Weatherproofing a Gun Vault?

I want to build a wooden gun vault. It will be placed in my woodshop, which is centrally air-conditioned. How do I make sure that the vault and doors will be weatherproof? – Glen Pickard

Chris Marshall: Glen, since your gun vault will be located inside the shop, I’m wondering why weatherproofing the vault is a concern? Maybe what you are inquiring about is how to make sure the central air won’t invite corrosion to the firearm metal. I would look at it this way: if you’ve got cast iron and steel machinery in your shop already and they aren’t rusty, your guns shouldn’t rust either if you make a standard wooden cabinet to keep them in. You probably also coat your gun metal and the bores of the barrels with some kind of anti-corrosion oil or fluid, which protects them during storage and outdoor use. I think you can just proceed to build whatever cabinet style suits your fancy and don’t worry about hermetically sealing them inside. I apologize in advance if I’ve misunderstood you here.

Rob Johnstone: Glen, as a fellow gun owner, I think I understand the goal that you have for your gun vault. You want a place to store your guns that is easily locked and keeps the steel weapons in a rust-free environment. As such, wood may not be the idea material to choose — but you and I like wood better than metal, so let’s just get past that point right now, OK?

I would make the vault out of veneer covered MDF (medium density fiberboard) and only use solid wood on the edges. MDF is extremely stable and does not move in relationship to humidity changes like solid wood does. Make the joints good and tight. When it comes to the door or doors, I would use weatherstripping (you can buy it at a hardware store) to make sure you have a good seal when it is closed. And finally, I would recommend a gun safe dehumidifier … you can find them online. It will remove moisture from the air. That should keep your guns from rusting. But remember to clean them thoroughly and apply a coat of light oil of some kind as well. To quote Neil Young, rust never sleeps.

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