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  #1  
Old 07-17-2013, 7:21 PM
L1ttlebear L1ttlebear is offline
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Default By popular demand, Mirror gun safe build

Gun Cabinet Build

Hello everyone! I posted an item for sale here on calguns a little while ago and instead of getting 100 people asking me to buy it, I got 100 people asking me how I built it! So after successfully finding a new home for my item, I am going to be giving what limited knowledge I attained through my build process.

The first step for this build is to know exactly what you're trying to achieve. In this case, I had seen a website that builds this cabinet and thought to myself “I can build that!”. The website was tacticalsafe.com. As you can see from their website, their wall safes are professionally done and kinda pricey. My goal was to build a cabinet similar to what was offered commercially but without spending a lot of money and offering a more “empty” space to allow further customization.

The plan:

Any good DYIer knows that planning is the most important part of your build so since the goal was to go as cheap as possible. The basic outlay of the cabinet is to create a box with one opening which will have a mirror that swings from side to side to open or close the opening. The size of my box was going to be directionally proportionate to the size of the mirror so off to the stores I went!

The eye piece:

I eventually found a mirror from Ross. The type of mirror I was looking for was something lightweight but solid enough to actually mount something onto. Light because the more weight, the more likely that the slides may fail and render the unit useless. Strong enough so that I can, of course, mount the slides to the mirror without the mirror eventually sagging or breaking. All of the pressure will be on the mirror, remember that. The mirror I found was only $30 and solid enough on the frame to support whatever I wanted

All mirrors have an annoying brown paper on the back to cover up the ugly staples and glues on the mirror, remove this. No one will see it, and it only gets in the way. Once removed we will set the mirror aside until almost the end of the build. The reason for buying the mirror first was only to determine the size of our box remember? :P

The Box:

For my actual cabinet, I drove down to my local Home Depot and just started walking through their lumber section. I was looking for something strong enough to be a sturdy platform for my cabinet that would last for as long as I did while at the same time being...cheap.

What I found was a maple wood veneer that was on sale. The sheet of wood was large enough for me to get every cut I needed for my build PLUS some for only $40! I had already found the dimensions to my box so once I bought the sheet of veneer, I just asked my local home depot worker to cut the sheet to the precise measurements for me so that I had all necessary pieces for the build before I left the store

To connect the cabinet together, I used “L”brackets on the inside of the cabinet.(see pic 1) The “L” brackets I used were simple steel cheapo brackets and they worked great. As an added bonus, the adopted the wood stain that I applied later (see pic 2)

The Measurements:

Lets back peddle for a moment and talk about measurements. Your measurements will either make or break your build. In my case, I had a mirror that was 63 inches tall and 20 inches wide. I wanted my cabinet to be just as big as the mirror and NEVER exceed the mirror size. If your box is bigger than the mirror than you will obviously not be able to hide the cabinet and so the mirror is as big as it gets. With that said, avoid a mistake that I made. The distance between the average two studs in a home is 16 inches. If I build another mirror safe, I will make sure not to exceed the width of 16 inches. Ideally, a mirror that is 16 inches wide will allow you to build a cabinet or box that will fit flush between two studs for easy mounting.

The other measurement to be aware of is the depth of the cabinet itself. The average distance between two walls of Sheetrock is 4 inches so when building your box, do not make it deeper than 4 inches or else it will be sticking out of the wall and defeating the whole “covert” portion of the build.

In my case, my mirror was 63''X 20'' so my cabinet became 63''X20''X4'', this allowed for my cabinet to be as large as possible without being seen at all.

When building the cabinet, this should go without saying, but please remember to include thickness of your wood into your measurements. For example, if your building the cabinet 4 inches deep and the wood is ¾ inch thick (as mine was) and if your making the back panel the absolute bottom portion, than your side panels would measure 3 1/4''X63''X3/4''.

So assuming you have your cabinet built to the appropriate measurements and your mirror is able to cover the entire cabinet portion, we need to talk about making it look good and making it function as a mirror safe.

The Slides:

The slides were an area that I made a mistake on and spend a long time researching before stumbling onto a stupidly simply solution. My first attempt at slides was to buy simple drawer slides from home depot. The problem with these slides is that they need to slide in the same direction but are designed to do so while facing opposite directions (one for each side of the drawer). When applied to the mirror safe, one of the slides needed to be flipped upside down. The problem is that these slides require gravity to operate so when flipped upside down, they become entirely worthless.

What I ultimately ended up with were drawer under mounts! something very similar to this:

http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Fox-D3067...wer+undermount

The legth of these slides should be the same as the width of your cabinet or mirror (whichever one is shorter). The problem with these mounts is that they are large. So large in fact that they would not fit onto my mirror or my cabinet. What was needed? MOUNTS! The only goal to achieve here was to mount the slides. I accomplished this by simply buying a could of 18 ½ inch X 1/8 inch boards. The boards needed to be mounted to both the mirror and the cabinet. I achieved this buy buying a piece of metal with 2 holes in it. I applied two of these metal pieces to all places that the slides would be mounted. From there I was able to mount both slides to both the cabinet and the mirror. (See pic 3-6)

The Color:

With the cabinet now having a mirror successful sliding mirror, it is now time to make this unit look pretty

For my cabinet, I chose to stain my veneer a deep maple. I chose this color in an attempt to match the color of the fake wood on the mirror. I misjudged the color but the stain still turned out pretty good. Taking the mirror off after installation was a pain and I was worried that I would not be able to get it back together again, so maybe you should stain the wood and parts before assembly but as with most DYI projects, its up to you .

The shelves and lights:

For the shelves and lights, all I did was cut a few shelves from the remaining parts of the veneer I bought and installed them using the same “L” brackets that I had used to assemble the cabinet. Once the shelves were in stalled, I went to Home Depot and bought a set of cheap battery operated LED lights that were designed to light up the underside of shelves and cabinets. The lights had built in adhesive pads but I found them to be weak and the lights kept falling down. I used gorilla glue to permanently place the lights onto the shelves but only glued the battery panel so that the lights could still be easily taken off for battery changes.

The reason for battery operated lights as opposed to corded LED ropes or something is that if the power in your house goes out, you will still be able to see exactly what you are grabbing and what you are doing (is the safety on? Is there a round in the chamber? Etc). This is up to you, but I always prefer to be prepared.

The Lock:

Originally, I did not have a lock on the cabinet, the lock was its discreetness but most people interested in the cabinet wanted a lock so I had to devise a lock that would be secure, but still operate with the unit in the wall while being small enough to not be seen.

What I came up with was a drawer lock. I used a power drill with a spade bit to cut a hole in the side of the mirror. The lock was the exact depth as the side of the mirror and happened to line up perfectly. (see pic 7-8)

This lock was small enough to not really be noticed, was easily concealed but locked the safe up completely. There was not was in with that thing locked aside from breaking the unit.

With all these things assembled(See pic 9-11), I finally had a nice looking mirror safe that was secure, discreet ad looked pretty dang cool! Put some guns inside and you have yourself a wonderful home defense safe!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg pic 9.jpg (9.0 KB, 769 views)
File Type: jpg pic 10.jpg (14.7 KB, 720 views)
File Type: jpg pic 11.jpg (7.9 KB, 697 views)
File Type: jpg pic 1.jpg (87.6 KB, 681 views)
File Type: jpg Pic 2.jpg (87.4 KB, 702 views)
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2013, 7:22 PM
L1ttlebear L1ttlebear is offline
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Anyone know how to add pics from the reply section? i need to upload the rest of my pics
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Old 07-17-2013, 7:32 PM
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Looks nice.

Instead of the little "L" brackets you might have considered pocket screws. I have found them to be very useful and make for a clean build.

Of course, that is assuming I am understanding what you used the L brackets for. My impression is that you used them to hold all of the sides/top/back together to hide the nails/screws.

Edit: I must say that is a creative use for drawer slides. I would not have considered using them to slide a mirror to the side.
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Last edited by MaHoTex; 07-17-2013 at 7:41 PM..
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Old 07-17-2013, 7:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L1ttlebear View Post
Anyone know how to add pics from the reply section? i need to upload the rest of my pics
Hit advanced reply
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Old 07-17-2013, 8:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L1ttlebear View Post
Anyone know how to add pics from the reply section? i need to upload the rest of my pics
manage attachments on the bottom. you just didnt look down far enough
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Old 07-21-2013, 4:00 AM
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Great build!! Thanks for the write-up L1ttlebear.
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Old 07-21-2013, 7:13 AM
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Thanks for the write up
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Old 07-21-2013, 10:26 PM
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Tag
I going to give it a try
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Old 07-22-2013, 6:50 PM
L1ttlebear L1ttlebear is offline
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some more pics
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File Type: jpg pic 3.jpg (86.3 KB, 381 views)
File Type: jpg pic 4.jpg (85.3 KB, 370 views)
File Type: jpg pic 5.jpg (90.2 KB, 363 views)
File Type: jpg pic 6.jpg (89.0 KB, 354 views)
File Type: jpg pic 7.jpg (85.4 KB, 372 views)
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Old 07-22-2013, 6:50 PM
L1ttlebear L1ttlebear is offline
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final pic
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Old 07-22-2013, 7:15 PM
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Would you mind posting a side view pic? In pic9.jpg it looks like the mirror was leaning against the wall at an angle.
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Old 07-22-2013, 8:23 PM
L1ttlebear L1ttlebear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lazyworm View Post
Would you mind posting a side view pic? In pic9.jpg it looks like the mirror was leaning against the wall at an angle.
here you go These are the last of the pics i have. The safe had been sold so there is nothing else for me to photograph :P
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Old 07-22-2013, 8:24 PM
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And yes it was leaning up against the wall. That is also the reason it was on the floor and not in the wall. :P
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Old 07-23-2013, 1:25 PM
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Nice!
Thanks for the info.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:52 PM
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Nicely done!

Some questions:

1) Did you intend to build this into the wall, or was it intended to be surface mounted, thus sticking 4" (plus mirror size) into the room?

2) Probably pointless if you're not cutting it into a wall, but if you are, you may be able to add a thin "skirt" around the mirror that would conceal the slides and the resulting smallish gap between the mirror and the box (or wall). (see pic 8) Just a thin strip of wood, stained to match, leaving a tiny gap to slide over the wall, would make a big difference in what you can see from the side.

All in all, though, very well done! I need to get crafty and do something like this, too, I think...
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:03 PM
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:04 PM
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Old 08-03-2013, 6:38 AM
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Dude this is awesome. Now I just need to figure out where I "need" a mirror in my house
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Old 08-03-2013, 6:57 AM
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tacticalwalls.com is a vendor that sells these too. (Not affiliated, I just saw it on the net one day)
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Old 08-03-2013, 7:30 AM
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Very cool. But why bother putting a wood back? Structural? One could gain 1/2 or 3/4 " of depth. Putting it in an inside wall, no back wouldn't make much difference, unless the BATF came knocking...
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Old 08-03-2013, 8:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoologan View Post
tacticalwalls.com is a vendor that sells these too. (Not affiliated, I just saw it on the net one day)
Those are cool, but unnessisarily expensive. The magnetic locks are brilliant, though, I wish I could buy those separately for my own build.
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Old 08-03-2013, 9:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruceflinch View Post
Very cool. But why bother putting a wood back? Structural? One could gain 1/2 or 3/4 " of depth. Putting it in an inside wall, no back wouldn't make much difference, unless the BATF came knocking...
Your build was brilliant. But I did have a similar thought to the quote above. Could forgo the box entirely and use the wall studs as the box just add shelves.

Still I applaud your design.
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Old 08-03-2013, 9:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobBeckett View Post
Your build was brilliant. But I did have a similar thought to the quote above. Could forgo the box entirely and use the wall studs as the box just add shelves.

Still I applaud your design.
The box adds security and makes it a helluva lot more attractive looking. The backpanel, however, could probably be reduced to a thin sheet of veneer, or even melamine or other hardboard which is covered in black felt or something, to get most of that extra storage depth and still have an attractive look.

Of course, that's the beauty of simple DIY concepts like this... take the idea and do what YOU like best for YOUR build!
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Old 08-03-2013, 9:49 AM
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I like this, I might make this into a project. Reminds me of what Q-Line Design builds but very expensive...

Last edited by tekrus05; 08-03-2013 at 9:54 AM..
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Old 08-03-2013, 9:58 AM
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WOW

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