Gun Cabinet with Hidden Compartment (also amazing birds eye maple veneer)

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Project by jeff_wenz posted 06-11-2012 09:37 PM 12636 views 19 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my first commissioning for a furniture piece. The proud parents of a college graduate wanted to give their son something that would last.

First of all, I have to give credit to fellow LJ’er Jonathan Szczepanski as I used his Hope Chest design as my inspiration.

The project commissioning was for a place to store and display guns (mostly handguns, but he does have a couple rifles). He did not want a safe, nor did he want glass for people to see them. He did want some type of lock to keep the average person from getting into them. My solution was to use a hidden magnetic child lock from Rev-a-shelf.

The size is 4’ wide by 64” tall by 20” deep. It is constructed of Maple plywood. The trim and doors are made up of maple, walnut trim and some beautiful birds eye maple veneer from Joe at Finding the quality of the veneer in 18” width is a find, in my opinion.

The top is made of walnut plywood with walnut edging. As what is becoming one of my trademarks, I slipped in a 1/4” piece of maple to separate the plywood from the walnut. This provides a perfect transition and adds some contrasting detail (pic #3).

I used some halogen under-cabinet lights (3-way touch dimmer) from Lowes. I also wired in a pressure switch from Rockler which turns off the lights when the doors close.

I had a local custom woodworking and antique restoration shop spray the finish for me as it was too large for my shop to handle. Curtis and his team did a wonderful job and gave it a better finish than I am capable of.

I had a local glass shop cut some ¼” glass. I incorporated an arch in the front of each shelf to go with the arch theme for this project. I believe he said the finish was “bronze”. Smoked would have been too dark for what I was going for. The shelves are held in place by some locking glass shelf supports sold by Lee Valley.

Some of the features I like include the slide out rifle storage (pic #4). Just your basic heavy duty drawer slides accomplished this. I also like that there is no external hardware. Also, I like to incorporate secret or hidden compartments into my projects. This one is no exception (pic #6).

This was delivered and setup yesterday. The graduate is thrilled with it. He loves the magnetic lock and the secret compartment.

I hope my fellow Lumberjocks enjoy it, too.

More pictures can be seen here and here.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

15 comments so far

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 3567 days

#1 posted 06-11-2012 09:58 PM

Great looking cabinet Jeff. The sliding rifle storage is neat and your secret cabinet design may have solved a problem I have been working on.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3810 days

#2 posted 06-11-2012 10:49 PM

Really nice. The birds eye is beautiful. Congrats on a great build.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3902 days

#3 posted 06-12-2012 12:55 AM

That is not only beautiful, the design is amazing with many unique features. I love the slide out rifle rack, the hidden compartment, and the incredible veneer. You did a super job on this!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4762 days

#4 posted 06-12-2012 01:07 AM


Yeah, I always try to look for “wasted space” to incorporate a hidden feature. In this case, I knew I wanted to recess the lighting, which provided me dead space to work with.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4762 days

#5 posted 06-12-2012 01:10 AM


I’m not sure if you can see it in the pictures, but I put some foam down where the butt stock will sit. Also, I have some rare earth magnets behind the felt so the rifle barrels will not move around when the unit slides in and out.

Thanks for the nice remarks.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 4020 days

#6 posted 06-12-2012 01:18 AM

Jeff, looks like you hit a grand slam if this is your first paying job ! enjoy the journey! JB

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3825 days

#7 posted 06-12-2012 02:20 AM

thats one beautiful job you did on that gun case ,

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3904 days

#8 posted 06-12-2012 04:52 AM

That’s some fine joinery you did on this cabinet. I like the design and the colors you used too. A real nice looking piece.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4676 days

#9 posted 06-12-2012 06:59 AM

Excellent execution throughout this project! That is some amazing veneer.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4173 days

#10 posted 06-12-2012 04:45 PM

That is beautiful! Love the birdseye maple! Just a word here- displaying guns is not a good idea. One person tells another, ad infinitum, and pretty soon the wrong person hears about it and Poof! The guns are gone. I think that is what happened to me in March, 1970. 12 guns gone- three belonged to my late grandfather and were rare.
Steel lockers or safes are the only way to go for storing guns. I had a friend who built a house with a reinforced concrete room, steel door, and an ingenious electrical security system (read that 220 volts). He had a warning sign.

View jeff_wenz's profile


152 posts in 4762 days

#11 posted 08-05-2012 12:48 AM

Here is a picture with some stuff in it.

-- Jeff, North Carolina

View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 4332 days

#12 posted 10-13-2013 02:41 PM

Great cabinet. Well done!

-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3322 days

#13 posted 10-13-2013 02:55 PM


The slide out is nicely done, the veneering is fantastic. I could go on and on… ;^)

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30637 posts in 3550 days

#14 posted 12-18-2013 04:49 AM

Very beautiful and well thought out

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Steve's profile


17 posts in 2847 days

#15 posted 01-17-2014 07:55 PM

Really nice cabinet! I think I’ll incorporate the slide-out racks when I make my own.

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