Speaker packing...how to...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Scumback Speakers, Apr 1, 2011.


  1. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok, as it seems speaker swapping/selling/testing has become more popular, there are lots of you out there shipping speakers to find what you like. Here are some pointers on how to avoid a damage claim.

    I've shipped about 17,000 speakers now, and have had only 12 damage claims in six years. That's probably due to how I pack speakers for shipment via USPS or Fedex. And while nothing is foolproof, 12 out of 17,000 ain't too shabby an average.

    Let's start with the outside box you'll ship a single speaker in. I use a Uline box, 16x8x16 inches, box # S-4393. You can buy these for $3-4 at most box stores.
    [​IMG]

    The next thing you need to do is to fill up the box about 5 inches deep with newspaper. Yes, five inches, since it will get compressed to 2 inches deep by your 11-12 pound speaker box.

    [​IMG]

    Place your original speaker box in the first box, magnet up, frame down. This is one of my old speaker boxes, it's about 15 inches across, and 6 inches deep. That leaves a 1/2 inch on each side for newspaper, which you're going to overstuff.

    [​IMG]

    Notice how the outside box bulges now? You want that bulge so that you can provide some give for impacts/dings from other boxes it will be shipping next to...or rough handling.

    Then you're going to put in another 2 inches of newspaper on top of the box, and compress that down by closing the box and pressing it together from the sides, and down from the top.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Notice how the top looks like it's bulging upward? You want that, as it will get compressed during shipping.

    [​IMG]

    Then you'll tape up all available flaps and edges.

    [​IMG]

    At this point you have a 12 inch speaker with 2 inches of cardboard/newspaper, and the original box around it on the sides, and about 1.5 inches top and bottom.

    If you have Celestion speakers you are shipping, the worst thing you can do is to trust their single flap box. Their speakers are shipped on boxed pallets to places like GC, they don't get handled individually. You need to double box their original boxes, or you will be sorry (and filling out damage claims), and refunding the buyer's money. Been there, got the T-shirt, it's a grease rag now, OK?

    Next...do not write FRAGILE on your box, unless it's the USPS you're shipping with. UPS and Fedex handlers love to see that, and treat boxes like crap when they do. Sorry, I've tested that theory to destruction (literally) many times.

    You'll want to insure it for the sale price so you're covered for loss/theft/damage, too.

    Be advised that single speaker shipping costs have gone up as shipping companies have had more damage claims filed (big surprise, right?), and it's likely going to cost $20-25 to ship a single speaker as a consumer.

    Even with my Fedex account discount (and 90-120 shipments per month), it's costing me around $18-23 per shipment, not including the outside box, and newspaper, tape, time, gas, etc.

    But it sure beats the crap out of damage claim paperwork. So there you go!

    If you're doing two speakers, get the 16x16x16 inch box, Uline part #: S4166, which costs around $4-5 at most box stores.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
  2. Roach

    Roach Supporting Member

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    Jim- thanks for the great shipping tip and thanks for the my Scumbacks--great speakers!!
     
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  3. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    You are quite welcome, sir!
     
  4. rhythmrocker

    rhythmrocker 1966 Battle of the Bands Supporting Member

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    That's nice Jim - for really heavy speakers, like a 15" SRO, or a JBL, I screw 1/4" plywood and/or use Formular 150 all around the inner box. I always tell eBay sellers to pack it as though it is going to be dropped off a truck, because handlers DO drop this stuff from time to time. Unfortunately, you can't always depend on sellers to do what you ask. I received an EVM15-L that had skid marks on the inside of the box because it was filled with peanuts!

    Suggestion to all, and I've done this with another thread we have around here: I send the seller a link to a (this) packing thread and show them those pics of damaged speakers from other threads so they have a better chance of "getting it."
     
  5. Braciola

    Braciola Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks Jim this is a much needed thread. :aok

    One very important thing I'd like to add, is that when the speaker is packed into the interior box, the speaker should not be able to move or slide around even a fraction of an inch.
    If you can tilt the box and shake it and feel that the speaker can (even slightly) move/slide around in the box, it may not matter how much packing you use between the inside box & outside box. If the box is dropped hard enough by the shipper and the speaker inside the interior box can slide around, it's going to get damaged.

    I don't have the time right now, but I will try to take some pictures tomorrow on how to secure the speaker in the interior box. (Or maybe Jim will do this)
     
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  6. Jim S

    Jim S Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    .

    I'm so glad Dave Friedman doesn't create a thread entitled "hairy brown eye--how to pack one".

    .
    .
     
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  7. mattymel

    mattymel Member

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    Im awaiting a similar looking box, Jim. Weber is killin me! Ive got 4 forks in me already...
     
  8. Figaro

    Figaro Member

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    I've worked in shipping and logisitics most of my life so I have some experience with this. As Jim said, newspaper compresses, and when it does it will leave empty spaces in which the product can move. The number one mistake most people make is not using enough packing material and the item is able to move within the box. The priorities are to isolate the product away from the sides, preferably by double boxing and to use enough packing material to keep the item from moving. Bubble wrap or foam usually works better than newspaper, but it costs more, unless you have a free source.

    UPS will usually not pay a claim if there is no visable damage to the outside of the box. When a product is damaged but there is no visable damage to the outside of the box, that says the item was able to move inside because it was packed incorrectly or there was not enough packing.

    It amazes me that people will ship an item valued at hundreds or thousands of dollars, but won't spend a little extra time or money to package it correctly, or pay to have it packaged correctly. I've seen so many packages over the years shipped in boxes with either no packing or not enough packing. Then, when it get's damaged, the shipper gets upset at UPS or Fedex because they won't pay the claim.

    It is true that many times UPS will deny a claim the first time. But all you have to do is tell them you want to dispute the denial. They will will re-open the claim and it may get approved for payment the second time. This is not always successful, but if you can prove it was packaged correctly, it usually will be approved.
     
  9. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    Typical Celestion boxes fit their speakers without much slop (1/8 to 1/4") in my experience, but you'll want to tape down the fold over lid really tight across the speaker magnet. Since their boxes are only 13" wide, you get more room to pack in newspaper.

    With speaker boxes from Weber, there's a cardboard insert that's folded in three times with locking corners that fits snug in it's box, but I strongly advise you tape down all four sides of that tri-fold insert since it has a tendency to bend out of shape and let the speaker get loose, damaging the gasket.

    If you have neither of these boxes, you should go get some 12x6x12" boxes for the inside box (USPS Large Flat Rate box is one source), then put the speaker in that. Then pack as above.

    UPS fights tooth and nail to not pay any damages. I went through that with more than one damage claim. The last one ended up in small claims court, a total PITA. Sure I won, but at what cost of time/effort/energy?

    Now I just use USPS, Fedex and DHL. If I have to use UPS, it's at the client's instruction using their account #. I refuse to accept shipments from UPS any more due to their poor handling of speakers & cabs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  10. GrungeMan

    GrungeMan Supporting Member

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    I wish more people would see this thread.

    The past two attempts to buy speakers failed because the Sellers only wanted to bubble wrap the speaker and place it loosely in a box, please no!:jo

    Is it laziness, ignorance, they couldn't care less or what, I don't know what their excuses are but they are not getting any of my money!

    I told the last guy he may as well throw the speaker in the garbage now.

    For those that don't know quite often during shipping the packages are just tossed on to a conveyor that carries the package from one location to another at a terminal or depot, then it literally falls off the end of the conveyor into a pile of other packages, ouch!
    If the item is not packaged securely it is not going to survive the trip!

    It's really simple to package and most Buyers will pay to have their speaker packaged securely so it arrives safely at their door.

    Use a proper speaker box so the speaker is not sitting loose in the box.
    Bubble-wrap the speaker box with the large 1" B-wrap, then place the box so it fits snugly in a larger box, or do as Scumback suggested, use paper between the two boxes.
    Never use bubble-wrap or styrofoam peanuts directly on the speaker you are risking damage to the cone it may get pushed out of shape!

    If the Seller doesn't want to comply to your packaging wishes don't buy the speaker because, it will most likely arrive damaged!

    Grungy :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2011
  11. dumbell78

    dumbell78 Member

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    We should sticky this in the emporium section so everyone can see when selling or buying. Thanks again Jim!
     
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  12. GrungeMan

    GrungeMan Supporting Member

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    In the past week or two I have received several speakers from Weber, all safely packaged in this same manner, with no issues on arrival at my door.

    Due to a recent damaged speaker shipping post, people need to see this again.

    bump. :D
     
  13. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

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    Looks great, but I'd be tempted to use packing peanuts instead of newspaper and make sure there was at least 2" between the inner and outer box.
     
  14. GrungeMan

    GrungeMan Supporting Member

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    As long as the packing peanuts don't land up inside the box holding the speaker. They're a pain to clean out because the the static cling and you don't want anything pushing against the cone.
    I would use bubble-wrap just the same.
     
  15. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    Great thread Jim..."!
     
  16. GrungeMan

    GrungeMan Supporting Member

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  17. Jef Bardsley

    Jef Bardsley Member

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    +1

    No one likes to clean up peanuts. Take pity on your receiver.


    And just to stress the point, make sure no little thing, even stray a bit of cardboard, is loose inside the box holding the speaker. The dope used on the surround and spider is sticky!
     
  18. fatfat

    fatfat Member

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    Thanks, Jim. I have about 10 speakers to sell/ship and I've been thinking about how I'm going to pack them (what size boxes, etc). Almost all the speakers I've received have been packaged questionably at best (although without damage) and I wanted to pack them better on the way out.
     
  19. Ramblin Hymns

    Ramblin Hymns Member

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    I usally mount mine to 1/2" plywood and box that then box in a second box.The plywood seams to help from bending if dropped.
     
  20. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    While that method is a good idea, you've increased the shipped weight, and the impact weight if it is dropped. While it will keep the frame from bending (most likely, cross your fingers!), it won't stop the voice coil from being overextended, and exceeding it's excursion (distance the coil travels back to front) and denting, or damaging the voice coil, rendering the speaker useless, and needing a recone.

    But if you were to put a good 2-3 inches all around it, it would probably be ok...but there are no absolutes in shipping, as many have found out.

    I just got a speaker shipped back to me from an amplifier company active here on the TGP, and all I can say is they were lucky it didn't get damaged in shipping. It's obvious they didn't see/look at this thread.

    No, I'm not going to name names...but I've sent the amp company in question this thread link, and scolded them for their negligence in packing.
    :horse

    Yes, I'm a hard nosed SOB about speaker packing....don't care who you are, what you think your credentials are, yada yada yada! LOL

    And now, back to packing up speakers to ship out in the morning.
     

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