Desiccant, gunsafe humidity control question.+tip

Discussion in 'Vintage Topic Archive (Sept - 2009)' started by unclerob, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. unclerob

    unclerob Member

    What do you guys use in your gunsafes for moisture control/ monitoring?

    Do you have a target humidity level you like to keep things at?

    I have made a bunch my own desiccant containers, and will post a "how to" if there is any interest.

    update: "How to" is now posted below.
  2. SharpsShtr

    SharpsShtr Member

    I have one of those heated electric rods, it does a really nice job. Plus I have a mongo sized dehumidifier down there in the basement.


  3. Strangerous

    Strangerous Member

    Re: Desiccant, gunsafe humidity control question.

    I'm +1 on you posting the how-to.
  4. I keep a dessicant container in my ammo bunker, but as far as the firearms go, I just make sure that they have a light coat of WD-40 on them and that takes care of the rust problem.

    I have 2 1903 Turkish Mausers that the barrels have no blueing whatsoever, and with a light coat of WD-40 they do not rust.

    I check everything every 6 months or so, and if anything looks like it may be a little dry I wipe it down with a cloth with WD-40 on it.

    Just my personal preference of course.

    Would be interested in hearing about the dessicant though, I think I may need more in my bunker.
  5. unclerob

    unclerob Member

    Ok, here is what I did.
    Long ago, back when I had one small safe I got this SafeDri Desiccant. It has small blue crystals in it that turn pink to let you know when to think about recharging i
    To recharge, you put it in the oven @250F for 2.5 Hrs. let cool and you are good for another 6 months or so.
    The small SafeDri, good for 30 Cubic Feet, is available at BassPro for $18.
    Well, as my needs increased I decided that $18 bucks a pop was way too spendy for more of that stuff so I did some research and came up with this.

    First you need some containers that can "breathe". I used Mason Jars, Wal-Mart $6.68 /12.

    Now you need a screen like top. I found these vinyl placemats at the dollar store. $1 each.

    Now all you need is enough silica to fill the jars.
    I went to my local pets supply store "Petsmart" and got 8 lbs of silica in the form of "ExquisiCat Pearl Fresh" kitty litter. $13.99

    Now, make sure it is the PEARL type of kitty litter. NOT Crystals! (look on the back. It should say 100% silica sand).
    Also be sure it does NOT contain the colored deodorant crystals!

    At this point I decided to dump my SafeDri into the kitty litter pearls for the blue/ pink indicators.
    I mixed them together and pored the mix into several large pyrex casserole dishes and put them in the oven to recharge.
    I did this just to make sure the silica was dry to start with.

    While the silcia was recharging in the oven, I removed the discs from the Mason jar lids and cut screens from the vinyl placemat to the size of the discs.

    After the silica came out of the oven, and had cooled off, I put it into the mason jars.

    Then I put the metal lid disc back on the jar, the screen on top of the disc and the screw on ring onto the jar.

    Now the unit is sealed until you need it. Just unscrew the top, remove the screen and metal disc, replace just the screen and ring and you are good to go.

    There you have 12 Desiccants for your safes, friends safes or whatever.
    You will also have enough silica left over for 4-6 more units.
    Cost, about $1.50 each without the blue/pink indicators.
    Cost, about $2.50 each with the blue/pink indicators.

    OR, you can forget about the blue/pink indicators and get a small Hygrometer for your safe.
    I found these on closeout at HomeDepot for about $5 each.
    These measure humidity down to 15%. You don't want to go that dry if you have wood stocks in your safe!
    Mine run about 35%.

    Just a cheap insurance project I thought I would share.

  6. Excellent info unclerob! I am going to set me some up next payday.

    I take it that its safe to put the glass jars in the oven to dry out the dessicant?

    Thanks for bringing this up, I was just trying to get myself talked into buying another couple of the dessicant packs
  7. BTW, what would be a good humidity for ammo storage?
  8. Mike_AZ

    Mike_AZ U.S.S. Member

    I just live in AZ. Humidity isn't a problem. :)
  9. Sometimes it isnt in Oklahoma either, but when it rains, sometimes it really rains. Then it is a problem LOL

    You probably have the same problem that I have in the summer though, heat.

    I have my bunker better insulated than most houses and it still gets warmer inside than I want during the summer.
  10. unclerob

    unclerob Member

    You are welcome.

    I guess you could put the jar in the oven! After all, they are made for canning and I think that requires a boiling bath? I would have to remove the vinyl screen I chose. (I tried wire screen and it was too messy to cut in a circle).
    To be safe, I am going to be dumping the silica into a large pyrex casserole dish when I put it in the oven to recharge.
    In fact, that is what I did when I got the kitty litter/ silica pearls home to make sure it was dry to start with. (I just went back and added that part).

    For my ammo, I shoot for 0%.

  11. unclerob

    unclerob Member

    Just a side note. The container choice is up to you of course. I used the glass jars so I could see the indicators change colors.
    Others have suggested putting the silica into baby socks and hanging them in the safe that way.
    One guy said he recharges his silica while STILL IN the sock! He said the socks have started turning a brownish color from baking them.
    To each, their own.
  12. My dessicant is in a light canvas like bag which is inside a green cardboard box

    There is a little strip that turns pink when it needs to be recharged, and you simply take out the bag and plop it in the oven.

    Some porous cloth bags may be an even better idea than the jars.

    I wish I could think in the grey areas instead of just black and white

    I will shoot (pun intended) for as low a humidity level as possible.
    Thanks again unclerob!
  13. Ari

    Ari Guest

    Eastern Washington we are normal at 25-30% humidity. So I do not worry about it much. But I do have a few Dbags laying around the gun locker