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View Full Version : I sold two ukuleles!



Vespa Bob
08-24-2016, 04:41 AM
This is probably old hat to most of you who do this for a living, but not so for me! After placing an ad on UU classifieds, I sold not only two of my little teardrop sopranos, but have an order for another! I have always been nervous about selling long distance, my concerns being the safety of the instruments in transit and whether the recipients will be satisfied with their purchase, so I rely on local sales, which are few and far between. However, needing cash for future projects, I took the plunge and was both excited and terrified when I got replies to my ad within an hour of posting! I spent most of the day on Saturday, constructing boxes out of corrugated cardboard with styrofoam stiffening braces to which I added bubble wrap and tissue paper for good measure. I shipped the boxes express overnight, figuring that the less time they spent getting to their destination, the less likelihood of them getting damaged! I also paid an extra "fragile" fee for good measure and, of course, insured them.
The following day, after a sleepless night, came the news I was hoping for - the instruments arrived intact and both buyers were happy with their purchases!
This nerve racking incident caused me to wonder how you pro's do it. Do you have the same concerns as I described regarding damage caused during shipping, or customer disapproval upon arrival? One thing I know I will do in future is include a hard case with the sale, which would give me a lot more peace of mind.

Bob

cml
08-24-2016, 04:44 AM
Congratulations Bob, I saw the ad (and saw your thread here on it previously) and it was a very nice soprano :-)!

tobinsuke
08-24-2016, 05:30 AM
Congratulations! I'm very happy for you. So glad to hear that they arrived undamaged.

Michael Smith
08-24-2016, 06:39 AM
Congrats Bob. I always ship in a hard case. As to worries. Keep them in perspective. it's all a mater of scale As a young man I was with fire/rescue if things went wrong people could die. If a ukulele gets destoyed of someone doesn't like what they get and sends it back it's not that big a deal. But I do understand how you feel. Kind of like dropping you kid off for his first day of school.

spongeuke
08-24-2016, 07:18 AM
I have always been nervous about selling long distance, my concerns being the safety of the instruments in transit and whether the recipients will be satisfied with their purchase, One thing I know I will do in future is include a hard case with the sale, which would give me a lot more peace of mind.

Bob
My only bad shipping episode involved bubble wrap. It should not be in contact with the surface. The shipment was exposed to high heat (Arizona) along the transit route, the bubble wrap left its imprint on the finish. I now include a cloth covering when bubble wrap is used. A good fitting case solves the problem but is is not always possible for occasional sales that I do.

Michael N.
08-24-2016, 07:26 AM
I always ship in a hard case. In fact I doubt that any insurance will cover without the use of a hard case. I go a bit further and line the cardboard box with thin plywood, just the areas that correspond to the vulnerable front and back of the instrument. It's quick to do and the thin ply sheet is cheap. Bubble wrap all around the hard case. It can still suffer damage but there's a limit to how far you can go. I used to make wooden shipping crates for them but the extra weight probably made them just as vulnerable. It was also time consuming.

Michael N.
08-24-2016, 07:30 AM
My only bad shipping episode involved bubble wrap. It should not be in contact with the surface. The shipment was exposed to high heat (Arizona) along the transit route, the bubble wrap left its imprint on the finish. I now include a cloth covering when bubble wrap is used. A good fitting case solves the problem but is is not always possible for occasional sales that I do.

It's not the heat. I think it's some type of chemical reaction between the bubble wrap and the finish. I once placed bubble wrap inside the case to pad it out a little. It affected the finish and I had to ship it back to refinish it. I've since learnt that it's a known issue. Might depend on finish type though.

tobinsuke
08-24-2016, 01:18 PM
It's not the heat. I think it's some type of chemical reaction between the bubble wrap and the finish. I once placed bubble wrap inside the case to pad it out a little. It affected the finish and I had to ship it back to refinish it. I've since learnt that it's a known issue. Might depend on finish type though.

I don't know what it is about bubble wrap, but..... I ship aircraft parts to Boeing and Parker Hannafin, and I've had parts rejected and sent back with the sole reason being direct contact with bubble wrap.... and I'm talking aluminum and "exotic" alloy steels. Who knew?

Vespa Bob
08-24-2016, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the kind, encouraging words folks, much appreciated! Yes, keeping things in perspective is what finally convinced me to go ahead and post my ad, asking myself what could I lose if things went wrong? The answer, of course as Michael N. pointed out is "not much" in the big scheme of things. It was only after the deals were done that panic mode set in! I'm sure it will get easier as time goes by. I only used bubble wrap after first wrapping the instruments in tissue paper, my intuition telling me that plastic tight against lacquered wood was a no-no. From now on hard cases will definitely be included.

Bob

sequoia
08-24-2016, 06:13 PM
Congratulations Bob! I'm not in the business of selling ukes myself, but I do sell them (8 so far). I only sell them to get money to buy more wood and tools so I can feed my ukulele building addiction. As a matter of fact, I dislike making ukuleles for money. Not the point and it starts to feel like work... As far as shipping, I buy hardshell cases that come very well packed in their own sturdy cardboard boxes. Just slip the uke in the case, de-tune, and re-tape up the box and you are good to go. Pretty much bullet proof. However, I've never sold an uke to a real dry area like Arizona and that would give me pause... So dry. So hot. That is my particular nightmare that wakes me up at 3;30 in the morning: A mail truck parked on the side of the road with temperatures reaching 130 degrees. These are not things we can not control. Just let it go...

Timbuck
08-24-2016, 10:13 PM
I have had this bubble wrap problem.. it's not caused by heat alone, I had a search on the web and found this.

A WORD OF CAUTION REGARDING BUBBLEWRAP ..........

It is very tempting to use bubble wrap to protect items for storage or transit. However, it can seriously damage certain polished wooden surfaces, leaving them scarred with unsightly ring marks that are VERY difficult to remove. I have noticed the effect on French polish and cellulose finishes. It seems that the object need only be in contact with the bubblewrap for a relatively short time for the damage to occur.

The problem seems to be caused by plasticizers leaching out of the bubblewrap and reacting with the finish. The advice I am being given by archivists is to first wrap the item in acid-free tissue paper and then in bubblewrap, ensuring that the bubbles face outwards. Do not use bubblewrap for long-term storage.

The acid-free tissue paper is not expensive and could well help you avoid expensive damage. You can obtain supplies of acid-free tissue paper from CAB Search, who's website is at:

http://www.cabinter.net/cabs/pages/frames/intros/contactdetails.htm

Please quote my web address when you contact them.

If anyone has more information on this topic of bubblewrap damage I would be pleased to hear from them.

* NB: Please note that any advice given on this page is offered in good faith but without any warranty as to its effectiveness or suitability for any given application.

Michael N.
08-25-2016, 02:14 AM
It causes shellac (F.Polish) to bubble or at least seem as though it's taken an imprint. The pic was taken by the client just after he received it, which was the day after I posted it, less than 24 hours. There was some further damage elsewhere.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/torres01_zpsxd6ondqr.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/torres01_zpsxd6ondqr.jpg.html)

As with other French polish problems it's easy to rectify. It's just an expensive mistake, given that the instrument has to be shipped back and then out again.
I just padded out the case with absorbent kitchen paper rather than bubble wrap. Leave the bubble wrap for outside of the case. I've yet to have it affect the case covering!

printer2
08-25-2016, 01:51 PM
I don't know what it is about bubble wrap, but..... I ship aircraft parts to Boeing and Parker Hannafin, and I've had parts rejected and sent back with the sole reason being direct contact with bubble wrap.... and I'm talking aluminum and "exotic" alloy steels. Who knew?

What were they ok with against the metals? I used to qualify some of the incoming raw metal for a firm that made parts for Boeing among others. This is a first for me.

sequoia
08-25-2016, 05:55 PM
This is such great advice. Beware bubble wrap. I didn't know, but it makes sense. Thanks so much for the heads up... Also, along the same chemical lines, the pads on digital tuners will cause a cloudiness to appear on shellac finishes and it doesn't take long. This unpleasant effect is pointed out in the fine print when you get your tuner. You did read the fine print didn't you? Right. The bad thing about this is that it happens on the top of the peghead and is thus very visible. I have never tried to fix it and just live with it. It does not go away with time. The same thing must be happening as with the bubble wrap: some out gassing from the plastics is reacting with the alcohol and shellac.

tobinsuke
08-26-2016, 05:07 AM
Depends on the material and application of the part, but Kraft paper against the part is the safe bet. And that's finished parts... raw material is different - as long as the mill certification, country of melt, etc are good then it's good to go. The bubble wrap is really more of a Parker thing.

Lillymo
10-21-2016, 10:26 AM
...As far as shipping, I buy hardshell cases that come very well packed in their own sturdy cardboard boxes. Just slip the uke in the case, de-tune, and re-tape up the box and you are good to go. Pretty much bullet proof..

I've been shopping for a hard shell soprano case and came across some sturdy looking cases at a great price that will fit a variety of body shapes. Buyers who have purchased them for figure 8, pineapple and banjo ukes have given them positive reviews. They might be a good option for your Favilla inspired teardrop ukuleles:

https://www.amazon.com/Luna-LLSOPRANO-Lightweight-Ukulele-Soprano/dp/B004TB0ZV0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477080962&sr=8-1&keywords=luna+soprano+ukulele+case

Do you have any more teardrops in the works? Any videos or audio files of them in action? Beautiful work!

95099 95098

SoloRule
10-21-2016, 12:58 PM
My only bad shipping episode involved bubble wrap. It should not be in contact with the surface. The shipment was exposed to high heat (Arizona) along the transit route, the bubble wrap left its imprint on the finish. I now include a cloth covering when bubble wrap is used. A good fitting case solves the problem but is is not always possible for occasional sales that I do.


That's good to do as I use bubble wrap too. Better take note

Vespa Bob
10-22-2016, 02:36 PM
Thanks for your suggestion regarding soprano cases, but I purchased, at my client's request, a Stagg hard shell case, while not a teardrop shape, the uke fits well.
Incidentally, she loves the first one I sent her! Unfortunately, I don't have any sound clips and until I find someone in San Jose who will agree to play one for me, it will be a while before I can do my instruments justice!

Bob

mvinsel
10-26-2016, 11:30 AM
Congratulations Bob on turning pro.
On that last note, I'd feel better if more "sound samples" were more about the ukulele than the player.
To learn to play well enough to make a good uke recording might take longer than it has taken to learn to make them.
Then too there is the trying to play with nicked, splintered or accidently sanded finger tips from building.
Thanks to all for good info.
-Vinnie in Juneau

dustartist
10-26-2016, 09:21 PM
I sold an uke on EBay to a customer on the East Coast. He wanted it fast, so he paid for it to be shipped by air. Koa concert size. It had been strung up here in California for months and taken to several ukulele festivals on my vendor table. No problems. Lot's of people played it. Shipped it by air, and when the customer got it, the bridge popped right off. He demanded a refund, which I gave him immediately and paid for the shipping back. I only ship by ground now.

Vespa Bob
10-27-2016, 04:44 AM
Bummer, that's the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night!

Bob