Jefferson Swivel and Secretary

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crating/Shipping Furniture


When I complete orders for clients, usually the furniture has to be shipped across the country. It's difficult, at least in my opinion, to put chairs or what have you in a cardboard box and expect it to get to it's destination safely. I always build a crate to fit the pieces being sent. It costs a bit more but I have never had anything get damaged in transit. I start with a trip to the big box store for 2x4's and if needed a sheet of hardboard/masonite. I set the furniture in a position I feel will travel safely and start taking measurements. As the picture shows above, these 2 chairs are setting in a kind of army march configuration. This gave me the most compact footing and with bubble wrap put at the places where touching may occur, these should have no issue with damage from rubbing. After I figure how large to make the base, making sure to find the widest and longest distance on the overall piece(s), I start by cutting 2x4's to the shorter width, ripping them to sqaure for the feet of the crate. Then the resawing takes over. I resaw 2x4's on the bandsaw to help cut down the weight and that way I can get the upright corners out of one section of 2x4. Then just screw it all together. This crate is very sturdy and should withstand just about anything a trucking company can throw at it. The crate did add 25 lbs to the weight of the 35 lbs chairs, but if damage occurs in shipping, a customer would not be happy, even if it's out of my hands, it still comes back to me as my problem, not a problem I want to have.


  1. Very nice. What do you do about your shipping costs? Do you just charge for weight and materials, or do you add the hours building the shipping container too? (Or do you just add the cost to the finished product and hope it all evens out?)

    Brian Smith

  2. Hi Brian,
    The customer pays for weight only, I just build the crate and include my time in it. The cost of most crates aren't very much and I normally can make one in an hour or so. I just think it's safer than a cardboard box and those brown truck companies way of shipping.

    Matt Rushing

  3. Thanks for the comments, you are too kind. I joined your blog roll, keep it up. I really want to tackle that swivel chair someday..

  4. True. How many times had there been furniture which were delivered damaged, scratched or broken? Quite significant to count, I guess. So, I do commend your extra effort to build a crate for the furniture you ship, instead of relying wholly on crating services. I know you feel more security for your pieces by doing so.