Gun Storage, Arms, Defense, and General Babbling

Custom Gun Cabinet FAQs – Answered by a Master Craftsman

I’ve spent the last few months filling this site primarily with gun safe information (some of it’s actually kinda useful), but I’ve given very little mention to gun cabinets, and far less notice to the wooden variety.  My main reason for neglecting these beautiful timber bred creations is that I know very little about them.  Considering my total lack of knowledge on the subject, I naturally decided that I needed to create a buyer’s guide…but I needed to get my facts straight first.

Back in November, among my earliest posts, I wrote a quick rant on the topic of wooden gun cabinets and made brief mention to a fella named Tom, and his custom gun cabinet shop, Handmade Traditions.  After taking another look at his online gallery, I new that he’d be the man to help fill me in on the information I needed.

About a week ago, I contacted Tom for the first time, told him my intentions, and sent him a list of gun cabinet related questions.  Almost immediately he replied.  He told me he’d be glad to help…and help he did.  His answers were so thorough and well put-together that I decided to skip the guide (perhaps for a later time), and just let Tom do the talking.  Thus this custom gun cabinet FAQ was born.  If this dude is so willing to help a creepy gun safe blogger he’s never met, I can’t imagine how well he must treat his paying customers.  Check out what he had to say:

What are the greatest factors affecting the overall price/value of a custom gun cabinet?

There are several factors to weigh in when considering the cost of a custom gun cabinet.

Type of material used. Craftsmanship built into the cabinet. The overall capacity of the gun cabinet. The amount of additional custom work the client may select.

The cabinets I design and make at my business, Handcrafted Traditions, are made with the best furniture grade lumber and materials that I am able to obtain for my clients. The cost of the wood used is a big factor in pricing. Handcrafted Traditions gun cabinets are made by hand including all the trim. The cabinets include backs that are recessed into the cabinet, miter corners, solid raised panel doors with stile and rail joinery, concealed hinges, and the cabinets are complete with your choice of stain and finish, locks on all doors, glass, lights and hardware.

Capacity of the gun cabinet is another factor to consider. Many clients opt to have bigger capacity cabinet. I currently have models from 10 gun capacity to 20 gun capacity. Many clients choose to order a bigger cabinet thinking that in the future they may add more guns to their collection.

Additional costs may be associated with options available. Handcrafted Traditions options:

Full felt backing in your choice of available colors
Drawers in any configuration you may like included in the base
Different Buttrest configurations

What are the most common types of wood used for gun cabinetry?

Red Oak, Maple and Pine are the most common types of wood  requested by my clients

Are there any major advantages to using one type of wood over another?

My Personal preference is Red Oak. Ninety-nine percent of the cabinets I make for my clients are Red Oak. I buy this lumber in quantity and I am able to keep my costs low and -pass on the savings to my clients. Advantages would be more a personal preference when it comes to wood, in my opinion.

What security options are typically available in a gun cabinet?

This is a good question.

Security? First off, I make gun cabinets. They are made out of wood. The cabinets display your guns and have glass in the doors. A hammer and/or crow-bar will make short work of entering a gun cabinet. That goes for any gun cabinet made out of wood, regardless of the security measures installed. Many of my clients have “Mancaves” and “Gun Rooms” with vaulted doors built into their house and that gives them extra peace of mind. I have other clients that state “ If I have to hide my guns, then what’s the need in having them.”

Insurance, alarm systems, triggerlocks, all these extra security measures help. I hear from some people that they would feel real bad if their guns fell into the wrong hands and were used to harm. At the same time I hear other people tell me “Cars kill more people than guns do”.

I always tell my clients that a gun cabinet is not a safe, and all security expectations should be set accordingly.  My dad raised me to respect guns and taught me at a early age the responsibility that goes with them.  My clients are educated enough to make the decision on security and responsibility.  I try to stay out of that debate.

What are the most common additional features available to add to a base unit?

You can add many additional features, and I think I touched on these earlier. I have some clients that elected me to be creative with their cabinets and stained the inside different from the outside. That really looks nice with the right combination. Anything is possible.

What stain and clear coat options are available/commonly used?

I use Minwax stains and 4 coats of Lacquer for my finish. I offer gloss and satin and 99% of my clients choose satin which is my personal preference as well. The cabinet is “eye candy”.  The guns inside should be the focus and many stocks  have a gloss that really attracts the attention to the contents. My clients tell me that when they sit back from a long day’s work, or have time to just be around their cabinet they are reminded of the many enjoyable days they spent afield with family and friends or on a special hunt. That is one of biggest reasons they choose a wooden gun cabinet.

What kind of maintenance can we employ to extend the life of the cabinet?

Same procedure as cleaning any furniture. Little polish from time to time.

Handcrafted Traditions gun cabinets are built to outlast you and me. Short of a tornado coming through your house, with care and respect, the cabinet will be handed down to your family members.

Anything to avoid?

You don’t want to have lots of moisture, particularly with lots of heat.  I use joinery that can expand in these cases, but as a rule of thumb, water and wood do not mix.

Do you recommend any cabinet accessories like dehumidifiers?

I have had clients that installed dehumidifiers, but I also haven’t had any past clients tell me their guns were rusting in their wood cabinets. We all know proper cleaning and oiling of guns is very important.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Thank you for this opportunity to explain my Profession. It’s never my intention to talk [poorly] about other gun cabinet manufactures.  Each has expertise with their products. I would again emphasize that references, testimonials and craftsmanship be among the criteria for choosing a nice wooden gun cabinet. Safety should always be present in regard to handling guns. A gun has no brain, like a car, and in the wrong hands or inexperienced hands can be dangerous.

For the record, what title best describes what you do?

Craftsman (simple – I like it)

I want to think Tom again for shining his rays of genuine expertise on this site.  If you have any questions, please send them my way – better yet – take out the middle man and head on over to Handcrafted Traditions for a real answer.  Stay safe.


  1. 21st Century Antiques

    Security meets tradition !

    Gun Cabinets are part and parcel of gun ownership, but why not store your prize weapons in style? We go back to the future to see what British firm 21st Century Antiques has to offer.

    High-security gun cabinets are an essential part of owning firearms, whether they are for constant use or just part of a collection. But who says that high security has to mean an ugly metal cabinet hidden within your home, with difficult access ?

    British firm 21st Century Antiques has the answer to this problem. The company, came up with their original ideas and concepts 40 years ago and manufacture secure gun cabinets disguised as fine antique furniture. It’s a novel idea, and one that is incredibly popular with gun owners and collectors.

    All of their cabinets are constructed from high-security 3mm thick steels and are built and independently tested to BS 7558.

    They incorporate multi-point locking using a high-security safe lock, are designed to hold scopes and also have fully lined interiors.

    There are 11 different models in the company’s feature-rich range including their glass fronted display cabinets, each of which is available in a choice of 5 different wood finishes : mahogany, oak, cherry, yew and walnut.

    One of the standout products in the range is the Model 305, the Double Library. This incredibly luxurious cabinet has a capacity for holding up to 11 guns, but the gun storage compartment is cleverly hidden behind a fully useable bookcase front.

    Another highlight of the range is the Model 302, the Escritoire. The design of this piece of furniture is inspired by the 18th Century writing bureau and is reproduced by their craftsmen, this model has the capacity to hold up to 12 guns.

    The Wellington, Model 301 is another big seller for the company. It is designed like an 18th Century chest of drawers and has a capacity for holding 7 guns and in addition has 3 useful shelves fitted internally on the right hand side.

    So if you want to store your valuable guns discreetly and protect them from theft and unauthorised persons, then speak to 21st Century Antiques using the contact details below.

    21st Century Antiques
    T: 01306 881029

  2. Hey Jo,

    Thanks for reading! Though your comment doesn’t appear to be a direct reflection of this post, I appreciate the write-up of your products – looks like you guys have some cool stuff – I particularly like the hidden book shelf design!

    Thanks again!

  3. the best display cabinets are always made of steel and glass structure or composite fibers*.,

  4. Your message…Hi Jack, great interview. I have one question regarding the dehumidifiers that Tom commented on. While guns may not rust, particularly if oiled and cared for properly, could the gun powder in the stored ammo eventually become damp? Most people will store ammo in the gun cabinet lockup so I’m wondering if this would be an issue?

  5. Hey Brad,

    I wouldn’t worry about damp powder. If there’s going to be any damage to your ammunition, it’s likely going to be the result of casing corrosion. If you’re like me, and you buy the majority of your ammunition as you need it–keeping it around for a few months before you shoot it–there shouldn’t be any problems just keeping it in the box you bought it in.

    If, however, you’ve stocked up on an inventory that you plan to keep around for a while, I’d recommend splitting it up into ammo cans (you can find them at any surplus store), and dropping a silica packet in each one. Silica costs less than a pack of gum, and you’ll get several months out of it.

    ZCORR also makes ammo bags that will store your rounds corrosion-free for 20+ years. Definitely worth a look if you’re building up a doomsday stash, or a bug-out-bag.

    If you’re living in a very humid environment, I’d recommend getting a dehumidifier for your cabinet anyway. Golden Rod is definitely the crowd favorite, but there are a few others out there that will get the job done.

    Hope that helps answers your question. Let me know if you have any more.


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