Introduction: Collapsible Rifle Stand
If you've got a shooter in your life, chances are he (or she) owns a rifle or shotgun. While these firearms are ergonomic while being used, they are less so when being cleaned and maintained. They'll slide around on the table, fall on your foot, and just generally be ungainly. Protect those expensive firearms (and your foot) with this folding stand, easily made in an evening or a weekend, depending on the tools available. It also makes a great display stand for the mantle, or if you're pressed for space, fold it flat and stash it between uses.
The construction is all 1/4" plywood, and it can be made on a laser (as I did), bandsaw, jigsaw, CNC machine, or even hand tools. There is nothing at all complex about the construction except the slots in the base that make it foldable, and these can be made with a router, or drill and chisel or coping saw if there is no laser. The chief advantage of the laser in this project is the very narrow kerf (on the order of 10 thousandths of an inch), allowing cut-off parts to be reused as retainers for the parts that were cut out of them.
The innovative idea here, made very feasible with a laser, is to use the off-cut pieces as retainers in the base for storage. The uprights fit in between them just like puzzle pieces, and don't fall out very easily. They could be made more secure for storage by using some small magnets mounted in the mating pieces, but I chose not to do that until it's been in use. Probably not necessary for my purposes..
Step 1: Materials and Plan
I designed this in Inkscape, which I highly recommend, especially since the price is right (Free). The svg file can also be opened in Adobe Illustrator. Otherwise, use the pdf file attached.
This stand is 22" long and 5" wide, and the whole thing can be made from a piece of 1/4" plywood 10 1/2" wide X 22" long. It uses tab-and-slot construction so that it can fold flat. The off-cuts are glued to the base and serve as brackets for the uprights when the stand is folded.
If cutting on a laser, the red lines are "cut first," and the blue lines are "cut second."
If you're cutting this out with a saw, some adjustment of the off-cuts may be needed due to the wider kerf.
There are 2 plans given for the upright at the barrel end of the stand. I haven't decided which I like best yet, but I think the V-notch will work better. The tabs on the uprights are longer than the wood thickness because they will be going through 2 thicknesses of wood. This helps stability since the tabs are not glued into the slots.
Of course, you'll need glue and sandpaper. I used white glue, but carpenter's wood glue, Gorilla Glue, or epoxy will work too.
Stain and finishing supplies are optional, but I like my projects to look nice, especially since this is a gift.
Step 2: Cut the Parts
Cut out the parts using your woodworking utensil of choice, and sand all surfaces smooth with 220 grit sandpaper. Laser cut edges require very little smoothing, unless you don't like the burned look.
Step 3: Attach the Feet
The feet (the smaller parts with slots) attach to the underside of the deck. I use one of the uprights to line up all the slots and glue and clamp the feet, using just enough glue to do the job. If you go overboard on the glue, you'll get it on the uprights and other places you don't want it. I removed the upright from the slots as soon as I was sure the parts weren't going to scoot on me. Don't forget and accidentally glue the upright into the slots! (Unless you don't want your stand to fold...) Repeat for the other foot.
Step 4: Attach the Retainers
Draw a reference line down the center of the base (equal distance from each end). Glue the two tab retainers centered on this line. I don't know why I didn't cut these as one piece. When they are dry, set one of the uprights up against the tab retainer and, using the upright as a guide, glue down the matching retainer. You want them to fit together snugly like puzzle pieces. Repeat for the other side. Again, be careful you don't accidentally glue the upright to the retainer. In the photo, the upright was stained before the base because I already had the can open for another project. I'm sure I'm the only person in the world that work on several projects simultaneously! I used a power tool battery to weight down the parts while drying, because that was the closest heavy thing...
Step 5: Stain and Finish
I wanted this to look good, even though it's essentially a tool, so I stained it with Minwax stain (highly recommended), and finished it with a couple of coats of linseed oil, sanding very lightly between coats. Linseed oil is very old-school, but it gives the wood a nice glow, and it's cheap! Only problem is it dries very slowly. Give it at least overnight between coats. If you use linseed oil, be very careful how you dispose of the rags. Spontaneous combustion is a real possibility.
Step 6: Install Some Padding on the Feet
It's always nice to have something on the bottom of stuff that sits on furniture, both to keep it from sliding around and to keep from scratching the furniture. I used cork sheet, because that's what I had, and it cut easily with a sharp knife an straghtedge. Rubber or felt would work also.
Step 7: Put Some Padding on the Uprights
It's also nice to have a little padding where the stand touches the rifle, to keep from scratching that up. (Riflescan cost some serious money!) I realized after the design was finalized that I couldn't have padding and still fit the uprights into their "pockets" on the base. What to do? Removable padding, of course! After some thought, I used some 1/2" vinyl tubing (similar to aquarium tubing, but larger), slit up the side and then trimmed off a strip about 1/8" wide to fit over the wood. These are not glued on, they stay put just fine after a little shaping. I had to dip the tubing in hot water to get it to hold the right shape.
Be aware that vinyl tubing over the long term might react badly with some wood finishes. If you're planning on long-term display, felt or cork might be a better choice.
Step 8: Display!
You can use this to hold for servicing or display many long skinny things besides rifles and shotguns. Larger rockets need a place to prep them for flight, and this will work well for that also. The uprights can be modified as needed, and you can even have several sets of uprights for different uses.
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