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How to build gun safe under stairs

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by docsleepy, Oct 10, 2012.

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  1. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Have an accessible but hidden area under staircase and thinking about hardening it and adding custom vault door.

    Would like advise or cautions

    Big advantage is that it can be completely concealed easily

    Goal is to protect against theft and fire

    Approx 3 feet high. 3 feet wide and 5 or more feet deep as height slopes downward. Rifles would go horizontal.

    Slab underneath. Wood 2x4s on sides. Wooden steps above


    Considering
    - 2 thicknesses of 5/8 in fire rated dry wall nailed to wood sides and staircase
    - brick (is cement and rebar filled block better?) masonry inside drywall
    - water filled mattress of some sort to steam and limit temp
    - important papers in something waterproof
    - custom door with steel and stainless steel to decrease thermal attack ease

    Comments?
     
  2. ghoster

    ghoster Member

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    Basicly all drywall is fire retardent, can't rember the ratings but a single sheet of 1/2 gives a 20 min. rating between garage and home. Several layers would give you plenty of protection. No need for water as it would just add moisture causing rust.
     
  3. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    I don't understand the need for a custom steel 'vault' door.

    If someone finds that door, they will know something valuable is just on the other side of two sheets of drywall (no tools necessary).

    Right?
     
  4. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    The idea is to put brick or concrete block masonry inside the drywall. That is to give more protection against attack. The drywall is just for fire protection.
     
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I'd go good safe instead of Hobbit hole. Have good insurance and records too. knock on wood
     
  6. MErl

    MErl Member

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  7. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Ah, Very good input! If I poured concrete and rebar's into cement blocks does that make them proof against hammers? How can plasma cutters be defeated?
     
  8. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    Not very easily. I can break into any safe given enough time, your defense is a quality alarm that robs them of that time.
     
  9. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Buy a safe. In the long run it will be cheaper and more secure than anything an average home owner can build by themselves.
     
  10. MErl

    MErl Member

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    tightly spaced rebar reinforced concrete would stop hammers. I'd think you would be getting into the price area of having a custom steel box made by that point though. less disruptive to install as well.
    Find a fire safe that would fit in there and have the back cut off and a piece welded on?
     
  11. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    When a house burns down, about the only thing standing is like the chimney.
    You'd have to really Rube Goldberg it to actually make it collapse proof/fire proof and sledge resisant.
     
  12. rayatphonix

    rayatphonix Member

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    I'm in the process of building a gun vault also. I've thought about putting mine under the stairs, but I've got an A/C duct under there. Here's the deal:

    I'm using 8" block filled with concrete and rebar tying the layers together. The rebar is drilled and epoxied into the existing concrete foundation so the blocks can't be dislodged from the foundation. The "roof" is 4" of concrete the wire mesh tied into the sidwalls. As the roof is located about 6" under the floor joists, it's virtually impossible to get a hammer on it.

    The door is 1/2" steel plate with 2 high quality padlocks keeping it closed. Padlocks are recessed so you can't get a saw or hammer on them. I investigated buying a door from a vault company but balked at the $2000 price tag (cheapest I could find).

    As I'm doing the work myself I figure I'll have about $1000 in materials. I got the idea from a local gun shop. I asked what kind of safe they used and they showed me their room. I'm confident this is as or more secure than a safe costing several thousand dollars. Compared to a $1000 safe, it's much more secure. Fire protection is OK, but that's not high on my priority list.



    If you're willing to put in the time and effort I believe you can build a very secure safe room.
     
  13. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    If thieves don't know you have a safe they will not come prepared with the heavy tools needed to breech it. Make sure that whatever you build does not look like a safe or vault to nosey visitors and service people who might talk. People who proudly display their fancy safes are just asking for it. Even if the thieves can't get it open they may ruin it trying. I posted on another thread about an incident near my town where burglars tried to open a safe with a cutting torch. The safe held but was permanently welded shut. Not only did the victim have to pay a locksmith big bucks to cut the safe open and haul it to the scrap yard, he practically had to remodel his house because the carpet and paint were ruined from all the smoke. To add insult to injury the warranty on his safe was voided because it technically did not fail even though it was ruined. The safest safe is the one nobody knows about because it is HIDDEN.
     
  14. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Wow. Great information. Thanks for all the ideas. Gives me lots of options .
     
  15. Jeff H

    Jeff H Member

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    Good advice given here. My safe is in a closet hidden behind a deadbolted door in the basement. Any visitors who might see the locked door can assume what they want, but I doubt that many would suspect that there was a full blown safe inside the locked door. Not to mention that the safe is larger than the door opening so it can't be removed without taking the wall out as well ( I built the safe in the closet when I built the room). It is virtually impossible to get enough leverage to pry the door open since it is deep in the closet.

    Also, don't spend too much time worrying about plasma cutters. They require a healthy amount of electricity ( more than your outlets) and an air compressor. I doubt many burglars will bring all that with them.
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I'm sure it's pretty sweet but a couple shots with a 30-06 would smithereen those locks and or hasps I'm sure. However, I was dinking around the net years ago and saw some crazy padlock for like $10-30,000 - I really forget exactly how much but it was crazy.
     
  17. captain awesome

    captain awesome Member

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    ..

    padlocks are no match for a good pry bar. and a dremel can probably get in the recess too. Not trying to shoot you down, just making points to consider.
     
  18. crazy-mp

    crazy-mp Member

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    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTg7PZ6_kGPjzxGPJkOf2bxS0ZFnJpsNWLxdXVjmwMi9D3pU3m9cQ.jpg

    If a criminal has one of these and they know where to cut on the safe, they can get in literally in minutes, I can cut through almost anything with a basic metal wheel attached, but they make specialty wheels for harder surfaces.
     
  19. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    So I'm getting the basic idea that there is NO safe that is impenetrable.

    The best idea is to conceal the fact that you have one, so that they either don't find it or never bring the proper tools that WOULD be able to break into it.

    Apparently even a multi-thousand dollar commercial safe can be easily gotten into by someone who is properly equipped. Right?
     
  20. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    Exactly my point. If the bad guys have not heard about your safe they will not likely bring something that heavy with them. Word of a safe or vault makes you a high profile target for the real professional thieves who could get it open. Keep your mouth shut and your safe hidden.
     
  21. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    it's just there to keep the honest folks honest and to save the goods from fire
     
  22. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    My bad, I didn't see the brick layer in the options. That certainly can't be penetrated without tools.
     
  23. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    The vast majority of break-ins are not by committed by professionals.
    They are committed by lazy people who want something for little effort and are willing to take a risk rather than work. They are typically young, poor, drug or alcohol users and not very bright. Here is a link describing the profile of the typical burglar:

    https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=101697

    These are not the sort of people you have to worry about. If one of these common burglars happens to find your safe he will be unprepared and it will be more than adequate to protect your guns.

    The danger lies with the professional thief who will specificly target your home because he KNOWS that you have something of value. He is likely to have studied the ‘job’ thoroughly, he will know your routine and when you are not home. He will come prepared with the proper tools and a police radio scanner. He will get in and out very quickly and focus only on his objective, your safe or vault and not bother with your TV or sterio. He will likely be involved with organized crime and have connections with a fence who will sell your stolen guns out of state, maybe even out of the country. The only way to prepair for this sort of burglar is to make sure that NOBODY is telling stories about the big fancy safe you have cleverly built under your stairs, or your extensive gun collection.
     
  24. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    Correct.

    In physical security, the categories of countermeasures include deter, delay, and detect. Depending on who is describing it, it could also be deter, delay, detect, deny; deter, delay, detect, deny, defend; or deter, deny, detect, delay, detain.

    Safes and vaults are primarily delaying countermeasures. While the presence of one might be a deterrent to a few, their value really comes from delaying the adversary. As far as being burgled, the utility of a safe only really exists when the time and effort it takes to get in it exceeds the time and effort an adversary is willing to expend trying to get in. That ties directly to the adversary's knowledge, motivation, and availability of tools needed.
     
  25. HankR

    HankR Member

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    If thieves don't know you have a safe they will not come prepared with the heavy tools needed to breech it

    Unfortunately, I have all of those tools out in the shop building, and they aren't locked up. They're also probably worth more than my meagre gun collection.
     
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