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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at purchasing a gun safe, something that is fire resistant and farily secure. But, I haven't been able to find exactly what I want at a price I am willing to pay....

So now I am looking at building one...

24" x 24" x 60" with 3/16 steel will weigh about 350 lbs for the steel alone....

I dont know where to find specs for the fireproofing (aka: sheetrock), specifically weight and just how effective the protection is for a given thickness.

Does anyone know where I could find out how to properly do the fireproofing (door gasket), and how to set up a locking mechanism correctly?

Or perhaps any other stuff that would be good to know before I get in over my head?
 

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I think when you start pricing 5 or 6 gauge hardened sheet steel and 3/4" lock bars, plus the cost of having the stuff cut to size, you will find the result a LOT more than you are willing to pay. Take my advice and buy a safe already made. There are plenty of good ones, and the discount stores have them at reasonable prices.

Jim
 

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I also think you will be better off buying one $ for $. To fireproof you will need some sort of phenolic(sp) sheets for insulation and that get expensive quick. I know I have bought a few small scraps from local industrial supplier to make plenum spacers for cars. Not cheap.
 

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BigFunWMU, . . . the earlier answers are wise answers, . . . but to help you out in case you decide to do it:

Drywall, you know that stuff on your walls, . . . is considered by most localities to be 1 hour fire resistant per 5/8ths of an inch. Two layers will be and inch and a quarter thick, . . . and will weigh a bunch.

Build your inside box first, . . . add the drywall around it all the way, . . . then build the outside box and slide it over the inner stuff and weld it all in the back if you want a good looking safe.

If you properly shield the bars so a hacksaw cannot get to them, . . . they do not have to be hardened, . . . but they would be better if they were.

The lock can be purchased from most good locksmiths for something around 80 to 100 bucks, . . . mine cost 50 because I know the guy.

Search the internet under safes, . . . look for internal diagrams, . . . you may get lucky and find one or two.

You are taking on an almost monumental task, . . . but I applaud you for doing it, . . . as I plan to do the same in about a year. I bought a cheapie that will get me through till then.

Anyway, . . . best wishes, . . . may God bless,
Dwight
 

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No safe is fire proof, but a quality safe should provide resistance to high temperatures for limited periods of time.

On a national average, typical peak temperatures in a home fire range between 800 and 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, and the typical times for containing a home fire average from 15 to 30 minutes. Paper chars at 405 degrees F and most ratings are based on the amount of time it takes the internal temperature of a safe to reach 350 degrees F when exposed to an external temperature of 1,200 degrees F.

Safes are tested and certified for fire resistance by two independent laboratories -- Omega Point Laboratories (Omega) and Underwriters Laboratories (U.L.). At a minimum, a safe should provide 30 minutes of protection at a house fire temperature of 1200 degrees F.

Ratings are clearly expressed as 1200[degrees]/30 minutes, 1200[degrees]/45 minutes and so forth. Safes that have been independently certified carry a label from Omega or U.L. clearly stating the fire rating. Look for it.

Safe manufacturers use several methods of building fire resistance into their safes. The most typical design uses one or more layers and thicknesses of U.L rated fireboard in the interior walls, ceiling and door. Sportsman Steel Safes adds an additional layer of Pyro Ceramic. http://www.homelandsafes.com/pyroblocker.php

The better quality safes also employ a fire seal around the door frame that is heat resistant or heat activated. These are important design characteristics to look for when shopping for a safe. I have also known existing safe owners who lined their bare-walled safes with dry-wall to provide a level of fire resistance.

Here's photos of the inner workings of the dead bolts.




 

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Discussion Starter #7
Lots of good info here. Thanks for the help.

Based on this, it's time to dig up the AutoCAD and see what comes together right.

I'll post some .JPGs of what I come up with.

As to the checking local locksmiths, that is a good idea I hadn't considered. If nothing else perhaps one of them will have some good drawings of door + bolt innards. (let alone a good deal on a used safe)
 

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I bought one of these 5 years ago, from Sam's Club (Wally World). It was on sale for $699.00. Made in U.S.A. by Cannon. It comes with enough removeable/adjustable shelves to either do both sides, or one, or none ( & store the shelves elsewhere). I have this model, and am able to easily store 40 long guns, 20-40 handguns(depending upon boxes or not), family papers & jewelry. I think it's still a bargain, even at today's price.


http://www.samsclub.com/eclub/main_...&oidPath=0:-23542:-44121:-44271:-44471:927813
 

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Hi,

First of all ANY safe is better than NO safe.

But....You get what you pay for. The cheap safes are just that; cheap. They may keep a casual crook out, but not a determined one. Research this a ton and look at factors like body steel thickness, size and count of active bolts, hinges, relockers, level of fire potection and weight.

I don't care how heavy the thing is...Bolt it down. Think of it this way...When you buy, either you and a buddy or two guys you hire are going to bring it in the house. If two guys can move in, two crooks can move it out easier because they are not going to be careful to not hit the walls or break anything. Bolted down will make that a lot harder!!

Think hard about placement too. Where is it not likely to be seen by someone visiting or working in you house.

Good luck and I hope you find what you like.
 

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I know someone on another forum who is planning on building a built-in safe out of concrete with a steel door. That might be cheaper than manufacturing a traditional safe yourself. I don't know if this is practical for you or not, but if you're interested, send me a pm and I'll see if he'll be willing to help you out. He's an engineer that designs highrise concrete buildings, so I would consider him an expert.

-Patrick
 

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The problem with concrete is you can smash through it fairly easily with a sledge. Concrete IS a good insulator from fire and heat though...
 

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not mine but i think it would be alot more secure than you think. i believe the concrete roof/top/ceiling would help strengthen it. whats the concrete got imbedded in it? rebar, chainlink fence, reinforcing mat, expanded metal panels?

david
 

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Discussion Starter #14
hardened room

I would LOVE to have a collection like that :D

Also a hardened room would be most excellent, however I am still renting living space as opposed to owning my own. For the investment I would really love to take something like that with me.

As to concrete, I work landscaping, and we recently removed a cement patio in order to install a brick paver replacement. The concrete was about 6 to 8 inches thick and had very little reinforcing, just a wire mesh at the bottom barely imbedded. We had an extremely tough time getting this broken-up enough to load onto our truck, even with heavy equipment. When hit with a sledge, it just made a *PING* noise and barely even chipped. If done properly, concrete can be very strong. (expensive) Pre-stressed pre-formed slabs, low-slump mixtures, etc. The less water in the mix, the stronger the final pour.

Thanks also for all the PMs with ideas. Every time I check something out, someone seems to have a new idea. Locksmiths, used business safes, hardend room, used safe that someone traded up on, so much help. Thats why I really like this place....
 

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Man, I'd never get anything done with a collection like that in my basement. :eek:
 
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