Overseas shipping containers for shop

This is a discussion on Overseas shipping containers for shop within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I was going through the local ads in today's newspaper this morning. You know those overseas shipping containers they sell/lease for storage and such? 8'x8'x20' ...

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Thread: Overseas shipping containers for shop

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Overseas shipping containers for shop

    I was going through the local ads in today's newspaper this morning. You know those overseas shipping containers they sell/lease for storage and such? 8'x8'x20' for $2300 delivered. I have a frame building for a reloading/cleaning/storage purposes now. I've been thinking about doing firearms cleaning/gun-smithing/possible buy-sell-trades and obtaining a FFL for the past couple years. I'm thinking one of these 'containers' would be almost ideal for a secure shop/storage and it would have only two very secure entries and a small air conditioning unit. Like these here: Secure storage
    I can weld some shelving to the insides of the container, and there are many affordable security products available as I've seen on some of the construction sites. What do you all think about something like this? Good idea or needs some work? Think it would pass ATF scrutiny for a secure zone for my FFL?

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    I'm sure it would pass ATF standards... I know a guy who uses a backyard type shed, loads it up on a trailer and moves it around to shoots to in order to have a smith on-scene. Its a little on the small side, but he can do almost anything within reason in his shed... and it looks a lot nicer than a shipping container. I'm not sure a shipping container is the image I would want for my business.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I've seen some of those with finished interiors. If prepared well, they don't look that much different than the portable trailers seen at construction sites, or schools that are expanding prior to the new buildings being completed.

    You could get thick marine plywood for the flooring. You could anchor panels of drywall on plywood, for the walls. You could install a couple of those roof fans, to aid in circulation. You could run wiring for powering lights. The stout walls and doors would provide far more security than, say, a shed or garage. It would be stout enough to mount a solid gunsmithing/reloading table. It would be portable, too, for attending events.

    You can even by them fitted out, to a degree: SeaBox.com.

    Sounds like an option.
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    I guess if you dress it up a little bit, it might be OK. I was picturing a half rusted bright orange container right off the boat. Its seems to me thought that once you set it up and retro fit it, you could just build a regular shop.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    If it's on your property, I'd first check local codes for such...OMO
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    Member Array Dave James's Avatar
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    And remeber that those boxes have been used to shipp god knows what, most have wooden floors mostly made out of teak and heavier wood, great for strenght but losuy for holding haz-mat residue.

    They can be turned into great work shops with a little time and tools, worked around them for 30 years

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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    It could be one way. My only thoughts would be how weather proof the one is that you get. Some of those boxes and be in pretty bad shape when you get them.

    Also, I would suggest that you have it set down on a concrete slab with a good slope to draw rain water off. You could level out the box with blocks which would also bring the box off the ground to it doesn't corode.
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    Senior Member Array ridurall's Avatar
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    I've got a 12X32 shed in the back yard that is made from the double sided insulated steel that they made doors from. It's is weatherproof, can be kept warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I've also got one set up on our 400 acres for a hunting hut that is 8X8. It's a great place to spend the night if you don't want to get up and drive 26 miles to go hunting in the morning. One of those Coleman heaters workes great to make it comfortable. I thought my wife was crazy for getting the 12X32 one as it is a monster until that SOB of a son-in-law kicked my daughter out. It's full of her stuff and I only have 1 little corner until she gets back on her feet.
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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    I've pondered using these a few times before, too.

    In fact, when (eventually...) I get in a financial situation to build a home, I intend to sink one or two shipping containers into the foundation under the house to use for secure storage / a "safe room".

    I've seen some pretty cool stuff done with them before:







    I think it'd make a great workshop / reloading area / etc...

    Making it look acceptable is the hard part.
    If you don't live in a flood plane, consider sinking it underground and setting up a few skylights / "sun tubes" ?
    Otherwise some paint and trim are my best ideas.

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    Senior Member Array darkvibe's Avatar
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    I know some guys with a class 3 license and they use a shipping container that was cut off so it's about 6' long as storage. It's inside of their shop.

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    Senior Member Array Cap'n's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Zaria View Post
    If you don't live in a flood plane, consider sinking it underground and setting up a few skylights / "sun tubes" ?
    Otherwise some paint and trim are my best ideas.

    Peace,
    Pete Zaria.
    Pete (or anyone else), what kind of prep would need to be done to the exterior of the container to bury it in the ground. Waterproofing, additional structural support, or anything else? Has anyone done this with success? I've been seriously considering this for a storm/safe room. Thanks for any info.
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    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n View Post
    Pete (or anyone else), what kind of prep would need to be done to the exterior of the container to bury it in the ground. Waterproofing, additional structural support, or anything else? Has anyone done this with success? I've been seriously considering this for a storm/safe room. Thanks for any info.
    Haven't personally done it yet, but...

    That corrugated steel stuff is pretty tough. Personally, I'd put a couple coats of rustoleum anti-rust paint on it, and caulk the seams inside and out for watertightness. I'd put something under it to boost it off the ground a bit to allow for drainage (a few inches of gravel would work fine) and lower it into the hole, then pour concrete mix around the sides. That's what I plan to do when I eventually am in the financial situation to build a house... I'd like one for secure storage and another setup as a safe room.

    Any better ideas on that?

    Peace,
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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    I've worked with a lot of these around boat yards. They can make pretty good shops, especially when a portable setup is needed. They can be had from practically new to being sold because they can't be shipped any more. Always look at what you're buying before you put your money down! Especially check the door system to see if it actually closes and seals.

    They can occasionally be had with insulation, these cost more but are well worth it.

    If you're putting one in as a shop check local codes, some are OK with it, some aren't.

    Forget the Rustoleum unless you're in an arid climate and think commercial marine grade epoxy coatings from companies like Devoe.

    Bury one? Only if there's no ground moisture. Otherwise it will rust out and leak one day.

    I had two wood shops in different boat yards based out of containers and they worked well for me.
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    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cap'n View Post
    Pete (or anyone else), what kind of prep would need to be done to the exterior of the container to bury it in the ground. Waterproofing, additional structural support, or anything else? Has anyone done this with success? I've been seriously considering this for a storm/safe room. Thanks for any info.
    Maybe have it Rino coted or Line X'ed. That would seal, strengthen, and make it corrosion resistant.


    Pete Zaria - Great idea for making a concrete bunker out of one. I suggest you still put a vapor barrier of some sort on the container. Concrete is porous and will still allow moisture to make contact with the metal.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

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