How to Build an Overhead Gun Rack How to Build an Overhead Gun Rack

What You'll Need
Hardwood (oak, walnut, or mahogany)
Plywood
Saw (band, rotary, or coping)
Wood screws (2 and 2.5)
Wood glue
Plastic wood dough
Screwdriver
Planer (optional)
Hammer
Nails (1.5)
Sandpaper
Paint or stain

If you have a number of rifles or shotguns, it’s a good idea to build an overhead gun rack where you can keep them neatly in one place.  The contrast between glistening metal slung over wood brings a certain charm to any library or trophy room.  The proud display will bring you great satisfaction and will evoke a sense of achievement, especially if you’re an avid hunter or sportsman. 

Step 1 – Design

You may always build individual gun racks, but the 3-slot rack is more practical and economical. Choose a basic square design composed of side panels with slanted slots, a top brace, and bottom storage box made of hardwood; plus a back board and two storage spacers made of plywood.

Step 2 – Measure

  • Back board – 1/8” x 2’ x 2’
  • Side panels (2 pieces) – 1” x 6” x 2’ each
  • Storage box (top and bottom panels) – 1” x 6” x 22” each
  • Top brace – 1” x 2” x 22”
  • Storage spacers (2 pieces) – 1/4” x 5-1/2” x 4-1/2” each

Slot measurements depend on the pattern, which is usually “S” shaped. Space between rifles should be 4-1/2”.  The last slot is 2” above the storage box.

Step 3 – Prepare the Wood

Purchase the wood and have it cut to the appropriate dimensions at your local hardware or lumber yard.  If you have enough scrap wood in your work shop, you can process them using a saw and planer. 

Step 4 – Assemble Storage Box

Use the plywood spacers to connect the top and bottom panels, then join them together using wood glue and nails.

Step 5 – Cut Out the Slots

First mark the pattern on the side panels, making sure the right-hand slots are one inch higher than the left to ensure proper leveling of the rifle barrel. Cut and shape using a band, rotary, or coping saw.

Step 6 – Attach Side Panels to Storage Box

Nail the side panels to the outer edges of the top and bottom portions of the storage box. You may then remove the plywood spacers.

Step 7 – Attach the Top Brace

Position the top brace 5” below the top of the side panels then secure them using 2” wood screws, two on each side.

Step 8 – Attach the Back Board

Using 1-1/2” nails, attach the back board to the back edges of the side panels.

Step 9 – Finish

Smooth out the edges using sandpaper.  Apply plastic wood dough to fill all nail and screw holes. Use a paint or stain color that complements the rifles.  The final coat should be left to dry for at least 24 hours. Secure the top brace firmly on the wall using 2-1/2” wood screws.

Now, step back, look up, and admire your personal “coat of arms.”

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