Timbervaults: Hidden in Plain Sight

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I am blessed to have a modest, small house with a secured workshop that has become my dedicated “safe room.”  I keep my workbench, tools, and gun safes in there and then the entire room is under lock and key as well for stronger physical security.

While the safe room is secure, it does not lend itself to easy access to my firearms, which is a double-edged sword; firearm security vs. accessibility for when seconds count.  Of course, there are other countermeasures around the house, but is there a storage solution that could balance security and easy accessibility?

Several months ago, I was sent a Timbervaults gun storage cabinet to try out.  Now, I was already familiar with furniture-esque storage solutions for firearms ranging from tables, to mantlepieces with magnet-activated latches, to luxurious bookcases with hidden compartments, but as I previously mentioned, my house is very modest in size and I just don’t have a ton of room for extra purpose-built furniture.

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Timbervaults ended up to be a perfect solution that I didn’t even know that I wanted until I had used it for a few months.  I was sent a Timbervaults small “Homestead” Gun Concealment Mirror in Coffee Finish, which matched beautifully with my existing wood trim in the house. The Homestead model features a right-side opening door, with a four-pane mirror on the face of the door.  It’s a beautiful wood cabinet with a prominent “Made in China” sticker on the back.

On arrival, I was instantly pleased upon opening the box, as everything was packaged very well. Not a single ding, dent, scrape, or scratch on the pristine REAL WOOD cabinet; which also came virtually completely assembled.  The directions were quite IKEA-like, with sterile pictures for lock installation, but putting it together was a breeze and took less than 10 minutes.

The “small” Gun Concealment Mirror measures approximately 18-3/4″ x 4-5/8″ x 36″ on the exterior, and 12-3/4″ x 3-1/2″ x 30″ inside. The interior is lined with velvet, and comes with two interior shelves with a subtle lip on the outermost edge, which keeps items from rolling off, which I found to be a nice touch.  The cabinet also comes with two strong magnets that the end user can affix to the backside of the interior cabinet for added security to assist keep metal items in place, but I found them unnecessary for my purposes.

The shelves, like the cabinet itself, are solid wood; no MDF or pressboard cheap material at all.  The shelves are also screwed into place, and I found that to be a nice touch; the overall feel and heft of the cabinet definitely portrays a solid, quality cabinet.

Installation

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Like most other installable cabinets, the Timbervaults cabinet comes with a template and installation instructions to ensure that the cabinet is mounted level.  I chose to make a cardstock template that matched the rear of the cabinet face, and levelled the template with tic marks against the wall prior to cutting into drywall.  Once the cut was complete, the Timbervaults cabinet was easily inserted into the properly-fitted hole, butting up against the stud.  I wasn’t really hot for the supplied screws and drywall anchors, so I used my own screws that were a little beefier and had a flatter Phillips head; there was nothing wrong with the supplied ones, I just wanted to use my own.

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Once affixed securely to the wall, the cabinet door swung open and shut easily, and seemed rock solid in its mounted position.  With the shelves in place, I was easily able to store three of my prized pistols inside, however, I wanted to use the cabinet for a “long gun.” Once I unscrewed the shelves and saved the set screws in a Ziploc bag, I tried to fit an 8.5” barreled 300BLK pistol, as well as a 11.5” barreled AR pistol chambered in .223.  To my pleasure, both fit with a loaded magazine and room to spare.  Outstanding.

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran
TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran
TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Locking Mechanism; Sturdy and Inflexible

The lock mechanism is easily mounted, and powered by four AAA batteries. According to the instructions, the Timbervaults lock batteries should last approximately 1-2 years, and will begin to beep once batteries reach 50% capacity, which gives the end user plenty of time to swap batteries out.  I would recommend changing them yearly just like your smoke detector batteries and red dot batteries, it keeps it easy to remember.

TimberVaults RFID Cards
Photo Credit: TimberVaults

The lock itself is locked and unlocked by an RFID card.  The Timbervaults gun storage cabinet comes with two pre-programmed RFID cards as well as a programming card if the end user would like to add another RFID device.

The default setting from the factory is that each card independently locks and unlocks the cabinet; For example, if the end user wants to unlock the cabinet, they would use card “A” to unlock, retrieve the contents within, and then use card “A” again to re-lock the cabinet.  If a second user wants to unlock the cabinet, they would use card “B” to unlock, and card “B” again to re-lock the cabinet.  For most applications, this makes sense.

While researching for this article, I checked out the old Internet to see what other users had to say about this cabinet, and I found that a few other users had the same questions I did, and they all centered around the unlock/lock protocols.  While the factory default settings work for me in my individual situation, one size does not fit all.

I found a Youtube video where the reviewer was able to reprogram the lock so that the “A” and “B” cards could be used interchangeably, which I believe opens up end-user flexibility.  It apparently is possible to somehow program the lock so that once activated, a set period of time goes by and the lock will automatically re-arm itself.  Also, dependent on end user needs, this could be an advantageous scenario.

For example, say I use the cabinet for an easy-access storage solution for my EDC pistol.  I’m in a hurry in the morning, unlock the cabinet using card “A,” but in my hurry, retrieve my EDC pistol, shut the cabinet, but forget to re-lock/re-arm the lock. Not a good situation to leave the cabinet unsecured, so while at work, I call my significant other to re-lock/re-arm the cabinet using card “B.”  With the factory-direct default setting, this would not be possible, since card “A” must be used to re-lock/re-arm the cabinet as it was unlocked with card “A.”

I brought this up with the representative from Timbervaults, and after several email exchanges, I still was unable to successfully receive instructions to reprogram the lock so that the “A” and “B” cards could be used interchangeably.  This is one of the two drawbacks to the Timbervaults cabinet, and an issue that I hope they will address clearly in their instructions in the future.

While the factory default settings work for me and my particular living situation, I believe that the more options a customer has in their own security preferences make the Timbervaults gun storage cabinet more appealing to a wider customer base.

In the meantime, I’ll be researching to see where Timbervaults sourced their locking mechanism and hopefully be able to program my lock to be as flexible as possible for the future.

Criticisms

The aforementioned factory default lock setting is the biggest negative when it comes to the Timbervaults gun storage cabinet. The second, is that in my profession as a fulltime police officer, I approach gear reviews not only as an end user, but as a police officer, and conversely, as a bad guy.  How would I, as a criminal, attempt to defeat or discover this system?

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Looking at the cabinet as a casual observer, the Timbervaults gun storage cabinet appears to be just another beautiful, well made, stylish wall mirror.  However, under closer inspection from the side, the cabinet is clearly a cabinet.  The cabinet would be even more covert if everything but the door was flush to the wall, this would lend itself to more of a simple vanity mirror appearance.  While this is a subtle detail, more sophisticated criminals might be able to ascertain that the mirror hides something valuable within.

Conclusion

For defensively-minded consumers, the Timbervaults gun storage cabinet is a huge win, as long as the end user understands that the storage cabinet is just that: a storage cabinet, not a safe.  The cabinet can be defeated more easily than an actual safe, and of course, because it is made of wood, it bears no fire resistance.

The cabinet is beautifully constructed and finished using real wood, glass, and metal, and is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  I’ve obviously mounted mine in my stairwell, which enhanced the defensibility of my home, and as long as space allows, firearms storage in one’s home is literally limitless and up to the end user’s creativity.

Like all other quality pieces of furniture, the Timbervaults gun storage cabinet is not inexpensive; currently this model is advertised at $349.00.  This price is well in line with other competitor or similarly-purposed gun concealment/storage companies out there, in and in many cases, more economical.

TimberVaults Homestead Mirror Coffee Finish
Photo Credit: Chris Tran

With my two criticisms in mind, Timbervaults is definitely a strongly viable and competitive firearms and valuables storage solution that is well worth the look.

Want to know more about Timbervaults? Check them out on the Web and Facebook.

looking for previous reviews? Check some of them out here.

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