I have seen a couple guys make knife blocks using normal-ish woods (poplar, maple) to construct the body of the block.
Then use thin cut fancier woods covering the exterior.
If you search ebay for guitar top sets you can usually find thin cut book matched wood for around $100. Less for plainer, more for fancier.
I was thinking about a maple core block with koa exterior but can't afford the koa I want in the size I need. Also, I probably couldn't lift it anymore when it's full... ;) But in general, that seems like the most cost efficient way to construct a block with a nice exterior. David used to make them like that, too bad he has given up making blocks.
This is kind of what I am thinking too.
Originally Posted by Burl Source