The Walk-In Gun Safe Is Finished!

I know you have all been sitting on the edge of your seats for this reveal so here it is.

To recap here is how we built the walls and installed the door to the safe.

After finishing the walls and allowing for a few days to dry Flannel Man (FM) started fitting out the interior by painting all of the walls with DryLoc to help keep to room dry. For the ceiling he screwed 3 layers of fire rated cement board to the floor joists above. Initially he wanted to make the ceiling out of a solid sheet of steel but supporting it would have been a big issue. With only two cinder block walls to support it additional brackets would need to be attached to the interior walls and that would have meant less rifles could fit in there. The fire rated cement board was just cheaper, easier, and had a better fire rating.

Next he attached some treated ledger boards to the walls for each shelf and barrel rack. They were attached to the walls by drilling a pilot hole and using blue concrete screws. The shelves were made from scrap wood we had from some poorly built shelving units the previous owner had left us. The shelves were all sagging and warped but the end pieces we were able to save and reuse. Unfortunately, they had some paint on them because the previous owners were also very sloppy with paint and didn’t believe in taping things off or covering them. FM was able to sand most of the paint off. There were a few boards that had a lot of paint on one side and those he didn’t bother trying to sand off he just used them for the bottom shelf with the painted side down. No one will ever be looking the underside of a shelf 14″ from the floor! Here we’re determining the best layout for the different length boards we had:

Since the shelves and barrel racks aren’t adjustable we had to take an inventory on what rifles we had and what we might have in the future. Our highpower target rifles are very long, heavy (we put lead in the stocks to balance out the weight of the barrel), and wide whereas our service rifles are shorter and slimmer. We ended up putting the barrel racks at 3 different heights to accommodate everything. For the spacing between the barrel cutouts we have wider spacing on the back wall at 4.5″ on center and 4″ on center for the rest of the walls. Using that spacing I calculated that we could fit only 37 rifles in the room. Hearing that FM just about lost it since we already have 23! Over time you need to build new rifles to keep up with the competition, we’ll probably inherent some, and FM has a small collection of old military guns so we need room for expansion. So we decided to add shelving on the 4th wall next the door and create an extra deep shelf with a barrel rack on one wall that would allow us to add a second row of rifles in the future. If/when that happens we’ll have to build a small platform for the butts of the rifle to sit on so they aren’t touching the concrete. That brought us up to a grand total of 51 rifles!

For pistols and scopes we have a 12” tall shelf that runs around the whole room. FM plans to make some pistol racks and if he spaced them 3” apart we could fit over 60 pistols in there too but that will never happen. We only dapple in competitive pistol shooting so we don’t have many of them.

When the layout was finally figured out FM cut all the boards to their final size and notched out the barrel racks.

Next FM stained and polyurethaned all of the pieces. Why? Because when you have a walk-in gun safe everyone wants to see it so it needs to look nice! Trust me I know these things. We picked out a rich warm color that was dark enough to hide the green tone of the pressure treated wood. FM originally didn’t want to stain the pressure treated pieces because they were already on the wall but I quickly pointed out that they are most of what you see on the barrel racks. Once he stained them he agreed that I was right but he did have to touch up the white paint from the stain drips. To keep the barrels from getting scratched I picked up some blue felt and we glued them in each cutout with wood glue.

Now some people would stop there but FM had visions of accidentally hitting a rifle and having a domino effect so he rigged up a flipper for each barrel cutout. To make them he used some thin, rounded trim, a wooden peg, and a shoulder bolt. Shoulder bolts have threading on the end, a smooth diameter section, and then the shouldered head. They were a special order item to get the right size. Instead of trying to cut the notch and rounded end on 51 flippers by hand FM used what he knows best and brought them to work where he cut them out on a CNC machine. It resulted in a lot of splintered edges but they are all constantly the same size.

To finish them off FM sanded them every night as he watched TV then added a coat of polyurethane.

Onto humidity control. We had originally planned to use two dehumidifier rods that simply plug into an outlet but they didn’t work at all! At the first signs of rust we broke down and bought a small dehumidifier and a temperature/humidity sensor so we could tell if it was working. We didn’t want to have to worry about emptying the bucket so we drilled a small ¾” hole in the cinder block wall and ran a line to the nearest drain. Ideally, we would have made the bottom shelf on that side an inch taller so the dehumidifier would tuck under the shelving but we didn’t plan for that. It probably works better not being up against a wall anyway.


And here’s the finished room:

To the left of the door.

The back wall with our top competition rifles.

To the right of the door. Lots of room to expand!

To get the most out of every inch FM made angled pieces for the corners. With all the extra space they work great for rifles with scopes on them.

Notice the nice rounded detail on the corners and the extended shelf on the right with more barrel racks for future expansion.

The pistols just sitting on the shelf for now and the dehumidifier.

On this shelf is a completion rifle who’s stock is being re-painted.

So what do you think? Are you jealous? ; )


12 Responses to “The Walk-In Gun Safe Is Finished!”

  1. 1 Chaz November 5, 2010 at 1:55 am

    That’s pretty sweet…..I have exactly 8 long arms and a few smaller pieces, but if I had more I would be after one of those.

    I built a place between the walls in my old house-this one I didn’t yet.

  2. 2 Melissa November 10, 2010 at 2:56 am

    I’m not so much, but my Dad and Hubby would be! Lol! I will show them both. You shoot sporting clays? My Dad is an NSCA certified instructor. Small world!

    • 3 Robin November 10, 2010 at 5:08 am

      No we actually shoot paper targets at long distances with highpowered rifles. We shoot between 200-1,000 yards. 90% of the time it’s with iron sights too!

  3. 4 November 14, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Jealous is an understatement! I havent made it to your blog in some time, but glad i am back! Awesome, I mean AWESOME job on that walk in!!!!

  4. 5 Kristin November 16, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Hi robin
    I hope this is not inappropriate, but I have been all over your site looking for a contact email for you guys, and can’t seem to find one.
    I would appreciate it if you could contact me via my email or blog.

  5. 6 Aleksandra December 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    excuse this dumb question from a city mouse, but why do you have so many guns?
    that aside, y’all have done some really nice handiwork in there. i can see the love you’ve poured into that room.

    follow our foster:

    • 7 Robin December 4, 2010 at 2:19 am

      No not a dumb question. My husband and I shoot competitively. It’s how we met actually. We’re pretty good at it too if I do say so myself. We have a few national records and we’ve both represented the USA internationally at our version of the Olympics held every 4 years in a different host country. We need a lot of different calibers and styles for different matches so that is what the majority of them are. Then there is a couple my husband inherited from his grandpa and two hunting rifles (which we rarely do). And the rest are my husband’s collection of old military guns.

  6. 8 Jon Reese June 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Can I suggest one thing on the gunsafe? After researching so much about making a gunsafe and talking to different professionals, as well as being a firefighter and investigator myself, I would suggest putting on the outside of the gunsafe, fire resistant drywall. The reason I suggest this is because in case of a fire the cinderblock room will turn into a giant oven, while the fire not being able to necessarily penetrate the room, it will cook your firearms. Fire resistant drywall is made to give off a certain amount of moisture and air to keep the room cool during a fire for a certain period of time. I think your gunsafe is awesome and I am actually taking some pointers on how to make one from it, I just wanted to add something as a suggestion.

    • 9 Leslie July 3, 2012 at 12:59 am

      I read this post a few years ago, and bookmarked it for future reference. We’re building our next house, so I was just brushing up on this project, and I love the top you added, Jon. We were thinking of how to help protect from the heat. Thanks for sharing!

  7. 10 Magnum September 24, 2012 at 11:21 am

    did I miss something on the ceiling ??? if I came to your house, could a circular saw cut a hole in the floor above, how did you protect the ceiling from fire ???

  8. 11 Jon Eston Reese December 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

    could you ask FM how exactly he filled the higher up blocks once he got close to the cieling? I’m having a hard time figuring that out unless they just aren’t filled that close to the top. The lower blocks would be pretty easy to fill but once you get pretty close to the existing cieling is where it would get pretty difficult. And if possible could you just email me back at ? Thanks ahead of time!

  1. 1 2010 Accomplishments & 2011 Goals « 3 acres & 3000 square feet Trackback on December 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This is the story of two twenty something newlyweds who are learning to adjust to life in their first house, a 1973 fixer-upper.
DIY Savings

%d bloggers like this: