Securing a gun-safe to a wall...


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FTF
October 8, 2006, 09:07 PM
I saw a good post to a safe thread a while back, but I can't find it. Basically, it recommended some kind of screw that sank itself into the stud behind the wall, or expanded or something... basically, it was a lot better than just screwing it into the stud.

I have a decent safe, not expensive, but good enough for me. My insurance automatically covers up to 3k, and what I have in there is under that. I'm going to move it into another location and try to make it more difficult by a minute or so to steal. Sinking bolts into the floor is NOT an option. It's a more enclosed area, so it shouldn't be as easy to rock out, but could still be pried out.... the basic idea is just to use the screw holes in it in the best way possible.... if nothing else just to frustrate any would-be thieves as well as cause them to make more noise.

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shermacman
October 8, 2006, 09:27 PM
I don't know of any expanding wood screws. Lead anchors for concrete, yes; but regular lag bolts into wood studs is pretty good medicine. The back of my gun safe is plain old sheet metal. So I cut a sheet of 3/4" ply that covers the inside and bolted through it, into the studs. Theory being that the point of stress is spread out across the entire back instead of pinpointed on sheet metal.

Aguila Blanca
October 8, 2006, 11:51 PM
Lag screws (often, incorrectly, called "lag bolts"). And be sure to pre-drill the holes in the studs or they'll split. A split stud is structurally dangerous, and won't hold the lag screw very securely.

Remember that wall studs are typically spaced either 16" or 24" on center, so if the holes in your safe aren't at the same spacing as the studs, you can only hit one stud. If you're near a door or a window, stud spacing might get a little unpredictable.

FTF
October 8, 2006, 11:58 PM
Most likely they are 16 or 24" apart, and the bolt holes on the backside of my safe are probably about 6" apart... I figured that, and I'm happy with just one 'lag' screw.

By predrilling.. you mean I should just work a small bit through the hole in the safe and through the stud... then run through the lag bolt? I like the idea of a reinforcing wood plank from the inside.... I think a 'lag bolt' is what I heard.. I guess I need to look at one.. I'm just not too smart about home improvement... but thanks for the info!!!!!

evan price
October 9, 2006, 12:18 AM
If you can only line up on one stud I advise drilling a new anchor hole in your safe, up towards the top, that way you have two lag bolts, and it's not so easy to rip it down towards the door and out of the wall, a gun safe is tall enough that it makes a nice lever if you only use one bolt towards the bottom, you can rip it right out of a 2x4. Personal experience talking here.

tegemu
October 9, 2006, 08:17 AM
In pre-drilling, the object is to not stress/strain the stud, so what I do is select a drill bit the same or slightly smaller diameter as the shank ( solid portion less the threads ) of the screw/bolt so the screw/bolt is retained primarily by the threads. Be sure to drill as close to the center of the stud as possible. To help secure the safe you could also use expanding anchors in addition to the bolt/screw.

ilbob
October 9, 2006, 08:47 AM
Remember that wall studs are typically spaced either 16" or 24" on center, so if the holes in your safe aren't at the same spacing as the studs, you can only hit one stud. If you're near a door or a window, stud spacing might get a little unpredictable.

If you are going to screw anything like a sheetmetal gun safe to a wall, use lag bolts and use a 1X4 across the back of the safe and screw through that into the studs. That way you get more bearing area in case someone trys to pry the safe away from the wall.

Aguila Blanca
October 9, 2006, 12:26 PM
In pre-drilling, the object is to not stress/strain the stud, so what I do is select a drill bit the same or slightly smaller diameter as the shank ( solid portion less the threads ) of the screw/bolt so the screw/bolt is retained primarily by the threads. Be sure to drill as close to the center of the stud as possible. To help secure the safe you could also use expanding anchors in addition to the bolt/screw.
No, no, no!

Do not try to put any kind of expanding anchor into the narrow face of a stud. The outward pressure will split the stud and then you're worse off than if you had just used a lag screw and predrilled the hole.

The above comment on pre-drilling is correct. You want to create a hole that's about the size of the solid shank of the lag screw, so the threads bite into the surrounding wood but the shank portion is NOT pushing outward on the stud, trying to split it. For inside the safe, don't use wood. Use over-sized washers (typically referred to as "fender" washers. If you can't find "heavy pattern" (double thickness) fender washers, use two on each bolt.

mete
October 9, 2006, 03:26 PM
"expanding anchors" ? are you thinking of 'molly bolts' ? They are put into the wall between the studs but they are not as secure as lag screws into the studs.

tegemu
October 10, 2006, 09:52 AM
Yes I meant Moly-bolts when I described them as expanding anchors. I never intended to imply that the Moly-bolts were the primary method of securing the safe. I distinctly described how to use a lag bolt for securing the safe. The suggestion for the expanding anchor/moly-bolts was offered as an additional anchoring factor. They would help secure the safe from any twisting force which might be able to break out a lag bolt. my impression is that the poster can only use a lag bolt in one stud 'cuz of the hole/stud spacing. Two or more lag bolts would be best, if he can do so. I guess he could also drill an extra hole in the safe.

real_name
October 10, 2006, 11:10 AM
Also consider the following.
Check above and below the point in the wall you are drilling/screwing for outlets or light switches. If there is a a switch above where you want your safe there is a good chance there is power cable where you want to drill. Check the back side of the wall (if internal) for this too.
Also check the back side of the wall if that room is a bathroom. Or if there is a bathroom in the room above the wall you are drilling/screwing. Pipes tend to hide themselves pretty well from most things but not drills.

If in doubt get a second opinion.

shermacman
October 10, 2006, 11:42 AM
real_name:
Thousands of years ago when I was in construction, a drywall hanger fired a screw through the sheetrock, into a stud. At that exact location, the plumber had drilled a hole for a heat pipe. The electrician, being lazy, used the same hole for a wire.

Screw + wire + water = lots of sparks, spraying water, screaming, yelling!

:D Good entertainment!

real_name
October 10, 2006, 11:54 AM
Shermac,
It happens every day somewhere, entertaining for sure but not when it's on your dime.
You know what makes me cringe every time I see it? Hardwood floors in bathrooms or kitchens. Call me ol' fashioned but if a room has water supplied the floor better be tile.
I've personally witnessed a $4000 floor replacement after a punctured pipe. I felt real sorrry for the guy.
I dread to think what electricity would've added to that party.

Anyway, know where you're drilling before you drill.

DogBonz
October 10, 2006, 11:59 AM
Lag screws (often, incorrectly, called "lag bolts"). Just dont forget to use some washers between the head of the bolt and the safe.

gwine
October 10, 2006, 04:27 PM
Also consider the following.
Check above and below the point in the wall you are drilling/screwing for outlets or light switches. If there is a a switch above where you want your safe there is a good chance there is power cable where you want to drill.

Yep. You don't want to drill into a wire like the carpenter did when installing our above-the-oven microwave oven.

Good thing there was no power on the circuit at the time.

Another idea, but not quite as pretty. Run two parallel 2x4s horizontally and even with the safe holes but long enough to fasten them securely into the 16 (or 24) inch stud walls. Then fasten the safe to the 2x4s. You might want to frame it so someone couldn't put a pry bar to it, though. Or you could do something similar with 1 inch plywood on the outside cut the same size as the safe, reinforcing on the inside too as shermacman suggested.

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