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admin | Category: Container Cost | 24.01.2016
Cynthia said that she would like a long bench seat along this same wall, so one day Armando and I formed it and readied it for concrete. I didn’t want to weld the rebar directly to the container wall because on the other side of the wall is the walk-in closet. And finally, this morning I formed the counter for the sink in the half-bath under the stairs.
For the past four-years, we’ve had a problem with a particular kind of fly, called the sagano.
The mother ship is just a few feet into the neighboring lot to the west of our fence, and the other day Armando and I decided that it was time for the big nest to go. We quietly and stealthily placed a tall ladder in the tree about fifteen feet from the nest. Using a long pole, we placed on top of the nest a Ziploc bag full of diesel and a bit of gasoline.
Again, I hated to do it but their bite is annoying and their saliva, or whatever they use as a building material, is corrosive to the paint and galvanized metal on the house.
Cynthia returns from the States next week, so in an attempt to impress her upon her return, in the rain-free mornings I’ve had Armando outside in the gardens.
Having been in construction since I was six, I know that there is a natural rhythm to most construction projects. Having worked six weeks in the yard, Armando has finally finished filling holes, leveling humps, and removing lots of trunks and roots. The floor between container 3 and container 4 is ready for rebar and concrete, but we are holding off on that until we do some more infrastructure in the area.
You can see that the framing for the new wall is placed where the container siding is outward.
By placing the wall where the container corrugations go outward, I can now put the Plycem in place and it will make a nice inside corner. Here's a scrap of Plycem showing how it will make a nice corner against the container.
At the far end of the container is a hallway; I will cut holes in the container for a doorway from the living room, into the hallway, then into the master bedroom. The next space toward where I am taking the photo from is a half bath, accessed from the hallway. The next, larger space will be a walk-in closet off the master bedroom and studio space for Cynthia’s torchwork (making glass beads), her seed bead stringing, and fabric storage for sewing projects. The final space, the one that I am standing in in the photo above, will be an eight-foot square deposito (storage closet), accessed by the existing container end doors. The above wall happened to be placed above a container floor beam so I couldn’t drill straight down for the hole for the conduit.
By the way, speaking of the wooden floor, the floors in our containers are mahogany, just a tad under one and a quarter inches thick. In the meantime, Armando has been working for two days grinding away remnants of the container siding webbing in container 4. You can see that he is wearing safety glasses (and not-seen earplugs), and the guard amazingly is still on the machine. Next I’m on my way down the mountain to see if I can get the DeWalt angle grinder that Armando has been using repaired. If you are considering a container house project, I hope that I have given you some good tips from my experience. In this post, I frame the floor between #3 and #4, build some interior walls, and do some minor stuff. A significant amount of rain has been falling, and I am happy to have a bunch of interior work to do. Good and gooey and very workable, the solvent based urethane caulk is holding out rainwater. Next, while I waited for delivery of the metal for the big floor between #3 and #4, I started some of the interior walls in #3. Then, before I made a big mistake with a bad paint and painted all of the exterior of the containers, I wanted to test out some oil based polyurethane red oxide primer and some white polyurethane wall paint, so I sanded, primed two coats, and painted two coats onto the 12-foot section between #3 and #4.
I have to admit to a small error; when I placed the containers on the columns, I placed these two exactly 12-feet apart measured from the outside of the containers. To measure the lengths of the carriolas, I used two boards and a clamp, adjusting the length for each joist.
Throughout all of this, Armando has helped me lift and tote the heavy stuff, but mainly he has been working to smooth out the lot.
You can really see his progress in this next photo taken from the northwest corner of the lot. My next small task will be to finish cutting and removing a scrap strip of container siding metal and re-purpose it into a very short wall section that will go at the bottom of the bedroom window wall.
With the tilebacker walls in place, it was finally time to haul the welder up onto the roof of container four. Armando and I tried first to lift the welder with pulleys and a rope, but we were getting exhausted and the welder wasn’t budging far off the ground.
I also wasn’t looking forward to the job because I have been using number 6011 welding rods.
If you don’t know, the idea of welding is to touch the welding rod to the metal you want to weld, create a short circuit if you will, get sparks flying, then pull away slightly and maintain a gap that the fire jumps across, heating and fusing the metals.
So for my birthday, friend Les gave me about ten pounds of not 6011 rods, but instead 6013 rods.

A lot of the mess is paint that has burned and flaked, and the weld cleans up fairly well with a wire brush.
I got to the half-way point today before I sensed the blisters on my knees from the hot roof. Not to mention, shipping containers don't have good strength against the flat sides and top.
Hay Larry Love what your doing there, i was just wondering about some the stuff ive read about the floors in the containers being treated with some very nasty stuff .? Cyric30 wrote: Hay Larry Love what your doing there, i was just wondering about some the stuff ive read about the floors in the containers being treated with some very nasty stuff .?
Hay Larry i dont know if they all are treated the same, but i seen somewhere in my reading that SOME (some places over seas if i remember correct) where treated with formaldehyde and arsenic among other thing to really keep the bugs away maybe to play it safe find you a very thick sealer maybe? I asked about anchoring because that earth against the wall does exert a sideways force, as well as a downward force.
Larry Please dont stop posting while i voiced my concerned about the floor, they where meant as something you needed to consider, not as wanting you to stop. Welding would burn the paint and make an awful amount of smoke and I didn’t want to remove all our clothes from the closet. I want to build a cabinet below the TV for components and such, so we built the form work for a counter. I hated to do it because they seem to have the one redeeming quality of pollinating the bananas. Next we used the pole with a nail taped to it to puncture the bag; the fuel saturated the nest. For the first time, the entire lot is pretty-much weed-free and everything looks good and healthy. There are periods of time when important work is being done but progress is not very visible. It is nice to be able to walk on the floor and be able to more accurately gauge how the spaces will feel. I have chosen to place the wall so that the framing is in alignment with an outward bend of the corrugated siding of the container.
I’ll probably run a small bead of urethane caulk around the Plycem to seal any insect highway gaps. This is all working for me because we will have the three-inch thick concrete floor to cover these conduits throughout the entire house. I brought some PEX tubing with me when we moved to Panama and decided to use it to make the pipe stub-ups. I insist on it even though most workers here think these safety devices are mere nuisances.
I think the switch has given up the ghost; it has had some rough duty during its life on this job.
Most of the photos I have posted so far have been from the east side, but this one is from the west. The wall in this photo will divide the hallway (that goes from the living room to the master bedroom) from the half bath.
However, the floor joists ended up being about 12-feet two-inches long because I affixed them to the indented part of the container main floor support I-beam.
You wouldn’t expect it, but the lengths varied due to various dents and strengthening gussets. Tomorrow Armando and I will pour three small footings to further support the concrete slab and to reduce any floor bounce.
The four-foot high wall that holds up the high end of the roof over the space between three and four was only tacked in place. When I bought the pulleys I wanted double-block (two wheels per unit) pulleys but could only find less mechanically-advantaged single-block pulleys. These are the standard welding rod here in Panama and can be found in any hardware store and even some grocery stores right next to the duct tape. It is during this initial getting-the-sparks-flying stage that the welding rod can fuse itself (or stick) to the metal to be welded. If the 6011s are a stay-out-all-night rebellious teenager, the 6013s are their stay-at-home studious twin.
Our goal here is too illustrate the many container projects both big and small that are taking place around the world.
I considered using shipping containers in my underground home, but opted for timber because of its flexibility and cost..
I still need to put up one wall in the bathroom once all my plumbing is in, but it is on to electrical now.
In a off grid situation, I have a 3000 watt power converter with a 6000 watt surgeA  that should run the washer and they can be dried the old fashion way (cloths line). And I hear what you are saying as I have actually decided to quit posting about it on this forum because of all the negative comments .
As standard practice in forming all these counters, I drilled half-inch holes in the concrete walls and inserted the rebar into the holes.
They’ve been trying to build many of these satellite nests high on the house, which Armando and I knock down with the pressure washer.
We had prepared ourselves with protective clothing which is a good thing because we were each covered with hundreds of the little biting creatures. Additionally, yesterday we moved five coconut palm trees and two other palms (Cousin Christine — yours is being planted this weekend) that we had been holding in a nursery area at our rental house.

I framed the walls with the 2x3s as horizontal purlins (a style seen in old barns; the purlins go sideways so that the exterior board siding can be installed vertically). After the Plycem is up, the concrete floor will lock this wall in place, so the screws are only a temporary placeholder.
When I got it home, I fired it up, cut a nice round hole in a carriola for the electrical conduit. Not a drop of rain enters, thanks to Juan who mentioned in a comment that he uses Sika Urethane caulk to seal container seams. I am standing in what will be a dry room -- a closet with a dehumidifier -- a real necessity here in the cool but humid mountains. I also built the framework for the wall that will separate the bedroom (foreground) from the master bathroom.
I’m pleased that so many people have subscribed to receive notice of new posts, and it was fun to watch the 10,000 hits mark come and go right at the one-year mark of my blog.
I am now faced with the task of welding a forty-foot long bead, welding the wall to the roof of the shipping container.
So we rigged an electric winch (thank you for the loan of the winch, Ivan) and effortlessly lifted the heavy welder to the roof. If it sticks you have to wiggle the rod back and forth until it breaks free then start the process all over again. Lots of slag flies everywhere, the rods stick easily, and if you are thinking about last night’s fight with your wife and not paying 100% attention to counting the number of seconds that are passing, you can burn a hole in the metal the size of Texas.
A blob of the 6013 seems to stay in place as it cools making closing the hole quite easy, whereas the 6011 blob shrinks as it cools, leaving the hole almost as large as when I started.
As such they tend to be difficult to bury; this was mentioned in the underground house thread. I will be covering all the flooring with hardwood with a under lay-met, and tile with backing board under it, so I am not to worried about what the sub floor is treated with. The bottom of a five-gallon bucket was the perfect size to make the hole for the sink; I cut the bucket on the table saw. Below is a photo of my breakfast one day — a large plate of veges and three eggs, all scrambled and sauteed in coconut oil. Like chimps picking lice off of each other, I picked the flies off of Armando and he picked them off of me.
All this happened over several hours to give the flies time to calm down; most of the flies abandoned ship as they seem to like to be higher in the air. Then there are the periods of time when the job seems to be flying and progress is very visible.
We planted three of the coconuts by the electric service entrance wall at the southeast corner of the lot. I searched but could not find that brand, but I did find some other urethane and it is working well.
Once up on the roof, with the new ATW wheelbarrow wheels, the welding rig no longer bumps and bangs, but rolls across the corrugated roof very easily. When I tacked the wall in place, there was a whole lot of sticking going on and I wasn’t looking forward to forty feet of frustration.
They burn hot enough to eat through the numerous layers of paint on the container roof, but the burn is more surgical if you will. With my new knowledge of the 6013 rods and my experience today, I’m not dreading the second half at all. Getting back to work was physically difficult, but I did it and I have accomplished a few things.
I seasoned this batch with Herbs de Provence, although other times I may use curry or Italian herbs.
Besides defacing the house, this fly, if you pass within a few feet of their nest, will attack people and pets. Instant transformation, they are softening that concrete corner. This progress is exciting and a big boost to our moral. Then when I went to cut a second hole, it made a wild clicking sound (relay going bad?) and shut itself down.
I sealed the two 40-foot seams where the walls that hold up the metal roof connect to the containers below. There is less flaming slag flying over the top of my welding helmet, thereby burning fewer holes my scalp. It was in the 20's in the morning and the small wood burner heated the cabin very well. I don’t know squat about the coefficient of this or that, or the temperature that bronze-molybdenum-strontium 90 alloy melts at. Then to prevent creating a hole, I get the heck out of Dodge, wait for the new metal to cool for a second, then repeat.
So to all the professional welders who fall across this blog by mistake, those with multiple certifications in underwater welding and welding in deep space on the Space Station while holding a wet cat, please have pity on me for what I am attempting to do at this stage of my life, and maybe remember those first not-so-pretty welds that you made so many years ago.

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