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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 2:09 pm    Post subject: Introducing the New, Redesigned "Long White Box"..         Reply with quote

Starting this week, we are shipping our swords in a newly redesigned box. This new box features folding and locking ends and a locking flip-top lid -- making the box both stronger for shipping and easier for the customer to open.

Because we will no longer be sealing with glue, the redesigned box is also now reusable as a storage box for your swords as well.

In a few days, we will supposedly have the die in house to cut the new boxes to the proper length for each sword -- please bear with us in the short term if you get your sword in an overly long box.

Please give us your feedback on how the boxes perform. We hope that this new design will defeat UPS's recent trend toward turning long boxes into short accordions (not to mention damaging the swords in the process)... (Especially you, Patrick, because I believe that is your sword in the box...)

Best,

Howy



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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 2:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So (please tolerate my ignorance, I've not bought one from you yet), what other packaging goes into that box (e.g do you cork the tip etc.)?
Geoff
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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
So (please tolerate my ignorance, I've not bought one from you yet), what other packaging goes into that box (e.g do you cork the tip etc.)?
Geoff


What you see is it -- we do not put anything on the point -- as long as the box stays intact, the foam inserts hold it in place.


We successfully used our old white boxes (Mark I) and the foam "suspension" inserts and we have not had a problem with shipping sharp swords for almost five years -- until sometime this year, when UPS started suddenly crushing boxes lengthwise... (then we had a few points poke through the ends of the crushed box). The new boxes, with four layers of cardboard on each end and one side double-walled, will hopefully end that problem.

Best,

Howy

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Thomas Jason




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 3:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ever consider not shipping UPS?
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Jason Dingledine
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Jason wrote:
Ever consider not shipping UPS?


We've used several other shipping companies over the years (at different times) and have had worse difficulties with all of them, than we experience with UPS, add into this, that some of these companies are also more expensive and less professional than UPS.

Jason Dingledine
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Howard;

I'll take your word for it but that "Naked" very pointy sword would make me nervous if I was a UPS guy or a Canada Customs guy re-closing the package after an inspection. (Don't know if the UPS guys are allowed to check inside packages but the customs guy sure can.)
Now my point is: That not knowing that this packaging is perfectly safe, it might bring out anger at the perceived danger and that this might explain some of the sabotage.

I think that somebody has already mentionned this as a possible cause of the deliberate damage.

Maybe this is a case of not only does the packaging need to be safe, but must appear to be safe to the "Uninformed".

Note: When shipping a sword with a scabbard do you pack the scabbard in the box with the sword in the scabbard for that extra little bit of protection?

Please accept this in the spirit of constructive criticism and curiousity.

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Eric McHugh
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Note: When shipping a sword with a scabbard do you pack the scabbard in the box with the sword in the scabbard for that extra little bit of protection?

Please accept this in the spirit of constructive criticism and curiousity.


Here's the thing...the scabbard may afford the blade a little more shock resistance, but it often traps moisture. Sometimes our boxes sit in...well...less than ideal conditions as they wait to travel on to the customer. We noticed that when the swords were in scabbards...they tarnished a bit. Not sure what UPS or other shippers are doing with these boxes. In any event, we leave the sword out of the scabbard for transport to prevent tarnishing. Good question.

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 8:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"Especially you, Patrick, because I believe that is your sword in the box..."

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

The new box looks pretty good from here Howy. There is a huge amount of space in that box around the point. If a customs inspector is concerned about it he's obviously a bigger moron than the drunken gorilla that would damage that box, to the extent to cause concern. Wait, we are talking about government employees Eek! The only thing that I'd do differently would be to give the sword a good coat of oil, and then wrap it in a plastic bag. That might help the rust problem.

My local UPS drivers all know what comes in those boxes. They usually know who it belongs to without looking at the label. They also know that payback's a b**** Laughing Out Loud I've never had a problem with UPS. My only shipping problem came through the much vaunted Post Office, so it's not a Big Brown Truck issue alone.

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Sep, 2004 10:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh well, I'm obviously a moron. If you've had tips poking through, no matter who's fault it was, tip protection more robust than cardboad or foam seems like it might be a good idea. Come to that, some sort of space filling packaging to resist the crushing mentioned might help. Still, none of my business, so these comments are probably out of place.
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Brian M




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff, you might want to consider how much force it would take to crush (lengthwise) a glued-shut heavy duty cardboard box. (Hint: the box would support your weight if you sat on it, lengthwise.) Meaning, somewhere in the shipping chain, UPS is putting these boxes through a ridiculous amount of abuse, or some jokers are opening them. In either case, a piece of cork on the tip ain't going to do jack, since the force required to crush the box lengthwise would EASILY push the tip through a piece of cork.
I have purchased and recieved 3 NGs packed thusly, and not a single box had the slighest indication of damage, much less the sort of damage required to force the tip through the box.

Regards,
Brian M
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Robert W. Betten




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 3:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been eyeing off one of albions pieces, and my main concern when buying is how its shipped and what its shipped in. when I buy custom I know I get usually a nice wooden crate, heavily sealed with like 60 screws (yes john lundemo actually done that to be sure my custom didnt get damaged)...but that actually would make my side alot better because of the HIGH tax cost based on weight and size, kudos guys it looks very good to me and when I order I'll be sure to comment on that in the review. Just a matter of seeing how large the sword funds are Wink.
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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 4:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Oh well, I'm obviously a moron. If you've had tips poking through, no matter who's fault it was, tip protection more robust than cardboad or foam seems like it might be a good idea. Come to that, some sort of space filling packaging to resist the crushing mentioned might help. Still, none of my business, so these comments are probably out of place.


Hey Geoff!

Please don't take anything that anyone has said here personally. Your points are good ones!

The strange thing about UPS crushing our boxes is that it is only a recent event. As I said, we used the Mark I box without one incident of the box being crushed for 4 and a half years -- and now suddenly in the past year it has happened several times (still an insignificant number statistically, but worrisome as it only takes one hurt person to make it very bad.)

From my personal inspection of the returned boxes, it isn't a manual box-handling issue -- it takes a machine to do what I have seen. Our old boxes (mark 1) were very strong and even dropping it on end from a serious height would not achieve the unfiorm "accordion" effect we have seen.

My best guess is that at some point in the past year UPS (though they will not fess up) either installed new package handling/sorting equipment or "dialed up" some existing equipment to process packages faster (read "harder") and it is slamming and jamming these boxes somewhere, with other boxes piling into them at some serious speed behind.

With the sword suspended in the foam inserts, the *only* way the point could come out of the box (other than from improper installation of the foam inserts) would be from crushing the box end to end, which I am hoping will no longer be possible under normal package-handling conditions.

Incidentally, some of our swords are shipped in pretty sturdy wooden crates *inside* the Mark I box -- and UPS still managed to crush those as well, so you never know...

Like I said, this is not a big problem in numbers (maybe 5 to 10 over the last year out of hundreds) but it is something that we felt needed attention. The Mark II box is actually closer to what I originally designed 5 years ago, but the box company we were dealing with at the time could not do it for a reasonable price.

To be honest, part of our goal here (now I am sounding like a chef) is "presentation. The reason I designed the box in the first place was to not do what every other sword company I had bought from in the past did -- coat the sword in Vaseline, mummify it in bubble wrap and tape and stick it in an oversized (and often makeshift) box and bury the thing in peanuts -- so that the customer has to spend a half an hour unwrapping and cleaning the sword and then another half an hour cleaning up their living room. I personally hate peanuts (they get everywhere and static electicity makes them worse than plant burrs).

The other option we explored was a full foam insert (filling the entire box) with a cutout or depression to fit the sword. Foam production equipment is expensive and not very realible (it has to be cleaned frequently) -- with that, you can customize it to each sword but (currently at least) it is very time consuming and the end product not very attractive. For one example, when we looked into this last, the only option for the thin plastic film that goes between the sword and the foam only came in the hot pink you see in computer component packages.

We also looked into the full-box pre-cut foam inserts (like the ones used by some hgh-end Japanese sword companies) but they aren't practical because of the more extreme variations of shape and length of the European sword (without having 20 or 30 different dies made, which is expensive).

So the idea was to present a clean look, painless to open and a little bit of "Aha!" when you can open the box and see the sword there -- and be able to lift it out (with a little twist of the wrist) from the foam inserts.

This was the closest we could come (within our budget) to the sword arriving to you held in an arm clothed in white samite, lit from above and with a choir of angels singing (my personal and sadly yet unachieved goal.)


Best,

Howy

Albion Swords Ltd
http://albion-swords.com
http://filmswords.com
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 4:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Oh well, I'm obviously a moron. If you've had tips poking through, no matter who's fault it was, tip protection more robust than cardboad or foam seems like it might be a good idea. Come to that, some sort of space filling packaging to resist the crushing mentioned might help. Still, none of my business, so these comments are probably out of place.


Not at all Geoff, your comments are perfecrtly valid. It's just that if something smashes that box enough for the tip to protrude another form of packaging would fare as badly.

Howy,

What about a piece of PVC pipe attatched around the point?

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Geoff Wood




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 10:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Howy
Nothing taken personally, I assure you. i was merely expressing sympathy with Patricks's postulated customs official, basd of what I could tell from the pictures. Taking Brian's point about the box strength, what can I say. Maybe, to paraphrase (badly) Galileo I could say, 'and yet they are crushed'. I assume he was talking about the older boxes. As far as I can tell from what you are saying, the change to the new boxes that would increase their resistance to a lengthwise crush is the addition of a further layer of cardboard to one of the four sides of the box. I hope it works. I quite like Patrick's PVC tube idea, but it would depend in how wide the tube is as to whether it could be pushed through the foam and thus far enough up the blade to reveal the point again (by whatever force is crushing the boxes in the first place). Are 'peanuts' peanuts or is it a US name for something else?
Regards
Geoff
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Timothy Gulics




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ooh. A new booox... it's pretty Eek!

I think the main problem with the "accordian" effect is... well, let's take my Gotland for example. It was smunched by UPS. The tip poked through and broke off. It was nasty. The problem was that the Mark 1 box length was about as long as the sword was, leaving very little "crush space" near the tip.

Now if you look at the Mark 2 above... or even a long Mark 1 box... there is much more space between the tip of the sword and the end of the box it is pointing at. This leaves a lot of "give" in case someone decided to smush that end. Less chance of pokey bits to poke on through.

Sooo... my replacement Gotland came in a longer Mark 1 box with much more "crush space." It arrived safely too. This was a good hold-over until the Mark 2's, which you can probably get away with using less "crush space" given they are stronger. I'd still leave some room near the tip when packing, just to be safe.

Happy

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Steve Fabert





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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Are 'peanuts' peanuts or is it a US name for something else?


These peanuts are soft styrofoam packing filler objects shaped somewhat like peanuts in their shells.
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Albion should pack them with real peanuts... imagine the added bonus of peanuty goodness you'd experience when popping open the big white box!

It's no arm clothed in white samite, and it isn't lit from above with a choir of angels singing... actually, it's just darn nutty.

Laughing Out Loud

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Last edited by Timothy Gulics on Thu 23 Sep, 2004 12:42 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Howy, I've been impressed with the simplicity of design of the boxes and the consistent presentation of the products.
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Nate C.




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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 1:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings all,

I was just thinking about the UPS "gorilla attack" damage and something came to mind. I don't know how many of you have had something heavy like power tools shipped to you. The boxes for these tools usually incorporate the external box and a heavy cardboard reenforcing piece that holds the tool in place and provides extra structure for the box. If the extreme abuse continues, this might be an alternative to redesigning the box again.

I am not really sure any kind of tip treatment would help matters and be cheap/quick. Hopefully, the new box will take care of the problem. Have you tried DHL for shipping?

Cheers,

Nate C.

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Howard Waddell
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PostPosted: Thu 23 Sep, 2004 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nate C. wrote:
Greetings all,

I was just thinking about the UPS "gorilla attack" damage and something came to mind. I don't know how many of you have had something heavy like power tools shipped to you. The boxes for these tools usually incorporate the external box and a heavy cardboard reenforcing piece that holds the tool in place and provides extra structure for the box. If the extreme abuse continues, this might be an alternative to redesigning the box again.

I am not really sure any kind of tip treatment would help matters and be cheap/quick. Hopefully, the new box will take care of the problem. Have you tried DHL for shipping?

Cheers,


Hey Nate!

Actually, we did try DHL for about 6 months or so last year -- they were great. Then they were bought by another company and the fun began immediately. Guess some corporate bean counter there decided that using independent couriers to pick up and deliver was more cost effective. Suddenly some guy with a white van started showing up to pick up packages, not a DHL truck, Then we had some neighborhood kids show up with a package that had fallen off the back of the van apparently... the list goes on... lost and damaged packages... other oddities... so we went back to using UPs... at least Brown is always Brown...

Best,

Howy

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