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Old January 2, 2013, 04:43 PM   #1
southjk
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Convert a closet to a locking gun cabinet

I know it won't be secure from a determined thief but my goal is keep my guns secured from my kid, her friends, visitors, workmen etc.

The closet in question is pretty small. My initial thoughts were to buy a safe and put it in the closet but the narrow door opening limited what I could buy. The closet interior is about 2' X 1.5' and the door opening is only 17" so I decided that I may be better off just hardening the security on this closet a bit and dressing up the inside. The closet is sort of hidden. There is a different doorway next to this closet that leads from the den to the another section of the house and when that door is open, which it is 90% of the time, then this closet is not visible behind the open door. Right now it just has a cheap hollow core door with exterior hinges and no lock. I am going to buy a solid core door and replace the door knob with a dead bolt, use invisible hinges and a hidden touch latch that pushes the door open.

I think that's it for the door. The inside has plenty of shelves that I used to use for CDs before the MP3 revolution. What else should I do? It's hardwood floor so I guess something soft for the rifle butts to sit on. Line the shelves? Rifle rests? I've never had a gun safe/cabinet so not sure what I should do in there. I've only got two rifles and three handguns and accessories so I know this is more room than I need but I'll probably use it for other stuff that I also want out of site.

Last edited by southjk; January 2, 2013 at 04:59 PM.
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Old January 2, 2013, 05:49 PM   #2
Dwight55
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You didn't say different, . . . so I assue that the walls are drywall. BAD !!!

First thing, . . . line the entire inside with 3/4 inch plywood. Put up the longer walls first, . . . then the ends, . . . then the floor, . . . then the ceiling. That makes it almost impossible to "kick" in the walls.

I would get a solid core door, . . . line the back side with 1/8 or 3/16 steel plate, . . . bolted at the edges, . . .

Beef up that front wall where the door frame sits, . . . use locking, sliding bolts to secure the door.

Beyond that, . . . it would take one DE-termined individual and some tools to get into that room.

Wish I had one like it, just to be honest.

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Old January 2, 2013, 06:23 PM   #3
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I was thinking about either a false wall or making a reinforced cubby in between studs, and some way to disguise the opening.

Plywood sandwiched together is very strong, in fact they've made tornado proof rooms from a few layers of plywood.
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Old January 3, 2013, 10:48 AM   #4
southjk
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It's an older home so the walls are not drywall but wooden lath and plaster. Not that that is any more secure. The inside of the closet is lined with wood paneling that was common back in the 50's. So, it would be a little tougher to kick through than just two layers of drywall but it's nothing a sawzall couldn't get through. That said, I'm not trying to make it into an impenetrable vault. Visitors in my home are not going to try to kick in walls to get into the closet. I'm just trying to keep it simple and secure enough to keep out kids and visitors.

I guess my reason for posting is twofold. Is my plan for the door reasonable or am I missing something obvious? I'm not going to spend a ton of money when we may not even stay here for many more years. Secondly, I was looking for ideas to spiff up the inside to make it gun friendly.
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Old January 3, 2013, 12:20 PM   #5
Doyle
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You can easily get commercial grade metal security doors through your local home center. They are basically metal doors with reinforced jams.
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Old January 3, 2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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This is probably overkill; but...

Take a look at these:

http://www.patriotsafe.com/vault-doors

For a real secure door. Better beef up the walls though.

Or for a smaller budget see http://www.amazon.com/Homak-In-Wall-.../dp/B0017KL254
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Old January 3, 2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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A cheap gun locker inside a locked closet is cheap and easy. Bolt to studs and install shelves above for more goodies.
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Old January 3, 2013, 09:36 PM   #8
Metal god
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Quote:
You can easily get commercial grade metal security doors through your local home center. They are basically metal doors with reinforced jams.
Door opening is to small for any pre-fad doors .

If it's really just to keep the honest people out your on the right track . They make hinges that the pin does not come out . You see these more on exterior doors that open out . I assume the door opens out so you might want to replace the door stop trim with something thicker like 5/8" or 3/4" and use nails with heads rather then finish nails . That would help keep it from being kicked in .

As for the interior I would not do much at first cus your bound to change things up a little as you start to use the space ( add , move or remove shelves ) you can always add but it can be a pain to remove .

You need to make sure that area/space will stay dry . That type of floor and walls can leach moister through them .
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Old January 3, 2013, 10:26 PM   #9
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I think you are definantly on the right track. Perfect location too. Had a similar one in a previous house I had. Just to keep noses out, and safe from the kids.

I actually had my rifles raised off the floor by a couple feet on a shelf. Good for storing ammo under, since ammom is heavy. I had mine so I could stack two ammo cans and have plenty of room to spare.


Maybe a can or bags of desiccant in there. Rice, or at a craft store they sell silica.
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Old January 4, 2013, 12:21 AM   #10
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Line the walls with cedar and trim it out, replace the door with a nice solid-core door, you can get a steel door if you want, and get a locking knob and deadbolt (two holes in the door), and new hinges, and be sure to use long screws to attach the hinges to door and jamb. If using a pre-hung door, use long nails to attach the frame.
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Old January 4, 2013, 08:51 AM   #11
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Just buy a solid wood door and a dead-bolt lock - that will be enough to keep kids out, and even workmen while you are present (and probably if you aren't present.) In fact, that's what is typically used in Condos that are used as part-time rentals to keep "honest" folks out of the owner's stuff.

Nothing mentioned above is going to keep a thief out who is determined to get at your guns. I could cut through all of the above with nothing more than a $22 sawzall from Harbor Freight.
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Old January 6, 2013, 01:46 PM   #12
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For the stated level of security, the invisible hinges and a solid door with a deadbolt should be fine. You might line the interior with plywood, but if a thief is willing to trash your house, or worse, has a sawzall, then you are out of luck anyway unless you have a real safe. I don't think you'll need the touch latch, you can open the door with the key in the deadbolt.

You will want to rest the gun butts on something softer than the recoil pads but firm enough not to bottom out over years of storage. My local hardware store had some closed cell foam that was perfect. It also had some wood moulding that had a long series of bumps that's perfect for rifle rests.
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Old January 7, 2013, 04:55 PM   #13
southjk
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Quote:
You will want to rest the gun butts on something softer than the recoil pads but firm enough not to bottom out over years of storage. My local hardware store had some closed cell foam that was perfect.
I was thinking a yoga mat. Pretty cheap on Amazon. Oh, and unfortunately neither my 30-06 or 45-70 have recoil pads. Just a metal plate over the wood stock.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:03 PM   #14
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I used a few layers of tight knit carpet I had from a remodeling project. Price was right Just a thought.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:07 PM   #15
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Think hidden. Bad guy can't attack or steal what he doesn't know is there.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:29 PM   #16
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It sounds like you really just want a nice storage closet with a simple closet to child proof/nosy neighbor proof it.

If thats all you want then put a decent lock on it and fix out the inside as desired. Its not going to stop any sort of determined thief, but that doesn't appear to be your intent in this.

You can get simple felt at Hobby Lobby to felt shelves. Id' consider a humidifier depending on your exact location, and a nice interior light. Else a new lock and it should meet the need of what you want it for.
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Old January 7, 2013, 05:49 PM   #17
wayneinFL
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I'm thinking of doing the same thing. I have too many guns for one real safe. I have a few RSCs and cabinets. An RSC you could open in 5 minutes with a Sawzall or big prybar. The cabinets would open with a screwdriver.

I'm thinking of putting them in a walk in closet. I'd line the closet with plywood and maybe an extra layer of drywall. Then I'd go with a solid core door and deadbolt. It would be just as secure as a RSC, in my opinion. Wife wants a safe room anyway.
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Old January 9, 2013, 01:28 AM   #18
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Suggestion from a locksmith. Do not use an entry lock and expect anything resembling security. This includes the deadbolts commonly sold in home improvement stores. (research "keypicking" or "bumping")

I recomend "Medeco" brand hardware. This helps resist sawzalls also.
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Old January 9, 2013, 01:35 AM   #19
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Anything that can be cut with a Sawsall is a waste of time. Not to mention a house fire.

If you can't bolt down a real safe then make good hiding places as mentioned above.
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Old January 9, 2013, 02:28 AM   #20
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You could install a door with a regular lock that swings in. Remove the door trim on the outside wall and hang a large piece of pegboard with hidden hinges over the door, secured by a couple strong magnets that swings out. The locked door will keep the kids out, the pegboard will camoflauge from an intruder unfamiliar with your home.
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