Help Stamp Out Shards!

Note updated shipping info below

   Let's face it. Shipping is something we mail-order glass folks simply have to endure. And unfortunately the glass we ship is subject to treatment way beyond our control. About all we can do is pack the very best we know how and hope that Attila the Hun is assigned to areas other than where our glass is when we hand it over to the nice person at the shipping store.
    I've shipped a lot of glass.  And I've had a few unmitigated disasters - including a broken Beaded Grape tumbler nicely padded inside a metal coffee can! But let's talk here about success... These are some tips that hopefully will head off future losses of our great and wonderful but fragile old glass.
Use only competent, strong cardboard boxes.   Good wrapping materials in preference order are:
-- a combination of newspaper and foam carpet padding (a little known positive side effect  of remodeling);
-- newspaper alone- 6-10 sheets, offset from each other, around each piece;
-- small bubble bubble wrap - lots of it, LOOSELY wrapped around the glass. The big bubble, bubble wrap doesn't allow for "give" so we never use it except perhaps to pad the bottom of the box.
-- Our standard wrapping sequence on each piece is: 1) tissue paper, 2) carpet padding, then 3-4 sheets of newspaper wrapped around the carpet padding & taped.
   Fill the box around the wrapped glass with a combination of styrofoam "packing peanuts" and tightly wadded up newspaper . (This is one of the better uses for our local daily newspaper.) Be sure and tap the box on the table or floor to force the little peanuts to cozy into each other. There should be several inches between the wrapped glass and the outsides of the box.  Remember, Jim McClure's copyrighted term here; leave a little "gush" space so that a stray blow by an overzealous worker will have less chance of destruction.
 In a departure from the conventional double box "system", my non-patented double whammy box reinforcement plan works great, even better than double boxing, assuming each piece of glass is safely wrapped as above.
    First pack the box with individually wrapped pieces leaving space between pieces AND between the pieces and the top, bottom & sides of the box.
    Then have "slabs" of cardboard cut from large boxes. After the shipping box is filled with the wrapped glass AND packing material, stuff a slab of cardboard down inside 2 sides of the box, thus (see at left): 
    Score the outside surface of each slab just below the top of the side of the box with a utility knife, see dotted lines on slabs illustrated at right. To do this, pull the slab up a little, score it then stuff it back down.
     Bend the slabs at the point of scoring over across the top of the box- one slab on top of the other. Score them again and stuff them down inside the other side of the box. This makes a pretty darned secure shipping container.  Not perfect, but Attila has to work harder to break glass boxed like this.

 FedEx is our current favorite way to ship. We use Ground or Home unless time is of the essence which it might be in the dead of winter or during the Holiday "crush". If you ship much glass, it will be worth your while to go to and sign up for an account. It doesn't take long. Then when you ship, you can just go to the web site, put in the shipping info (which will almost always be FedEx Home Delivery for us), print out the label on a white sheet of paper, stick it in the clear plastic envelope FedEx provides, stick it on the package and just DROP it off (gently) at a FedEx place or even any independent mailing firm - such as Mail Boxes, Etc.. My guys at my FedEx office have been trained to tape all of the plastic lable with their super-thick clear tape. I buy my own rolls of large "FRAGILE GLASS" stickers & attach them to all sides & the top. No waiting in line - just lay it on the counter; it will be charged to your credit card. Just wrap it like there's no tomorrow - I've only had 2 claims in thousands of shipments with them - both were under $100 and they just PAY.  No big deal or investigation, they just PAY CLAIMS!

  The Post Office ships faster in Priority and the less time old glass is in transit is better so Priority is our favorite Post Office choice. This is especially true in very cold or hot weather. The Post Office rates for larger packages are higher and it also charges a lot for insurance but they make up for it in untimely claim settlements.... up to 6 months. (Remember this when voting for those who would have this same government handle your heart surgery.) Then there is the time spent standing in line while the 2 clerks visit or file their nails. We use their web site Click 'n Ship for little boxes.  They finally have the kinks worked out of their internet shipping program, even for Mac computers.  It is so fun to just walk in past all those long lines and lay your packages on the counter & walk out....

UPS has drastically changed their policies in settling claims! We recommend no longer shipping glass with UPS unless there is no possible alternative or your shipment is large, heavy and VERY well packaged.  In February 2000, we were personally advised by the President of UPS that the extra value charged for high value items is NOT insurance and unless shipments are double boxed and the outer box is mangled or destroyed, they will not even consider a claim. In fact, on my last broken shipment in 2000, UPS representative, Linda McCabe, accused my customer of having broken the glass deliberately to collect the money after UPS had safely delivered it!!!!!!!! She vehemently disclaimed any responsibility for the gash in the outer box.

                    IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!!!!
      Lastly, in extreme hot and cold weather, remind your recipient to allow several hours for the glass contents to come to room temperature (acclimate) before opening the box. Old pattern glass is very brittle and, in addition to not being able to withstand microwave ovens - ahem - it hates sudden changes in temperature.
    I have created a hot pink printed note I put on the outside of packages I send when the weather is HOT or COLD that says:

"Caution! If the temperature outdoors is over 20 degrees different than the temperature inside, please give the package contents sufficient time to acclimate before opening. This adjustment can take several hours in extreme climates."
Feel free to plagiarize.

 If you have additional helpful information,
we welcome your suggestions

Here's where you can go to help determine shipping costs for a particular package via FedEx    US Postal Service  or    UPS    

Good Luck!