Drums and Drum Sets
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
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
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
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.
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.