Our customers are often rightly concerned when shipping their instrument to us for consignment, repair, or on return from a trial. No need to worry! If you pack the instrument well and ship with a trusted carrier, your instrument will arrive safe and sound. Here are some basic things to keep in mind when shipping your instrument (or bocals) to us.
When packing an oboe or clarinet, very little special precaution needs to be taken. Ensure the instrument does not move inside the case when it is securely closed. If the oboe is loose in the case (which is uncommon), wrap the loose joint in gift tissue paper or a paper towel. Then just make sure that you have at least 2 inches of packing material like bubble wrap or packing peanuts around all sides of the case inside the box. The same goes for clarinet and English Horn.
For a bassoon, it gets a little more complicated, as bassoon cases are not designed for shipment, and they weigh substantially more than the smaller woodwinds. The wing joint and bass joints are often stored next to each other in a way that could cause them to bump into each other in shipping.
First, as is a generally good practice, wrap the wing joint in a polishing cloth or tissue paper. If your case allows for the joints to wiggle slightly within their respective compartments, wrap those loose joints in paper as well. Make sure the bocals are also held securely in place. You can wrap them in paper, or place bubble wrap in strategic locations to keep them from coming out of their usual holding places as needed. You will probably notice the case will close more snugly than usual - this is OK! Make sure the clasps are secure and use a case cover if possible.
As with oboes, make sure there is at least two (preferably 3-4) inches of packing material on each side of the case before taping the box up for shipping. Make sure there are enough peanuts or bubble wrap so that the case does not move around inside the box after it is taped up. We ship many of the standard sized hard cases in a box with custom-cut foam inserts that secure the instrument in the box. If we send an instrument to you for trial or rental in one of these boxes, save the box for when you need to ship the bassoon back to us.
For saxophones we generally suggest the same basic principals as with shipping a bassoon, except instead of wrapping individual joints ensure that the neck is secure and safely padded within the case, and use key clips or clamps to protect the pads and keys when shipping. You can use small pieces of foam or cork if you don't have actual key clips available. Just so that nothing is moving in the case as the shipping container is jostled in transit.