Over the Summer I decided I wanted to build something to store some of my weaponry in. I wanted it to be hidden in plain sight, but still readily accessible. I wanted it to also loudly say "I am a proud American who believes in the constitution of the United States". After doing a little bit of research, I came up with a plan. An American flag concealment case. I wanted it large enough to store a standard rifle, 2 handguns, and a separate compartment for ammo and accessories. I wanted it to be proportioned right as well. As a veteran, there is nothing more annoying to me than to see misproportioned American flags. For this project, I spent approximately $75 in total. Depending on what tools and material you have, it could be a little less or more for you.
Step 1: Make a Plan
After finding out the correct proportions for the American flag on [http://www.ushistory.org/betsy/flagetiq3.html ] I drew up old glory using a free program called Draftsight. If you have ever used AutoCAD before, this program will be very easy for you to use. Draftsight is basically AutoCAD without the $1000 price tag.
The proportions I used are based on 1 1/2" stripes. I also found the exact size star template for this project on Amazon.[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076HM92PG/ref=o...]
*Note: In this plan, the bottom of the middle shelf sits flush with the bottom of the flags Union. I raised the shelf a few inches though to accommodate my rifle with attachments. You may choose to do this as well. All you have to do is shorten the divider to your desired height. I'll talk about it more later.
Step 2: Gather Materials and Tools
- (5x) 1x4x8 (pine quality select, not the cheap stuff)
- (2x) 24" x 48" x 3/8" CDX handi panel or a single 48" x 48" x 3/8"
- Wood glue
- 1 lb box of 1 5/8" construction or wood screws
- 1" brad nails
- Union star template https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076HM92PG/ref=...
- 1 can of white spray paint
- Ebony wood stain
- Weathered gray wood stain
- Foam brushes
- 2 sets of (4 total) Hidden Hinges https://www.amazon.com/Lancher-4-Pack-installatio...
- Kaizen Foam 57mm 24"x48" (optional) https://www.amazon.com/Fastcap-Kaizen-Foam-57mm-B...
- Magnetic catches (optional) https://www.amazon.com/JQK-Magnetic-Stainless-Thi...
- Sandpaper 100 and 150 grit
- Latex gloves for staining
- Table saw or circular saw
- Mitre saw or circular saw
- bar clamps
- brad nailer
- air compressor
- 1/4" Impact (optional)
- Tape Measure
- 3/4" chisel
- painters tape
- 7/64 drill bit
- Ratchet strap or frame clamp
Step 3: Cut the Wood
If you have a mitre saw and table saw this step will be pretty easy. I've attached a cut list of the 1x4s.
Instead of buying 1x2s, I much prefer to buy 1x4s and rip the boards myself. In the pictures for this project, I did use 1x2s and I regretted it. 1x2s are not cut exactly to 1 1/2" and I don't like how rounded the edges are on them.
* You will notice that on the cut list that the stripes and the 3 boards for the Union are cut long. This is so after they are glued together, you come back and trim them to size altogether with the table saw and give it a nice clean edge. This is optional. If you would like you can just cut them all to the final length in this step. Their final length should be 14 13/16" for the Union boards, 22 1/4" for the short stripes and 37 1/16" for the long stripes
*Note I recommend trimming a 1/8" off the Unions final length to allow the door to close without rubbing.
For the CDX panels, cut one panel to 19 1/2" x 37 1/16" and the other the same but cut out a 10 1/2" x 14 13/16" corner as shown. Keep the cutout. This will be used later for the back of the Union.
As I had mentioned earlier, if you would like to adjust your shelf height to accommodate a taller rifle, simply cut the 9 3/4" piece shorter until you achieve your desired height. I believe I cut mine to 7".
Step 4: Add the Dado (groove) to Frame Board and Shelf Board
For this step, a table saw really comes in handy.
*This could also be done with a router if you would like.*
To make the dado in the wood, set the depth of your saw blade to half the thickness of the wood. Now take your 37 1/16" top frame board and measure in 14 1/16". This will be your first cut. Now make another cut about an 1/8" from that cut. Keep going an 1/8" at a time until you have a dado 3/4" wide. Take a 3/4" chisel and remove any leftover material and smooth the wood out of any bumps and leftover material.
Now do the same thing with the middle shelf board, only this time, your first cut will begin at 13 5/16" in and end at 14 1/16".
Step 5: Sand, Sand, and Sand Some More
There's really not a lot to say about this step. Sand everything. Start with 100 grit and go up to your desired smoothness. I just went up to 150 and stopped.
When you sand the CDX panels, sand the snot out of it. If you have a belt sander it really makes this step a lot easier. Just don't forget to clamp the board down first.
Step 6: Assemble the Union
To make the Union, take your three 15 1/4" or 14 13/16" (final length) boards and glue them together. Use the bar clamps to clamp the boards together. Let it dry completely. Once it's dried, use an air compressor and brad nailer and nail the CDX panel cutout from earlier to the back of the Union.
Tip: Before glueing the boards on the CDX panel, move them around and adjust the order of them and see which ways fit and look the best.
Step 7: Stain
In this step, you can explore your creative side and use whatever color stain you desire. I chose to use a black and gray stain for my flag case. If you are more of a traditionalist, you can use red, white, and blue. The red, white, and blue case is a case I made for someone else. I used navy blue, crimson, and antique white colored stain.
The best method I have found when staining wood is to wipe the wood down first with a damp cloth with water or mineral spirits to get rid of any sawdust. Let that dry, and then apply the stain using foam brushes. I used to use cut up t-shirts which works but it is a little messier. Don't forget to wear gloves unless you would like stained hands.
Note: There will be
- 4 black (red) short stripes
- 3 gray (white) short stripes
- 3 black long stripes
- 3 gray long stripes
Remember to stain the edges of the CDX panels as they will be visible. Also, I chose not to stain the back of my stripes and the back of the rear CDX panel, these will not be visible.
I suggest staining everything in this step. It's much easier to stain before everything is assembled. I learned this the hard way.
Step 8: Assemble the Stripes
In this step your flag begins to take shape.
Layout your stripes in the correct order and move them around a bit to find the best fitment. After you've decided the layout of your stripes, it's time to glue them to the CDX panel.
Hint: It may help to number them in case you forget how they fit together
Start with the short stripes and work your way down. Apply glue to the stripe and line up your first stripe with the edge of the CDX panel that has the cutout in it. Carefully clamp it temporarily in place and flip it over and brad nail the CDX panel to the back of the stripe. Remove the clamp and grab the next stripe, apply glue and use a clamp again to hold the second stripe in place. Brad nail the second stripe in place.
Repeat this process until all stripes have been glued and nailed to the CDX panel.
If necessary use clamps to press the stripes against the CDX.
Step 9: Assemble the Frame
For this step you are going to assemble the frame.
This step is a lot easier if you have a buddy help you.
If you happen to have a frame clamp, now would be a good time to use it. If you don't, fear not
Layout your frame and test fit everything and make sure it looks ok. The top and bottom frame boards should sandwich, (sit on top and bottom) of the vertical side boards. *The above pictured is an older construction assembly*. Refer to the dwg. file for correct construction method. Make any final adjustment or cuts now.
For those with a frame clamp, adjust your clamps and place your 4 boards inside it. Apply glue at each joint, and then tighten the clamp. Now using a 7/64 drill bit, pre-drill 2 holes in each joint followed by a 1 5/8" screw. Do this to all 4 corners. Proceed to Step 10.
For those without a frame clamp. You can make yourself some pretty handy corner clamps by taking some scrap wood and drilling a hole through the center of it and cutting out a 90-degree angle on the long end as shown in the picture. I've attached a link for a better understanding.
Layout your frame and apply glue to all the joints. Clamp everything in place. Once in place use a drill and a 7/64" drill bit and pre-drill 2 holes in each joint followed by a 1 5/8" screw. Do this to all 4 corners.
Now carefully apply a ratchet strap if you would like for added support.
Step 10: The Middle Shelf
So this step is a little different than what is pictured. The above picture was the original construction method I used and now I use the method described below.
To attach the middle shelf, cut 2 scraps of wood to 8 1/4" and place them on the inside of the frame at each end. Place the middle shelf board on top of the two 8 1/4" boards as a guide to achieve the correct height. With the guide boards in place, attach the middle shelf board with two 1 5/8 screws on each side. Don't forget to pre-drill the holes with a 7/64 drill bit.
Hint: It may help to insert your divider board to test the correct height of your shelf
*Note: If you are adjusting the height of your middle shelf board you will also have to adjust your guide boards accordingly.
Step 11: Paint the Stars
To paint the stars is fairly simple. I used a stencil I bought on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076HM92PG/ref=o... and a can of white spray paint.
Take your Union and tape all 4 edges with painters tape so you don't get white paint in places you don't want it. Tape the stencil down so it doesn't move. If everything was cut right, the stencil should fit perfectly unto your Union. Carefully apply light coats evenly. I wanted my flag to have sort of a faded look so I didn't go real heavy on the paint.
Tip: Before you paint the union, apply several thick coats to the stencil to give it some weight. This will help weigh down the stencil. Obviously, let it dry first before you use it.
Step 12: Hinges
You can buy these hinges at any local hardware store or order them on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Lancher-4-Pack-installation...
They are kind of tricky to put on and align but with a little bit of patience, it can be done. I'm not going to go into full detail of how to install them because they do come with instructions but I will give some installment tips
I like to install the Union first. I'm not sure if it really matters, but I find it a little easier. When installing, lay the cabinet face down as if everything was already attached. Line up your union with the edges of the frame. Fold the hinges closed and make sure they are both facing the same direction. Mark where you want to lay the hinges. Predrill just a tiny starter hole in the center of the 4 slotted holes on the hinge. Using a screwdriver, screw the hinges in place. Do this for both the hinges. *Do not do the other 4 circular holes yet. Now open the Union door. You should notice that the door may not open all the way. This is fine. Stand the cabinet on its end with the Union end down. Now gently loosen the screws you just put in one by one until the door will open all the way. Now tighten the screws back up and put in the remaining screws.
Do the same routine for the big door.
After both doors are attached you may have to do some adjusting, cutting, and sanding to get both doors to open and close freely without interfering with each other. Just be patient and take your time.
Step 13: Magnetic Catch and Foam
Attaching the magnetic catch is pretty straightforward. The magnet portion mounts to the bottom of the top frame board and the metal plate attaches to the door. Install the catch from the back of the case with the case laying on its face.
If adding foam to your case, cut your foam to the inside dimensions of your case. The foam cuts easily with a razor blade. It should fit snugly and not fall out easily. I find it easier to install it from the back of the case and then push it forward.
To cut out the pattern, trace whatever it is you would like to store in the case with a permanent marker and use an adjustable razor blade knife to cut around the pattern. Gently peel away the layers to your desired depth.
Step 14: Back of the Case
The Final Step.
Attach the back CDX panel.
Do a test fit and make sure your panel lines up ok with the edges of your case. Make any final adjustments or cuts if necessary. Pre-drill holes using a 7/64 bit and mount the back panel with the 1 5/8" screws. I usually do 3 screws in each of the vertical boards and 5 in the top and bottom frame horizontal boards. For added strength, you can also add brad nails to the back panel.
All done! Flip it over and admire your new awesome, hand-made, patriotic case to store your weaponry in plain sight.
Thank you for checking out this Instructable.
Feel free to ask me any questions about this project.
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