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Plans to Build Gun Racks

by Misty Barton

Gun racks not only provide an attractive display for rifles, shotguns and other long weapons, but also organize them and keep them out of the reach of visiting children. Those with a drawer design also provide storage space for ammunition and accessories when the weapons are not in use. A gun rack makes a great gift or DIY project for those interested in both woodworking and shooting sports.

Cut the Sides

Cut two 1-by-6-inch boards, 38 1/4 inches long using a skill saw. These will form the two sides of your gun rack.

Draw the gun rack shape onto the boards. This can be free-handed, or you can print a design offline and trace it onto the boards. The design described here has three rifle hooks and a shelf at the bottom.

Drill out the bottom of the rifle hooks using a 1 3/4-inch bit on a drill press. Using the drill press rather than a saw to cut out these rounded sections at the bottom of the hooks will ensure uniformity.

Cut around the rest of the design using a band saw. Stay to the pattern as much as possible so that your finished gun rack will be symmetric.

Router the edges of the two side pieces to give them finished, angled edges.

Sand the edges so that they are smooth. Use a drum sander on the rounded sections and a belt sander on the straight edges.

Cut the Top and Bottom

Cut two 2-by-6-inch boards, 21 inches long using a circular saw. These will form the decorative pieces at the top and bottom of the gun rack.

Draw an arched design for the top and bottom of the gun rack. These pieces do not have to be identical. You may freehand your design or print off a pattern online and transfer it onto the boards.

Router the edges so that the shape and design of the top and bottom match the sides.

Use a drum sander to smooth the edges. Sand lightly so that you do not misshape the edge or mar the symmetry of the cut.

Cut the shelf

Cut the top and bottom boards of the shelf from the 1-by-6-inch boards. These should be cut to a length of 21 inches.

Sand the front edge of the shelf boards to create an edge that is both rounded and smooth.

Cut a 21-by-6 3/4-inch rectangle of plywood to be the back of the shelf. This will prevent things from falling off the back of the shelf when it is hung on the wall.

Assembly

Position the top cross brace between the two sides. Use the 1 1/4-inch wood screws to attach the sides to the cross brace. Screw them in until they are slightly recessed in the wood.

Align the top and bottom of the shelf between the two side pieces, with the front of the shelf boards even with the front of the sides. Make sure that they are spaced so that the plywood for the back will line up correctly. When both shelf boards are in position, affix them to the side boards using 1 1/4-inch wood screws. Screw them in until the head of the screw is slightly recessed into the wood.

Screw the plywood to the back of the shelf using the 1/2-inch wood screws.

Position the bottom cross brace between the two sides. Use the 1 1/4-inch wood screws to attach the sides to the cross brace. Screw them in until they are slightly recessed in the wood.

Finishing Touches

Fill the recess over each screw with wood putty. Allow the wood putty to dry completely before working any more with the project.

Hand sand the finished product, smoothing the putty so that it is level with the wood, and removing any remaining uneven spots or burrs on the project.

Stain the wood to the desired shade. This may take multiple coats.

Apply a clear varnish to seal and protect the lumber. Applying three coats of clear coat is standard.

About the Author

Misty Barton has been working in the fields of composition and journalism for over 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in English education and a Master of Arts in English and composition. She has written for various online publications including a blog that specifically addresses the concerns of work-at-home mothers.