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Old 22-08-2011, 08:27   #16
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Toronto, Canada on Lake Ontario
Boat: Roberts Offshore 38
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Re: Intermodal Shipping Container as a Shop ?

I currently own a 20foot can. First thing I did was install a workbench and shelving down one side and across the end. The other side has hooks for hanging line, fenders, sail bags, anchors etc.

Second thing I did was open up a vent in the left side door and put a grill with screen over it. These cans are pretty water and air tight so any moisture inside in hot weather will turn it into a terrarium. Lots of mold if that happens. I spent one winter wiping down lots of stuff with lysol after I sealed up the can in june and didn't open it again til august. Sadly there were a few leaks and water got it. It was like walking into a jungle. Gross.

Third thing I did was spray paint the inside and outside gloss white. White insides allows light to bounce around, so with the door open at mid day,, its very well light inside, even at the back end. The gloss white exterior helps keep it cool.

I suggest that if you are going to use them as shops, build an awning frame over them from scrap material and put awnings over them. Keeping the direct sun off them will do a great deal towards keeping them cool inside. My can is in a yard so I have one can stored on top of mine. Instant sun roof.

One thing you might want to consider is insulation on the outside. Put 2x2 strapping on the outside with foam or glass batts in between, then sheath with what ever. Installing doors and windows is not difficult either, an abrasive saw will cut them pretty easily, then frame up the window or door with flat strip or 3x3 angle iron.

I'd say go for it, you certainly can't go wrong with them. I've even moved mine a couple of times without emptying it out. I just put plywood across the shelves and parked everthing else on the floor. No problems.

SV Sabre Dance, Roberts Offshore 38
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Old 22-08-2011, 09:42   #17
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Toronto
Boat: Custom 41' Steel Pilothouse Cutter
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Re: Intermodal Shipping Container as a Shop ?

Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
I’m thinking about buying a couple 20’ Intermodal Shipping Containers to set up repair shops in; one for woodworking, one for metal. I’m looking at the insulated ones....

Has anyone done this? Is there anything I need to know before I buy?
The place I keep my fibreglass sloop in winter here in Toronto is essentially a very large, fenced parking lot with a couple of cranes by the water, but I've noticed a few "long-term residents" in there with not only workshops made of containers, but STACKED containers in which they are rebuilding pretty large boats. It's very inventive, if likely completely illegal and not to code.


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