Easy Ocean Container Shelving

I recently picked up a single use ocean container (aka sea can) for some extra storage and needed to build some shelves.  I didn’t find much information on shelving that didn’t require additional frames or welding so I thought I would post the design I used.  My neighbor across the road, Myles, came up with the design for his own container, so any credit for it goes to him since I just modified what he had already built.

Most ocean containers have hooks along the top and bottom spaced around 54″ apart.  These can be used to hang shelving units.  I wanted a shelf that would support around 400lbs per 54″ span and used the material below:

  •  Grade 30 3/16″ galvanized chain to hang the shelves; a 7/8 hole is the corresponding size to drill into the shelves for the chain.  Make sure and drill in a spot to intersect the 2X4 or 2X2.  I went 1″ back from the front edges and 1.25″ in from the side edges.
  • 3/4″ plywood with a 2X4 running along the back and 2X2 along the front for the actual shelves (thinner plywood or a 1X4 could be used as well but will reduce the load capacity).  You can build one long shelf that spans multiple chains or individual shelves that can be adjusted independently.
  •  3/8″ threaded rod cut into 4″ lengths to support the shelf on the chain
  • 3/16″ links to stabilize the chain at the top hook.  I also put a link at the bottom of the first chain on each side to prevent side to side movement.

The pictures below show how everything is put together:

shelf3 shelf4 shelf1shelf2

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