Some Advice Needed

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Forum topic by Gene Howe posted 09-21-2012 02:04 PM 843 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gene Howe

10985 posts in 3604 days

09-21-2012 02:04 PM

Good morning.
I’m starting a couple briefcases to hold pistols. The frame will be maple. I’d like to make the sides from solid maple also. However, I’m a bit concerned about wood movement.
The frame corners will be box joints. Rabbets in the frame to receive the side panels is the option I prefer.
Since the lid and the “box” will both be lined with 1” thick compressible foam, I thought about adding a 1X1/2 strip of wood at the bottom of the rabbet for screws to hold the side panes. The screw holes in the strip would be elongated to allow movement of the panels.
In your opinion(s), would this be an acceptable method? Are there better methods?
I really do not want to use veneer over plywood.
Thanks for your help.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

5 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117276 posts in 3753 days

#1 posted 09-21-2012 02:17 PM

Hi Gene
I’m sure you know the options, you can make the top so it fits in a groove like frame and panel and allow for wood movement,you can make the top out of quarter saw wood that has been sawn into 3 pieces and glued back together or use a piece of ply for the top and bottom with some nice veneer.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10985 posts in 3604 days

#2 posted 09-21-2012 02:30 PM

Thanks Jim.
I considered the F&P option with screening rope in the grooves and it may be the way to go. I’ll have to glue up for each panel anyway.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View shipwright's profile


8132 posts in 2973 days

#3 posted 09-21-2012 03:14 PM

Have you considered making your own plywood?
Maybe three plies, the outer one running long grain to the case and the other two at opposing diagonals.
It might be the world’s first cold molded gun briefcase.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View WillAdams's profile


82 posts in 2171 days

#4 posted 12-09-2012 12:12 AM

For my similar (but larger) archery cases, I went with a floating plywood panel in grooves:

Curious what you’re planning to use for hardware though.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4069 days

#5 posted 12-09-2012 01:16 AM

its a pistol, not a bow although the principle is the same

the biggest part being the top and bottom should be, like some one said, multiple layers of veneer made to look like solid wood, …….

I would make the box of your choosing, and wouldn’t worry about movement (think pistol) as above ?
wrap the gun in plastic stretch wrap…oil the gun before wrapping (makes it easier to unwrap and protects pistol from forthcoming step in case gun isnt sealed : ))

finish the wooden box, chair the gun perfectly inside and on centre, then fill with slow expanding foam and let set, next day cut expandable foam to perfectly chaired pistol centre line, cover bottom with stretch wrap, fill top of box with slow expanding foam, close lid and tape shut, ……let cure

foam acts as a glue and doesn’t affect wood movement at the hinge line

remove stretch wrapped pistol after carefully separating top from bottom. Remove pistol from wrapping. Remove protective coatings……

add your pick of poison in hinges to box, and fit the hardware, when its perfect, add pistol and check for conflict in closing the box…correct, repeat.

when perfect, remove pistol and flock the interior, LV sells a frugal method that works

Finish exterior,


I’ld leave the finishing to the end

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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