Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shooting Books

Not long ago, Brigid over at Home on the Range asked, "What's On Your Book Shelf?"  The gals and I are avid readers with a wide variety of books from classics, novels, and biographies to guns and survival.  Amazon.com constantly teases me with all kinds of recommendations... forget the FBI, I'm being profiled by an online book store... need to work on the OPSEC.

Each year the university and local libraries have a book sale to clear the shelves of those authors who haven't had enough daily hits on their books to survive the cut.  Sometimes I find a forgotten treasure or two, but mostly I'm measuring and sizing up the books.  When winter rolls around I take a some spare time to hollow out old hard-backs to create a hidden compartment to conceal a handgun or other valuables in plain sight on a friend's book shelf.  They make nice gifts at Christmas.

If I'm lucky, a title appropriate for the intended recipient will pop up.  An old photography book, Shooting Your Way to a $-Million, seemed like a nice title to edit in a couple of .380s.  This year Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover will make a nice place to hide a Smith & Wesson J-Frame for a friend of mine... I just have to clear out a few pages, couple of secret files, and some dresses.

Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal was picked up to make a hollowed-out book to hold a Glock 26 for another friend who served in the Navy.  I actually ended up reading this book about Forrestal who was our nation's first Secretary of Defense and now I'm re-thinking the re-purposing of my one-dollar investment.  Maybe his book might make a good gift as is.

So if you're looking for something to read on my book shelf, ignore the titles and just check out the shooting books.


  1. I bought my wife the bottom left book and she liked it.

  2. You've got some good 'uns on your shelf!

  3. Wondering how you hollow out a book. Glue the pages together?

  4. @Anonymous: I've seen and tried several ways, but typically what I do now is mix Elmer's Glue-All 50/50 with water, I then place a sheet of wax paper between the front and back covers to separate them from the pages.

    I place 12" x 12" x 3/4" plywood boards on each side of the book and then clamp them down to hold the book pages in place and tightly together.

    Next, I "paint" the 50/50 glue solution onto the edges of the pages... I find the 50/50 solution soaks in just a bit more than just using the glue alone. I usually paint on three coats and let it dry for a couple of days. The glue solution seems to keep the pages looking "natural" and holds pretty well.

    When it's dry, I un-clamp and remove the wax paper between the pages and the book covers, then place a thin piece of sheet metal between the back cover and the pages to keep from cutting through into the back book cover.

    Next, depending on depth and pattern of the hollow cavity I want, I either use an Exacto knife and/or Dremel tool with a straight routing bit to cut out and trim up the hollow cavity.

    Next, I use the glue solution again, painting it on the page edges on the inside of the cavity I cut out, I glue the back cover in place and place wax paper between the front cover and pages. I clamp it up again and let it dry.

    To finish it off, I cut out and apply some self-adhesive black felt sheets from Walmart's craft area. Sometimes I cut out rectangular cavities and sometimes I trace the outline of the object to be enclosed... like the S&W J-frame.

    I've sen some use epoxy and sometimes I'll add a piece of Velcro to hold the lid closed. Hope that helps, but again... I'm no expert.

    Dann in Ohio