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Shipping a violin.


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#1 daddy-o496

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:03 PM

I will be shipping a violin via FEDEX and I would like to know what precautions I should take as far as preparing the instrument. Do you slacken the strings, or anything like that? Thanx, Vic.

#2 Oded Kishony

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 07:06 PM

ideally you should send it with the post down, the bridge down and wrapped in paper tucked under the tailpiece, in a hard case and next day air.
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#3 skiingfiddler

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 09:08 PM

ideally you should send it with the post down, the bridge down and wrapped in paper tucked under the tailpiece, in a hard case and next day air.


That is, of course, true if the receiver of the instrument knows how, himself or has access to someone who knows how, to put all of those pieces together. If you expect the violin to be playable upon arrival, then you have to leave all those parts in place.

Even when the instrument is going to an experienced setup person, I would argue against anybody but a trained repair person knocking down a sound post in preparation for shipment. I think an inexperienced person could ding up the f hole and possibly scuff the inside top in trying to knock down a sound post.

There should be lots of threads on this. Click here for one.
Here's another.
And another.

I'm unable to get the Maestronet's search function to work, and I used to know how. You can go, instead, to Google or similar search engine and type in what you want to find followed by the site. For example, "shipping violin maestronet.com".

Too bad about the Maestronet search function. There's a ton of great information in past Maestronet threads which are basically lost, it seems -- lost, at least, to me. If you figure out how to use the Maestronet search function, please share that information.
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#4 jacobsaunders

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:00 AM

Even when the instrument is going to an experienced setup person, I would argue against anybody but a trained repair person knocking down a sound post in preparation for shipment. I think an inexperienced person could ding up the f hole and possibly scuff the inside top in trying to knock down a sound post.



"Knocking a sound post down":

Any violence whatsoever, to "knock a soudpost down" when the instrument has had the string tension removed, is thouroughly unneccesary. One only has to stand the instrument up sideways on a table, bass side down and gently squeeze the C bouts. Gravity, you're friend and helper!

#5 martin swan

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:10 AM

I would take the strings, bridge and tailpiece off, but I wouldn't bother dropping the soundpost - it will probably fall on its own! Incidentally Tarisio Shipping Instructions is very helpful. If someone lives far from civilization (btw "civilization" does not necessarily equal "presence of luthiers"), I often ship violins with slack string tension, but in this case I use two boxes, not a case and a box. The first (smaller) has plywood on both sides, has plenty of clearance above the violin, and in turn is wrapped in heavy duty bubblewrap inside second a bigger box. This will avoid any pressure on the bridge, which might induce a soundpost crack.
If you're selling the violin and the buyer ends up taking it to a luthier, be prepared for difficulties! If you're selling it on eBay and your buyer takes it to a luthier as "bought on eBay", God help you.

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#6 Fellow

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 04:42 AM

I will be shipping a violin via FEDEX and I would like to know what precautions I should take as far as preparing the instrument. Do you slacken the strings, or anything like that? Thanx, Vic.


+++++++++++++++

Do things that are only necessary. That is,

(1) Put some board card paper ( such material as in boxes ) under the bridge and tail piece to protect the scratch of belly's varnish.
(2) use meshing tape (not scotch tape) to hold the card board in place. Meshing tape is used for easy removals.
(3) bridge should be flately placed but use some paper rolled up as high as a bridge and put it under the strings to hold the strings up.

There is no need to knock down sound post ? Use some old newspaper to fill gaps between your violins and the box.
Imagine if it is safe as it is dropped 5 feet from the ground then it is safe.

#7 Oded Kishony

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:21 AM

The Tarisio instructions are what I had in mind. If you plan to ship the violin with the bridge up then place coiled bubble wrap in front and in back of the bridge, under the fingerboard and under the tailpiece. Slacken the strings somewhat-not so loose that the post falls over. I also sometime put a mark, like a dot, using water soluble pencil, to identify the exact location of the bridge, in case it moves during transport.

To do a Google search of Maestronet (or any other site) you would write the following- shipping violin site:maestronet.com

Here's an article about10 simple ways to search Google

Oded
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#8 Michael_Molnar

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:28 AM

... .

Too bad about the Maestronet search function. There's a ton of great information in past Maestronet threads which are basically lost, it seems -- lost, at least, to me. If you figure out how to use the Maestronet search function, please share that information.



Sometimes I forget that the full search routine is accessed via the GEAR icon next to the magnifying glass.

Also, don't forget to use Google to search Maestronet. For example, google using the next line

site:maestronet.com shipping violin
or
shipping violin site:maestronet.com

Hope that helps.

Stay Tuned.
Mike

-- I see Oded be me to the punch. :)

Stay tuned.


#9 Oded Kishony

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 06:34 AM

Michael, I tried the form you are using (with the =), it doesn't work.

the correct form is- shipping violin site:maestronet.com

Oded
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#10 Michael_Molnar

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 07:11 AM

You are right. Remove the equal sign. I will edit my post.

Thanks

Stay tuned.


#11 fiddlesurgeon

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 08:05 AM

I will be shipping a violin via FEDEX and I would like to know what precautions I should take as far as preparing the instrument. Do you slacken the strings, or anything like that? Thanx, Vic.


In addition to the advice here, you may wish to check out the article on this same subject in the January 2011 issue of Strings magazine. So far, I have been lucky in the few instruments I have shipped fully strung. A good takeaway from the article is the choice of shipper and working with them, follow packing recommendations, take full advantage of shipping insurance, and have the before hand condition of the instrument and how it was packed well documented by time stamped pictures.

Steve
Fiddle makin's easy, you just cut away what ain't fiddle

#12 LinkMan

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 11:59 AM

vimeo.com
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#13 skiingfiddler

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 12:16 PM

Concerning using Google:

You can enter (without the quotes): "shipping violin maestronet.com" or "shipping violin site: maestronet.com" or "shipping violin site = maestronet.com" and you will get pretty much the same results. Just click on "more results from maestronet.com" a few lines down from the top of the display.

Concerning using the gear icon to get into Maestronet search: That used to work, but no longer seems to. On the search screen, you enter "shipping violin" (without quotes) and designate the "pegbox" forum, and you get simply the current entries in the pegbox forum. If you put in the quotes around "shipping violin" you get slightly better results than without, but not as good as the Google search.

The Maestronet search function seems to be useful only for finding entries by a specific poster.
Caveat lector!

#14 Michael_Molnar

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Posted 12 June 2011 - 02:53 PM

Ski,

You are doing something wrong under the GEAR icon. It works. I found 12 posts with "shipping violins" in the Pegbox forum. I did not enter any specific poster. :huh:

Stay tuned.


#15 Dwight Brown

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 09:49 PM

One thing I might suggest is the Bobelock shipping case. It is small and very ridgid. It is only big enough for a violin and not long enough for a bow. They are made out of fiberglass and hell for stought. I think even I could sit on one! They cost less than $200.00 and are easier to get in a box with lots of padding. It seems like a lot for just a special shipping, but $200.00 is pretty cheap compared to the price of most any good violin. I have been working on a bow shipping case that is a bit more indestructable. I lost my good viola bow to the apes at Fedex, it was insured, but it still makes my sick to think about my friend of 30+ years winding up that way. I wish Fedex or UPS had a catagory for special handeling. even if it cost an extra $100.00 it would be worth it many times over. Sorry about any spelling, I am not at my Mac and I am clueless about this PC.

On the plus side I am up near Flagstaff, AZ for a few days and it is supposed to get down into the 30's tonight. It was 106 in Phoenix today. Nothing like a little altitude.

Best,

Dwight
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#16 skiingfiddler

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:29 PM

I have been working on a bow shipping case that is a bit more indestructable. I lost my good viola bow to the apes at Fedex, it was insured, but it still makes my sick to think about my friend of 30+ years winding up that way. I wish Fedex or UPS had a catagory for special handeling. even if it cost an extra $100.00 it would be worth it many times over. Sorry about any spelling, I am not at my Mac and I am clueless about this PC.

On the plus side I am up near Flagstaff, AZ for a few days and it is supposed to get down into the 30's tonight. It was 106 in Phoenix today. Nothing like a little altitude.

Best,

Dwight
Retired Teacher, about to run away with the circus.......


Dwight,

Shar has bow shipping cases. They're made of wood, but about twice as thick as the usual wood bow case. Twice as thick means 8 times as resistant to bending. I have a Shar single bow shipping case, which they apparently no longer make, and I have also a double bow case, which is the same size as the single, with the extra padding taken out to allow for two bows. Both are very sturdy.

Bobelock bow cases have worked pretty well for me, but I pack them in the 36 inch long triangular tube that FedEx supplies and haven't had any problems.

2 inch ABS plastic plumber's pipe is also a possibility.

If you really want indestructible, put your usual single bow case in a 3 inch ABS plastic sewer pipe, with both ends capped by the same material. It's heavy, probably close to 10 lbs, but you can drive a truck over that and nothing will happen. I've used one of those for checking a bow in on airlines.

I've always thought the trick to getting special handling from FedEx or UPS is to insure for the full amount. A package insured for thousands or 10s of thousands ought to catch their special attention. But maybe not.

Flagstaff is a great town for its climate, and one of the few places in Arizona I'd consider living. The wife and I spent a lot of time in Tuba City, about 70 miles away and 2,000 feet lower, and that 2,000 feet made quite a difference in Tuba being much hotter.
Caveat lector!

#17 FenwickG

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 06:00 PM

Putting bubble wrap or foam on varnish is not a great idea. I had to refinish quite a nice violin that looked like a leopard on the top and bottom plates because the bubbles had melted through the varnish. I have also had to touch up the varnish in the bridge area where the foam imprinted on the finish. If you are going to use bubble wrap, wrap the instrument in paper first. Padah Hound has a great idea using rolled card stock to support the bridge, strings and tailpiece.

#18 Dwight Brown

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 08:33 PM

[quote name='skiingfiddler' timestamp='1308108585' post='504204']
Dwight,

Shar has bow shipping cases. They're made of wood, but about twice as thick as the usual wood bow case. Twice as thick means 8 times as resistant to bending. I have a Shar single bow shipping case, which they apparently no longer make, and I have also a double bow case, which is the same size as the single, with the extra padding taken out to allow for two bows. Both are very sturdy.

My La Pierre viola bow died in a Shar bow case. The bow was carefully wrapped, put in the case, and then the case was in a large box full of peanuts. The stick was completely destroyed about 2 inches behind the head, it looked like it exploded. The odd thing was it sold at a Tarisio auction in it's broken state for $1200.00 (the insurance company sold it). It was more than I paid for it in the first place. I guess someone wanted the Ivory frog. The bow played very well, but it was not all that well made. My modern bows have much better workmanship. The frog had been very nicely restored by Ward Hanson. Ivory is kind of odd stuff, I think it looks better on a live elephant. I still miss that bow, it was kind of like loosing an old friend.

D.

I like Josh Henry's method of shipping using a heavy paper bow bag wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a PVC tube wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a triangular shipping box.

Veritas et Humanitas


#19 skiingfiddler

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:44 PM

I like Josh Henry's method of shipping using a heavy paper bow bag wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a PVC tube wrapped in bubble wrap, then in a triangular shipping box.


Josh Henry has worked on a number of bows for me, and he always does careful work.

I like his method of shipping which you describe, too. I've had a dealer ship me a bow using just a 2 inch plastic (PVC or ABS or such) tube, bow padded on the inside of the tube. And that seemed pretty sturdy; no mishap. But taking Josh's extra step of putting the tube, padded on the outside and in, inside a triangular cardboard shipping box strikes me as a worthwhile step because the triangular box and the padding immediately inside it would absorb most of the shock of any impact to the package before the impact could get to the tube itself.
Caveat lector!

#20 Roger Hargrave

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:16 AM

"Dearest Tom, If ever you think that you are having problems with the Canadian authorities spare a thought for me. The viola is still in the office where I left it seven days ago. The customs officers refused to send it because it did not have the words "Pro Forma Invoice" on the paper. So they finally informed me of this fact this morning after two hours of frantic telephone calls. I told them to type that onto the head of the papers and they have now done this. I absolutely exploded. I told them that Germany lives from export and that export pays their wages, but the killer punch was that I told them that this time I would follow this up politically. I hate the whole bone idle crew. They have promised me that it will leave for Leipzig today and will be on the plane either tonight or tomorrow morning. We live in hope.
Roger
So now this viola is being examined in Canada. God only know where. The DHL tracking number is ................, I have a DHL telephone number 08002255345 which I called but it was not helpful. Just that it is "being examined" in Canada. DHL are no better that the customs people they had the thing in there offices for 7 bloody days. This is now the tenth day I hate all of these bastards. I paid a small fortune to have it delivered overnight. When I ask no-one knows what being examined means. Does no-one care any more? Sorry I needed that."


I thought that you might like to see extracts from two e-mails that I sent out this week. Some months ago in the middle of winter another viola spent 17 days in a DHL warehouse in Leipzig. After hours of calling and searching online the customs people claimed that they had not even seen the thing. I believe them. So who is doing all this? I would love to know if anyone has a foolproof and reliable company. DHL took over the company that I have used for more than 20 years and now nothing works. DHL is a big pain in the arse.
No time to spend on web sites. Need money.




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