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Shipping a Single Bit Axe Head via USPS

There have been quite a few instances of nice axes lost to the Postal Service due to poor packaging jobs as of late, so I thought I’d do a quick write up on how to ship a single axe head. Each shipping company has its own drawbacks, and sometimes things simply go bad, but after nearly 300 axe shipments in the past 18 months, I’ve yet to have had a report of a head escaping its packaging enroute. Everyone has their own way, but here’s my chosen method:

1) Start by getting 2 USPS small flat rate boxes, 1 flat rate padded envelope, tape, and a pair of scissors. I’ll be using a Barco Flint Edge as an example of a standard single bit head, though obviously size and shape will vary.

2) Assemble the 1st flat rate box, and wrap 2 full wraps of the tape around the long axis of the box. Some people choose to use reinforced tape, but I find 2 wraps of standard packaging tape is sufficient.

3) Using the 2nd USPS small flat rate box (or any extra cardboard), fashion a cover for the bit end of the axe, making sure to fold the cardboard over the toe and heel. Tape this on securely. For wide bitted patterns such as Jerseys and Connecticut patterns, make the fold over the toe and heel tight, as you may be pushing the limits of the size of the small flat rate box.

4) Cut the flat rate padded envelope to make a sleeve that fully covers the head and the bit cover. Tape this over the head, wrapping a loop of tape along the long axis of the envelope. This tape will ensure that the bit cover stays in place.

5) If there is room in the box, fashion another bit cover as well as a poll cover out of some of the remaining portion of the 2nd small flat rate box. Tape these on securely if possible. (If the head is too large to fit in the 1st flat rate box with these extra covers, skip this step.

6) Place the wrapped head in the assembled flat rate box.

7) Using the extra cardboard and the remainder of the flat rate padded envelope, fill any excess space within the box around the head. This is extremely important as a shifting head will make its way through the box’s walls.

8) Once all the space is filled, pull the tape tab from the sticky edge of the box and press it to close. (Do not put the tape tab in the box…….that’s just tacky.)

9) Securely tape the sticky edge that you just sealed with an additional piece of tape.

10) Wrap both ends of the box with 2 wraps of tape to ensure the stability of the box.

11) Label and ship.

· A note about USPS flat rate shipments: If you’re wondering if flat rate or a standard priority shipment is cheaper, a good rule of thumb is to consider if the package will cross the Mississippi River. If it does not, you may be able to ship for less that the cost of the flat rate shipment. If it will cross the Mississippi, it’s likely that the flat rate cost will be cheaper than the shipment by weight. Using a shipping service like Pirateship will make the Small Flat Rate Domestic charge around $8.10 (currently).

This technique limits the cost of shipping to the cost of tape, the flat rate cost, and your time. I’m sure there are numerous other safe ways to ship, but I hope this technique helps any looking for a cheap, efficient way to ship.

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