I’ve gotten a LOT of suggestions for stories over the years. The most frequently suggested story? Ultimate Reloader Shop Tour- and here it is!
The “original” UR studio and shop up at the Ultimate Reloader Ranch is pictured above. It was a single 40′ high-cube shipping container that I used to film on-location while I was still living in the city. This was a HUGE improvement over filming in my cabin, but was also limited in space, especially for things like cameras and lighting. Still, I had a 100 amp panel, and a climate controlled space, very exciting at the time.
The interior was “framed in” with 2×4 arches, and 2″ rigid foam insulation was set in place between the arches before the 1/2″ plywood sheeting was added for interior wall and ceiling surfaces.
I got help from friend Clay Williams, pictured here before insulation went in:
And a shot where you can see the insulation and some of the sheeting in place:
From “Box” to “Shop”
The original studio/shop was a great improvement over nothing, but I quickly ran out of room, and knew that I needed a much larger facility. Rather than start from scratch, I decided to add another 40′ high cube container, and to enclose the space between them. I had seen similar shops in pictures online, and even considered a “kit” roof system that spans two containers.
Here’s what the site looked like before the roof trusses came:
The day the roof trusses came was the FIRST SNOW that year (2017). Seriously? Snow when we’re trying to set trusses? Yes. That’s mountain life plain and simple. If you can’t work around the weather and other obstacles, the mountain life isn’t for you. Here’s a shot from the truss placement:
Once we had the trusses in place, the roof went together very quickly. I’m personally very opposed to Oriented Strand Board (OSB) – so I used plywood for all sheeting applications on the shop. Well worth the investment!
Following this, a concrete slab was poured between the containers, the 2nd container was wired, insulated, and sheeted, and we enclosed both open ends of the shop as well. A lot of work, but it has turned out to be a GREAT space!
I built some custom 6′ wide by 12′ high shop doors with my friend Eric Peterson which turned out quite well. You can read about the build over on my other site: Making with Metal.
Here’s the video of the door build:
New Shop, New Capabilities
Having completed this shop, I honestly can’t imagine going back to the time before I had it! Now fully insulated (with the ceiling insulation exposed for sound deadening), this shop is comfortable to work in 365 days a year. I have heat and AC in each space, and the 12′ x 12′ door opening at the front of the shop makes it easy to park vehicles inside, or more equipment in and out of the shop.
I now have the following “spaces” setup in the shop:
- Machine shop and studio
- Green screen video shoot area
- Storage and reloading room
- Ransom Rest pistol testing bay
- Gunsmithing and gun cleaning bench
- Future paint/Cerakote booth
- Laboratory bench (microscope, TriggerScan, lab scale, precision measurement, etc)
- Post-production work area (video/photo editing and more)
I do plan on expanding more! (I’ll elaborate on that as I take on new projects). One more thing!
My 1964 Chevrolet C-60 Orchard Truck
There are places you can go and things that you can do to “get in the zone” and reduce stress. Two things that come to mind for me are: hiking in the outdoors, and driving a farm truck. As I mentioned in the video, I was lucky enough to get a great deal on the truck pictured above- shown the day I drove it home. This truck can haul 20,000lb, and has a huge 8′ x 16′ flat bed on the back. A Chevrolet 292 inline 6 provides reliable power to the SM-420 transmission and 2-speed rear axle. I haven’t even added air to the tires in 6+ years of owning this truck. Amazing. I have some minor brake work to do, so I’m anticipating getting this farm truck back on the road!
That’s it- a quick tour of my shop. Have you built a similar shop from shipping containers? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please leave a comment!
Don’t miss out on Ultimate Reloader updates, make sure you’re subscribed!