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Chad Scott

How to ship blades?

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Having never shipped a blade I was curious as to the best way to do so. How should I package my blade, and who should I ship it through? I am assuming this all changes if it needs to be shipped internationally?

Edited by Chad Scott
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If the blade has no sheath, I usually wrap at least the blade in leather. Assume they'll be throwing the box around, and you likely don't want the tip punching through and killing someone. I'll leave the who to ship through to someone else to answer, but if it's international make sure you do your research on proper marking; international customs are not very nice.

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I shipped a KITH entry to Finland last year. I just went to the post office, told them what I was doing, and they walked me through the forms.

 

Packing so that the blade can't cut through the packing materials is the main thing. The package will get banged around quite a bit.

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Good advice! Yes, plan for the box to be thrown across the room, kicked across the parking lot, sat on, used as a hammer, a football, and a paper airplane. Everything short of actually running over it with a truck in a thunderstorm. They usually don't let things get wet.

 

For shipping within the US I only use the post office. UPS has occasionally refused to accept axes, citing a nonexistent rule they don't have. FedEx tends to throw harder and they prefer flimsier packaging of their own manufacture. DHL once refused to deliver a package to me because the guy saw a gate on the front steps and thought I must have a vicious dog (I don't).

 

For shipping abroad I again only use the post office. They're usually cheaper and can be faster, the customs forms are easier to fill out, and they can't ask you exactly what it is in the box. I've shipped seax blades as garden tools, and so on. Don't lie, but don't be ultraspecific. Call it a gift. That's on the customs form and will help keep the recipients' country from charging VAT on the stated value of the object. Speaking of which, how much is it worth? The only time I ever had trouble with that was when a customer demanded I put the actual value on the customs form. Note that insurance would not have covered that, even if they allowed the claim had it been lost, which is unlikely. A high stated value means the recipient may have to pay a hefty fee to pick it up. Again, this is international only. I've shipped to Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Italy, Hong Kong, Macao, Canada, and Brazil. Shipping via USPS each time. The only problems were Brazil because the system is so corrupt if something looks valuable
(or even vaguely interesting) it disappears, and Hong Kong where they charged the customer about half the stated value of the object as "tax" to pick it up from the post office. Shipping times vary, but four days to a week is normal for everywhere I've shipped except Canada. Count on four weeks to get through customs. Don't know why that is, but those Canadian post people don't like to rush!

 

For fancy tomahawks I make a wooden crate lined with expanding foam so nothing can move no matter what, but that's overkill for a knife. I've been known to tape it to a board, sandwich it between two pieces of scrap paneling, etc. I haven't decided how I'm gonna do this one since it has a rather fragile Plexiglas sheath...I imagine a board and a lot of bubble wrap will be involved.

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yeah.... Canada Post and our customs really do suck when it comes to mailing. And lo and behold, apparently the unions are putting Canada Post on strike tomorrow meaning all mail will be essentially frozen unless I go through a different delivery service (for twice the money)..... :I

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I usually use the same rule with padding as with firewood - when you think you have enough, get twice as much.

Back in my college days I sent a knife to a buddy of mine and got a call from him a few weeks later. Apparently, not only did the cardboard and duct tape sheath get annihilated, but the packing I had stashed under my bed had been involved with the laundry detergent leak I had a few weeks prior. I still dont know how I didnt notice blue soap on everything, but apparently it wound up at my friends school protruding out of the box and with a slimy blue liquid leaking out.

 

That was the first and last time I ever shipped something without a sheath/wooden case and enough bubble wrap to deform the box.

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I prefer to first wrap the blade in bubblewrap, then use a piece of wood larger then the blade, drill a few holes and attach it with tie wraps. Cardboard will crush, while the blade won't. So by attaching the blade to wood, that will stop the box from being crushed, or even if it sticks through you won't have an unprotected sharp end sticking out.

 

Before I did that, I just put a cork on the tip and wrapped it in bubblewrap before putting it in a cardboard tube with some newspaper filling on both ends. After that one arrived with the tube crushed and point sticking through the end, I changed my packaging to prevent that from happening again.

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What I do with knives is wrap them up into a bundle with several layers of newspaper in such a way that the paper gets kind of wadded up on each end. Then I roll more newspaper into balls and pack them tightly into the box around the knife until it won't move when you shake it. If the knife has no sheath, I make one out of cardboard and make a pad of newspaper that's about half an inch thick folded over the tip and taped in place. So far I've never had a customer report any damage or problems with the packaging.

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