Plans for A One Gun Paudauk Gunbox

All construction is done with 1/4" Paudauk wood. Paudauk is very tough, strong, easy to machine, dent resistant, but most important, very light. It is also, very, very red (but with a great grain pattern) making it very good for case work.
Here are a few photos of the box, as perhaps a few things will not be entirely clear from the AutoCad file.















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The box was made with 1/4" Paudauk wood, which allows for butt joint gluing. However, this is still not an extremely strong joint, so every joint is re- inforced with GREX P6/12-2.5 23 Gauge 1/2-Inch Length Headless Pins.
To increase the strength further, I used Case Clamps and case corners, I also ensured that the bottom and top of the box were both encapsulated within the sides, so that the pins form a tenon that mechanically holds the box together even without the strength of the glue (i.e. the pins are parallel to the surface of the Earth).
It is not shown in the drawing, but note that the leading edge of the top must be cut at an angle to match the angle of the sides. Cut the sides out first, put the side on your table saw beside the blade, and tilt the blade to match the angle of the sides. It'll be a perfect match, no measuring or calculating required.
I actually do very little measuring while building. I don't recall my cut sequence, but let's pretend I cut the back first. That obviously needs to be measured. But after that, I would use the back to mark how tall to cut the sides, rather than measure the sides. This way I am assured that every thing fits together even if I mis measured the back, or one of the sides. If I have to take thickness of stock into account, I'd use a few cutoffs to exactly mark the thickness, rather than try to use a ruler. If I have to adjust my table saw fence or a stop block, I use an existing piece to position the saw exactly, and ignore the ruler. Not only does this save you from mistakes, it is usually a lot faster than using a ruler. If your projects end up with a lot of gaps, and wood forced into position, consider putting your tape measure away.
The door is made the same way as the rest of the box - 1/4 Paudauk, pinned together. It's the 'trickiest' part of the box, as the dimensions are fairly critical, and the small dimensions of the sides make it harder to get every thing square and aligned for glue up. But it's not hard, just harder, if that makes sense. Note I put some reinforcing strips on the underside of the door and the box. This allows me to use longer screws for the piano hinge than the 1/4" Paudauk would. It probably wasn't necessary, as the hinge has a lot of screws, but it came with long screws, and it was easier for me to put in the strips rather than scavenge for new, shorter screws.
I glued everything with an exterior glue - Titebond Polyurethane Glue-100% waterproof. There are other glue choices - But Titebond Polyurethane Glue works. Do not use an ordinary yellow glue - the box will eventually separate if exposed to the weather.
Hardware Used & a web link: The door is attached by a piano hinge. They come in standard lengths, so you will have to cut it to size with a hacksaw or something.
There are locking butterfly latches, on the door. The handle used was, a Black Vinyl Covered Handles, Nickel Finish Hardware. and Case Clamps and Corners are installed to increase the strength further.
The scope mount is the Gil Hibard - Quality, well designed adjustable bracket for mounting a spotting scope to your pistol box. Design swivels to allow the box to close with the scope still attached. Complete with mounting bracket and screws.
I don't recall the total cost, but between buying premium paudauk and all the hardware it really doesn't end up being much cheaper than buying a box. If you had to buy any tools to do this project you'd end up way behind. On the other hand, I have a box that exactly fits my requirements, and is sized for my stuff.
Final thoughts:
It shouldn't be difficult to alter any dimension to make the box taller, shorter, thicker, thinner. I mocked this box up with cardboard, duck taped together to determine the final dimensions. I recommend doing the same if you think you want to change the dimensions.
Just paste wax it with Minwax 78500 Regular Finishing Wax. It will never take any other finish after that but it will be fairly well protected from the elements. Another plus is that you can always add more wax at any time. The wax will darken the wood just a little but it will look good.
Shoe Polish is another way to add a little color. Black shoe polish lets the brighter parts of the grain shine through and gives a smokey color to the valleys. It creates a finish that even some long time wood workers ask "How did you do THAT?"
Follow that up with the paste wax. The best part about the Wax, is it never chips, flakes, or peels. Paste wax has been a popular finish for unfinished solid wood for many years, and is still used today. Paste wax gives an old world or earthy look. Though it is still used often, paste wax does not provide the best protection for solid wood, since it does not seal it the way other products do. However, if you choose to use paste wax, it comes in a variety of colors, is simple to apply, and will give your gunbox a beautiful look. Things You'll Need: Electric hand sander 220 grit sandpaper Tack cloth Paste wax White T-shirt 1. Lightly sand your box using an electric hand sander and 220 grit sandpaper. This will help remove any blemishes on your furniture, as well as smooth out any rough spots. 2. Wipe the furniture clean with a tack cloth to remove all the sawdust. 3. Dip a rag into the paste wax and gently wipe it onto the furniture. Rub it into the wood, going in a circular motion. As you progress in the finishing process, you will notice where the paste needs to be smoothed out. Just rub the rag over these spots until the finish looks even. 4. If you desire a darker color on the wood, reapply the paste wax after allowing the first coat to sit for 24 hours. Note that this coat will not give your furniture any additional protection. Reapply paste wax yearly to help keep the wood hydrated.