There are few things I love more than my wife, my dogs, and my country. Shortly behind them on the list, however, are guns, woodworking, and a Saturday afternoon trip to the Home Depot.
As a way to celebrate some of my favorite things, I got some inspiration from a buddy of mine to create floating dovetails made out of epoxy for a gun display box. Translucent and made with some absolutely STUNNING wood, this epoxy floating dovetail gun display box turned out to be a true showstopper—and I couldn’t wait another second to share it with yinz at home.
So check it out as I tackle this ambitious project! If you’re following along at home or want to try it out for yourself, be sure to take a look at my step-by-step instructions below.
To get started with this one, you want to sketch out a mockup of your box. Make sure it’s big enough to display your item effectively, leaving room for sanding down your epoxy and wood as needed.
Once you have a gameplan in place thanks to your sketch, start cutting down your wood to size. Plan which parts of the wood you want facing outward—typically the pieces with the best grain patterns.
Once your sides and base are cut to size, cut the dovetails out of your wood using a dovetail jig and hand saw. The beauty of making the floating dovetails out of epoxy is that you’re simply filling them with a liquid, meaning they don’t have to be as precise as a normal dovetail. Either way, clean these up so they look good.
Build a frame for your epoxy pours. I created a single frame for this out of cheap materials, Tyvek tape, and caulk (as you can learn about in my beginner epoxy tips video). From there, I mixed a poured my epoxy. Pro tip here—make sure you clamp down your sides for this so they don’t float in the epoxy. My clamps were removed from the solidified epoxy like a charm.
While your epoxy hardens, take the time to make your lid. My original design included an epoxy river, but this design didn’t allow the visibility of the gun I wanted. So I decided to switch this over to a standard wooden frame with glass on the inside.
Start by cutting down your wood for the frame and creating rabbets on each side for your glass panel to sit in. I recommend going to a class cutting to get the right size of glass for your project.
Once the epoxy is solid, bread it out of the mold. I ended up using a drum sander to flatten these, so be sure to cut each side down to a smaller chunk before doing this. One flattened, you’ll want to cut your miters on the table saw on the sides and base.
Adding finish and assembling your display case are somewhat alternating steps. For the insides of the box, you’ll want to sand and add a finish to these before assembly. I sanded these with my orbital sander to 320 grit, but you can do a higher grit to get a smoother and clearer finish. I used a spray-on lacquer for my finish.
Next, you’ll want to assemble your box using epoxy and CA glue. To attach the lid, I routed out the shape of the hinge for a tight fit, then carefully screwed it into place. Once all was said and done, I finished it off with a little more sanding and buffing with an automotive buffing compound for the clearest possible finish.
Thanks for checking out this build! If you liked it, be sure to check out some of my other recent projects:
Want to try this build out for yourself? Download the digital plan now for step-by-step instructions, measurements, and a detailed look at how to punch this project in the face.