View Full Version : Packing and shipping advice, HELP!

08-14-2017, 02:03 PM
I'm shipping the prize in my lot, my Kanile'a KSTP tenor all the way from MN to a UU member in Cali tomorrow.
I'm so phobic about shipping, I usually try to sell locally.
But this is an instrument I wouldn't just throw on Craigslist either, so I decided to sell to a UU member.
Seller and I agreed on USPS Priority shipping.

But I'm a worrier, and shipping this one is getting the best of me. I've had it boxed and wrapped twice. And I am considering redoing it again! Right now it's in a huge guitar box. Could cost a fortune, pretty sure I went over the top, LOL.

Pray tell me, for this instrument in the nice hardshell Kanile'a case:
1. How many inches of bubble wrap or paper do I need between case and box? I saw two recommended here, then three here and elsewhere (which is why I re-did the first box!)
2. Where should I add packing INSIDE the case, and where should it go - and not go - on the uke?
3. Right now in its case in the big taped up box, I have thin bubble wrap under the bottom, the heel, and around the peghead. But I just saw a member recommend NOT using bubble wrap next to the uke - which is why I'm reconsidering tearing it apart AGAIN.
Is there a risk of bubble wrap melting into the finish in a hot truck or something?

These served to confuse me further:




You peeps (and businesses) who buy and sell all the time slay me...

08-14-2017, 02:33 PM
I would for sure not want bubble wrap in direct contact with the finish of any instrument. With a modern finish it probably won't be an issue, but with an older nitro finish the plastic can fog the surface.

I've shipped many guitars, and with those the best advice seems to be to pad all around the headstock with crumpled up paper to support the neck. If (when?) the box is dropped you don't want the neck to be able to move at all within the case. That's not a bad idea for ukes too, but with ukes there just isn't as much mass to put a big strain on the neck. With guitars another concern is the endpin, and the possibility that a big shock can push the endpin right through the body. So some even recommend removing the endpin for shipping. Again I doubt this would be a concern for a uke.

Beyond that, just use as much padding as you can between the case and the outer box.

08-14-2017, 08:29 PM
I had shipped a tenor uke, covered in a cloth bag, with soft foam to support the neck and headstock, inside a gig bag, and then a combination of bubble wrap and newspaper inside a closely-sized box, and then put THAT box into another box with styrofoam strips all around and newspaper to fill in the gaps...taped up all tight...FRAGILE and DO NOT CRUSH written all over the box...

It was about 40 inches tall, 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide when I got to the post office...

With insurance for $300, tracking #, signature confirmation, ADULT signature required, all together it cost me $53 to ship, which seemed very expensive, but the lady at the post office told me that it was because of the SIZE of the box and not the weight that made it cost so much...

I had previously taken the SAME box to FedEx and they told me it would be about $75-85 to ship via ground, and they wanted me to completely open the box so they could inspect it before shipping because they needed to SEE what was being insured and said soemthing about 'HOMELAND SECURITY', etc...so you can imagine how fast I spun out of there, the cost seemed excessive to me and I was not interested in unpacking and repacking inside the FedEx location, and that they were going to CHARGE ME extra for the tape to reseal the box...BAD FEDEX, BAD!!!

I am not sure how to pack such that it ONLY costs $20-25 for shipping, and when I've bought ukes online, the online vendors that ship UPS/FedEx ground or regular USPS for only like $15 must get a discount with a business account.

08-15-2017, 03:19 AM
If in a case, I never double box, but wrap the case with 2 layers of bubble wrap (big bubbles), pad the ends of the box with bubble wrap or crushed paper, then fill around the wrapped case well with peanuts, etc. I always use the smallest box possible, to save on shipping. My most recent experience was shipping a tenor uke from MA all the way to OR. USPS quotes were $23.00 Ground , $52.00 Priority. Fedex Ground was $61.00. UPS Ground was $72.00. I went with USPS Ground, 7 days quoted, got there in 5, including a weekend. Most important to pad the ends, have enough padding so the uke can't flop around inside the box, and always double box if not shipping in a case.

08-15-2017, 05:49 AM
I recently shipped a tenor ukulele across the country to a fellow member. I bought an appropriate sized box from a UPS store for $10, and explored shipping costs from FedEX, UPS, and USPS. USPS was by far the cheapest, costing about $26 with the insurance, signature required, and return receipt. I used crumpled newspaper inside to support the neck, and outside the soft gig bag. It arrived in 7 days at its destination in good condition.

You have a hard shell case, so you should do fine with just crumpled newspaper on the outside. I would avoid shipping in a guitar box because that will increase your shipping cost significantly. They charge by the size.

08-15-2017, 07:25 AM
A uke in a hardshell case is well protected. Fill in the space behind the headstock with any sort of padding to prevent whiplash damage. Like folks have posted above, I tend to keep any sort of plastic away from an instrument's finish. Just make the last layer a paper towel or something of that sort.

You really only need a box with an inch or so of space around the case. Fill that space with soft material of your choice: styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap, newspaper, etc. Anything to absorb a BIG blow and/or a crushing weight of some sort.

08-17-2017, 06:42 AM
Thanks all, I really appreciate all the great info.
I did re-box to get the bubble wrap off the uke (thx) and to go with a smaller box, although it was larger than the first box I had it in (which did have about an inch between the sides and the case, perhaps it would have been fine after all!) It had to go diagonal to fit, so extra dead space packed with paper added cost I suppose.
It was $88 USPS Priority insured. Yikes! Just abut turned around again, but as you can tell from the above, I had had it by then so shipped it off.
Nevertheless, I will be on pins and needles until I know this beauty is safe in Dan and Angie's hands!

08-17-2017, 01:23 PM
I have consistently found USPS to be more expensive than FedEx Ground.