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  #1  
Old 01-29-2013, 04:39 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Haave just been dealing with a throughly frustrating situation. For years have shipped stone sculptures in wood crates. Just lined them with blue board, then over top of the blue board lined with white styrafoam. Blue board is stiffer & the white styrafoam is like the coffee cup material (softer). Made sure that the sculpture would not move, sealed it up & let it go.

Sent 2 sculptures to a new gallery in CA. One got there alright the other was damaged. A piece that was pinned & epoxied fell off & scratched the surface. Two sculptures were sent by LTL carrier - R & L Freight. R & L after some bickering & evasions paid the damage charges (about 15% of the sculpture price) but not the freight going out & coming back.

A new sculpture was sent by UPS to replace the busted one. UPS delivered it in 6 pieces. It is a total loss. UPS is giving me a hard time about this.

Because of this am going to a two crate system. An inner box placed in a wood crate. The inner box is to be placed on insta-paks by Sealed-air or foam cushions.

Had tried an idea floated by another member a while back of using the expandable foam that is used to seal leaks around windows - instead of the insta-paks or foam corners. To keep the mess down, shot the foam into Zip-Lock gallon bags & sealed them up. Foam is supposed to set up in 15 minutes. In the sealed bag it stayed a runny mess even after 2 hours.

So the lesson is to use better grade materials & truly over-pack.

Second lesson is - make the packaging not just elegant but goof-proof. The sculpture that originally had minor damage came back totally broken from the gallery. The sculpture was now snapped in half in addition to the piece that had broken off. The sculpture was mis-packed so that the base was packed on top of the sculpture & banged on the sculpture all the way back. Make matters worse, sculpture was not insured for its value. Would like to keep the gallery & am writing this off to a "learning experience".

Third lesson: take photos of how the packaging went together. No one is going to put the packaging back together with the same amount of care exercised by you. Send the pictures with the sculpture so when they send it out to their client, you have done your best job.

Fourth Lesson - it is not personal. Sometimes it is just your turn in the barrel.
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  #2  
Old 01-30-2013, 02:21 PM
Andrew Werby Andrew Werby is offline
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

The two-box solution is a good idea. But the foam in a can, not so much. Next time, use a two-component foam, which isn't counting on atmospheric moisture for curing. Do some testing first to figure out how much to put in a bag without bursting it (which can really make a mess.) Try to make the packing simple enough for someone of minimal intelligence to reassemble, if you want your piece returned (or shipped to the end customer) intact.

While shipping companies will happily take your money for their insurance, when it comes to paying out a claim, then they will suddenly need all sorts of proof of how much it's really worth, and will claim your packing job wasn't up to snuff.

Actually, most companies won't even ship something if you call it fine art, or will enforce a low maximum value.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com
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  #3  
Old 01-30-2013, 05:53 PM
raspero raspero is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

The polyurethane foam in those aerosol cans is way too expensive. Find out what the computer shippers use.

I have bought a fair number of used computers over the years from Electro Rent. They pack them using a liquid two part foam of some kind expanded inside of plastic bags. I have never received a damaged computer so it must work well given the way those Fedex guys throw boxes around.

Richard
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  #4  
Old 01-30-2013, 07:43 PM
Mack Mack is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Shipping sculpture is a big deal.
My foundry uses a foam system that's not cheap. They use a system where they spray a cardboard carton half full of foam, cover it with a layer of a plastic wrap type material, lay my bronze on top the warm bed of foam, protected in a plastic bag. Cover it with another layer of the plastic wrap type stuff and fill the rest of the carton up and close it. It becomes a two part custom box for that particular sculpture and I always urge the gallery to store it if they have the room and reuse it if they need to ship the piece to a cllient. It's not cheap: a hundred plus dollars for a 25" or so bronze. But the foam locks the piece in place and protects it from the abuse of UPS and the like. I think it's the best way to ship...and I've tried everything.
It doesn't work for big stuff though...there, you have to crate it in wood and use 2x4s or 2x2s wrapped in a soft material and attach them to the sides of the crate, crisscrossing the sculpture with the aim of blocking any possible movement, no matter how much jarring, droping etc., the crate experiences.
It's tough...
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:10 AM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Yeah the 2-box system seems to be the only way now. Fun thing: for a $3,000 retail sculpture Craters & Freighters said they would ship it to CA for $695. Hmmmm, I could really use that solution - sarcasm intended.

As to the spray-in not sure if it would not kill the sculpture. Stone is very heavy but somewhat delicate. The spray-in foam has an exo-thermic reaction (heats up like crazy) & could kill finish on sculpture. Secondly, after talking to a myriad of "packaging experts" the spray-in foam is not very elastic. If there is a jolt, the spray-in foam will depress & not come back. Leaving you with very good possibility of damage again. Interesting info.

Also another interesting fact from the LTL company - they had cameras in the trailer & said it is not uncommon to have jolts to the trailer that lift everything off trailer bed 6 inches to crash back down after.

I don't ship often, but when I do I drink Dous XX.
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  #6  
Old 02-12-2013, 12:26 AM
Ryder Ryder is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Good info on shipping. I have some interest from folks out of state that I could sell some of my large light metal sculpture and have been exploring various ways of packing and shipping. In my day job I receive shipped motorcycles and custom accessories that cost up to $25K. The shipping companies are very particular and make it a game to get out of any liability. Fortunately honda and the like have figured out how to wrap and pack . One thing used on a rather large $5K plastic part that gets shipped is a "tip over indicator" a little plastic thingy that will tell you if the crate has been upside down. They tuck it inside the solid wooden crate so when you open it you can tell if someone ignored the "this end up" arrows.
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  #7  
Old 02-12-2013, 11:03 AM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Ryder, never heard of a "tip-over" indicator. Will have to investigate that further with the packaging people.

I have sent the next sculpture to the gallery last week. Supposidly will arrive Wed or Thurs. Used wood crate within a wood crate to make it work.

In the inner crate, foam closest to sculpture is egg crate foam like used on mattresses. Next comes the coffee cup foam then a new foam - polyethylene. Polyethylene foam comes in 1.7, 2.2 4.0 & 6.0 hardness. Hardness refers to how much deflection it can take from an object sitting on it. For instance 1.7 means that it can take 1.7lbs per square inch before deflecting. the crate holding my sculpture came in at 2.05 lbs per square foot so I chose the 2.2

Polyethylene foam absorbs shock well. I also made 3-piece corners to cushion the inner crate in the outer container. With any luck, will have a great sculpture in CA this week in one piece - as it should be.
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2013, 02:09 PM
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The Forge The Forge is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Interesting info on foam for packing.
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2013, 02:25 PM
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tonofelephant tonofelephant is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Finale: UPS delivered the crate to the gallery. The outer crate was upside down (how in the hell did they get the crate to the right address), bottom of crate was torn off (it had been held on with 2" screws), and the sculpture was received in great condition.

Maybe UPS was right, have to way overpack to make sure the box gets there intact.
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  #10  
Old 02-22-2013, 05:31 PM
Art-Deco Art-Deco is offline
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Re: Shipping Sculpture - no expandable foam

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonofelephant View Post
Finale: UPS delivered the crate to the gallery. The outer crate was upside down (how in the hell did they get the crate to the right address), bottom of crate was torn off (it had been held on with 2" screws), and the sculpture was received in great condition.

Maybe UPS was right, have to way overpack to make sure the box gets there intact.
I don't use UPS any more because of the problems I've had with them, everything from LOST crates, shipments dropped off at the wrong address, to damage and double billing.
I only use FedEx ground now the last several years, and I've had not one damage or loss claim.
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