I must soon start the process of packing and shipping my Dusty Strings 36 to Hawaii. Even though i appreciated the Harp Column article in late spring about shipping harps, i am left with many questions and concerns. Has anyone ever heard of the process of putting the harp in a plastic bag, and paying to have a styrofoam mold made that would cradle and protect the instrument? If properly packaged, is it ever ok to ship the harp without its bulky cover, which would decrease its dimensions substantially? Does anyone know if FedEx handles a package as large as the measurements of my harp plus padding? Anyone ever shipped a harp to Maui??
I shipped a Lyon Healy model 17 in its crate from the mainland to Kauai 10 years ago. I went thru UPS. Just curious, why not sell yours and purchase a new one here from Sylvia Woods (resident on Kauai). I know she has some here and it might be cheaper in the long run than shipping costs. Aloha.
thanks for your info, chrissy. I guess i want to ship out my own lever harp because i love its tone so much. It took me a long time to fall in love with a lever harp, and every time i play it, i’m reminded why i chose it…but it’s an interesting suggestion…..!
Wouldn’t it be easier and safer to just buy a box and padding from Dusty Strings? Sure, you have to ask them to ship the box to you but I’d bet they would be happy to. Their shipping boxes include packing instructions, and no, the case is not required, though you might as well.
Is it standard procedure to ship a harp in plastic wrapping? I wonder what the advantage is in using it? I don’t know where you live, but since summer is over, it should be o.k. However, I did hear of an issue once with a new lever harp that was shipped to Arizona by a well-known company (not Dusty) in the middle of summer. It was wrapped in plastic and then put in its case and box. The heat during the southwest leg of the trip was so severe that the plastic fused to the harp and could not be removed. The harper couldn’t live with the way the harp looked and eventually sold it.
I can’t speak to the styrofoam mold question, but I work at Dusty Strings and can maybe help with some of the other questions. We do occasionally ship harps with no cases, and as long as there’s adequate padding around the harp, that shouldn’t be a problem. We do ship them in plastic bags to protect against moisture if (heaven forbid!) the shipping company were to leave the box sitting out in the rain. We’ve never had an issue with plastic bags melting in our 30 years of shipping harps, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen! If it were my harp, I would feel more comfortable with a layer of fabric right next to the harp – even if it’s something thin like a sheet.
We can sell someone a box and our custom foam pieces as Biagio suggested, but it costs the same to ship an empty box as it does a full box, so very few people ever opt for that unless they live close enough to drive to Seattle and pick it up in person.
Sometimes large boxes get outrageously expensive by UPS or FedEx, so it might be worth also checking with a freight company to compare rates. Or if you’ll be traveling with your harp, you can call your airline and see what their size limits and fees are for oversize baggage. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to check your harp on the plane than to ship it separately. Just make sure you pack it up well!
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