellow is the final product.