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Old June 5, 2007, 12:02 AM   #1
j-bird
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My New ‘51 Navy Display Case!

Hey fellas. Just had to show off some of my (amateur) woodworking. I’ve always wanted one of those neat deluxe wood cases that I’ve seen in my books for my 1851 Navy. Not finding a source for one anywhere in my price range, and being a something of a do-it-yourselfer always willing to bite off more than I can chew, I decided to try building one myself. It’s made completely from scratch out of ½” white oak, which imparts quite a bit of heft. The inner compartments are padded and fully lined with felt, and it’s lockable. The partition in the shot compartment (which which has its' own lid) can be moved or removed to accommodate more ammo. I got a little carried away and veneered it with fancy olive (something I wouldn’t do again.)

Thought you guys would appreciated it (more than my wife would anyways) ---j
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File Type: jpg Box_2_lo.jpg (241.5 KB, 580 views)
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Old June 5, 2007, 01:20 AM   #2
Sardaukar
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Very nice presentation box. Better than any you could have bought, because it was customized to your needs.
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Old June 5, 2007, 05:55 AM   #3
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Very, very nice. Thanks for sharing.
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Old June 5, 2007, 06:34 AM   #4
marcseatac
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Best looking display case I ever laid eyes on!
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Old June 5, 2007, 11:39 AM   #5
bprevolver
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bprevolver

This case is far superior to what Colt produces or anything that you can get from Dixie. Finding display cases is one of the most difficult tasks of the collector. What could you produce one of these cases for?
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Old June 5, 2007, 12:13 PM   #6
ZeSpectre
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Woah!
You are HIRED!
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Old June 7, 2007, 12:52 PM   #7
bigbang121167
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Excellent Job

Speaking as an engineer and carpenter, excellent job.

I love the look of hand made carpentry with a pistol of that period. They compliment each other very well. You have turned a modern replica into an heirloom.
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Old June 7, 2007, 03:18 PM   #8
Plink
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Very nice case! I've browsed through many expensive cases and yours looks far better than any I've yet seen.

I've been considering making one myself, but I don't have near the skills that you have! Care to post a tutorial some day?
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Old June 9, 2007, 08:58 PM   #9
4V50 Gary
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j-bird, if you could manufacture a bunch of them at a reasonable price, you'd sell them. Of course, your wife would rather you made a jewelry box for her but we're not interested in jewelry boxes.
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Old June 9, 2007, 09:58 PM   #10
j-bird
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Thanks guys! I've received so much positive feedback that I've decided to build another one specifically for sale. I learned A LOT from building the first one, and I'm confident construction of this next one will go much smoother (hopefully - the first one was trouble enough!). No idea how much to sell it for; materials alone set me back $60. Right now I'm tentively planning on putting it up for auction on eBay and letting the market determine its' value.

I'll give you guys a pictorial essay as construction moves forward. Attached is an image of the 'shell' that will eventually make up the walls of the next case. Pretty straight forward; four peices of wood attached via box corner joints.
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Old June 10, 2007, 05:35 AM   #11
mykeal
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Great stuff, this. I'm fascinated by woodwork, something I have no talent, or equipment, for.
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Old June 10, 2007, 11:49 AM   #12
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Step 2: trimming & sanding

Ok, promised to give you guys a play by play. At this point, I've glued the top and bottom and have trimmed the excess with a band saw (image 2.) Next, I sand the whole thing perfectly smooth (image 3.) What I've got now is a hollow cube. Image 4 is the 2nd case next to the first (our goal!) ---j
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File Type: jpg Case_2.jpg (163.7 KB, 331 views)
File Type: jpg Case_3.jpg (179.5 KB, 310 views)
File Type: jpg Case_4.jpg (152.9 KB, 316 views)
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Old June 10, 2007, 11:51 AM   #13
Moloch
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Wow, great craftsmanship!

In shops such cases coast at least 200$ and you made one for yourself a lot cheaper. Great work.
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Old June 10, 2007, 12:04 PM   #14
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Step 3: seperating lid from carcass

Next, I remove the lid from the carcass. This cut would normally be done on a table saw. However, since I don't own a table saw (and my band saw isn't big enough) I turn to my router table - it truly is the most versitile tool! In case you're wondering, the metal bars inside the lid serve two purposes: First (and most importantly,) it keeps the lid from warping after it has been seperated from the carcass (one of the lessons learned from the first go around.) Secondly, it has the added benefit of giving the lid some weight to keep it shut. The bars will be completely covered by the top padding, felt and inside trim when done.---j
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File Type: jpg Case_5.jpg (143.1 KB, 313 views)
File Type: jpg Case_6.jpg (148.4 KB, 289 views)
File Type: jpg Case_7.jpg (161.4 KB, 290 views)
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Old June 10, 2007, 03:55 PM   #15
Old Dragoon
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You Sir! Are a Craftsman!
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Old June 11, 2007, 07:39 AM   #16
j-bird
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Step: Hinges

Next, I mortise out the recesses for the hinges with the router. They're solid brass and very heavy duty.---j
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File Type: jpg Case_9.jpg (173.7 KB, 282 views)
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Old June 11, 2007, 02:57 PM   #17
DuncanSA
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Great stuff!

I am in the process of making a display case when I found your post.

Stopping the lid from warping has been driving me nuts - your use of stabilising metal strips is brilliant. I hope you have not patented the idea as I intend to use it!

Well done, if my case turns out half as good as yours I shall be very proud.
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Old June 11, 2007, 10:23 PM   #18
j-bird
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DuncanSA, no problem. The purpose of this thread is to show fellas who are so inclined how to build their very own (or at least how I did it) ---j
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Old June 11, 2007, 11:16 PM   #19
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Step 5: Inner sleeve

I'm making pretty good progress. The part that contains the compartments for all the goodies is actually a separate sleeve (sort of a box within a box.) It's much easier to work with the padding and felt lining outside the case than inside it. In addition, if for some reason the compartments ever need to be reconfigured, say, for a different gun or set of accessories, one would need only to build a new sleeve, not an entirely new case. The sleeve is made from 1/8-in plywood. I start with the outer walls, then glue the inner walls around the gun and powder flask, finishing with rest of the compartments. Before complete, I'll insert a small block to support the barrel. As far as the configuration, I mostly went off pictures I've seen in my books. ---j
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File Type: jpg Case_10.jpg (122.1 KB, 287 views)
File Type: jpg Case_11.jpg (145.1 KB, 269 views)
File Type: jpg Case_12.jpg (121.6 KB, 279 views)
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Old June 16, 2007, 05:00 PM   #20
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Step 6

Apologies for the pause in action. My day job keeps getting in the way. I've padded the bottom of the sleeve with thin foam sheets available at any craft store. This foam padding will help the felt last longer. My technique is to press the sheet on top of the compartments, leaving a faint impression which I then use as a guide to cut the foam pieces into their final shape.---j
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Old June 16, 2007, 05:18 PM   #21
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Step 7: veneer

Ok, I know I said in my original post that I wasn't going to veneer again. However, I really like the results of the first box, and I had enough of the fancy olive left to complete this one as well. Additionally, I used select pine for this box instead of white oak, and I much happier having done so. The first box has a carbide drill bit still lodged in it from where it broke off drilling a pilot hole! (try hand screwing brass screws into oak - broke a few of those as well. Oak is a really, REALLY hard wood!)

Now, there's a lot of complicated techniques and tools used for veneer. I just use plain old wood glue and a stack of bricks. Once the glue is dry, CAREFULLY trim the excess with a razor and sand trim.---j
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Case_14.jpg (126.2 KB, 269 views)
File Type: jpg Case_15.jpg (148.6 KB, 257 views)
File Type: jpg Case_15-B.jpg (130.4 KB, 256 views)
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Old June 16, 2007, 05:31 PM   #22
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step 8: the lock

Now for installation of the single most expensive piece in the whole project; the lock ($25). You can't find really nice little locks like these at hardware stores. You have to go to a specialty shop. This particular lock is complements of Rockler. I mark the very middle of the case and mortise an appropriate sized hole. I finish out the mortise with a small chisel. Same goes for upper peice. This lock won't keep a determined thief out (they'll probably just steal the whole case,) but it should be just sufficient enough to keep curious little hands off your gun.---j
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Case_16.jpg (142.4 KB, 251 views)
File Type: jpg Case_17.jpg (130.3 KB, 239 views)
File Type: jpg Case_18.jpg (134.0 KB, 243 views)
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Old June 20, 2007, 07:44 AM   #23
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Step 9

I've lined the inner sleeve and all the compartments with felt. I use the self-adhesive peel-n-stick sheets (again, from Rockler.) I can't say enough about how easy this stuff is to use. The technique is the same as the padding; press the backside of the felt onto the top edges of the compartments, then use the indentations as a cutting guide. The felt is forgiving if you mess up, so you can pull it back up and reposition. However, it does seem to 'set' after a while and becomes difficult remove without tearing. A sheet of 1/2 low-density foam cushioning purchased at a local fabric store serves as the top. This was glued onto a peice of plywood a little smaller than the inside area of the lid. Then the whole thing was wrapped in the felt.---j
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File Type: jpg Case_19.jpg (162.8 KB, 280 views)
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Old June 20, 2007, 01:24 PM   #24
Plink
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J-bird, thanks for posting the instructions and pics! This makes the project actually seem makeable! I'm going to have to give it a go, myself. I wish they'd make this thread a sticky, as I'm sure there are many of us who'd love to make our own cases. Thanks again.
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Old June 21, 2007, 08:03 AM   #25
j-bird
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Plink, it's totally doable. I had never built a box before this (I also never took shop in high school). I just researched basic box-building techniques on the internet. The first one took me over a month and a half to build. But the vast majority of that time was spent figuring out how to complete the next step, shopping for the right material, ect... Total elapsed time on this one has been a little over a week, and that's working a hour or so each night in my spare time. There IS, however, a couple of power tools that you'll need, or borrow from someone. I'm giving the Cliff notes version of the process here. If you have any questions, just email me.---j
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