Ideas for an inexpensive shop building

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Forum topic by Stosh posted 06-23-2010 03:24 PM 9703 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 3125 days

06-23-2010 03:24 PM

My current shop is in the cellar.. needless to say, I would like a bigger shop.

I was thinking for the money a shipping container would be much bigger than my cellar. I have a small yard. I have looked at the “we finance and drop off a storage building” places but for the money, i could build a better/bigger one for the money.

Has anyone in here used a shipping container before? I was thinking paint it white, Put an ac unit in the side and call it a woodshop (of course build tables run power ect.)

I was just throwing around ideas. Thinking of the pros and cons of shipping container vs self made plywood biulding as it will have to be small to fit in my yard

What did you spend your money on when you were in this situation? And yea the shop is making a little $$ so id like something better than my cellar … Had to assemble a bookshelf on the front porch because it was too big for the cellar opening, And no i didnt tell the cusomer, but she loved the bookshelf .. :)

16 replies so far

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5767 posts in 3436 days

#1 posted 06-23-2010 03:47 PM

Do you have a garage? Try there…

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View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3668 days

#2 posted 06-23-2010 04:08 PM

I know a lot of guys have built a lot of living quarters, shelters, etc. out of shipping containers but I just don’t know how a shop would work. The width dimension would be very restrictive for rotating stock or moving one thing past another. Ventilation should be easy to create. It’s going to take a torch or heavy metal cutting tools to create openings.
One other consideration is local codes. I can’t stand them myself when they say what you can or cannot do in your yard or what type of buildings you are limited to. That is one of many reasons I moved to a very rural area. I even found there are a few codes here. They relate to how close to the property line you can put a structure. Some places will limit it by feet and some are by percentage of lot space.
An idea, and just tossing ideas, may be to find a cheap vacant lot or an abandone property through the local court system. Sometimes the properties sold for back taxes are really cheap, especially if it’s a delapidated structure. There would be no need to bring it to living standards and a real good chance it would already have power.
Good luck on the project.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3668 days

#3 posted 06-23-2010 04:11 PM

Have you seen the cheap sheet metal covered car ports for 600 to 800 dollars. They can have the sides covered and you have a really cheap one or two car garage space instantly. Big drawback is, NO FLOOR. The container would already have a good one.
Again, good luck.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3507 days

#4 posted 06-23-2010 04:24 PM

I know a boat re-builder who works out of a 40’ container. If you want to paint one and want some aid with the heat 3M makes some glass beads that you can mix into the paint that will reflect a hell of a lot of the heat. Send me a PM if you want info who where to get them.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View rance's profile


4266 posts in 3364 days

#5 posted 06-23-2010 04:42 PM

Interesting idea, the SC. So what’s the going rate for one, and how much for delivery? If you are likely to move in the foreseeable future, I could see that as the TOP choice.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3404 days

#6 posted 06-23-2010 04:48 PM

I think an 8’ X 8’ X 20’ container would make a great shop. Careful of some of the “as is” sales, I hear those are a buyer beware kind of deal. Although the may be cheaper, they sometimes come with some real problems.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3507 days

#7 posted 06-23-2010 04:49 PM

Around here you can get them dropped for $2,000. Either a 20’ or 40’, same price.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View JimF's profile


144 posts in 3497 days

#8 posted 06-23-2010 05:21 PM

LJ cmckerliesr has been blogging on his life woodworking in a can. You might check that out for some things that work and some that don’t do well. If you go this way, watch your electrical hookups. Lots of way for the LJ to be the ground connection.

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View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3957 days

#9 posted 06-23-2010 05:36 PM

Stoch, I bought a 14×66 moble office building, for about the same price as a SC, It came with central heat and air, well insulated, windows and 2 steel doors. Cost me 750 bucks to have it moved 40 miles, but no permit needed because it still has it’s wheels. I live in the country, so I have no problem with the looks. After removing a wall inside, I have a 14×40 shop, a 12×14 finishing room and a 12×14 office/wood storage room. Works great for me, I also ran 100 amp 240 to the shop. It also came with 16 dual tube overhead lights as well.

Good luck

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 3144 days

#10 posted 06-23-2010 11:40 PM

My buddy started his shop in one container, later parked another parallel to the first with some distance between the 2. Added a roof between the 2 as the next phase. Then a concrete floor and back wall. Gives him a nice big space to work plus the space in 2 containers.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View woodsmith1's profile


58 posts in 3159 days

#11 posted 06-25-2010 03:07 AM

I’ve seen guys use old mobile homes. Gut the inside walls. You’ll have a furnace, Insulation, and electric. Maybe a small one (12’x50’). Like BTKS said what are your local codes. If you gut it and use it for a shop it’s not consided a living quarters. I’ve seen them for free on craigslist more than once.

View Stosh's profile


65 posts in 3125 days

#12 posted 06-25-2010 03:21 PM

Thank you for all the input guys. Time to start looking and thinking.

View Wood_smith's profile


260 posts in 3229 days

#13 posted 06-30-2010 04:32 AM

A friend of mine started with a baby barn, about 6’ wide and 8’ long. Then he added another piece to the end, then another. At the end of it, it looked like he was building cabinets in a tunnel!
Now he’s renting an awesome spot in a big building.

-- Lloyd Kerry; creator of the Kerry-All Pouch,

View woodworkerforchrist's profile


164 posts in 2061 days

#14 posted 07-19-2013 01:18 PM

All great ideas! I think the old camper trailer or mobile home is the best all around. But I would suggest posting this also on Facebook, email friends and family, look on Craigslist…and pray about it. After just one day I may already have a 14×22 shed for my shop coming my way! Hope you find a great shop soon:) Lumberjocks is a great place!!!

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2211 days

#15 posted 07-19-2013 07:45 PM

Marty! Good for you. Sounds like you may have found something… I’m still looking :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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