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View Full Version : Winter uke delivery - Should I be concerned?



mikelz777
01-03-2014, 04:00 AM
A long awaited solid wood uke has finally become available and unfortunately I don't have the luxury of waiting or buying later, I have to buy it now or risk never getting it. I realize that I have no control of the situation in transit but should I be overly concerned about a winter delivery? (to MN) I'm having it delivered to my wife's work place to avoid any chance of it being delivered and left outside. I know that once I receive it, I should leave the box as-is without opening it until it can acclimate itself to the temperature/humidity of our home. Am I being paranoid?

ScooterD35
01-03-2014, 04:13 AM
It all depends on what finish is on the Uke. Something like nitro-cellulose lacquer can react pretty dramatically to sudden changes in temperature and humidity, whereas a UV cured polyester finish is pretty much impervious to such things.

Just to be safe, I would suggest the following:

If the Uke is in a hard shell case, wait about six hours after delivery before taking the case out of the shipping box and then wait another twelve hours before opening the case. If it's not in a hard shell case, wait about sixteen hours before opening the shipping box.


Scooter

cigarfan
01-03-2014, 04:51 AM
It all depends on what finish is on the Uke. Something like nitro-cellulose lacquer can react pretty dramatically to sudden changes in temperature and humidity, whereas a UV cured polyester finish is pretty much impervious to such things.

Just to be safe, I would suggest the following:

If the Uke is in a hard shell case, wait about six hours after delivery before taking the case out of the shipping box and then wait another twelve hours before opening the case. If it's not in a hard shell case, wait about sixteen hours before opening the shipping box.


Scooter

+1 ^^^

This can be some of the most painful time in a winter delivery but force yourself. You won't be sorry you waited.

Additionally, if you can afford it, go for expedited delivery so the instrument is exposed for less time. Overnight if you can.

focsle
01-03-2014, 05:35 AM
Good info as I have baritone on it's way. Wasn't aware of the acclimation issues. Thanks for the post.

Ipcmlr
01-03-2014, 05:36 AM
Good stuff.
I have a uke that should be arriving today in the freezing weather here in MD (14 degrees but nothing like MN though!) a guitar in 3 days and another uke in 5 days!
Hopefully none of them crack, check, etc!!!

Cornfield
01-03-2014, 05:53 AM
Yes, leave it in the box for several hours before opening. These were the instructions I received from Elderly when I ordered a guitar and I think it holds true for any solid wood stringed instrument.

mikelz777
01-03-2014, 06:08 AM
The reason I'm so concerned is that we've been having such brutally cold weather where some of our highs have been negative or single digits. The predicted high for this coming Monday is 16 below zero!! The predicted high temps for next week range from -16 to 31 a swing of 47 degrees! I don't have a ship date yet but I'm guessing it would be around the middle of next week at the earliest. I guess all I can do is follow the advice above, cross my fingers and hope that it will survive unscathed.

mikelz777
01-03-2014, 06:19 AM
It all depends on what finish is on the Uke. Something like nitro-cellulose lacquer can react pretty dramatically to sudden changes in temperature and humidity, whereas a UV cured polyester finish is pretty much impervious to such things.

Do you happen to know what kind of gloss finish Ohana uses on their ukes?

ScooterD35
01-03-2014, 06:23 AM
I don't know for sure, but chances are pretty good that it's some kind of poly.

The guidelines I posted above should work out well, no matter what the finish is. It's also a great exercise in patience!


Scooter

Telperion
01-03-2014, 06:32 AM
Another bit of advice, if this option is available to you, is to have it shipped to a fedex or ups shipping center and have it held for pickup. That way, it won't be left outside, and depending on the type of shipping location, you might be lucky enough to have it at room temperature by the time you pick it up.

Also, just to emphasize, it is not necessarily the cold temps that hurt an instrument. It is really about quick swings in temperature. Think of how you can crack a windshield by pouring hot water on it when it's frozen. It's all about rapid expansion and contraction of materials. In the case of the ukulele, you have the wood itself, and then the finish on top of that (nitrocellulose, etc). These two things will expand and contract at different rates which can cause problems. If allowed to happen slowly, however, the risk is greatly reduced.

Good luck and congrats, if you decide to but this new uke!

-Steve

Kayak Jim
01-03-2014, 06:59 AM
Just have your wife leave it at her workplace until the next day (assuming it can be done securely). Then you won't be tempted to open it too soon.

bborzell
01-03-2014, 07:06 AM
Or have it routed out to me in sunny California. I can unpack it, break it in and have it here ready for you to pick on your next trip out west.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
01-03-2014, 07:48 AM
When shipping to the East Coast during the winter I always watch the weather. I would never ship in zero degree weather. As has been mentioned, time in transit is critical. Express mail is the way to go. And if you can, try to avoid shipping through a Sunday or holiday, adding an additional day in travel.

peaceweaver3
01-03-2014, 11:47 AM
Good stuff.
I have a uke that should be arriving today in the freezing weather here in MD (14 degrees but nothing like MN though!) a guitar in 3 days and another uke in 5 days!
Hopefully none of them crack, check, etc!!!

Good gravy! I mean congrats! :D

What kind of ukes are you both getting?

Ipcmlr
01-03-2014, 12:09 PM
Good gravy! I mean congrats! :D

What kind of ukes are you both getting?
Collings UT2SB from a trade. MyaMoe myrtle tenor (didnt want to buy another uke but couldnt pass it up as it was great price).
Mya-moe is now here in a box. Will have to wait until tomorrow to open it, bummer.

mikelz777
01-03-2014, 12:27 PM
What kind of ukes are you both getting?

I've been waiting for this so long with so many postponements that I don't want to jinx it until I receive it. I can hardly believe that it's going to happen. I'll report back once I get past the shipping/temperature/survival worries. :uhoh:

thekman
01-03-2014, 01:47 PM
I actually have the same concern with my ukulele delivery here to Ohio -- albeit mine is only a solid top. Glad to know someone else shares in my anxiety!

Doc_J
01-03-2014, 04:35 PM
Most ukes make it just fine shipped through the cold. As others have said, if you let your uke warm up slowly you'll likely have no problem. I'm sure there are limits based on the wood, prep, and finish as well as temperature extremes.

I've only had one cold temperature related problem when a uke (of a particular brand/model susceptible to finish cracking) was sent via UPS ground for 6 days from West Coast to East Coast in record cold temps (-17F). The extreme cold, bouncing around in trucks, plus cycle warming temps at sort facilities ended up cracking the finish, but the wood and glue joints were fine.

My advice for those who have ukes in transit is don't worry.

62622

mikelz777
01-06-2014, 01:21 PM
So how did everyone who was having a recent delivery make out? Any issues with your instrument(s) due to the cold shipping? I'm glad mine isn't in transit yet. We've had highs in the negative teens and lows in the negative twenties with wind chills in the negative forties! I think we're supposed to warm up to upper twenties by the end of the week.

haolejohn
01-06-2014, 01:33 PM
I actually had a uke that had its finish crack when it was shipped to me. I waited 8 hours to open that uke. It was shipped from Massachusetts to Georgia. Just a finish crack. A couple weeks ago I received a guitar am the temps were double digit negatives when I got it. I waited 6 hours to open with no concern. I received a uke last week with temps at 10 degrees. I waited two hours to open. No issues.

suburude
01-06-2014, 01:42 PM
[QUOTE=ScooterD35;1455792]It all depends on what finish is on the Uke. Something like nitro-cellulose lacquer can react pretty dramatically to sudden changes in temperature and humidity, whereas a UV cured polyester finish is pretty much impervious to such things.

Just to be safe, I would suggest the following:

If the Uke is in a hard shell case, wait about six hours after delivery before taking the case out of the shipping box and then wait another twelve hours before opening the case. If it's not in a hard shell case, wait about sixteen hours before opening the shipping box.




I have shipped 20 guitars the last 10 years do what this guy above just said you will have no problems !! Just wait ! Be patient ! :-)

Edgeguy
01-06-2014, 01:50 PM
I bought a Koaloha from HMS and they are shipping it to Colorado leaving Hawaii today. I am glad I had them wait to ship until it would arrive after Jan 7th. The temps were brutal last week and this weekend. The temps are now warming up and should be in the 40's when it arrives. I will just be patient about waiting a while before opening.

Edgeguy
01-06-2014, 01:55 PM
I forgot to ask what kind of finish is on a Koaloha?

Telperion
01-06-2014, 04:28 PM
I totally agree that best practice is to watch the weather, ship on Mondays, use fastest methods, etc, etc. However, things don't always happen ideally. In my case, I simply didn't think to address these details before the uke had been shipped. I just purchased a high end ukulele that was shipped UPS ground from the Northwest to the Northeast. Due to weekends and New Year's Day, it spent 11 days in transit through record cold temps in the Midwest. Definitely traveled through sub zero temps. Here in New England, we've been having bitter cold as well. After reading this thread, and other internet stories, I was sure I would be opening the case to a totally checked nitro finish, if not worse. So........sigh of relief..... The uke is perfect with no problems whatsoever. I may have just been lucky, but i don't think so. I think it's absolutely possible to ship a delicate uke through cold temps without issue. Again, I don't recommend doing it if you can avoid it, but don't panic if it happens. Just remember to allow for thermal equilibration in the box before you open it. ;)

pakhan
01-06-2014, 04:49 PM
After years of dealing with guitars and ukes, here are my 2 cents:

- During very cold or hot weather, if possible delay the shipping to a more conducive time.
- If you must ship, ensure the instrument is packed well with enough insulation. That usually means lots of padding, usually newspaper, although packing peanuts, foam is also great and once I had a guitar turn up with the box insulated with just hundreds of plastic bags!
- Then ship using the fasting method.
- After receiving the package, allow time for the instrument to slowly come to an equilibrium with your home environment. The numbers quoted for hours in the box, then in the case is a pretty good guide. I once saw a vintage F5 mandolin sitting on a friend's couch craze because he went to open the front door and a very cold and very dry gust of wind caught the mando. THere was crunching sound and voila, the nitro crazed...


The most important principal is to avoid as best as possible, sudden changes. I know of one vintage dealer who would leave his instruments in the unheated portion of his house before packing to avoid sudden cooling as the instruments hit the back of the big brown van.

mikelz777
01-07-2014, 08:01 AM
It's encouraging to hear the success stories of many of your ukes being delivered in such cold weather. I believe mine would be coming from the west coast so it's going to be moving from warm to cold or very cold. By late in this week to the middle of next week we're going to see 30+ weather then it drops into the single digit highs again. Unfortunately, Jan. and Feb. in MN are typically the coldest months. I don't have a ship date yet so I'm sitting tight and trying not to worry. I'm not concerned about not being able to wait and opening the box before I should. On the contrary, I'll probably wait even longer than I need to to be certain I'm erring on the safe side. I planned on waiting at least 24 hours before opening the box once it's delivered.