Shipping a Kelsey Press in 10 Easy Steps

Hardly a week goes by that somebody doesn’t e-mail me with a long tale of woe about a Kelsey Press that got ruined in shipping. Sometimes the press is bought on E-Bay, sometimes via this forum, and sometimes through some other media…. but in most of the cases, inadequate packaging is the main cause of the damage.

It’s time to face the facts: most freight carriers and/or package deliverers are NOT Kelsey friendly and it is up to the shipper to make sure that the press is packaged in a bulletproof way. IF we are purchasers, we need to insist (or DEMAND) that the seller package our presses correctly.

Since I’ve shipped about a dozen machines without a single damaged press, I’d like to share how I package them:

First- take off the chase, inkplate, rollers, roller hooks, and bed. You should wrap these individually with bubble wrap and cardboard. Never ship a press with these parts attached.

Second- Bolt the press to a piece of 1/2” plywood in the exact size of the bottom of the box…. which should be at least big enough to allow 2” between the box and press at any point.

Third- GET A GOOD BOX!!!. I have always used a plywood box to ship Kelseys and they are the best. I’ve also seen double thickness corrogated boxes used successfully…. but a regular box from Office Depot or U-Haul is not up to the task. If you MUST use a regular box, double box it.

Fourth- place wooden blocks strategically between the various parts of the press to prevent their movement, and to keep any single part from taking all of the impact load when they drop it. I always put them between the ink-roller arms and the press, and between the arm- link and the press body. Rolls of cardboard or paper do not work for this. Use wood.

Fifth- Tie or tape everything down well so that there is no movement at all in the press mechanism, and then wrap the heck out of it with bubble wrap. Be ESPECIALLY careful to wrap and reinforce the rod and dog that operates the ink plate. It is exposed and is probably the most commonly damaged item. I always cut a piece of plywood and use a lot of tape to reinforce this part.

Six- Place the press/plywood/bubblewrapped package into a plastic bag and then into the box. Make sure the bag is tied up well. Do the same for all of the other parts.

Seven - put two or three more layers of cardboard along the inside of the box walls to armor them from punctures.

Eight- Go get three or four cans of expanding spray foam from Home Depot…. and foam fill the entire box. Since the press is inside of a plastic bag, the foam won’t hurt anything. After the foam has dried, tape up the box.

Nine - TEST the packaging by turning it every which way. If you hear ANY movement or thumping, then it is not packed well enough. Take it apart and repackage it.

Ten- Ship it out….. and make sure that you buy the insurance.

Now….. does all of the above guarantee that your press will arrive intact? No, it does not. Just today I read an e-mail about one that WAS properly packaged and still got broken. Some shippers can destroy anything, I guess. It will however help prevent 99% of the broken presses.

I’m sure that someone in the crowd will complain that such packaging will add to the cost of the press. Yes it will. It will cost you ~$25 for materials and another $10 in additional shipping for a 5x8 press. This is money well spent since it is a lot cheaper than repairing a busted-up press.

Of course this is not the only way to properly ship a press…. and maybe not the best way, but it does work well. Hopefully folks who are thinking of shipping a press will read it and at least put some better effort into their packaging.

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Thank you for this write up!! Cheers.

Good information written by Winking Cat Press in 08.

Here is a tidbit of information that might explain why shipping a press in a cardboard box can be risky…

Anything that is shipped in a cardboard box is put on a conveyor belt. UPS, USPS, and Fed-Ex. Boxes can fall off conveyor belts.

Anything that is shipped in a wooden crate is NOT put on a conveyor belt.

We have received several presses that have been packaged by a UPS Store, in a cardboard box, double boxed, bubble wrapped with packing peanuts…and yes…they arrived broken.
Packing peanuts are not your friend when shipping a press.

Take a look at our website and view the crates that we build and ship in, safely.

T & T Press

I can personally vouch for the valueless-ness of packing peanuts in a cardbord box! More than once I have received boxes of castings that were packed this way intact, only to arrive in pices (both UPS & USPS). Not to mention the nuiscance of those friggin’ peanuts!!!!

I bought a box car base from some guy on Briar…no peanuts in my box….sure would have helped…just a piece of aluminum wrapped in a piece of plastic wrap that arrived with the corners bent all to heck. The small flat rate box was burst open on all the corners. Even pieces of crumbled newsprint to fill the void in the box would have been better than nothing at all. People who ship with NO CLUE as to proper packing suck. I can’t get my money back for a piece of phucked up metal that isn’t flat anymore…$ down the drain. Thanks 4 nothing.

Hi Folks….. since the topic of Kelseys being busted up in shipping has once again made the rounds, I thought I’d resurect this old topic.

MAYBE one of the Dufuses (Dufi? maybe) who think that a plain old cardboard box is up for the task will read it, and repent from their Dufussy ways.

I recently got a Kelsey 5x8 in the mail, cardboard box with peanuts and a few styrofoam pieces. I was somewhat panicked when I opened it as the box was dented and (rightly) did not inspire confidence that this would be a correctly packed press.

But the press itself was fine. Dumb luck for the seller, with emphasis on the dumb.

It was one of those things where I got it for cheap because the seller wasn’t a printer, but one of those things where, because the seller wasn’t a printer he had no clue how fragile these can be or how to ship them securely.