PACKING AN OLD FRAGILE RECORD FOR SHIPMENT
1. Measure the diameter of the record. If the record (or disc) is
metal, glass or a cardboard substrate, you need to handle the disc with gloves.
Cheap, clean, cotton gardening gloves will do. The reason is that the oils in your
skin will eventually react with the lacquer surface and leave a permanent
fingerprint that will add extra noise to the playback process every time it comes
around (as much as 78 times every second). If you are unsure of the composition
of the disc to be shipped then, err on the side of caution and wear gloves.
2. Cut two pieces of cardboard slightly larger than the record to be shipped. Use
the type of cardboard that has a corrugated center section. Shipping boxes use
this type of cardboard. Make sure the cardboard is clean, free of creases, bends,
old label and tape goo, or anything that can weaken the structural integrity of the
3. If the record dose not have a jacket lined with vinyl then insert the record into a
plastic bag. If this is inconvenient, wrap the record with a layer or two of plastic
wrap (the kind used in a microwave oven) and then with one layer of tissue paper
(both sides) or, insert the record back into it’s original paper sleeve, with the
plastic wrap. If you want to protect the sleeve, then wrap the whole thing in
The purpose of the tissue (or, sleeve) is twofold: Cushion the disc and protect the
edges of the record from the packing tape adhesive, which is the next step.
The purpose of the vinyl bag or plastic wrap is to protect the grooves from the
tissue paper or record sleeve during shipment.
4. Place the cardboard squares on each side of the record,with the corrugated
center section running opposite, and tape all four sides with packing tape. I like to
add a little pressure while taping so that the record is snug between the two
layers of cardboard. One method I use is to allow a couple of inches of one side
to extend past the edge of a table to allow access to both sides of the cardboard.
I will usually place a small piece of tape on the center, attaching both sides of the
cardboard, while resting a hand on the stack to provide a couple of pounds of
pressure. I do this to each side. Taping the entire perimeter is optional, particularly
if you are shipping one record.
5. Wrap the cardboard package with one layer of bubble wrap in each direction.
(You will wind up with 2 layers bubble wrap, with all sides of the cardboard
package wrapped in bubble wrap.)
6. Place the bubble wrapped record package in a box of Styrofoam peanuts. The
box should be large enough to provide about 3 inches of space (peanuts) on all
sides. The purpose of the peanuts is to provide some cushioning from the rough
handling that the package is bound to encounter. The 3” peanut filled space
around the record package allows for a safety zone from punctures (It happens!).
DO NOT use crumpled paper in place of Styrofoam peanuts. Crumpled paper will
compress during shipment and stay that way, allowing the record package too
much freedom of movement inside the box.
7. Finally, tape all edges of the box with packing tape, making it almost
waterproof. The purpose of taping all of the edges is to insure that the edges of
the box will not get caught in the sorting machinery during shipment. Tape over
the address label(s) with clear packing tape to preserve the readability.
Mark the outside of the box, on the top and bottom with FRAGILE in bold letters.
In fact, listing the contents is a good idea. Something like: “DELICATE RECORDS
- VERY FRAGILE.”
8. Use any shipper that is the most convenient and cost effective. I haven’t found
one to be better (or worse) than the other.
PACKING MULTIPLE RECORDS
The layered method just described can be used for up to 5 records or so in one
‘brick’ with each record sleeved and tissue wrapped. More than one brick of
records can be shipped in the same box if the individual bricks are separated by a
couple of inches of Styrofoam peanuts.
When shipping more than one record, I suggest separating the records with
cardboard. Thin cardboard (similar to the backing used for note pads, etc.) can be
used as separators. Standard (corrugated) cardboard will do just fine if thinner
cardboard is not convenient. The purpose of the cardboard separators is to help
create a solid brick that increases the strength of the package while protecting the
individual records. Records of different diameters can be shipped when using
cardboard separators. However, the cardboard separators should all be the same
size, that being the size needed to accommodate the largest diameter disc. For
shipping records of different diameters, I would suggest making the separators
out of standard cardboard. If you like, you can place small pieces of cardboard to
hold the different diameters of records in place. If you use cardboard pieces,
make them at least as thick as the record(s) to be protected and tape them in
If you have any questions or suggestions, click the “Contact Me” button.
Advise is always free.
© Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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