Different methods for attaching timber to a shipping container
Attaching timber to a shipping container creates the opportunity to build other structures on or around your container such as stairs, handrails or even a roof deck using just woodworking tools and without having to make a single hole in your container.
In this blog we show you different methods of attaching timber to your shipping container whilst leaving your shipping container completely undamaged.
What methods can I use to attach timber to a shipping container?
Depending on the requirements of your project we have three main methods of attaching timber to your shipping container;
- Screwing to a plywood adapter (Lightweight)
- Bolting directly to the Domino Clamp (Medium to heavyweight)
- Bolted to an angle iron (Extra Heavyweight)
Wooden signage posts
Premade, from our shop;
These plywood adapters have been CNC cut so that the holes line up perfectly with those on the Domino Clamp and have countersunk holes so that the bolt heads sit out of the way and flush with the surface of the plywood, ready for whatever you’re attaching next. Read our article to find out how to attach timber to a shipping container using our plywood adapters.
Cut a piece of 30mm plywood or other suitable sheet material to 120mm x 60mm, or whatever size suits your project.
Drill two holes into one side of the timber according to the technical drawing and then countersink the holes with a 25mm diameter countersink bit. This will leave the heads of the bolts flush to the surface of the timber enabling you to attach some timber or start building your wooden structures off your shipping container.
Alternatively you can email us for the CAD file for making batches of these, and send this to your your local CNC machine shop to cut them for you.
A timber beam
Additional structures beside the container
In many ways the simplest and most straightforward way of attaching timber is to just bolt it directly to the Domino Clamp with M12 set screws.
1. Drill one to four 13mm holes through your timber and then, using a suitable length bolt or set screw and a nice big washer, bolt it to the Domino Clamp. You may want to use a spade bit to sink a hole into the timber for the head of the bolt to recess into so it is out of the way and not protruding from the timber.
When attaching a horizontal beam as in the below image where two sets of holes need to be drilled for two Domino Clamps, try measuring the distance between the two vertical silver lines on your two Domino clamps to get the spacing between the two sets of holes at either end of your timber.
2. Attach the timber directly to the four M12 threads on the face of the Domino Clamps:
Take the piece of timber you want to bolt on, and mark on the centers of our four holes. These are spaced 100mm horizontally and 50mm vertically. Drill the four holes into one side of the timber according to the technical drawing. Pilot these and then finish off with a 13mm drill bit. Ideally you’ll want to use a pillar drill for this to make sure you come out accurately on the other side, but the other option is to mark what will be the inside of your timber and flip it round to bolt it to the Domino Clamp. Then even if there’s a slight error in the drilling, the starts of your holes will still line up.
Useful where both steelwork and woodwork is required
For extra heavyweight applications, or where you need to bolt both steelwork and timber to the container as part of the larger structure, you may want to use our plans for a steel L bracket, and have the timber rest upon and be bolted to that.
With the L bracket flipped upside down to how it is pictures in the explosion diagram below, so the top is close to flush with the top of the container, this has the advantage of lifting your timber beam up above the height of the container which may be useful when building a deck on top of the container, as it will then be level with any timber beams you have resting across the top of the container roof itself.