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    Home Made Gun safe or vault

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    ORairgunner
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    Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by ORairgunner on Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:48 pm





      *Long term project started in late October of 2010*





    I've been getting an itchy feeling between the shoulder blades when I travel south for about two and a half months in the spring most years. I've lived in the same place for about 25 years and have never been robbed yet (knock on wood). But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.

    Deciding that I needed something to protect my guns and tools while I'm gone or at home, I thought about having to go out 2 hours ahead of time and put a fire in the wood stove, or, sit in front of a propane reflector heater in the bitter cold. Not convenient if you want to just go out and work on guns for a couple of hours in the evening in the winter time.

    So, I decided to build a heated, insulated, filled and re-bared concrete block vault to protect my goodies and have a warm place to do the gun smith bit. To share this adventure, I’ll go through what I did with particular emphasis on the mistakes I made so others can have an easier time.

    I decided that 8' x 12' outside dimensions would hold everything I want to store with room for a work bench and gun rack. The 8' width fits between a doorway to the other shop and a steel rack on the wall. The 12' length matches the overhead storage that the top is next to. Part of the justification of the size was to move items previously stored on the floor to on top of the vault. I also had rolled the items I wanted to store into the area.

    I went to a building supply and bought 3 pallets of 6x8x16 concrete blocks thinking that I would get better quality that way; mistake #1. I found out later that dimensions can be off by a 1/4” so I had to keep shimming them level with washers. If the blocks were laid up with mortar, this problem would have been avoided. However, that requires more talent than I have. Mistake # 2; I could have bought the same blocks at Home Depot for about 25% less on sale. After I unloaded all of them and laid out the base course I realized that mistake #3 was using 6” wide blocks. I should have used 8” wide blocks so the corners would overlap properly. Deciding that rather than load them all back up, take them back, etc I would just use the 6” and not lap the corners and basically build 4 separate walls and tie them together with re-bar.

    Laying the blocks out and squaring the courses by measuring from corner to corner and adjusting until it was square, I used a straight 12' long 2x4 to make sure the walls were straight. Then using gray spray paint all around the base to make a pattern, I removed all the blocks and using a concrete blade on my side grinder, knocked down the surface where the blocks would rest. I replaced the blocks running a bead of silicone between the floor and the block also at the end of each block and drilled a 7/8” hole in the center of each cell at least 4” deep then vacuumed out the dust and primed the floor area inside of the cell with concrete primer. Since the dry stack method is being used, the sealant is to keep insects from going through the walls and for stability until the the grout is poured inside the blocks.

    PIC 459

    At Home Depot I bought 3/8” and 1/2” re-bar in 20' lengths costing only 50 cents more to get 20' instead of 10' lengths I used my trailer to haul them home. Also, I got a 50# bag of high strength grout. Cutting a 4' piece of 1/2” re-bar for every cell, I mixed up the grout and as I poured some in each cell placing a re-bar in every hole previously drilled. Running around and straightening rods until the grout set up enough to hold for about 15 minutes, I let them set up for about 7 days wetting them down twice a day.

    pic 347

    PIC 223

    I started out ending U shaped pieces of 3/8” re-bar to tie the walls together at the corners, but with chipping out a place to lay them, I found that was a lot of work so instead, I decided that a 5/8” hole could be drilled horizontally through the blocks at all corners putting 12” pieces in the holes so that when the walls were filled with grout, they would be tied together. As per the 3rd picture below I did all 12 courses at each corner.

    PIC 139

    PIC 155

    PIC 711

    I ending up using about 120 11oz tubes of caulk to dry stack this together so buy in bulk, I did. About $2.85 per tube. I should have bought an electric caulking gun. It would have sped construction and been much easier on my hand. At about 4' high, I had to weld more re-bar on. I made a jig from angle to keep them straight. At the right side of the doorway, I went in 2 blocks to help support the hinge side of the safe door.

    PIC 111

    Laying the blocks 12 courses high to match an overhead storage area that was already there, I left the blocks over the door way out and ran some re-bar across the opening. At the left side I went in 1 block up to the height of the workbench to help brace that side

    PIC 453

    I then had a mobile mix concrete company come in and fill all of the block cavities with 3000psi grout. Pumping it in through a hose it took about two hours and then I waited 30 days for it to set and cure.

    The door was ordered from sturdy safe in Utah for about $1450 delivered an economical and competitive price for a 5/16” thick steel framed safe door made in the USA.

    (Handy Link: http://www.sturdysafe.com/vaultdoor.htm to a website for the door)

    It was easy to hang taking it horizontally to the doorway with a floor crane laying down two 1/4” steel strips into the doorway with a couple of guys to help me stand it up and using a 2x4 to pad the door frame then tapped it into the doorway with a sledge hammer. Next we opened the door 90° and shimmed under the end of the door until the frame was even in the doorway. The right side ( hinge side) of the doorway had been kept as square and even as possible. Drilling 5/8” holes through the holes in the frame and installing wedge anchors, I put about three beads of silicone between the blocks and the door frame and tightened the frame to the hinge side of the door way then shimmed under the left side of the door and installed 5 anchors on that side, tightening just enough so the door was even in the frame when closed. That left about a one inch gap on the left side so I shimmed each anchor and finished tightening the anchor nuts. I then ripped a 2x4 length ways and stuck 1-1/2” self-stick foam tape to it. I then clamped them to the space between the frame and the left side of the door way and poured in high strength grout from the top down to fill in.

    Then I formed the area above the doorway. Using about 5 80# bags to pour the area above the door I waited another ten days for it to cure.

    PIC 448

    PIC 316

    Using a laser level to scribe a level line all the way around inside the room I installed 2x10 hangers on 16” centers across the room with the top of the 2x10's being set at 3.25” below the top of the walls. Then I laid 3/4” flake board tongue and groove flooring on the 2x10's and above that 2” thick pink foam and above that 1/2” re-bar in a 10” x 16” pattern. I welded 4” pieces on the ends so there would be less chance of the re-bar pulling loose as the concrete set. This poured ceiling will be over my head. The ceiling will weigh in the neighborhood of 8000 lbs.

    PIC 125

    When I had the blocks filled with grout I had the cement company stop filling half way up the top block. With the bottom of the ceiling pour starting 1.5” below the top of the walls, the top is tied into the structure. The forming is 1x6 along the existing overhead storage and 2x6 for the rest of it.

    PIC 408

    The forming is 3/4” in from the edge of the blocks all the way around the top and I had the pumper truck return with 5000psi concrete with nylon strings embedded for crack proofing. You guessed it, another 30 days to set and well watered for the first 10 days.

    PIC 500

    Then I laid 1” thick pink foam on the floor.

    PIC 922

    Then I laid 3/4” flake board tongue and groove flooring down.

    PIC 401

    Then I framed the inside with 2x4's ripped length wise, with the 1.5” dimension sticking out, I then cut and fitted 1.5” thick Styrofoam between the studs and sheeted the studs and foam with 3/4” cabinet grade fir plywood conveniently found on sale at Home Depot at $27 a sheet usually over $40. I wanted a strong wall so I could hang anything anywhere from the inside. Such as work bench, gun racks, and shelves.

    PIC 026

    PIC 152

    The electrical supply is all at one location with the bottom box a duplex receptacle for a small heater and a plug strip for the work bench. The middle box will have a combo switch and receptacle; the switch will control a duplex receptacle at the top of the wall for the light fixture over the work bench. The receptacle part is for a handy place to plug in vacuum cleaner and such.

    PIC 221

    PIC 230

    The feed wire will run across the room over the door way to the far end and then 90 for about 6' to where a piece of 1” PVC conduit goes through the ceiling. As you can see, I should have notched the top of the 2x10's to run the wire as that is a hard place to drill. Half inch rigid nipples and coupling will fit inside the 1” PVC, so I can put a box top and bottom.

    PIC 258

    PIC 320

    In the last segment, I will show a complete list of materials and costs. Seeing hard cold cash figures I've spent will probably bring tears to my eyes.

    This project is about 75% done now, painting, work bench, shelving and gun racks remain to be done. I do have the satisfaction of knowing that I can lock up my stuff now if I have to go someplace.
    Tom
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    Re: Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by Abda on Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:11 pm

    Nice post!


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    Re: Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by StubExt on Mon Aug 01, 2011 11:21 pm

    Really Nice.

    I have a concrete hexagon room below my hexagon breakfast room the needs a vault wall and door. It is about 8x10' and would hold everything my safe can't. It would make a dandy gun room. The floor above is ceramic tile.

    There have been a rash of thefts of guns and other stuff in this economy in the area and just about everyone here in Missouri is armed (CCW) so once in a while the robbers lose big time but they keep on trying.


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    Re: Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by ORairgunner on Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:55 am

    I highly recommend one, the door weighs 560 lbs, measures 6" x 36" x 80", it could easily be man handled even down stairs with about 3 buddies if necessary, it will slide on the frame it is welded into. I actually feel that I can go places now, and not end up feeling that I will have to massacre someone if I come home to find nothing there.
    Tom
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    why choose a home made gun vault

    Post by Abda on Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:21 pm

    Can you give some details about why you choose to build your own and how you came to think about putting the safe door on it? How did you come to choose THAT safe door?

    I'd like to have a room of my own for stuff like that but I'm a lazy sort: I want it all right in my little 10x10 man cave (the den) room.

    Then I like do what guys like to do best: Spread out all my tools and what I'm working with on every counter top and the kitchen table so it's all right there. Oh, my wife just loves me when I do this.

    NOT!

    I tell her that I'm staking out my territory: Arhg, Arhg, Arhg!

    With a gun safe room like that, I'd really miss her getting after me and wanting to know, every 10 minutes, when I'm going to be finished. If I had a safe room that would never happen because I'd then be banished forever to the Gun Safe Room.

    Hmm, she might even lock me in there!

    Umm, nah, I don't think so.

    I'll stick to getting yelled at!

    Very Happy


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    Re: Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by Abda on Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:25 pm

    Oh yea! Nice pictures of the Home Made Gun Vault Room, Tom.

    Sharp, clear, clean and crisp.

    Meant to say something about that!


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    Gun vault update

    Post by Abda on Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:59 pm

    For Tom . . .
    ***
    .
    .
    As I promised, I'm back with the final pictures of the vault, I finished it before Christmas. This is looking through the door from about 10' outside. As you can see, I lined the door with 1" thick pink foam laminated to 3/8" plywood. Gotta keep it warm in there.

    (ViewFromOutside)



    The desk and gun racks are on the left wall as you walk through the door. As you can see, I left an empty spot in the middle for longer guns, I plan on filling that with xp-airgun Rangers. Notice the heater under the desk. I'm keeping it at 60 degrees in there, don't want any rusty guns. Looks like it will take on average about 10 cents a day to heat throughout the year.


    (Desk&GunRack)



    [Desk&GunRack(1)




    This view is with the desk at my back looking at the far wall.
    (DeskAtBackLow)



    [DeskAtBackHigh)



    I couldn't resist rolling the compressor in for one last pic of the far wall.
    (DeskAtBack)



    Looking from the doorway shows the left wall with shelves for pistols, scopes, and ammo.
    [ViewFromDoor)



    I'm sure glad to have that done and using it, the guns picked up a few minor battle scars from where I had to store them while building. Lots of dust was generated. The total cost of the vault came to about $4500. The door was about $1450, the concrete pours came to about $1500, and the rest was materials.
    Regards, Tom


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    Re: Home Made Gun safe or vault

    Post by ORairgunner on Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:15 pm

    Thanks for posting the last installment of the vault project for me Abda. Perfect job. I am picture posting challenged.
    Regards Tom

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