The Chronicles of Woodworking in a Can #4: It has been a long time.....climate inside the can

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Blog entry by cmckerliesr posted 10-29-2009 07:38 PM 1435 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Can Wood Glue Freeze? Part 4 of The Chronicles of Woodworking in a Can series Part 5: Still Trying »

Well it has been way to long since I last wrote or posted anything on my blog and I apologize for that. The main reason for the long period between blog posts is that as some of you know, I was out of work for over a year. I had to make the tough decision to severely limit my woodworking since I could not afford the power bill. In case you did not know, woodworking is not my occupation. Writing crap that no one reads is. Yes, the next time you actually take the time to read the directions that come with that new tool, computer, or piece of software. I may have written it. Just remember, the guy who wrote it, is probably illiterate and does not know as much as you do. So just through those damn instructions away as soon as possible! LOL!

But, that is not what this blog series is about. It is about working inside a ”CAN” or more correctly, working inside one of those really big shipping containers. After about a year of actual work time in there, I think I am qualified to give you the honest truth about working in the CAN. (Sorry that still makes me laugh). If you do not understand why I find CAN so funny, then look back at the first posts in this series. In any case, I am going to talk a little about the ups and downs of the climate in the can, then in a post to come soon, I will tell you about some of the obstacles involved with storage and such. The CAN is not entirely friendly!

Well, since my last post the weather has gone through a lot of changes and even though I was not able to work in there as often as I would like. I did log some time in there, in the heat of day, in the late afternoon, and so on. Now remember I have no air conditioning and most of the time, not even a fan in there with me.

There were some good days and there were some (what the hell am I doing in here!) days. Living in North Carolina, you get to experience everything from damn its cold, to it is so damn hot I refuse to move. With the heat throw in a lot of humidity at times. As you may have guessed I am leading up to the fact that while you can get quite a few working days in the can without problem. It really is best to put in some sort of climate control. A fan for hot days, a heater for cold days, and be sure to add some ventilation holes.

Since it is basically just a big metal box, there are a lot of factors as far as comfort. I at least did a little planing before just dropping it in place. I put it in a spot where at least most of the day it is covered in shade, I also paid attention to how wind would enter and or leave the can. I am real glad I did too. Based on all this I can make some very educated assumptions.

First if you put one of these up in direct sunlight, and do nothing to reflect at least some of that heat. You will die of heat stroke long before you finish you first project. Well if you wait till around midnight, you might have chance to finish that first project before dying as you crawl toward the door.

Second, this is more of a fact then an assumption. If it is 5 to 10 degrees below zero. Close the doors and turn on a space heater, that coupled with an insulated flannel shirt. You will be comfortable. But if you leave the doors open, well…....they may find you frozen in place.

The upside is that if you do pass while working in your own can. At least they will say, “well he went doing what he loves”. LOL!!!!

The bottom line with a few vent holes drilled near the roof at the back of the can, and with at least a fan or medium sized space heater. You can work relatively comfortably in the can. The very best days are when the weather changes from winter to spring and from summer to fall. Summer can be out right hell, if you do not take some sort of measure to keep the air moving in there. Winter, in my opinion was more bearable even in the most extreme conditions. I do not stand still a lot, so the space heater, and flannel shirt made it just right.

Eventually I hope to install a small window type AC unit at the back of the can, and am not sure if I will go any further with the heat other than a space heater that I will put on a shelf. But all that may change as well, once I get the second container (oh, I’m sorry “can”) and join them together.

While I have experienced the extremes. It is a very cheap way to get a durable workshop. While the single can, is a little rough at times. If you are on a tight budget like me, you will not be disappointed. But if you have the money, buy two, weld them together and then add climate control, lighting, etc., just as you would to any shop.

I hope that this has at least answered any questions you may have about what the climate is like in the can. If not, then drop me a note and ask me anything. In my next posts, I will cover the general work space and then I will move on to other issues like storage. The storage issue I am still dealing with, so that may take a while, as I plan to put up some photos to show what I am talking about. I will say this, that hanging or mounting certain things to walls takes some forethought.

My goal was to cover the basics of climate, but if you would like more details about things like covering the top with dirt, or any other questions, please leave me a note. May be my reply will be in the form of another post, or I will reply directly.

That’s it for now from inside the can!

Best Wishes!!!!!!

-- The Man in the Can, Craig M. North Carolina

6 comments so far

View lew's profile


12099 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 10-29-2009 11:34 PM

Thanks for the update! I was wondering how life in the “can” was going!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3196 days

#2 posted 10-29-2009 11:35 PM


Be proud of your can, Man. Show it off in pics!!

-- -- Neil

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#3 posted 10-29-2009 11:38 PM

If you put two together you’ll have lots more room and you can blog about life in a can can. :-))

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 3194 days

#4 posted 10-30-2009 12:13 AM

or….if you put two together you’ll have a can twice the size to do your business!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4121 days

#5 posted 10-30-2009 12:24 AM

I was just wondering about you the other day!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View cmckerliesr's profile


82 posts in 3467 days

#6 posted 10-30-2009 01:47 AM

Thanks for the comments guys. I will be posting pictures of the can, hopefully soon. BTW….I am looking forward to one day working in the can can.

-- The Man in the Can, Craig M. North Carolina

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