Author Topic: Home built walk in gun vault safe shop tool closet storage  (Read 623 times)

tkerrigan

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Home built walk in gun vault safe shop tool closet storage
« on: September 29, 2018, 01:18:02 AM »
  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 also 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, grout filled and re-bared concrete block vault to protect my guns and tools 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 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 would have taken forever by myself. 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, leveled 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.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 11:41:34 PM by tkerrigan »


  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2018, 01:21:35 AM »
    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 for about 15 minutes until the grout set up enough to hold them straight.  I let them set up for about 7 days wetting them down twice a day.



  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2018, 01:31:13 AM »
    I started out making  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.





  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2018, 01:33:15 AM »
     I ending up using about 120 11oz tubes of silicone caulk to dry stack this together so I bought in bulk, 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. Many years later, my hand is still feels it.  At about 4' high, I had to weld more re-bar on. I made a jig from angle iron 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.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2018, 01:38:13 AM »
   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 so I could pour the part over the door.  At the left side I went in 1 block up to the height of the workbench to help brace that side of the doorway.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2018, 01:41:59 AM »
     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 watering it twice a day.
      The door was ordered from sturdy safe in Utah for about $1450 delivered, not a bad price for a 5/16” thick steel framed safe door made in the USA.    http://www.sturdysafe.com/vaultdoor.htm  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 while keeping it wet.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2018, 01:44:25 AM »
    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. I put cross beams under those and then put in posts.  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.



  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2018, 01:46:31 AM »
 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.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2018, 01:48:17 AM »
    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.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2018, 01:50:19 AM »
    Then I laid 1" thick pink foam on the floor.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2018, 01:52:35 AM »
    Then I laid 3/4” flake board tongue and groove flooring down.

  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2018, 01:56:52 AM »
    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 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.



  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2018, 02:00:37 AM »
    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  a vacuum cleaner, etc.




  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2018, 02:03:29 AM »
    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.



  • Jefferson, OR

tkerrigan

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Re: Gun, vault, safe, shop, storage
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2018, 02:05:46 AM »
     Here are the final pictures of the vault, I finished it before Christmas 2010. 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.  Total dollars for the project was about $4500. 

« Last Edit: September 29, 2018, 10:51:54 AM by tkerrigan »
  • Jefferson, OR