Coffee Table that Gun Crate
What does your furniture say about your choices as a gun guy? Sure, you have lots of neat wood grain and leather stuff around. But what about that center of your living room? Does it really identify you as a fire breathing god of all that is metal and wood and leave no doubt that you are a firearm connoisseur? Well then, a DIY gun crate-repurposing project may be all you.
What are we talking about?
In the past several years, there has been a growing subculture to repurpose everyday objects to give them new uses. This is seen with people who turn old pallets into homes and 50-gallon drums into barbeque grills. Well gun crates have often been seen as trash once the firearms inside them have been removed. This left these often very well constructed pieces of carpentry work to be burned, smashed, or consigned to landfills. Why not salvage one of these pieces of art and give it a new life.
(These crates pop up for as little as free, just be on the lookout for them)
Perhaps one of the most interesting uses for rifle crates has been in the realm of coffee tables that still function in their original purpose-- to preserve a firearm when not being used.
Where to get the crate
Yes, you can buy whole crates of rifles like the Russian Army's surplus Mosin Nagant 91/30 including the rifles themselves. If you don't want to buy 20 rifles to get the crate, you can always just look around for a crate no one wants.
(Of course, its an investment to buy a whole crate, guns included, but you can just get the crate by itself much cheaper)
They pop up on Craigslist, Armslist and Gunbroker from time to time for $50ish. If you can't wait, call around to your local gun shops that stock milsurp rifles and see if they have some laying around. If they say no, offer them $30-$40 for the next one they have come in and they may just find one for you the same week. Often you can just pick them up for free as many of these dealers hate having them laying around taking up space.
In May of last year, gun importer AIM Surplus posted a message on their facebook page advertising over scores of Mosin Nagant rifle crates 'free to good home'. The response was huge and in what they called the 'crate Olympics' of would-be crate owners coming by, they exhausted their supply in two days.
Once you get the crate, now what?
Well that's the fun part. It is basically up to you. The basic hack for this is to take the lid, add a hasp and lock to it, and replace at least part of it with a sheet of polished plexi or glass so that you can see the inside of the crate/table. You can add subtle lighting for effect on the inside of the crate. If you want to spiff it up you can put some attention into the wood such as sanding, refinishing, or repainting. You may want to leave the marking as-is to preserve the character of the crate.
Over at the Aim Surplus blog they chronicled a DIY build from someone who acquired one of their surplus crates during the great crate-apalooza last summer that involved about 25 man-hours of work and $275 in materials (mostly spent on lighting).
Of course, you choose your own level of commitment. Have fun.