And lonely, and the lure too great. With the plea for articles, I figure even something not quite up to snuff might be OK. So herein is perhaps the start of a multi-part case build. A case for guns. I’ve just started and I’m not sure I’ll finish it or if there will be similar gaps in articles as I continue or if I’ll document whatever I do well enough to write something. But at the very least, this will provide some pretext for random snark, links, and puns for the next couple of hours.

The “collection”

I have a friend – stop laughing, it’s true! – and they had a problem. Guns were taking over table tops, getting in the way. They (hey I’m not assuming xer’s gender, even if xe may or may not be imaginary) needed storage, but “nice” display storage, not hidden away in an opaque steel safe. The first step is to figure out how much storage. Xe sent me this picture from xer yacht that was about to have a tragic boating accident. So we need room for… 8 long guns (I forgot – I mean xe forgot – to lay out the Savage Arms 22LR) and 3 handguns.  Huh, the handgun collection looks a bit lean; xe should stock up. And the big 12 gauge is about 49″, so need that + a few inches in height. To the design stage!

Left – my design, right – downloaded from the internet, rough inspiration. I figured I should point out which is which as otherwise you might not be able to tell.

This will be short. I suck at design. I just sort of mulled it over in my mind for a week or two and the sketched the plans on the left out. At the wood store. While buying the wood. It’s based loosely on the plans on the right. So it amounts basically to 2 boxes, one tall (55″) and narrow (11-12″) for the long guns on top and a smaller deeper one (28″ x 20″) for the bottom. I’ll put in the angled glass shelf display for the handguns, but replace the drawers with a cabinet to store ammo and accessories. This stage really brings home my short coming in the planning department. I’m basically going to wing it, build the basic structure and work from there. I can’t help it. It does give me pause in a different area – I just bought some land and am planning to build a house with minimal contracting. I don’t think my winging it style of planning will work for that particular application.

Raw boards: Poplar has this tendency to have these green streaks; not ideal for a natural or tung oil finish.

At the wood store, I jealously eyed the stacks of maple and cherry while I pawed through the poplar. But given the likelihood I’ll mess something up, I’m going with cheap wood. Plus there’s a lot of edge joinery that would have need to happen with maple/cherry since the available boards were a lot narrower. As it is, I’ll still need to do some with the poplar, but not as much. After stacking and un-stacking wood for an hour (Sting’s got nothing on me), searching for the best pieces, I had what I needed for the boxes and rails/stiles for the doors. Most the the shelves will be hidden, so I’ll use (good) plywood with edge banding. I had them joint one edge of each board since I don’t have a jointer so I can just reference off the good edge on the table saw to make good square boards.

Final boards. Upper case on the left, lower on the right.

The wide pieces will be used for the top/long gun box – they are wide enough that I don’t need to do any edge joining. For the bottom, I’ll need to make one edge join, so I used the narrower boards. The raw boards were rough cut by hand down to approximate (over) size to make them easier to handle on the table saw. After the rough cut one needs to square the boards up, making sure the corners are at 90 degrees and the sides are parallel.  I made rip cut on the table saw, using the shop generated flat side as a reference. With 2 long sides parallel, they can be used against the table saw fence to generate square cross-cut ends, all resulting in perfectly square boards cut to size.  Honest, perfect. Repeat that process with the pieces for the bottom case. The pieces for the bottom case will be edge joined as shown in the image so as to create a piece of wood large enough for the case size.  It’s actually pretty amazing how, with a careful choice of faces to make wood grain line up and careful joinery, you can really make it look like one piece of board. And this is where it’s very important to have clean parallel sides from the rip cuts. Once they are glued up and set, I’ll cut a diagonal piece off to form the handgun display case. The top part of the bottom case will be approximately 13″ so the top case will sit on it (fastened with lag bolts in all likely hood).

And that’s as far as I got in a day! Next step is to plane all the boards to a uniform thickness and do the edge joinery on the sides and start dadoes and rabbets to create the boxes. Hopefully I can write up another piece in a week or two – that will mean I’m making progress.

Music link, why not.  The “Green” album, sometimes called Woods-4  – seemed appropriate.