September 29, 2002

When I got up Saturday morning I had every intention of drawing a full week of Schlock, and knocking the ol' buffer up to 28. Sadly, about halfway through 'buffer=22' I got distracted. I finished that one, and then went and had a rather more ordinary, domestic sort of Saturday than I typically do.

Many of you who frequent the forums are aware of the fact that I own a few firearms. For a long time I've been guilty of 'security through obscurity' on these, placing them out of reach and mostly disassembled, rather than buying a gun safe. This is not because I'm an idiot. It's because I'm a LAZY idiot.

Today I went out and looked at lock-boxes, and I realized that for a mere $100 I could have the peace-of-mind only possible when your firearms are locked away in a steel cabinet. Had I not been so lazy, I could have learned this YEARS ago. Fortunately, the guns are now locked away, and it got done before anyone got shot (except for the three people I shot on purpose, but that's another story).

I learned something interesting about the folks who manufacture gun cabinets: they believe that people who own enough firearms to require a cabinet also own and love tools. I mean, I've assembled Sauder bookcases and the assorted computer hutch from Wal-Mart on several occasions, and those typically come packed with any tool you'll need short of a screw-driver. Some of them even come with a screwdriver.

Not so the Stack-On brand gun cabinet. This was made by folks whose target market is full of people who open the box saying to themselves "Ah'm hopin' ah hafta get out mah socket set fer this."

In order to install it correctly, you will need (and I'm not kidding here):

  • 1 Phillips-head screwdriver
  • a Vise-grip wrench
  • a socket wrench, and the right sized socket
  • a drill, and a 3/16ths bit
  • a stud-finder
  • a pencil
  • a flashlight
  • a hammer
  • a carpet knife
  • a tape measure
  • paint, brushes, drop-cloths, thinner, and masking tape
  • a miter box and saw
  • finishing nails
  • carpet tacks
  • inhumanly long arms
  • another person
Not only do you need all that stuff, but you're expected to know how to use it on this project with no direction more specific than mount flush to the wall and floor. The baseboards and carpet may have to be removed. This requires you to own and have read the entire Time Life series on tearing your home apart in an attempt to justify having someone else come and fix the damage you've done.

Fortunately, I'm just clever enough (barely) to figure out that the cabinet does not need to be installed correctly in order to be installed securely. No, it's not bolted to the floor. Yes, I bolted it to the studs. No, did not remove the baseboard moulding behind it. No, it's not level. No, I will not be attempting to serve drinks on it. Yes, it's now full of guns. Yes, the key is in a safe place. No, I'm not telling you where.

Doing this work got me to feeling domestic, so the piece of furniture I snagged at the garage sale that originally distracted me got repaired. I mean, as long as I've got the drill out, I might as well go get a dowel and some glue.

Time Life Books probably says nothing about using your wife's long-handled gardening shears to trim hard-wood dowels to the right length. I probably shouldn't say anything about it either -- she reads this letter sometimes.

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