How to Build a Gun Safe Out of Wood | Our Comprehensive DIY Guide

 Key Takeaways

  • Maple is the ideal material for a DIY gun cabinet safe since it is strong and readily absorbs polish
  • Wood is versatile, and you can shape it to fit any purpose, especially if you have free gun cabinet plans
  • Lumber is a natural insulator that will protect your guns from rust and excessive heat or cold
  • Long gun safes are typically 60 inches tall, but their width varies with how many firearms they can store

A wooden gun safe has the dual purpose of protecting your firearms and having an aesthetic look to match your home decor. This post will walk you through how to build a gun safe, from preparation and planning to assembly and final touches.

A wooden safe in the workshop

How to Build a Gun Safe Out of Wood

Making a gun safe for your apartment or home out of lumber is an excellent DIY project for people who like to keep firearms safe and presentable. Basic woodworking knowledge, tool settings, planning, and preparation are all you need to make a wooden firearm safe.

The adaptability of lumber is one of the best reasons to use it in building a safe. Lumber is versatile, and you can shape it to fit any purpose or design scheme. Plus, wood is a natural insulator that can assist in keeping the moisture out of a gun safe and regulating temperature levels within the safe, thus preventing rust and damage to your firearms. So what tools and materials will you need?

Materials and Tools Required

Building a gun safe out of lumber requires several materials and tools for the project. So, here are the materials and tools you need.


  • Wood: You can use any lumber, but it's best to use a durable hardwood, such as Oak or Maple
  • Plywood: You need it to build the back panel and side panels of the gun safe. It's best to use high-quality plywood that is at least 3/4 inch thick
  • Wood glue: You need it to hold the wooden pieces together and to ensure the strength of the structure
  • Screws: You need them to attach the wooden pieces and provide extra stability
  • Sandpaper: You need it to smooth out any rough edges or surfaces on the wooden pieces
  • Stain or paint: Stain or dye can give the gun safe a finished look and protect the planks from wear and tear
  • Lock: It’s necessary to secure the gun safe and prevent unauthorized access.


  • Saw
  • Drill 
  • Screwdriver
  • Clamps
  • Hammer
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
Various tools on wooden desk

Preparation and Planning

Take your time planning and preparing before you start building your wooden firearm safe. Here are the measures to take before constructing the firearm safe:

1. Determine the Safe’s Size and Design

Picking out what safe size you need and the design details is the first order of business when constructing a wooden safe for firearms. The safe's dimensions should reflect the number of firearms you intend to store and the storage space in your home. You can make the safe as basic or fancy as your woodworking expertise and imagination allow.

2. Draw a Plan After Taking Measurements

After settling on the safe’s dimensions and design, it’s time to become precise with your measurements and sketch a plan. Measure accurately the area where you want to install the safe and the firearms you will keep inside. Using these numbers, design the safe to the individual wooden planks' size and the lock's placement.

3. Cut the Lumber to the Required Size and Shape

Once you have a blueprint in hand, you can begin chopping the planks to the specifications needed to construct the gun safe. Cut the planks with a saw into the required parts, such as the front, flanks, bottom, and top. Measure and mark the planks with a pencil if you want perfectly straight cuts.

4. Put Some Sandpaper to Use

After cutting the planks into dimensions and shapes, use sandpaper to remove any sharp or rough edges. Doing so will enhance a tight fit between the wooden planks and the eventual success of the assembled construction.

a person measuring the boards


The gun safe's construction can begin after the preparation and cutting. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Assembling the Gun Safe Framework

It comprises the front, bottom, flanks, and backside panels. Put your plan into action by gluing and screwing the planks together. Ensure the joints are sturdy and constructed as per your blueprint. As the glue is drying, you can hold the parts together with clamps.

2. Add the Shelves and Compartments

After constructing the safe’s framework, you can finish the gun cabinet plans by installing the shelves and partitions. You can fasten the gun cabinet parts to the framework with glue and screws. Ensure that all the gun cabinet shelves and racks are stable and have easy access.

3. Add the Door and Lock

Once the gun cabinet plans are in place, it’s time to build the gun safe’s door. Drill a hole for the lock in the gun-safe door at the spot shown on the blueprint. Use screws and a hammer to fasten it to the door. Close the door and make sure it locks.

4. Put the Finishing Touches on the Gun Safe

Once you've installed the door and lock, you can add more options of finishing touches. Sanding the edges, painting or staining the wood, and sealing it can help make the planks last longer and prevent damage.

a man by the safe in the workshop


Can You Make a Gun Safe Out of Wood?

Yes, you can make a gun safe with lumber. All you have to do is have a plan, suitable materials, tools, and execution.

What Is the Best Wood to Build a Gun Cabinet?

The best lumber to build a gun cabinet is Maple. It’s resilient and absorbs stains better than hardwoods. However, staining requires adequate sealing to prevent blotchy results.

How Tall Should a Gun Cabinet Be?

For long gun safes, a gun cabinet should be around 60" in height. However, if you have free gun cabinet plans, the width varies depending on the number of guns it can hold. 

Do You Have to Bolt Gun Safes to the Wall or Floor?

Yes, you must bolt gun safes to the floor or wall if the empty weight of the container used to store firearms is less than 150kg. Expanding anchor bolts or something similar should secure the receptacle from the inside through the floor or wall.

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