Whether you use your safe to store money, jewelry, or guns and ammunition, all that weight can certainly begin to strain the integrity of your shelves.
The fact remains that most residential safes compose of a metal box, lined with sheetrock which is covered by carpeting. The shelves are typically some type of MDF (medium-density fiberboard), also covered in carpet. With a single 50 round box of 45 ACP coming in at around 2 pounds weight, it’s not hard to see why shelves sag so easily.
A simple solution would be to simply prop it up with some type of dowel rod. While that would work, it could possibly be knocked over if it were hit or if a load shifted on the shelf.
The solution? Build an I-beam. We use I-beams to support anything from skyscrapers to a pickup truck frame so why wouldn’t it work for this purpose? The two flat sides would provide an excellent platform for the vertical support.
There are two real ways to go about it both with a table saw or a router with a straight cutting bit as well as using a simple circular saw. One joint isn’t as strong as the other but with the appropriate hardware you can still achieve good results.
The wood I used was 3/4″ oak plywood since it was just scrap. You could easily use a thinner plywood or even OSB (but I’d suggest using a 2×4 or something thicker for the base and top runners. I did use glue and a few brads but the fit was so tight, a few drywall screws would also work.
The entire point of the project is to be creative since there is no wrong way to do this. Everyone’s safe will be different in depth, shelf height, and needs.
One last tip though, if you are using this in a gun safe, make sure you measure the width between the grooves that hold your long guns. This way, your I-beam will not touch the barrels nor will you lose an substantial amount of storage space.