Gun safe interior


June 1, 2010, 11:51 PM
Last month we got flooded in the Nash. Mid Tenn area. I got very little damage compared to many...maybe 8 inches in my basement. Problem is, that put several inches in my gun safe. I don't think I'll ever trust it to be DRY. So I do not want to put my guns back in my safe.

I'm thinking about making a new interior and wondered if there were any suggestions you would share.

I'm not blessed with any extra room...I've outgrown the safe. Is "CDX" safe to use? Is there a"best choice" for material to cover the wood with? I think I can make it fit 18 long guns with pistols and knives on the top shelf.

I've got lighting and golden rod ready to install when I get completed.

So, mostly I'm wondering about material that will work well in the safe and not be a problem later.

Thanks, in advance, for all input with my little project. This should be fun!


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June 2, 2010, 12:06 AM
That's very unfortunate. I'm glad you got off lightly, though.

If it where me, I'd probably just use some manner of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) because it's inexpensive and easy to work. I'd get some felt at the craft store and glue it down, making whatever shelves/racks you like.

That said, I'm far from what you might refer to as a "master craftsman." Others will be along shortly with better ideas. :)

Hope it all works out for you.

June 2, 2010, 12:38 AM
Glad to hear that you were (apparently) able to extricate your guns from the safe and save them. I don't even like it when I am hunting a light drizzle falls on one of my guns - a situation like yours would have had me up the wall! :eek:

June 2, 2010, 02:53 AM
what about sticking a fish aquarium pump in the bottom of the safe with a float switch, like a sump pump in a basement?

June 2, 2010, 04:34 AM
I believe that his actual concern lies in the remaining moisture which will never fully leave the safe. This moisture can and will evaporate into the air, usually condensing on your guns, where it causes rust.

June 2, 2010, 04:46 AM
Maybe some space heaters and fans will be an easier solution.

dagger dog
June 2, 2010, 06:08 AM
Get some of the big dessicant packs available from the collector car parts stores, the two pounders, and leave them in the safe, they will pick up the moisture, then throw them in the oven and revitalize them and repeat several times.

I bought a moisture control kit for my RV which I "mothball" over the winter season, it contains two large dessicant packs and a small bucket, you place the dessicant in the small bucket come back in a day or two and dump the moisture out of the bucket, you may have to do a couple but it will draw the moisture. I got mine from the local Bed Bath and Beyond store.

One of the above kits would surley pull the moisture inside the safe to a level where the Golden Rods can keep the humidity in control.

I would not use CDX plywood untill I found out if the glue used to bond the plys is safe and gives off no fumes. These fumes could cause some problems with crossion. On the same line, luan plywood will be a lot easier to work with, and it has a nice surface on both sides.

June 2, 2010, 06:40 AM
You certainly can dry the interior of a safe. Drop the humidity level far enough and keep ventilation over it (like the space heaters and fans bthest86 suggested) and moisture will evaporate.

If the interior is water damaged you can usually strip the interior partitions and upholstery without too much trouble.

CDX would be fine but that's an exterior-rated building sheathing product. It has a "C" grade side (rough) and a "D" grade side (rougher) and is bonded with a water resistant glue (X). It will work, but you could get BC ply or birch-veneered ply and have much nicer looking and smoother surfaces (or "MDF" = Medium Density Fiberboard though that's not as strong), which will make your fabric/upholstery lie smoother and more securely. None of these is going to give off anything that will hurt your guns.

June 2, 2010, 08:18 AM
On the other hand if it's a name brand safe it just might be covered by warranty by the manufacturer for the flooding and just might be replaced out right for free.
And then there is your home owners insurance,that is if you have it.

Not trying to be preachy but this is one of the main reasons I would be very reluctant to put a gun safe in a basement.

bill in IN
June 2, 2010, 08:34 AM
I would strip the interior and replace it with cloth covered drywall after leaving a heater in there for a while. Drywall is used for fire resistance in most safes. Get some of the expensive Kitty Litter as it is Silica Gel, same thing as in the little packs only you can get a bag for about 16.00, even has the little color change dots....

June 2, 2010, 09:51 AM
bthest86 has suggested the least expensive route - Leave the thing open in a climate controlled room with a fan/space heater feeding warm air into it to drive off the moisture. I'd be concerned that the drywall that was wet might not retain it's shape/structural integrity.

bill in IN has suggested the most effective route - Pull the interior drywall insulation, run the fans/heater to dry the interior and replace it with drywall that you've covered with cloth to protect the firearms from damage.

I don't think I'd substitute other materials for the drywall since it's supposed to provide some fire/heat protection, unless you select a more expensive protective material.

June 2, 2010, 10:09 AM
If the safe does not have insulation, it will clean and dry easily. If the safe uses gypsum board (or similar) for insulation, you will need to remove it and replace it. If you safe uses a poured insulation, whether or not the safe can be salvaged depends on the type of material the manufacturer used.

Flooded insulated safes run a high risk of mold growth. I would claim it on your insurance and replace it.

June 2, 2010, 02:26 PM
why not just use silica gel? and lots of it

Shadow 7D
June 2, 2010, 07:05 PM
you could, but the cost is rather expensive
like $20 a 10lb kitty litter bag, much cheaper and effective to strip out the drywall and just run a heater/fan in the with the door open till it's dry.

June 2, 2010, 07:44 PM
Wood products and drywall will both hold and absorb moisture. I wouldn't use it in a safe. A material like Melamine or Formica would be better. Look at the sheets of material sold for shower and tub enclosures at the building supply stores. You can glue it in and caulk up all of the joints with silicone. If you end up having to use a wood product make sure it is dried and sealed with some type of varnish or paint on both sides and the edges before you install it. Some safes do use a fire resistant gypsum material (drywall) but it is usually sealed in between the inner and outer steel and plastic walls. On a humid day it will suck moisture from the air and hold it. You should always use a dessicant or a dehimidifier in a gun safe. If installing carpeting make sure it is a polypropylene or nylon type that will not absorb moisture.

June 2, 2010, 09:14 PM
A quick note: some stuff has acid in it, I laid an airplane empenage on cardboard once, and had to sand off the corrosion. I'd guess a lot of wood has acidic properties too.
I've been saving the desiccant pouches that come with some brands of dental x-ray equipment we sell. Only problem is, it's way dry here in Colorado, and I don't need them. My new safe came with a Browning drying device also, and it isn't needed either! Don't hate me...I paid my dues in Michigan humidity for a LONG time before moving here. Lost many old books and leather items to mildew.


June 2, 2010, 09:35 PM
I think MDF and thin carpet will do the job well. Sorry about your trouble.

June 3, 2010, 12:33 AM
WOW! Thanks guys! You have given me exactly the kind of info I needed. Choosing the wrong materials was one thing I was worried about.

I looked on the internet for the safe company and found a phone number. I'm trying to contact them and will try to buy a replacement interior. Maybe they will settle my question about the fireproofing and mold problem.

Thanks guys. Now I feel I can ask more informed questions when I get to talk to the manufacturer.


June 3, 2010, 12:39 AM
get Marine grade carpet

Blue Line
June 3, 2010, 05:28 PM
check a new safe and see how/what they are constructed with should give you a good starting point.

Shadow 7D
June 3, 2010, 06:05 PM
Drail, you have MUCH to much trust in a safe, and no, most of them don't have the "fireproofing" sealed, most either use the drywall as the backing or put in MDF/ thin ply to mount the shelves

June 4, 2010, 09:06 PM
Call Mark Brasfield at the Safe House in Nashville. 615-255-0500

He's hauled in several since the flood. He says that they're pretty much unusable. But call him anyway, he's a good guy and very knowledgeable about his craft.

Tell him I told you to call.

Joey Smith

June 5, 2010, 08:54 PM
I'd say go the least expensive route without hurting anything. Put the money you save back into more arms. :)

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