Corey Bailey
Audio Engineering
PACKING AN OLD FRAGILE RECORD FOR SHIPMENT 1. Measure the diameter of the record. If the record (or disc) is lacquer over a 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 minute). 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, old labels, tape goo, or anything that can weaken the structural integrity of the cardboard. 3. If the record doesn’t 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. Some records won’t fit in the sleeve or jacket after being wrapped so, include the item(s) separately. If you want to protect the sleeve or jacket, then wrap the whole thing in plastic. 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 record 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 in opposite directions 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. The 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 then place a short piece of packing tape at 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. 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 wrapped in plastic and tissue. 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, including the wrapping and tape them in place. If you have any questions or suggestions, click the “Contact Me” button. Advise is always free and suggestions are welcomed. Return to TOP of page © Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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