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Shipping Drums and Drum Sets

I decided to share my experiences with shipping drums so that others can utilize my techniques and hopefully in the process save a drum from being damaged in shipping. I know a lot about shipping and the shipping industry from the business I own. I ship anywhere from 75 - 150 packages a week. The items are delicate and must arrive in excellent condition. We rarely ever have a problem with damaged items. Also in the same business I have Federal Express Ship center and people drop items off and we have to prepare them for shipping.

With that out of the way my experience easily transfers into vintage drums and I have shipped and received a bunch of drums and drum related items. My funniest story is when I won a Vintage Ludwig practice pad in the original Ludwig box! It was a mint item and I was excited to win and looked forward to it arriving. Well, much to my dismay the seller shipped it in the original box with no packing material and not protected with another box. Yes, he put the label on the original mint box and by the time I got it UPS had written on it and applied another label to it. In the end the seller refunded all of my money including the return shipping.

I'm fortunate to have a 200sqf shipping section with 12 stock box sizes, pre-cut bubble wrap and bags of packing peanuts. I also have a shipping computer with Fed Ex and UPS shipping software dedicated with two thermal label printers. I receive a lot of merchandise and have bins set up to recycle the packing materials. If the boxes are in good shape I keep them for future Ebay shipping. In most cases if I'm going to charge a packing charge I use a new box with new packing supplies. If I'm recycling old materials I might just charge a little for my time and packing it correctly. If I was just throwing an item in a box with no regard for the arrival condition, then it would not matter. Unfortunately Ebay sellers can charge whatever they choose and most cases it can be rather unethical. We also have to realize that some people live in remote areas and they have to travel or worse yet have to pay a ship center to pack an item. In regards to that my ship center is not my main business and we charge a vary fair price for packing which is much less then a pack center that relies on it to keep the business going.

I once ran out of a 16x16x16 which is a stock box and had to run to a pack and ship to purchase two of them. I think I paid $3.17 per box! A box like that might cost .70 cents! so you can see the mark-up and why some auctions shipping charges for a snare drum might be $20 or more. I rarely ever argue when someone posts crazy shipping, I just do not bid on the item. Let's start the discussion with shipping one snare drum.

1. First and foremost put it in a plastic bag!

I do this to protect it from water damage or any liquid for that matter.

2. I wrap the entire exterior of the shell with two layers of 1/2 bubble wrap.

This is important and if you do not have bubble wrap then take a plastic bag and fill it with your material of choice and tape it around the drum.

3. I take a 16x16x16 and fill the bottom with about 3-4 inches of packing peanuts.

Use whatever material you might have that acts as a good cushioning agent. I have shipped with every known packing material from 4 different types of peanuts to air filled bags to a host of shredded materials and I always prefer the stiffer packing peanuts to protect items. If all you have is newspaper then use plenty of it crumpled into loose balls.

4. I then fill all the remaining space with peanuts and seal the box with at least three strips down the middle and one on each open seam. The 16 cubed is a tad tall and in some cases will cut it down with a special tool that scores the interior of the box so I can easily fold the flaps over.

This packing method meets UPS and Federal Express packing requirements of at least 2" of packing material completely around the item. If you wish to read about each companies requirements then click here for UPS and here for Federal Express. I will also use an 18x18x18 if the drum is truly rare and worth more money. With this method I have never had a damaged drum. Also realize that even the best pack job can still be too little if the box is crushed or something serious happens while it is shipped. We have had our share with my main business and once had a call from Fed Ex that medical waste spilled out on one of our packages. We even had a Fed Ex truck crash and catch fire and our package was destroyed.

Shipping drum sets is more challenging and requires multiple boxes. I will use a 24x24x24 for a 22" or smaller bass drum with the floor tom and a 16x16x16 box for the snare and tom. This requires the removal of all of the heads. I also put the hardware and misc items in a third box. If the set has more drums then I use more boxes.

1. In any case after the heads are removed I put each drum in a plastic bag to protect it from damage. Do not put the hoops in place with the tension rods! Just put the rods in a bag and label them and wrap and put the hoops in last.

2. Wrap each drum with bubble wrap and start with the bass drum. Fill the bottom with packing material put the bass drum in without the bass drum spurs on the drum. I wrap those separately and pack them in later. Then put the floor tom (without the legs on) into the bass drum and completely fill the space between the outside of the floor tom and the inside of the bass drum shell. Remember the floor tom is also bagged and bubble wrapped. You can add items to the interior of the floor tom just be careful and pack everything well. Then go the bass drum hoops and floor tom rims and heads on top after everything is filed with packing material. Some items you can even put the mounted tom into the floor tom depending on the tom size.

3. Follow the same procedure and steps for the snare drum and tom and with an 18x18x18 they do not have to nest, but can sit on top of each other if packed well. I like to put a thicker piece of cardboard between the two drums.

 

 




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