Mission Possible III

Cardboard box VS Bubble wrap!

Every time I am shipping, or I am expecting the delivery of my instrument from a luthier in Greece,  I am debating with the option using an external cardboard box outside of a bouzouki case (and filling it up with packing peanut material), or use the big size double bubble wrap to wrap and secure a High density foam case all around.


It feels as the debate between the US luthiers and luthiers from Greece holds strong, since the luthiers from US recommend the use of an external cardboard box,  in contradiction to most of the luthiers from Greece who ship high density cases wrapped in bubble wrap as the following examples.


If the packing process is executed correctly, with attention to detail, I strongly believe that either way someone chooses of preparing, packing, and shipping a bouzouki, the instrument will arrive intact.

But to be honest, I feel more comfortable packing the high density foam rock-bag, and wrapping the thick green bubble wrap around it., reinforcing  with double wrap the parts of the bowl, soundboard and connection to the neck 

The issue I have with just putting the case inside in a cardboard box and filling it up with peanut materials is the following:

1. - First you are not reinforcing the case with bubble wrap. If you do this as a first step and then place your wrapped case in the cardboard box, the box dimensions  increase dramatically in size, since the case at the bowl with wrapped around bubble wrap becomes enormous. 


2. -Secondly you are protecting mostly the sides of your instrument by the use of  cardboard box, as this is the areas where you have the most space between cardboard box and case filled up with peanuts. The top and the button of your case is usually almost in contact with the cardboard box (as the thickness of the case gets the most real estate of the cardboard box thickness.


3. - Very importantly by using a cardboard box you leave to the postal services employer the imagination to guess what is inside that cardboard box.
Usually a well rectangular cardboard box is the best place to lay and place over other heavy packages. With other words you are pushing your luck to allow on top of your bouzouki case  a 70 + 70 + 70.... pounds of weight

4. -Finally, I have read dozen of posts regarding postal services employees treating a fragile package with cruelty,
Incidences have been reported of shaking, throwing and hitting the box to see how good of packing you have done. I hope that most employees identifying a musical instrument case , will rarely play soccer with it,  or throw it from one story level height..at least I hope.

- If someone wants to creates the most solid and secure packaging, without caring for the cost then : 
He should follow exactly the steps of wrapping the high density foam bouzouki case with bubble wrap and after placing it in a custom "coffin " plywood box (crate)  filled up with packing peanut. Just be prepared to pay approx $400.00-$500.00 in shipping charges  

Take Photos & Insurance
Which ever way you choose to pack and ship a musical instrument do not forget to take pictures from the whole step by step process in case you will need them for insurance claim purposes before delivering the package to the post office.

I would recommend to definitely add insurance to your package no matter which carrier you will choose , for the cost of approx. $15.00-$35.00 depending on the instrument's value.
You will need approx. $ 40.00 in packing materials,( big bubble wrap, small bubble wrap, packing tape, marker, Self-adhesive 3M labels) and another $ 55.00- 85.00 for shipment inside US with insurance through parcel mail and US Postal Services ( referring to the option without the additional external cardboard box or the wooden crate).

Good luck!


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