Packing for shipping

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Shipping pieces can be a part of doing business. When I was making a lot of chess boards and tables, they were getting shipped all over the country and not infrequently, to other countries.

My first efforts at shipping ended in disaster. I naively thought that a cardboard box and bubble wrap would be all that was needed to insure a safe journey. Boy was I wrong! My customer ended up receiving a pile of splinters.

That's when I found out the value of shipping insurance. Zilch. The first thing you hear is that you did not package the piece correctly and it's on you to prove them wrong, a task that is right up there in difficulty with teaching pigs to fly.

I soon realized that the shipping container needs to be built as if it were expected to last at least ten times longer than the life expectancy of what it contains. It is also critical to take photos of the open container that clearly show how the thing is packed because you better be able to prove your case.

I once sent a shipment to a customer and he had reason to return part of it. The stuff was packed in a screwed together three-quarter inch plywood crate and he sent the return in the same crate. But the contents of the crate arrived totally destroyed and dumped into a battered cardboard box. What happened between his house and my shop remains a mystery. But the shipper insisted that the stuff was not packaged correctly and refused to make good on the damage. Ultimately, the customer got a settlement, but it took years.

D.D.

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