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Shed help

Discussion in 'Mini Lounge' started by Don-in-Japan, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I just moved out of an old "company home" of sorts that was made for American military members back in the 60's. The floor was unstable, and I had problems having a 170lb dog too near the road where kids walk. The old house was perfect for a TIG welder, tubing bender, and lathe/mill combo..didn't have to worry about the concrete walls, or the flooring.

    The new house is much newer and I can't run my machines inside it. Need to make a workshed outside. We have typhoons all summer long, so I need one thats fairly durable, but cheap enough for my budget. Steel would be ideal, but siding is pretty expensive here..thought about a decent sized trailer or container, but the prices run around $3000 (including delivery).
    I have plenty of tools (hence the need for a shed), so I'm game to build it myself.
    Any hints, sites, or tips? I'm thinking a shed about 9ft X 16ft, but can deal with 10ft X 14FT in a pinch.
  2. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Something to keep the HABU out? :D

    Knowing where you live and knowing the wasteful habits of the US military, the first thing that comes to mind are pallets...but I suppose the damp climate would do a number on those pretty quickly.

    The next thing that comes to mind is something I've been wanting to try and that is slipform construction. If you have a supply of rocks this might work. But you would perhaps end up with a Taj Mahal of sheds! Another source.

    On the other end of the scale, how about stretch fabric building?
    Source 1 with obnoxious music
    Source 2
    I'm sure there are lots of others but, as you're on Okinawa, I presume you'll want to source something locally.
  3. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I appreciate the info. Actually, we have lots of Habu's in the area. I've seen at least 4 in the road in the last couple months. I live on top of a hill, and the entire slope across the street is nothing but weeds until it hits a small horse farm at the bottom.

    I'm just renting the place out, so a permenant building is out of the question..

    I like the canopy style buildings, but their max is 120MPH.. a little too close to the wind speeds the typhoons bring. Also, I'm worried about the heat generated by my welding and foundry hobbies.

    I need something I can break down within a day, or crane out of the driveway (in one piece) if need be.

    Wood is an option, but like you say, the humidity is terrible, and I would quickly have a building that was warping every possible way, or termites chowing down on it. Metal seems the way to go.

    Has anyone any experience with these type of buildings?

    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  4. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    A footnote on the Habu page was interesting

    "A habu was a main character in a Japanese children's story called Miki the Mongoose.[3]"

    The lady who wrote that book was my friends mom. She was married to a Marine Corps. pilot, but passed away a few years back from a rare form of lung cancer. We used to drop by her place for free food.
  5. I'm in the metal building business in North Texas and I've seen many of those types of sheds from Northern Tool, Lowes, Home Depot, etc and I don't think those would withstand a 60mph wind much less a typhoon. I think your best bet is to build your own.
  6. dwink

    dwink Member

    I agree, those little sheds are a pain to put together and they do not withstand any type of wind. I would build the shed in panels so that it would be easy to remove when you move.
  7. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    OK...good info. So I'm looking at making my own, or possibly going ahead and purchasing a large container. I had no experience with these small sheds from Northern. Good to know they are too thin..don't want to lose thousands of dollars worth of tools in a storm.
  8. larryn2o

    larryn2o Member

    here we take a greenhouse frame and cover it with steel to make a hut . with some bracing it will handle a bit of wind ( katrina didn't get the ones up the road!) . the tin is 3 ft wide and cost $1.00 a running foot ( about 33 cents a square foot) . Wal-wart sells the same thing as a carport for about $650 installed.
  9. frostback

    frostback Member

    If you got some time on your hands, try rammed earth.


    Can't find a cheaper longer lasting material than dirt. Good acoustic insulator as well, if you are going to make some noise. That's what I'm building my next home with. :D

  10. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    Rammed earth looks nice, but a little too involved for a small workshop I may need to move. Would be nice for temperature control though.
  11. Cape Ape

    Cape Ape Member

    metal building


    Go to our website (www.cape-ape.com) and click on metal sheds. This may be what you are looking for. They are installing our demo building today. 3 guys, and one day for a 20x42 building. This structure had to be wind rated because we just came off of a 130mph storm and I wanted it to stay! If nothing else I am taking pictures of the construction to give you some ideas.

  12. geoffreyr66

    geoffreyr66 Member

    I've read all the post so far. Lots of great ideas! Some I'm even going to looking to for myself. However I think for your requirements, the best option is a "Sea-Can" (container). They are easy to move and acquire. They can be insulated, you can easily put lights into them and even install windows and an regular door. They are commonly used here in our Alberta oil and gas industry.
    Just my two cents worth.
  13. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    A container would be ideal, but expensive. The Cape-Ape sheds do look great too. I think shipping would be prohibitive though. I'll request a quote to see how much, and what it would cost to ship.

  14. wtwhitelaw

    wtwhitelaw New Member

    Another .02

    I also will give a vote for the container. Water, wind(if properly secured), rodent, and snake proof. Relatively light and easy to modify. I have senn made into all kinds of different structures. They may not be the cheapest, but when you consider all the attributes of them it seems like a good way to go. Oh, almost forgot to mention that they are relatively burglar proof as well.
    If you ever have to move it, it can be done with ease.

  15. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I'll hold out until I find something sturdy..

    Theft protection is handled by my 160lb mastiff though. No problems yet.. don't even get bills or salesmen anymore. :D

    Attached Files:

  16. wtwhitelaw

    wtwhitelaw New Member


    Is that a Bull Mastiff? Got any better pics of him? I'm a big fan of most of the mastiff breeds.

  17. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    He's a French Mastiff. Tough as a bull...and almost as strong. But loves butterflies.

    Here's some pics of him and my Boxer.

    Attached Files:

  18. Wolfman

    Wolfman Member

    He is a big ol' aweseome looking slobber factory. :D
  19. indianjoe

    indianjoe Guest

    Skip the small sheds and get a container. You won't regret it.
  20. jimhammer1

    jimhammer1 Member

    170 pounds! Wow, I dated a girl who weighed that once...she wasn't as good looking as the dog though.
  21. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    Well, I'm still looking for a container, but some sheds were on sale at the local PX, so I had to buy 3. At $50 a shot, couldn't pass it up. They don't stock them normally. Good for keeping my odds and ends in.

    Still looking for a nice container though!
  22. Delorean

    Delorean New Member

    Quanson huts are very aero dynamic and can with stand very high winds due to their shape, they are easily built and cheap. I would imagine you could get a small one in Japan for not that much.
  23. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I know it's been awhile, but I finally bought a container. All aluminum, with diamond plate aluminum flooring. Large A/C unit inside, and flush ceiling lighting. 20ftX9ft and cost me a little under $3000 including shipping. Should be good for my CNC equipment!
  24. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Cool, Don. That should hold up to the occational Typhoon!
  25. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    It will be delivered next Thursday.. once up and running, I'll post pics..:)
  26. Don-in-Japan

    Don-in-Japan Member

    I've got some action shots of the container. I lucked out at $3000. Inside, it's 20.5 ft X 7.5 ft..
    It is a refridgeration type, and has a 24vdc cooling unit with lights as well. It is all aluminum, and completely insulated too..a plus for the hot summers here.

    It also has aluminum diamond plate for flooring, and a few inches along the bottom of the walls. Pretty sturdy.

    I'm wondering though about running the power to it. I planned on running a 200vac line to a internal breaker box, then to multiple outlets inside. Could I ground the body of the container, and then ground the outlets to the chassis? Is it better to run an isolated ground from the outlets, and ground them seperately from the container body?

    I'm going to insulate the floor with foam tiles, just in case..

    At any rate, here is the container on its way, and after it was put into place next to the house. There's my Kei truck parts donor in the foreground.

    I'm stripping the interior extras out, and painting slowly..

    Really glad I waited for the container..thanks for the help!

    Attached Files:

  27. Timetripper

    Timetripper Moderator

    Pretty nice unit.
    I would try to find out what the local El. codes call for in your prefecture.
    I would think that running grounds to all the outlets as well as grounding the unit would be a better approach.
    A direct wire from the ground to the outlet is more reliable than using the body of the unit
    to do the grounding, with the unit being aluminum and the wires you will be running more than likely
    copper every point that you mix aluminum & copper will start to corrode quickly.
    Pretty soon the connections won't conduct properly when you need them to.
  28. Acerguy

    Acerguy Moderator Staff Member

    Nice, Don. Boy, I would have loved to have seen that thing being snaked through the narrow streets of Okinawa! :D
  29. Samurai9

    Samurai9 Member

    Don, Is that a shipping container or the trailer from a tractor trailer with the running gear removed?


  30. Mighty Milt

    Mighty Milt Active Member

    if it were me i would just get the romex with the ground wire in it... better to be safe than sorry. i've repaired a lot of mickey-mouse wiring jobs being in construction as long as i have. and just can't see a good reason to take a short cut that could cause you harm.

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