Anyone build their own gun safe/security cabinet?


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Harvster
October 5, 2007, 04:25 PM
Though my welding skills are not up to the task yet, I was thinking of building a gun safe. With some iron plate and some concrete I would think one could build a functional (but in my case probably not too attractive) safe for a lot less than purchasing new. Anyone have any experiences?

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SSN Vet
October 5, 2007, 04:34 PM
Unless you have an account with a steel distributor (and maybe if you do) and qualify for volume pricing, I think you will be shocked to see what the price of even 1/8" cold rolled steel runs.

You'll need a plasma cutter to get clean and straight cuts, though I guess a few dozen hours with a grinding wheel and you could clean up torch cut edges.

ilbob
October 5, 2007, 04:46 PM
I would bet that you cannot buy the stuff to build it cheaper than you can buy a finished safe.

.cheese.
October 5, 2007, 04:50 PM
I kind of built my own.

I basically took a stack-on rifle cabinet and a bunch of walmart pistol cabinets and built a big wood housing for it all so that it can't be walked off with.

it's not true DIY, but it was cheap.

Ala Dan
October 5, 2007, 04:51 PM
But once I relocate, I might give that idea some consideration~? :scrutiny:

ilbob
October 5, 2007, 05:00 PM
A more practical, and somewhat easier idea is to build a concrete vault of some sort. Requires a lot less skill, and concrete is fairly cheap. You can't remove it of course.

Could serve as a tornado shelter as well.

GILROY
October 5, 2007, 05:03 PM
Remember a good fire rating is just as important as theft security. That means double walls doors and sides and good insulation in the spaces key places. If you want to save a few bucks watch the local classifieds. Sometimes you can catch commercial grades on the cheap when businesses go south. Of course if you are just in the mood for a big, heavy project, go for it, but me thinks about 1/3 way through, you will see the wisdom of the previous posts.

Bazooka Joe71
October 5, 2007, 05:04 PM
A more practical, and somewhat easier idea is to build a concrete vault of some sort. Requires a lot less skill, and concrete is fairly cheap. You can't remove it of course.

Could serve as a tornado shelter as well.


HAHA,

I can see it now...<looking around the house>"Hmmm, hey honey, you know what this place needs?" "Whats that?" "A good tornado shelter...You never can be too safe....HEY, while I'm at it, I can store my GUNS in there!! Brilliant idea huh?

Gord
October 5, 2007, 05:04 PM
As with flatbed trailers, it's hard to "roll your own" for less than you can buy one premade. For both, the price of steel is what will stymie you. You'll probably already be saving a few bucks buying premade just based on material costs - much less your time and the equipment needed to put it all together.

I suppose if you can find some beefy steel plate somewhere as cheap surplus it might be cost-effective to do an ugly-but-functional DIY safe - otherwise, just look around for something used.

pinstripe
October 5, 2007, 05:05 PM
I haven't built any gun safes, but I have built wooden gun cabinets. I would like to build a metal safe, but the price would probably be more than one already made.
Good luck if this is the path you take.

bsf
October 5, 2007, 05:33 PM
I too agree that the best method would be a permanent, built-in-place, concrete vault. Reinforce the walls and maybe install additional thermal barrier. Use a vault-type door. Still could be defeated, but it would deter most. Would probably have to do some demolition to pour proper footings, though.

Horsesense
October 5, 2007, 06:19 PM
You could find some heavy scrap iron for cheep. I thinking "I" beams welded together and concrete pored in the voids, or the top and bottom of an old oil tank. My brother-in-law made a storm shelter out of a 15X24 oil tank, the thing is about one inch thick and he got it for free.

ilbob
October 5, 2007, 06:26 PM
You could find some heavy scrap iron for cheep. I thinking "I" beams welded together and concrete pored in the voids, or the top and bottom of an old oil tank. My brother-in-law made a storm shelter out of a 15X24 oil tank, the thing is about one inch thick and he got it for free.
have you looked at the price of scrap lately?

Lets call it 15x24x8.

At 1" thick it would weigh about 43,000 pounds. Not exactly a DIY project.

BigBlock
October 5, 2007, 06:26 PM
How about a 30 gallon steel drum, inside a 55 gallon drum, with concrete in between? You don't have to build a "vault" to make a concrete safe. You could make something small and safe shaped out of concrete, maybe easier to use cinder blocks and fill the voids with concrete. Maybe just go down to a scrapyard and see what they have laying around for cheap?

Personally, I'm just gonna build a 3/4" plywood box with a couple locks on it. Will it stop a determined criminal? No, but it will give me enough time to shoot him. ;)

shouldifail
October 5, 2007, 07:38 PM
What about perhaps using an old locker, like the ones you might find in a school or gym?? I would assume if you looked around at some scrapyards, or estate sales, you could find one for even a fraction of what a metal gun cabinet would cost. My mother is a teacher and they are auctioning off TONS of old school fixtures from a school that they just closed. I'm looking into getting a couple lockers for myself.
Depending on price, you may be able to pick up 2 or 3...use one for pistols, one for long guns, and one for ammo....add some reinforcements, or a long bar that would padlock over all the doors and you'd be set.
Just a thought.
chris

230RN
October 5, 2007, 08:47 PM
That's funny, Chris. Just a couple weeks ago I was thinking of getting a locker for my guns. Not much of a fire deterrent, nor of a burglary deterrent, but maybe just enough to save some guns.

I figured I could lag screw it to a couple of studs from the inside back wall, but I kind of gave the idea up because I couldn't figure out how to enhance the fire-retardant qualities...

Any practical ideas for how to fire-"resistify" a school locker? Or the guns within it?

I've got some ideas on this toodling around my noodle, but I don't want to salt the idea mine.

KC&97TA
October 5, 2007, 08:52 PM
There was a guy who used an old soda machine and converted it to a gun safe. It was posted on THR not that long ago, here's the link

http://www.gunsnet.net/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=174612

sm
October 5, 2007, 08:56 PM
:)

Under a floor, "somewhere" is a Steel Truck Toolbox. First you have to know where this place is, and then where in the structure to look. Oh, the folks act like they have no idea what a gun is.

Under the *something* covering the hardwood floor is a...it looks exactly like a lock for a key.
Fact is, it is. O-l-d lock was replace with an new style. This house was built with a hidden , lockable, storage area, a long damn time ago.
Steel Toolbox replaced the original "locker". Beefed up, neat locks, and done.

Tool box was bought "right" had a dent in it from shipping and handling, and only $30 at the time.

Oh, that Kmart gun safe, in that other room closet?
Just to give the BGs something to play with....

;)

shouldifail
October 6, 2007, 12:06 AM
I have no idea how to fireproof a school locker....
But on another note, what about using an old refridgerator??? They seem to keep things nice and cold, and while it may not offer the best protection against fire, they may shield the items inside enough to not have a total loss.

Besides, the various shelves and drawers might be helpful for organizing things.

Throw a nice big hasp and padlock on it, bolt it down and let thieves think its just for beer!

I suppose an old chest freezer would also work....most already come with some sort of lock on them.

BridgeWalker
October 6, 2007, 12:53 AM
I have a bomb shelter in my basement. Was thinking of putting a door on it.

Right now it has a baffled entry but no door. But we're holding off because it would probably be cheaper to buy an RSC than to put a vault-type door on it and because the basement is fairly damp.

igpoobah
October 6, 2007, 01:04 AM
Yes, I built my own steel gun locker out of 10ga plate. I also happen to work for a manufacturer of steel products. :neener:


It holds 10 long guns and has an upper shelf, all steel.

230RN
October 6, 2007, 03:06 AM
Well with respect to the school locker idea, I was thinking of using wallboard as a fire retardant, either by covering the locker or lining it.

Besides its plain insulating properties, I figure the decomposition of the plaster in the drywall would absorb heat.

I figure if you put it on the outside, an accomplished craftsman could finish it off fairly nicely.

If it were insulated only on the inside, it would end up just looking like a plain old locker, but the wallboard would give up water on heating, possibly leading to rust problems.

Again, this would be intended only as a deterrent to theft and fire. I live on the second floor of an apartment, and hauling a full-blown safe up here would be out of the question.

Would have to do something about the chintzy locks on the usual locker, though.

mjrodney
October 6, 2007, 07:36 AM
Even a thin steel locker gains added security when bolted into the corner of a closet, with a cheap to build wall added alongside. The "deeper" into the corner of the closet, the better.

Most smash and grabs aren't going to dismantle or go through a wall just to get a pry bar on that locker.

See attached.

This was installed in a rental. The added wall looked permanent, but in fact was temporary. It required four 2x4's, one sheet of drywall, a few screws and a bit of drywall mud, tape & paint. I don't think it cost much more than $25.

Two screws into the floor thru the carpeting, two into the ceiling above. The locker was only attached to the temporary wall, but jammed into the corner like it was, that's all it needed.

When moving day arrived, the locker and the wall came out. A few holes to touch up and no damage left behind.

No fire protection, though.

culito
October 6, 2007, 08:27 AM
Gut on old coke machine, they have good locks and who would think that it was a gun safe.

Cannonball888
October 6, 2007, 09:20 AM
http://www.losangelesfurniture.com/images/zocalo_cherryhill_armoire_400.jpg
+
http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd_images/bgprod/TRAP-414.jpg

Not really burglar-proof, but it is burglar-resistant. It's mainly for keeping the kids out.

atomchaser
October 6, 2007, 10:16 AM
You can get a metal contractors job box for fairly cheap used. You would just have to make some wooden racks to go on the inside. I have job box I use for storing ammo.

ctdonath
October 6, 2007, 11:50 AM
I've got an unfinished closet/attic/bonus-room (kinda odd shape, but conveniently located) that I've been mulling over as my Guy Room. In considering building it for some level of security, a friend just suggested stringing barbed wire between the studs - a cheap way to really slow someone down from sawing thru the walls. Since every surface is currently exposed studs, and I haven't gotten around to insulating, methinks that's a great idea. A few rolls of barbed wire stapled in to chew up saws and slow cutting, a layer of fiberglass insulation to further annoy penetration (and improve temperature stability), and wall-in with 3/4" oak flooring (adding that nice cabin feel), plus a "safe door" with combo lock (any have a fingerprint reader?), and the room should slow penetration enough from any angle to make entry just plain not worth it (contents won't be cheap, but also won't be worth the effort).

A fundamental point of security: there is no such thing as perfect security, just a matter of raising the stakes/difficulty/time/cost high enough to discourage breaches. Are you trying to secure real valuables? or just warding off smash-and-grab?

RubenZ
October 6, 2007, 05:00 PM
Metal is Expensive. 4' x 8' x 3/8" cost me something like 360.00 bucks.


The sheet went on this table :)

http://www.rubenzamora.com/Files/welding/table8.jpg



You may be able to get by with a little rebar and Cement.

RandomMiss
October 6, 2007, 11:46 PM
I used a salvaged electrical cabinet - 30"x30"x72". Not fireproof, but it has integral recessed locks front and rear, uni-strut frame inside, inside mouted hinges. Some plywood and pegboard and I was in business.

A cabinet like this could be rare, but if you find the right people (most likely electricians) you could make it happen.

I'll try to attach some pictures... good luck.

65106

65107

BigBlock
October 6, 2007, 11:50 PM
Unless you have a huge and expensive gun collection I wouldn't be too worried about fire protection. I mean, if your house burns down and you lose everything you own...are a few guns really going to make any difference? Your homeowners/renters insurance should pay for them anyway...

RubenZ
October 7, 2007, 02:03 AM
Its not about money. But sometimes its about historical family value.

I have a few guns that were my grandfathers and some that my dad bought me when I was younger. I'd seriously feel like a part of me was gone if some of those were damaged in a fire.


Then again, do guns really get affected by fire much? Besides the stocks messing up, what happens to a firearm that gets caught in a fire or at least close to a fire. I'm sure nothing really.

VARifleman
October 7, 2007, 02:25 AM
RubenZ, if the guns are exposed to the normal heat of a fire (1200 F), the steel can lose it's strength and warp, especially if it get's hit by water from a fire hose.

ilbob...

have you looked at the price of scrap lately?

Lets call it 15x24x8.

At 1" thick it would weigh about 43,000 pounds. Not exactly a DIY project.
I'm going to assume that is in feet (so basically a very nice size shed), and assuming that it is a box, it actually comes out to be 54880 for steel and 16240 for concrete (in lbs). That's 812 dollars of 4k psi concrete from home depot, or 2881.20 dollars of steel at the price that the scrap yard will buy it from you.

SSNVet,
You can cut through mild steel with metal cutting circular saw rather easily, or free machining stainless (stainless is a nice barrier against oxy-fuel torch attacks). Hardened steel would be a pain with anything. Also poured concrete inbetween layers makes drilling attacks and saw attacks more likely to fail.

Basicallly, unless you really like diy projects for fun, and you have all the equiptment to complete the job, you'd be much better off buying a safe as building one would probably put you into the cost of a TL30 or more.

sharkhunter2018
October 7, 2007, 02:53 AM
Since my father is a welder (builds gates, railings, etc) I have considered asking him if he would build one for me. He has all the tools needed, but with the price of any and all metals these days...im not about to ask him. And I certainly wouldnt ask him to do it for free.

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