Gun Safe Refurb Part 1 – Exterior

Gun Safe Refurb Part 1 – Exterior

Ok, some of us can’t afford to drop a few grand on a new gun safe, some of us are just cheap…I guess I’m a little bit of both. ūüôā I found a goodly sized gun safe on Craigs List that I literally traded my old computer for. This is Part 1 of a multi-part Gun Safe Refurb. In later parts I’ll show the digital lock I installed, custom interior I’m designing and building, and the lighting feature for this safe. But for now, let’s see how this project is progressing, shall we?

So I finally purchased a house with a decent sized basement, I figured it was time to find a gun safe to safely store my quickly growing collection of firearms. Every time I go to the local shops to pick up reloading supplies, I’d always meander through the maze of safes and had a good idea of what I wanted. I just didn’t have $3k for it! So I hit the usual suspects, forums, eBay, and Craigs List. As luck would have it, a gentleman not too far from me posted a “come and get it” ad saying he had this old gun safe that came with the house he just moved into, and he wanted it out…he also wanted a computer. Working IT for a living and I happen to be looking for a gun safe; clearly the Gods must be pleased with my offerings of lead and electrons. The photos in the ad were small, and looked just like this:


I’ll not bore you with the story of me pushing a 550lb safe up a flight of stairs and the¬†hernia that resulted. Nor how I fit a 22 gun safe in my little Scion XB and the rear window getting knocked out while driving over railroad tracks. But I will say that I was pleased with the trade, at the cost of an old computer, some torn muscles, and a new rear window on the car. So far this cost me about $180 for the new rear window (the computer was “retired” so really had no value to me).


I was nonplussed¬†with the combination lock…having a terrible memory and the tedium of 4 turns to the right, 3 turns to the left, 2 turns to the right BS, got me started on looking for a digital lock. Add to that, if you look at the first photo, WTF was the previous owner thinking, putting stick on insulation strip on the *outside* of the door? I can only imagine the old guy that owned the house and the safe, previously had heard that using insulation strip on the door would help him maintain a more consistent¬†humidity…I mean, the safe did have two large desiccant ¬†cans inside (bonus!), so I can only guess he was a little confused as to where the insulation strip should have gone.¬†¬†The grey shag carpeting in the safe tells you how old this thing is. LOL

First things first, lets clean up this door. This insulation on the *outside* has to go, and I’m not a fan of name brands emblazoned on the things I own…no offence to Browning, just not my thing. Unfortunately, the¬†adhesive on the weather strip did a good job of soaking into the textured paint/powdercoat on the door, so peeling and shaving it away with a razor left me with bare metal.


Not a pretty sight, but hopefully some sanding and the tried and true Rustoleum Hammer Tone will fix this up.



Fast Forward a bit, after lots of sanding with the random orbital and some 80 grit.



Ready for paint, or so I thought:


It turns out, hammer tone finish wasn’t enough to cover up the hard edged transition between the factory finish and the¬†adhesive¬†damaged finish I stripped away. So I came up with another clever idea, and ran out to the local hardware store and picked up a ¬†stone texture type finish which would cover up the rough looking door. This gave me a great base coat to put the hammer tone finish on and finally started looking like I might know what I was doing.



To be Continued: Part 2 Changing out the Lock