cmckerliesr's Workshop

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Workshop by cmckerliesr posted 12-19-2008 04:53 PM 1873 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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My current workshop is very small measuring 18 feet X 8 feet X 8.5 feet high. It is a recycled shipping container. I am still putting a lot of work into organizing and finishing this space.

Currently I do not have any pictures, but I will post one, either on a basis of progress or wait till I have completed all the construction inside this space.

Update 1/04/2009:
Well I managed to scrounge some old kitchen cabinets to form the base for my bench. I still have a very long way to go and this is a temporary setup as I will be getting some MDF soon to replace the current counter top.
Things are not the way I want them yet and yes it is currently a mess, and I am using things as they are for now. Mainly because my first shop, which was even smaller was destroyed in a storm and I had to get my tools into some form of shop if for no other reason then to save them.

The one thing you can not see in the pictures is my table saw, which is located just opposite the drill press shown in the last picture. To use it, I have to open the second door.

The container dimensions are above, and if your are interested it cost me $1800 dollars which included delivery. They are surprisingly easy to get and come by on the internet.

I still have yet to run some actual electrical to the shop as you might be able to tell, currently I am using extension cords, which I run from the outlet on the outside of my house. There are two banks of flourescent lights with 4 bulbs each that I got from an auto body shop that was closing up. I was supposed to get 3 banks, but some careless fool who could not wait for me to remove them took down one of the banks of lights and broke it. Thank god, they were free.

As this shop changes and develops into my vision I will change the pictures and update you on the progress.

One last thing for those who may be wondering about the working conditions inside a metal box. I do not have heat or any fans currently in use. But I can tell you that I have been able to work comfortably inside the container in 30 degree weather with one of the doors open wearing jeans, t-shirt, and a insulated flannel long sleeved shirt. If the sun is out, the sides warm up quickly. Summer I suspect will be worst. I have been working inside when it was 70 degrees and sunny. With both doors open the heat dissipates well. But I know that come summer if I do not insulate or install fans, I will be paying the price for working in a metal box. I guess I should consider starting a blog on this.

Update 1/09/09
I am slowly putting some things together. Look for an update and more pictures not only here but on the blog in the next few days. I will be sure to include some temperature information then too.

I have updated the pictures. See my blog for more information.

Update 3/11/2011:
I was trying to update the pictures, but since I can not just go to my man in the can blog.

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

7 comments so far

View lew's profile


12497 posts in 3992 days

#1 posted 12-19-2008 05:40 PM

Looking forward to the pictures!

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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4058 days

#2 posted 12-20-2008 04:22 AM

Hi Craig, I will echo Lew’s comment about the pictures.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View lew's profile


12497 posts in 3992 days

#3 posted 01-05-2009 02:04 AM

I am amazed as to how much room is really there !! And a high ceiling, too, that’s really great! What I wouldn’t give to have an opening, like that, directly to the outside.

I suspect the down side of this is the wall type. Hanging anything must present some unique challenges.

Thanks for the pictures, keep us updated as you continue to make changes!


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

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4058 days

#4 posted 01-05-2009 02:33 AM

Craig, This is a great idea for a shop. My sister-in-law and her husband used one of the these a couple of years ago to store their furniture when they were remodeling their house. Of course I was “requested” to help them move their furniture into and back out of storage. While doing so I wondered how one of those storage containers would work as a shop space. Now I can see that it works quite well. It appears as if you have organized it well and obviously don’t have any problem with moving tools in or out with the large doors.

At a cost of only $1800 you could easily add another one for additional tools or lumber storage or simply to add additional space. By the way what do you do about lumber storage?

This is a nice post. I enjoyed the visit.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4336 days

#5 posted 01-05-2009 05:44 AM

Oh boy, you will have to keep us posted, this should be interesting.

I would say record the temperature everyday that you are able inside the can vs. outside the can.

That just gave me an idea for your blog title; The Chronicles of Woodworking in a Can.

Seriously, I hope that you don’t think I am giving you are hard time, it’s sometimes hard to tell with sterile text. It is not the size of the shop or the number of the tools that counts, it’s the heart of the woodworker.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View nxs's profile


3 posts in 3917 days

#6 posted 01-05-2009 09:39 AM

What a great idea! However, I recommend adding a skylight window…or two. Sunlight and woodworking go well together (like peanut butter and chocolate). Also, if you open them during summer, heat will escape naturally without any fans. If roof and walls get too hot in the sun, spray them with water – it’s way more efficient and cheaper than installing portable AC unit. Finally, you can really go all out and build a roof-top garden to shade that steel roof.
Below is a link to someone’s container house in New Zeland. They built an entire house out of shipping containers! If your business picks up, get another container for storing wood and finishing work (for a dust-free environment) ...just ventilate it properly…don’t want any fumes to build up and explode.

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4199 days

#7 posted 01-05-2009 03:14 PM

I am also interested in this. I don’t live very far from you, Cameron, and had a metal building erected. I do have a couple of windows but no insulation. Heat and air condition is portable fans and a little electric heater. I will be watching for ideas and what works for you.

-- Berta in NC

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