Protecting Cabinets from Shipping Damage

Cabinets often suffer damage if shipped by truck or rail. Here's advice on packaging for protection. October 12, 2012

I'm looking for a little advice on shipping laminate cabinets. I currently finish the cabinet and wrap it with shrink wrap. I know some guys foam wrap and then shrink wrap. This is taking too long for me. I don't like the idea of my profit being spent on two guys wrapping a cabinet. How is everyone else doing it? Is there a more efficient way? I am just not big enough to have a power wrapper.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor Y:
Most of our production is shipped coast to coast so I have 20 plus years of experience with shipping. If at all possible ship in full truckloads that you load at your own dock. If there are not enough cabinets for a full truckload how about using a pup? Depending on where you are and where it's going these two ways can be reasonably priced. For small jobs we will get a pup and not fill it all the way.

Itís less expensive than the damage from a common carrier. Another alternative is to request a sealed divider. They will bring an empty trailer with some load bars and sheets of plywood. You load the nose of the trailer and put the sealed divider behind it. Your part of the load never gets moved but they pack the rest of the trailer with whatever they can. Your stuff is delivered to your customer, last thing off the trailer. Even if you could put your stuff in a cast iron crate it would get damaged if sent common carrier.

From contributor S:
Considering it is their line of work, you would think shipping companies would be better at it. It's hard to believe a whole industry can be so bad at their chosen profession. Shipping is probably the most frustrating part of any manufacturing companieís day. You see employees taking more time to package a cabinet than it took them to build it. Until someone takes the whole lot of them to task, I am afraid it is just a case of trial and error. What works with one carrier doesn't work with the next one.

From contributor P:
Add a clause for damage to be paid for by shipper depending on who is shipping. I have to ship some soon and I am going to do a pod. Not sure if that is what was mentioned above by "pup".

From the original questioner:
I think you all might have misunderstood me. I am not having damage. I am trying not to waste too much money on wrapping cabinets. Does anybody have a better way to wrap cabinets other than just walking around them in circles?

From contributor Y:
I thought you were having to spend too much time and material to protect them during shipping. If you are transporting them in your own truck or a rental use furniture pads and just enough stretch film to keep the doors closed. A pup is one of the about 1/2 length semi-trailers you see being pulled two at a time.

From contributor B:
Expect damage. I would at least wrap them with bubble wrap or something more than stretch wrap. Loading the front of the trailer will certainly be helpful. They will (probably) pay for damage eventually, but until you get replacements to the customer you are not going to get paid.

I shipped a kitchen to Wisconsin from Montana, and the fork lift fork had gone through two of the cabinets. I shipped two new backs and four new doors, and after six months of trying to get paid for the damage, I decided it wasn't worth the heart attack and just dropped it.

From contributor U:
If it is a custom job you are shipping to and it is big enough to make it pay, ship the cabinet parts unassembled in a plywood crate. Then travel to the installation site and assemble and install there. I have done this several times with great results.

From contributor O:
I have been successful with common carrier using 4x4 pallets - 4 base cabinets all good faces facing in, 3/4 cdx on 4 sides and top screwed together with 1 1/2" screws. The side of the crate overlaps the side of the pallet.