How to Make a Display Gun Cabinet

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Gun cabinets are an excellent way to show off your gun collection. Guns that are used frequently should be under lock and key, but if you have a collection that warrants a display case, that's another story. A good knowledge of woodworking is needed for a project like this, so do whatever is necessary to prepare. Make all the important decisions regarding size, depth and type of wood before shopping for lumber and hardware.

Cutting the Parts

Step 1

Set the table saw fence at 2 inches and rip all but the 24-inch piece of the 1-by-3-inch lumber to 2 inches in width. Next, set the table saw fence on 1¼ inches and rip the 24-inch and the 9¾-inch pieces of lumber to this width.

Step 2

Set the blade of the table saw to exactly ½ inch in height. Set the table saw fence at 5/16 inch. Make one pass on one edge of all the lumber except the 1-by-12-inch lumber.

Step 3

Make another pass on this setting with two of the 8-inch pieces of lumber. This will result in two of them having a groove on both edges.

Step 4

Place four of the 72-inch pieces of lumber on a table side by side. Measure up from one end 34 inches and make a mark. From that mark measure 2 inches more and make a mark. Place a carpenter's square on each of those marks and draw a line across the lumber. This is where you'll place the divider that separates the two pieces of glass end panels.

Step 5

Apply glue to the ends of one of the 8-inch pieces of lumber and place it between the lines you drew in Step 4. Next, place another 72-inch piece on the other end of the 8-inch piece. Apply glue on the edge first and then clamp them together with one of the 18-inch bar clamps. Next, slide two pieces of the glass into place, apply glue to another piece of the 8-inch lumber and slide it over the end of the glass and between the two 72-inch pieces. Clamp these pieces together with one of the 18-inch bar clamps. Repeat this with the other two 72-inch pieces of lumber and three more of the 8-inch pieces. Leave these overnight to dry.

Step 6

Place the remaining two 72-inch pieces of lumber on the table. Apply a bead of glue on the end edges of one of the 19¼-inch pieces of lumber and in place in between the two 72-inch pieces. Clamp this together with one of the 30-inch bar clamps. Slide the 20¾-inch piece of glass into the grooves. Apply glue on the end edges of the other 19¼-inch piece of lumber, slip it over the glass in between the two 72-inch pieces of lumber and clamp it together with the other 30-inch bar clamp. Leave overnight to dry.


Step 1

Place the three 1-by-12-by-24-inch pieces of lumber on the table. Drill pilot holes around the perimeter of each at about 8 inches apart. Keep them about 3/8-inch from the edge. Next, place the six 24-inch and the six 9¼-inch pieces of lumber on the table. Drill three pilot holes through the sides of the 9¼-inch pieces of lumber.

Step 2

Apply a bead of glue to the long edges of two of the 24-inch pieces of lumber and place them under the long edges of the 1-by-12-by-24-inch piece of lumber. Secure them with the 6d finish nails. Do the same with two of the 9¼-inch pieces. Repeat this process with the other two 1-by-12-by-24-inch pieces of lumber.

Step 3

Remove the bar clamps from one of the end panels that you created in Step 5 of the previous section. Place it on the table and set the three shelves created in steps 1 and 2 of this section. Apply some glue to the ends of the shelves and place them against the end panel. Secure them with the drywall screws. Don't countersink the screws too far.

Step 4

Repeat Step 3 with the other end panel. The end panels will extend beyond the shelves ¾ inches. Next, run a bead of glue around the perimeter of the back of the gun cabinet. Set the ¼-inch plywood on the cabinet with the good side facing in. Secure it with the 3d box nails. Sand the cabinet as needed with 100-grit sandpaper.

Step 5

Remove the clamps from the door and place it on the table. Install the piano hinge according to instructions provided by the manufacturer. Next, install the door on the gun cabinet.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses. Do not raise the table saw blade any more than necessary to make the cut. Do not leave power tools unattended. Do not lay frames with glass in an area susceptible to breakage while they are clamped together.

Things You'll Need

  • 6 pieces of 1-by-3-by-8-inch lumber
  • 6 pieces of 1-by-3-by-72-inch lumber
  • 2 pieces of 1-by-3-by-19¾-inch lumber
  • 6 pieces of 1-by-3-by-24-inch lumber
  • 6 pieces of 1-by-3-by-9¾-inch lumber
  • 3 pieces of 1-by-12-by-24-inch lumber
  • 1 piece of ¼-inch plywood, 25½ by 72 inches
  • Table saw
  • Variable-speed drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Philips head screw tip
  • Hammer
  • 6d finish nails
  • 3d box nails
  • Nail set
  • 1¼-inch drywall screws
  • (6) 18-inch bar clamps
  • (3) 30-inch bar clamps
  • Wood glue
  • (4) Window glass 9-by-33-inches
  • (1) Window glass 20¾-by-69-inches
  • (1) 72-inch piano hinge

Who Can Help

  • Build A Display Cabinet For Firearms
  • Gun Cabinet Plans---Build an Oak Gun Cabinet
Keywords: gun cabinet, display case, display guns

About this Author

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. Straessle has published three books, the latest of which is called “What a Strange Little Man.” His work has also appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.

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