Affordable High End Home Made Presentation Cases, Part ONE


March 29, 2011, 03:07 AM
I am not a pauper by any means, but I refuse to pay more for something than it's really worth, that's the fast lane to financial ruin as far as I am concerned.

I have recently re-activated the love of BP weapons, and sport, I enjoyed so very much in my younger years, and fell out of in my middle years due to the pressures of time, career, family, et all...

Boy, have PRICES gone up !!! I am still going through a bit of sticker shock understanding how much it will cost me to rebuild that modest collection I once had many years ago.
I don't mind paying out 300 to 600 for a finely made BP reproduction pistol, thats an investment as far as I am concerned. I don't mind paying out 700 to 1000, or thereabouts, for a finely crafted accurately historical long flint gun either, thats just what stuff costs these days.
But I do mind, a great deal, being asked to pay 200 to 350 for a simple wooden box, made in India, by slave labor paid a pittance, that shouldn't cost more than 30 or 40 bux a pop, thats RIDICULOUS !!!

One has to draw their toe in the sand at some point, and stand there saying to these guys.... This far, and NO FURTHER !!!

Don't get me wrong, I love the free enterprise system, it gives us new products, new industries, provides opportunities for people, but, when abused by unscrupulous money mongering importers re-selling there cheap products to us "Rich Americans" for premium prices... This ticks me off !!!

So, I'm sitting here in my home, opening up my latest delivery from Dixie Gun Works, admiring my Uberti Remington 44 cal Brass Frame New Version Army pistol... Thinking.... This little jewel needs a proper case !!!

I am finding that little case a little difficult to locate, and I am NOT going to overpay some idiot reseller 200 bux for something their importer sells to them for 20 bux !!! Not happening on MY WATCH, Dudes N Dudettes !!!

I live in the "Historical Core" District in Downtown Los Angeles. This area, used to be the old business district, and is filled with block, after block, of 8/10/16 Story steel beam and thick walled brick/concrete buildings put up at the turn of the century onto on or about the middle 1930's... Most of these old business building have now been re-developed into nice apartments, and condos that can either be leased, or purchased, if you decide mega city life is your cup of tea. (LA is fast becoming the West Coast version of Manhatten, 15 years from now, I wouldn't be able to purchase my condo here either !!!)

My building, is in the exact center, which is known as... the "Jewelery District"... Shop after shop, after shop line the streets of major jewelery wholesaler and supplier outlet businesses, from jewelery work benches, tools, casting systems, mounts..... raw materials.... This is the heart of the entire jewelry wholesale supplier network of all of Southern Califonia... If these shops don't have it, or can't get it, it isn't made anywhere.... They are experts in all aspects of that industry.

Many of these wholesale direct to public outfitters have large sections in their shops of NOTHING but rack after rack, of foriegn made, but very well made, Wooden Jewlely Presentation Cases, some solid tops, some glass topped, some with their exteriors surfaced with simulated leatherette... all different sizes, styles, finishes... and all.... DIRT CHEAP... Even the two drawer, leatherette lined, glass topped tortoise shell finished ones, with locks on the case lid, and the two drawers, don't go for more than 60 bux retail to the public.... smaller ones, considerably less than that... All, have removeable partitions, and removeable pads, that match the internal leatherette lining of the box, these "pillows" are set up in a variety of designs, some for watches, some for rings... on and on like that....

So I am standing there in one of these jewlery wholesalers shops, looking at dozens of diffent kinds of jewelery chests and cases.... thinking.... with just a little bit of minor modifications to the removeable partitions... one of these chests could be "Re-Manufactured" into very fine, very affordable pistol presentation cases, with just a couple hours of time, and very simple hand tools, all done on my home hobby work table... And, you would end up with a presentation case with several drawers for all your possibles and bags and picks and such, a case that your buddies will think you spent at least 350 to 450 on but you only shelled out 40 or 50 bux for !!!

So... thats exactly what I did, I bought one of those cases yesterday for my matched pair of remington 31 cal Wells Fargo Pocket Pistols... And I am running out today to a specialty hardware store that carries little possibles and stuffs for small chests, cases et all to pick up the few things I need to finish it off...

So... if any of the rest of you, have been looking for that case you can't find... get on the internet, lookup "Wholesale Wooden Jewelry Chests and Cases"....
I garauntee you, you will be AMAZED how fine of a wooden presentation box you can buy for under 60 bux, and how simple it is to convert it into a one of a kind pistol presentation chest/case.... with COMPARTMENTS and DRAWERS to SPARE !!!

Before Pics - Jewelry Case to Pistol Presentation Chest Conversion

Here are the Before pics of the Jewelry Case that with simple modifications I will adapt into becoming a Fine Quality High End Pistol Presentation Chest. I purchased this particular chest at a wholesale distributor for jewelry stores for $32.50 in the Downtown Los Angeles Jewelry District section of the Historic Core District of Old Downtown Los Angeles.

This first pic, shows the case, closed as it appears as a Jewelery Case as purchased.

The second pic shows the case, with the top opened, showing the removeable partition inserted in the case, dividing the top into 10 neat little sections designed for a watch display. Each partition section contains one watch "pillow", a leatherette cased foam pad. As it is designed, a watch would be positioned over the pillow, with the band passing over the pillow and then under the pillow. The buckle of the watch would then be buckled on the underside of the pillow, holding the watch in position, and the pillow, with the watch, would be re-inserted back into the partition. This photo also shows the bottom leatherette lined drawer, which I will use as my possibles drawer for my display pistols.

This third pic shows the case again opened, with the removeable partition insert pulled out, and set on top. The removeable watch pillows, are set to the right hand side. When, I use my fine razor cabinette saw to dis-assemble the partition insert, and re-assemble it into an arrangement that will be used as case partitions for a Matched Paired Pistol set of 31 caliber Remington Wells Fargo pocket pistols, along with, the powder flask, Remington #10 caps, .321 cast pistol balls, 4 spare cylinders, brass presentation case 31 calibre bullet mold, and brass in-line capping tool. The leatherette material, from the watch pillows will be salvaged from the pillows, and used to re-line the newly allocated partitions, which will not have the same dimensions as the old partitions did. The leatherette material will be attached to the partition frame using contact cement, as the actual partition segments will also be re-assembled in the new configuration using contact cement as well.

Please note, in the upper right hand corner, my vintage, 1951 Grundig Majestic table top AM/FM/Short Wave, Hi-Fi, 3 Speaker, 5 Tube Radio set. (Not yet restored) I also restore old vintage tube radio sets as a hobby, not just the table tops, but full console models as well. I work exclusively with the high end vintage radios, such as Grundig-Majestic, and Capehart-Farnsworth. I am a member of the Radio Museum Society of Europe, which is a closed society, a person must be a recognized authority in some area of vintage radio technology or restoration before they will be invited to become a member of that society. My membership into the Radio Museum Society is something I am very proud of.

This fourth phtograph, shows, a possible layout of where I may re-partition the existing partitions to accomodate the items I want in display under the glass top of the case lid. Please note the ample room showing where I intend to keep my 4 spare cylinders for my matched pair set of pistols. There will be ample room to hold all 4 of the spare cylinders. Please also note, some of the items I intend to store in the lower pull out drawer. The cleaning rod, solvent, and gun oil, the lubed 31 caliber powder wads, the bore butter bullet lubricant, et all.

This fifth and final photograph also shows the cabinette in the prior arrangement, but also shows, the few simple hand tools needed to re-manufacture the existing jewelry case into a pistol chest instead.

Part TWO of this set will show the completion steps and photographs to this home project, and will follow shortly.

Good Gunning Buddies !!!


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

If you enjoyed reading about "Affordable High End Home Made Presentation Cases, Part ONE" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 29, 2011, 03:14 AM
Well guys and gals, here is part TWO, the fabrication steps !!! The following photo essay shows the simple steps taken to convert the jewelry case over into a pistol chest for a matched pair of 31 Calibre Remington style Wells Fargo pistols and all the joyous possibles we BP guys haul around with us everywhere. (When I was a poor farm kid, starting out, my friends used to poke alot of fun at me because I was always picking up used womens bags from thrift stores, I would strip off all the lady like stuff, replace the strap with a plain leather buckle type strap, and use it for my possibles bag for all my crap I had to carry around with me when I went out hunting with them. Me, with my home-made BP kit guns I mail ordered out for, and all of them with their brand new shiney modern guns their dads all bought for them... But on the range, when I took the range heats, and walked out with the ribbons, nobody laughed at me then !!!) I will be wanting to add in a few more baubles and do-dads, such as, I want to replace the lid lock with a nicer one, add a drawer lock on the drawer that matches or compliments the lid lock, replace the nailed (Yuckies !!!) twin hinges on the lid with a full length piano style hinge that is secured with wood screws, add in a lid restrainer, either chain or lever bar movement, whichever I decide on when I get to the store, and mayee doll up the whole affair with a dozen or so brass corner brackets and drawer corner mounts... that will have to wait until I can get down to the specialty hardware store down on Colorado Blvd, in Santa Monica Beach. There is a lil outfit there, called Bee's Hardware, they carry all these kinds of weird, hard to find miniature hardware stuffs, and AFFORDABLY too !!!

Photo One (1) shows the removeable partition section, stripped down of all the leatherette lining material, and re-partitioned into the near final partition setions used for the twin pocket pistol chest. I didn't have to purchase any hardwood precision slats to re-partition the case at all. I just re-cut the lengths of wood I removed from the partion case, and re-used them in the new arrangement. But it wouldn't have cost very much if I had purchased some 1/4" by 2-1/2" slats, even of nice hardwoods. Those slats are very inexpensive, $2.50 for an 8' section of pine, or $5 to $8 for very nice woods. And that would have been enough for 3 or 4 cases, maybe more.

Photo Two (2) shows the removeable partition section, re-lined with the leatherette lining re-installed. I re-installed all the lining using simple contact cement. Again, I didn't need to purchase any additional material at all, I just re-cut, and re-attached all the lining I had removed from the prior step. The photo also shows two pistols in the foreground, and a few possibles, to show the relative size of the case being worked on. It is obvious from the photo, that this particular chest is too small for a full sized 44 Cal Army or Dragoon sized gun, but a PERFECT size for those hard to outfit pocket pistols, short sheriffs models, pepperboxes, derringers, what have you's. Don't let the size of this particular chest scare you off, they are available in larger sizes as well, with ample room to handle even a large flint lock Howdah Pistol.

Photo (3) shows the case assembled, lid opened, lower drawer pulled out, all outfitted with one of the pistol pairs, brass powder flask, cap tins, balls, spare cylinder, cappers, powder measures, cleaning tips, et all... This will be a matched pair, when the brother of the one I have arrives from Dixie on Thursday, along with the other three spare cylinders, which will at fit snugly into the compartment indicated by the single spare cylinder.

Photo (4) shows the same arrangement as photo (3) except with the top lid closed and the lower lid closed.

Photo (5) is a comparisson composite photo of two photo's merged together, showing the jewelry case, as purchased, and the pistol chest as completed. (Or nearly completed).

I hope you all enjoyed, and found informative my little article on how to beat the unreasonably high prices of some pistol cases by just picking up another type of case, available all around us everywhere, from these jewelry distribution wholesalers, to Wall-Mart, K-Mart, or where-ever. It really only took me about 3 or 4 hours to complete this conversion, but I am an older greying dude, with alot of experiance and hand skills in these matters, a total novice, having to figure it all out the first time, maybee a couple hours more. For those of you who may be contemplating such a project yourself, take a hint from an old warrior, NEVER MEASURE ANYTHING. When it comes to precision, finely fitted wooden peices, lay the pieces out, as you want them, one at a time, mark the piece, as fitted, NEVER MEASURE, measuring will result in a mis-fitted piece, and alot of wasted time and material.... EVERY TIME !!! Take it from an old tradesman, I know how to do these kinds of things, guickly, easily, with a minimum of fuss and expense.


Elvin Warrior... aka... Dave

March 29, 2011, 03:40 AM
Beautifully done...thanks for the lesson!

March 29, 2011, 05:18 AM

You're very welcome !!! It is to show, that even people on a budget can enjoy the finer aspects of the gunnery hobby, what you don't have in raw bux, you can more than make up for with skills, determination, and a little creativity.

Most of our forefathers had very little money to work with at all, they fashioned most of what they used, themselves. Today their relics are valued and expensive antiques... I guess, if you take anything, and bury it in the groud for 200 years, when it's found, it's not a crappy home-made snuff box anymore, it's a valuable piece of HISTORY !!!

:) :) :) :) :)


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

March 29, 2011, 05:31 AM
I thought I would throw in a few additional examples of these inexpensive cabinettes I came across, to show, the variety and scope of what is available, for not alot of money at all. All of these cases, can be put to good use as a high end pistol case, or some sort of possibles case, to hold spare revolver cylinders, or what-have-you's...

Have FUN with it Guys !!!


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

March 29, 2011, 11:25 AM
Really like what you have done and thanks for shareing with us.

Unfortunately for me there are few jewelry wholesalers out here in the hinterlands.

I have had a wine box with a hinged lid I have "been gonna" try to do somethinglike this with for ages. I also look for old silverware set boxes when yard saleing but since it occured to me that something like this can be done I have nto seen one.


March 29, 2011, 08:31 PM

There are wholesalers online of every description and type, most of which will sell items to end purchasers. I am going to purchase some metal tin boxes very soon, ones with hinged lids and glass tops, that I think would make very nice presentation boxes as well. I will weld or solder a lock, or a lockable latch onto the lid, fabricate an insert out of thin wood pieces that will be covered in thin leather, leatherette, fabric, or sprayed with a velveteen type of flocking material...

I will send those out as samples, in various finishes, gold plated, nickel plated, copper or bronze plated, simple high gloss paint finish, simulated pearl, mother of pearl, ivory and tortoise shell finishes, to various BP distributors, and see if I get any orders in !!!!

Have FUN with it !!!


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

March 29, 2011, 11:31 PM
How historically authentic do you want to be? The home-modified jewelry cases look good, but they don't come close to the originals.

Here are some examples of really good reproductions:

All such cases are fine for display, but don't use them for long-term storage. The linings attract moisture, and tend to rust the guns.

March 30, 2011, 01:14 AM
For me, historically accurate cases are not important at all. Mostly, I find the Historically Accurate ones to be wholely inadequate. All of my custom cases have lower drawers in them for all of the possibles that go with the gun, and are not suitable for display, such as the cleaning rods, nipple wrench, et all. Many have TWO lower drawers. And I am sure, there were many a custom case manufactured back in the good ol days as well. Who says, only one design of case was "official" or "proper".

My case also has a leatherette interior lined finish, so, the moisture problem is not an issue with my design of case at all.

But I will give you the fact that your link to that web page does have some nice cases and accessories as well.


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

March 30, 2011, 01:59 PM
Very Cool!!

March 30, 2011, 02:15 PM

Comming from you, that's a HIGH COMPLIMENT !!!

Thanks !!!

:) :) :) :)


ElvinWarrior... aka... David

If you enjoyed reading about "Affordable High End Home Made Presentation Cases, Part ONE" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!