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Old July 13, 2010, 09:20 AM   #1
Magnum Wheel Man
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"safe rooms"... safes... & storm shelters... oh my

so, lately we have been having a lot more dangerous tornados in my area... my master bedroom is in the basement, but one of our local people died in the last tornado, when they were pulled out of the basement they were in...

... another local person ended up with a car & a tractor in the basement with them...

& as a gun collector, putting all the guns in one large "safe room" has always appealed to me...

I started looking at these "assemble in your home" steel safe rooms, & I think with the help of my buddy ( the local steel dealer & fabricator ) we are going to design our own "room" ( he's been concerned about tornados at work, with all the loose steel "projectiles" in racks around his shop )

I found a company that builds them out of heavy "C" channel, & they bolt them together... I think this looks like a good solid design, easy to fabricate & modify as needed... I'm thinking if he punches square holes for the bolts, a large round head carraige bolt could be used with all the nuts facing inside, the room could provide good security for my firearms collection... the bigger rooms all offer doors that open in, & have 3 large tubes to secure the door from the inside...

I'm thinking big enough to house my whole collection, & maybe even my loading bench... & still have room for us & some other supplies in a tornado or other type of disaster... thought about insulating it with fiberglass insulation & sheeting the inside with either sheet rock, or steel, to offer some fire damage protection for my collection ???

my only security concern is the door locks... I've seen ones that used 2 normal keyed dead bolts to lock the room with access from the outside... I've also seen this type of lock

http://www.digitalkeylessdeadbolt.com/

perhaps a combination of the 2 keyed dead bolts, & the electronic lock spread out evenly on one side...

curious as to you guy's thoughts on the room, & about locks for the door... ( opening in, if I'm not in it, leaves what ever is there for locks protecting the door from pushing in where as nomally the lock would only have to protect from pulling open... which would be tougher on a smooth surface door )

BTW... the reason the room door opens in, is incase something should crash in front of the door, you could still get out, or atleast talk to any rescue workers through the debris

I would be building my own, but here are some room links, I've already used for inspiration... ( if you have any of your own with interesting design features, please link them up )

http://www.usstormshelters.com/sr_more.html

http://www.missouristormshelters.com...-saferoom.aspx
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Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; July 13, 2010 at 09:29 AM.
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Old July 13, 2010, 09:51 AM   #2
Doyle
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Browning sells (or at least used to sell) full sized safe-type fire rated doors that are used for making secure rooms.
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Old July 13, 2010, 09:54 AM   #3
Doyle
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Here you go:

http://www.gunsafes.com/Browning-Security-Door.html
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Old July 13, 2010, 10:00 AM   #4
Magnum Wheel Man
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thanks for the door link... but I don't really care how it looks, ( I'll have an interiour hollow core door in front of my steel door anyway... & I'm hoping to have into the whole room, about what that door cost... that actually is a pretty reasonable price for what you get though... I looked at one a couple years ago, that the door & frame cost almost $20,000.00
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Old July 13, 2010, 10:35 AM   #5
Speedy Warrior
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Why not go a step further and built a concrete vault with a vault door?

After hearing you talk about the room I think you need more protection then just a heavy frame. what is going to cover the walls/ceiling? Any protection from a 2x4 moving at 100 mph? Plus is the frame strong enough to hold a colapsed house from crushing? what about the foundation for this system? Its has to hold the frame any anything that might fall on it. I know it may not seam like it but I do like this idea but there are a few hurdles first.

Good Luck.

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Old July 13, 2010, 10:46 AM   #6
Magnum Wheel Man
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If you click the links I included in my 1st post... the Missouri Storm Shelters one includes a video of them supposedly shooting 2X4's at the shelter at 250 mph...

that to me is a weaker design than the one pictured in the other link, that is constructed entirely of heavy 3/16" C channel

I would put my "room" in the corner of my basement, with 2 sides covered by concrete ( but would still put steel on those sides, though in reality a lighter weight steel could probably be used on the sides facing the concrete, so long as the corner pieces would support the weight of house debris ) it would be concrete anchored to the floor, & would have a steel ceiling built of the same either bent steel sheeting or C channel ( BTW... my buddy has a big steel break, that could easily bend steel 5/16" thick ) but depending on how far apart your ribs are, the 3/16" design made from 8" or even 10" C channel would be plenty strong... the panels are designed small enough so that 2 people can carry them into place & assemple the unit...
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Old July 13, 2010, 10:53 AM   #7
Magnum Wheel Man
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BTW... the concrete vault is still in my future... just a couple years down the road... I have an old bank vault door & door frame I've been hanging on to... but by design, the door is made to open out... aside from the fact it's heavier than most large home safes by it's self, it would be more challenging to use, than to just construct another door, designed from the start to open in...

... but, perhaps I could scavenge the lock work, & adapt it to my new door ???

I planned on the vault on the back side of the "storm shelter room" kinda as a buffer zone
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Old July 13, 2010, 11:11 AM   #8
oneounceload
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A piece of culvert 6' or so in diameter and maybe 10-15' long can provide a nice tunnel to get AWAY from your house in the event of a collapse - at the end of said culvert (underground) is your concrete "bunker" that can double as a storm room, vault, wine cellar, etc. (A friend used 50 yards of culvert to make his underground gun range - it was shown as a storm shelter on the plans)
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Old July 13, 2010, 11:26 AM   #9
Speedy Warrior
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I'm sorry I missed the links the first time I read your post. After looking at the links I think that would be really nice. I miss understood what you were looking to do. I thought it was just a frame with a light gauge steel sheeting. I would still like a concrete bunker but this would work nicely. After you said you were going to design your own I just wanted to make sure you were thinking of everything, it sounds like you are. Good Luck.

oneounceload that would be very cool.

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Old July 13, 2010, 03:22 PM   #10
saltydog452
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This is an interesting post.

Back where I come from, tornado shelters were, more of less, dug out in roadside embankments or convenient hills and also served as a root cellar and a place to store Mamma's canned summer garden vegetables.

I imagine that you have a plan for getting out of the cellar/shelter in the midst of all the debris that was scatterd around?

No dis, just curious. It is an interesting post and we have given it some consideration.

If you're in 'the country', how about the Propane tank? That stuff flows downhill also.

Again, no disrespect, just asking.

salty
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Old July 13, 2010, 03:38 PM   #11
Magnum Wheel Man
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a couple good points... I have a pretty rotten & in need of attention basement casement window that is where I want to put my "safe room" I have been considering framing in an unframed thermopane window with tempered glass for the house, & a barred from the inside, like the door, opening inward steel window big enough that if trapped inside, it could be unbarred, opened inward & the thermopane shattered ( if not already ) to allow an alternate escape route...

I have also thought about full house colapse ( though looking at most tornado type pics have most of the actual house missing ) a small chainsaw could be kept inside for trimming & or cutting your way out, if both escape routes are blocked... also in that type of situation you could at least yell to any emergency response personnel, if you didn't want to store the chain saw in with the guns ...

& funny you mention the LP gas tank... mine is a 1000 gallon tank, & is regulation distance from the house & positioned to where it is unlikely it could "roll" towards the safe room... also I'm of the type of person, that thinks if something is worth my time doing, it's worth doing right... "I" personally installed my LP tank... it has concrete footings, with a 1/2" x 6" steel strip conctete anchored into the concrete, then heavy bolts bolting the tanks feet to the plate... I've had anyone thats serviced my tank tell me "that's the most level", "the most sturdy" etc. mounted tank they have ever seen...

of course I'm of the belief that if it's your time... it's your time... & if the tank was ripped from it's mount, & lifted 100's of feet into the sky, only to drop on my safe room, like a big bomb... well then I guess it just must've been my time
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:07 PM   #12
saltydog452
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Basements kinda depend on terrain and water table.

To use the chain saw, you gotta get out the door. Being in the Castle don't help much if you can't get out.

Its kinda like a ' If I win the Lotto, what would I do?' mental exercise..

We're 'country' and will retire in 'Tornado Alley' in a few years. We will have waaaay limited financial resources so your conclusions and way of thinking are welcome reading.

Disturbed connections do leak and Propane, like water, follows the path of least resistance and seeks lower levels.

salty
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:22 PM   #13
Magnum Wheel Man
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Quote:
Disturbed connections do leak and Propane, like water, follows the path of least resistance and seeks lower levels.
a possibility...

the new plastic type pipe at the tank connection is in reality likely the easiest place to leak... that or the regulator outside the house...

I guess if the tank were full it could be an issue... however ( at least for us, & in our current situation ) our tank is either empty or nearly so by spring... the LP is used only for heat... we have 3 heat sources for the big old farm house, & we normally fill the tank in the late fall & use just one fill over the winter...

since I don't want the thread locked, & wanted to discuss this... 50% of my main purpose ( maybe even more ) is to get my guns out of the cheesy lighter weight gun lockers & into a safe room, where they can all be reunited... living in the country, I wory about gun security, & would want my safe room to be much more secure than the tin gun lockers...

seems this is the newest big thing for safes / safe rooms, is to make them multi purpose... my basement is nearly fully finished, & I would finish the outside of this room ( probably with sheet rock ) on the interiour room walls so it blends in & disappears... the steel door would hide behind an interiour wood door only 10ft from my bed... it would make a safe retreat for my wife, while I explored the possiblity of a home break in, a safer place than just the basement for a tornado... a safe place to store all my guns & loading equipment... win... win... win ???
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:39 PM   #14
saltydog452
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Dunno.

Most of the time. when considering a question, I tend to think 'why not'?

In this instance, I tend to think 'why should I'. There is a big difference in mind set.

Living on a hill in the San Bernadio Mnts may sound kinda neat. (I don't). It might not be too cool though when the hill slides into a lower elevation.

Lots of stuff to consider. As you implied though,...when its time, its time. We can't un-ring the bell.

salty
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Old July 13, 2010, 04:54 PM   #15
saltydog452
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I imagine that there are lots of web sites, forums, etc.,that'd deal with this hypothetical situtation. Generators and such, sustanable grain, you get the idea.

Gloom and Doom mentality, or Survalist notions of the 70s don't apply. I doubt that anyone is going to build a three bedroom cabin with a Swiss Army Knife.

We just want to be able to try again and have another go at it.

salty
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Old July 13, 2010, 07:44 PM   #16
red caddy
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I've been working on a plan for something similar down here in SW Florida. At 17 feet above mean sea level, a basement is not going to work for me. But, I do have a 2000 Sq. Ft., poured solid concrete block, shop building behind my 800 Sq. Ft. block, cracker shack, house. (yea, my neighbors refer to it as the "garagemahall", My wife calls it the playroom for the A/typical Racing Garage and Adult Day Care center...)

The plan, so far, is to build a 6' X 8' room against an outside wall, with a shop built, shuffle pin (6 sliding locking bar) vault style door, In swing, for the reasons already mentioned. With a 4", poured in place, reinforced ceiling at 8 feet. (shop has 13 Ft eave height)

The plan is to use half block (4 X 8 X 16) with rebar in every cell, poured solid for 1 short wall and the long wall. The short end, with the door, will be standard 8 X 8 X 16 block, with the door frame ( 4" X 1 1/2 X 1/4" web channel iron ) poured in place.

About half the price of a good double door safe will cover the materials,(~ $1500.00) the labor is cheap, 'specially if I withhold beer and pizza, LOL

Other than the 6 X 8 space is a little small for a storm shelter, 'specially when filled my guns, ammo and reloading stuff, anybody see any weak points in the plan? Thanks, Paul.
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Old March 30, 2011, 08:22 PM   #17
pie2mats
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Howdy Everybody

nice insights regarding the matter, works well in clientele explanation for similar concerns and great concept for future endeavor of the project and information resource option. please do provide some photos of the frame for reference i would really appreciate it. have a great day ahead.







________________________________________________________________
Matt Pierce
http://anteglobal.blog.ca
www.smartsafeshelters.com
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