WW2 Handgun Display Case

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Project by NDVermin posted 05-14-2011 05:57 AM 8593 views 11 times favorited 69 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the things that I love about woodworking is that I find it very easy to combine it with other hobbies and interests. One of my other passions is World War 2 history and its technology and having a small, but authentic collection of WW2 firearms, I wanted to build something special to display them. This is really my first serious project, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

One other note – I understand that the subject of the piece could be controversial to some since it’s focused on German history during WW2, I intentionally made changes to the design to avoid using their very offensive symbol (even though I’m naturally a stickler for historical authenticity). My next project will be for my United States M1 Garand rifle from WW2, so the “Good Guys” have a nice display too!

I used Sketchup to design the piece, and it’s made primarily of Cherry, Walnut and Bird’s Eye Maple.


-- Scott - and

69 comments so far

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 2838 days

#1 posted 05-14-2011 06:49 AM

I am a woodworker. I am a NRA Instructor. I collect and love military surplus firearms…

This is awesome. Great design and presentation. Thanks for posting.

p.s. to hell with political correctness. Don’t worry about controversy. But, thanks for respecting people’s feelings.
Nice work!

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View mafe's profile


11730 posts in 3113 days

#2 posted 05-14-2011 11:22 AM

First I will start by saying you have done a beautiful piece of capentry – outstanding in finish and design, so many beautiful details.

I hate to be the negative person, this is really not in my blood.

To me it is really controversial I do not understand why anyone wants to collect firearms used in war or intended to be used in a war, I don’t see the purpose. I would love to see you making a scrine for something positive you belive in, it coud be a God or just the seed of the soil. But someting with love inside, not something to kill life that are so beautiful.
To me the tree is one of the ultimate symbols of life so to use wood for displaying weapons of death and hate is for me not understandable. The German side of ww2 is exacty the opperside, it is all about hate, death and racism.
I do understand some people can have a passion for a good rifle for hunting to feed the family, and even that they can want to make a beautiful display for that.
Sorry for me being not only positive on this one.

Best thoughts and may love be with you,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Brit's profile


7385 posts in 2866 days

#3 posted 05-14-2011 12:05 PM

Hi Scott,

Thank you for appreciating the fact that the purpose of your piece might be disturbing to some. Personally I cannot see the attraction of collecting articles of war either and I certainly wouldn’t want them on display. Just my opinion.

However from a woodworking standpoint, I like your design, your choice of wood and the obivous care and skill that you have shown in building and finishing the piece. I particularly like the proportions and shape of the legs and how they add a feeling of solidity to the piece. Sketchup is a great design tool for pieces like this. The ability to see a design from all angles before I start a project has saved me from making expensive, time consuming mistakes on more than one occasion.

Welcome to LJs.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View Matthew Allard's profile

Matthew Allard

28 posts in 3385 days

#4 posted 05-14-2011 01:26 PM

I love your design, and it looks wonderfully constructed. Welcome to LJ’s, hope to see alot more of your work.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3139 days

#5 posted 05-14-2011 02:07 PM

first :
welcome to LumberJock you deffently know to make an entré with a bang
enjoy and have fun while you share and get inspired

second :
its realy a very well made piece of furniture even though I can´t see how
those lockers can ceep it locked

I have to second Brit and MaFe on this
and I do hope you have secure´d safly so no one can just grab them easy
and they are unable to fire under no circumstance´s with out a lot of work in a shop
collecting historic items can be a fine thing to do but it also gives you the responsabillity
to make it safe for the people around you speciel when it comes to weapons of all kind

take care

View Daniel Dugan's profile

Daniel Dugan

13 posts in 3189 days

#6 posted 05-14-2011 02:48 PM

Beautiful design and execution. I looked in on this project because the lines caught my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

-- -Daniel. "To be, rather than to seem" (not my words, but I like them)

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2866 days

#7 posted 05-14-2011 02:56 PM

I love the display.
I too am a collector of antique firearms. I have on more than a few occasions had the same response from people as you’ve had here. It is sometimes a natural response for some when they look at an antique firearm (especially the one’s made famous in war) to jump to the the death and tragedy part of the history. I say you have to also look at all the good that firearms have done.
Firearms are not evil or bad. They are wood and steel. They are nothing more than a fancy rock thrower. A bullet is not bad or good. It is a lead slug placed in a cartridge in front of gun powder. It is a fancy rock. What a person does with a gun can be good or evil. In evil, if humans did not have guns, they would use something else as their tool of death, possibly a hammer.
I personally have more long guns than hand guns. My only handguns are revolvers that I keep around for home defence purposes. As for my rifles though, I have a particular liking to my SKS, AK47 (semi-auto, have to stay legal) and my Russian made M44. I like these three in my collection because they are in original condition. Two of them even still have their bayonets attached. Now I have often had visitors who gazed at these horrible tools of destruction (talking about the bayonets) and commented about wondering how many men these killed (of the three, the AK is the only reproduction, the others are original). It irks me. I have to removed the weapon from their hands and show them the more fascinating aspects of these weapons. There’s the excellent craftsmanship in making them. Its the well designed features that were way before their time. Now all three of these weapons were produced for the wrong reasons, war (in my opinion). The designers didn’t have that on their minds when they made them though. They were craftsmen, just like every one of us on this site.
Now please, I’m not trying to ruffle any feathers with my response. If anyone comes back with their opinion, that’s fine. It’s their opinion. If they come back tring to start an argument, I will be silent and let it be. I don’t feel that this is a matter to argue over. It is one of those things that some just hold strong opinions over. For that reason it is hard to hold an honest discussion on it.
My only reason for responding to this is to beg some people who are turned off by these weapons of destruction to please, pick up a well made firearm sometimes (unloaded of course). Check out the craftsmanship that went into the design. Remember it is only a tool, a fancy rock thrower that throws fancy rocks made of lead. At its core, it is two things only, steel and wood.
Certain guns are even more associated with hate and evil than others, like the Luger you have shown (nice gun, by the way). The Luger is not a hateful or evil gun. The men who chose this gun as their weapon of choice were the carriers of evil. However, they chose this gun because of it’s excellent designing, not because it was as evil as they were. If they had chosen something from the Srpingfield Armory, then we would now be discussing a different gun.


View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2678 days

#8 posted 05-14-2011 03:11 PM

Beautiful job! I love the design and the woodworking. Top notch work.

I also collect WWII surplus firearms. I have an M1 Garand and M1 Carbine that were used by American soldiers in the D-Day landings. I also have an Iwo Jima M1 Garand Commemorative rifle. I’ve also collected several Russian and German firearms from the war.

WWII was an historical conflict that should never be forgotten or repeated. Having another one like that is inexcusable if people would study and learn the truth how it came about. However, if people stick their heads in the sand and don’t understand how the world gets into these messes, we are destined to repeat them.

To hell with political correctness. The truth and accurate understanding history (not revisionist history) are more important for the betterment of a society.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#9 posted 05-14-2011 03:26 PM

Very nice piece of woodworking, Scott. The design is unique and the craftsmanship is outstanding.

My father served in Japan and Korea, and has been an avid collector of old firearms as long as I can remember. He has everything from pre-civil war pieces up through WWII era. Having been raised by this very peace-loving and gentle man, I never once thought of his collection as a celebration of war. Just the opposite, in fact.

What is the purpose of any museum if not to remember history? These guns (your and his) are part of history. They can be admired strictly as intricate pieces of beautifully designed machinery, and they can also serve to remind us of the bigger picture. What was their place in history? What did the men who used them fight and die for? And, most importantly, by being reminded of these terrible events can we learn how to avoid them in the future?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View NDVermin's profile


108 posts in 2594 days

#10 posted 05-14-2011 04:07 PM

Wow – Thanks to all for the kind words and the very respectful discourse on the subject too. As a hobbyist woodworker, it’s very rewarding to hear that other folks like your work. This is especially true considering the tremendous talent I’ve seen in other folks projects on this site. Some of you guys really are artists with wood.

PS – I love to hear about your collections and personal connections to WW2…As others have said better than I, these firearms in many cases are works of art, just in metal. More importantly, it’s critical that we never forget the horror of war, and the often needless sacrifices made by young women and men (of all nationalities) in our recent past. I certainly pray that the world will never see such a conflict again.

-- Scott - and

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#11 posted 05-14-2011 04:12 PM

the work you have made is very well done from design to build
i commend you in your craft as a fellow woodworker
welcome to LJ’s

i am an ex- con and upon my release from the federal correction prison
was made to sign some papers
one is that i cannot vote yet i have voted every election since
it’s not my place to do others work for them if they don’t keep track of those things
that they impose on others …........

the other paper was that i would never be allowed to own a firearm rifle or pistol

however i would be allowed to own and use a shotgun
because i have the right to hunt ducks (?)

i did once buy a ‘hot’ pistol with the serial# filed off and the trigger filed also and no safety
(i had had some trouble and was in fear for my life)
i slept with it between my legs for 3 months (why junior is still with me is a miracle for sure)
i went to work one day in the boatyard and in a moment with my boss explained my problem
he listened carefully and when i showed him the gun he held it for a moment thinking
and turned and threw it out into the bay

i laughed and thanked him and went back to work relieved

in these troubling times we live in with fear and greed around us
in my own home finally with everything i own in this world at stake
my door is always open i have not allowed my fears to dominate me
and i don’t live in a self made prison

i’m not any formal religious person or follow any way particularly or the dogma
i have given my life to God who gave it to me to grow in

my home and all my actions are covered with a prayer
i wake each morning thankful to be alive if that should change i will be thankful to have lived

who i am and what i do is up to me
maybe a broadsword or shillelagh would help if ever needed
or i could mine the property but a good dog is hard to find

it is an interesting point about the origin of all weaponry
the fools that use them in anger are the ones that seem to need them the most
to hide their fears and give them strength just to face life itself
the rest of us go about life with gusto and enjoy it as we can

in the words of a very old man
‘if you have a gun , you better figure you will have to use it sometime
i never had one , but all my friends that did are long dead’

i’m not for or against anything really just grateful to be alive today
God will call sometime and i’ll be the first one on that bus

and thank you

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4029 days

#12 posted 05-14-2011 04:26 PM

Beautiful piece you’ve made. Have to say it saddens me a little that your first experience here at Lumberjocks has to include fellow lumberjocks telling you what is approved subjects for you to be interested in. I guess live and let live is a notion of a now bygone era.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3697 days

#13 posted 05-14-2011 04:33 PM

The case looks nice, but I dont see a need to collet weapons of war. Hunting rifles, and pistols is ok.

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2716 days

#14 posted 05-14-2011 04:45 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks Scott.

A beautiful display case you have built. It shows some exemplary design and woodworking skills, a piece worthy of being in a museum. I have no problem at all with this piece of history for which you have chosen to display. An appreciation of history helps us to understand where humanity will go in the future.

I’m looking forward to your next project.

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

View driftwoodhunter's profile


273 posts in 2710 days

#15 posted 05-14-2011 04:49 PM

First, let me say I really like your design, especially the choice of woods and the echoing curves. (The curves in the legs really make it for me!). Secondly, I have to agree with those who say toss the PC. It’s history you are showcasing, and being a Colonial American history fan, I think accuracy is most important. I think it’s wonderful that you thought ahead to how people might view and feel about symbols, but ultimately it’s yours, not the public’s. Also, if everyone, including museums and educators, kept making little adjustments here and there history would be contaminated, altered, rewritten. Oh wait…

On a personal note to show I’m not clueless to how both side feel about weapons, in the early ‘80’s New York City was really rough. So much so that the mayor soon after made a true effort to clean it up. In that rough time, one of my brothers that lived in the City was stabbed to death in a fight. It was years before I could deal with the notion of knives in general – I saw them all as weapons. I cringed just trying to cut up food, it was so ridiculous. (it didn’t help that I was 20 yrs. old & had to id him in Bellevue morgue with my Dad). So I’ve been there, done that. It’s true; it’s not the gun, knife, or whatever. It’s the person behind it. If not a gun, it will be a lead pipe, a rock, or just fists if nothing manmade is available. I hope we all understand the pain that is felt by people that lost loved ones to wars or any violence. The discourse on this has been wonderfully civil so far, and that’s so nice… My (long) 2 cents worth.

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