Our Crates

Our crates are constructed using 12mm thick plywood, we did use OSB ( Oriented Strand Board ) so some of the website images will reflect this. The ply panels are held together with an internal timber frame. All joints are screwed by hand, we don't use nail or staple guns. This allows the crate to be dismantled and stored flat should your client wish to keep it.

For anyone that supplies their own crate please see the notes at the bottom of this section regarding ISPM 15 regulations and their impact on materials you can and can't use for packing. For more photos of our work check out the Photo Gallery under the "What's cooking at HMC" tab.

These ancient fertility figures are thousands of years old... 



Here's a brief storyboard showing us packing a carved marble "Christ Child"....

First we construct the crate, our figure is already lying on 10cm of high density packing foam and then a thick layer of acid free tissue paper...









We then build up the layers of foam....









Each layer is cut to form a snug fit.... 








We're already up to 4 ( 20cm ) layers....








The foam is cut using an electric carving knife....









" Hey, I can't swim " ....







The body is now encased in the foam....








After six layers the job is nearly finished....








All we now have to do is screw the side and the lid on....










This marble figure was collected from an Old Bond Street gallery and delivered to a collector in Vienna. We had three days to collect, pack, crate and deliver. All went well and he had a delighted client and very excited collector at the other end. Before we sealed the crate we took all the foam out and thoroughly re-wrapped the figure in more acid free tissue. The final packed weight was 70Kg and the whole thing, from collection to delivery, cost the client £635

Were you a fan of The Clash.... ( signed Pennie Smith print )




Or maybe the Pistols :)  



 If you'd like to see more packing photos/examples go to the "HMC Photo Gallery" under the "What's Cooking at HMC" tab


How Big?
For those far away destinations we’re looking at long haul flights. As a rule the cargo doors on aircraft are approximately 2.4m wide and 1.6m high, this is bigger than the x-ray machines used by most airlines! Any freight that can’t fit through a conventional x-ray machine is subject to a decompression test. The crate is sealed inside a decompression chamber and the air pressure reduced to simulate cargo conditions at cruising altitude. This won’t harm your goods in anyway; the test is designed to trigger any explosive devices influenced by a difference in air pressure


Eight big works on canvas bound for Miami, if they're not packed flat like this they won't fit on the plane


Shell Mirror Packing

We were asked to pack and ship this shell mirror. The frame is covered in hundreds of sea shells, many had very delicate spines and spikes sticking out over the edge of the frame. We fixed the mirror inside this crate and then "floated" this crate inside another larger crate. It was delivered to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in perfect condition.

Strength Demonstration

That's a 600cc motorcycle below, we rode it onto and parked it on top of the crate - such is the strength of the our construction the crate doesn't even begin to flex under all that weight















We took this photo before the enclosed sculpture left us for Australia



 We now use this more attractive special plywood


Shipping Artwork under Glass

We apply a layer of glass protection tape. The tape will hold the glass away from the artwork if the glass should break,

so far we've had no glass broken, or cracked, in transit. These Bansky prints are off the Texas


As well as using plywood , we sometimes use hardboard to pack. We usually use hardboard on consignments that are reasonably low in value, where cost restraints prohibit the making of a ply crate. We’ve had no damages using hardboard but due to its flexible nature, it’s only suitable for smaller paintings, upto 90cm x 90cm maximum.
Below is a canvas packed using hardboard, it's cheaper than a ply crate... but not as strong!!! This was delivered to Paris and arrived in perfect condition.

Note about ISPM 15

Wood Packaging Materials

Crates delivered into the following countries MUST be compliant with ISPM 15 regulations. But don't worry, HMC crates are fully compliant.

We cannot ship any "home made" crates into the following countries......

Countries Requiring ISPM 15

Argentina | Australia | Bolivia | Brazil | Canada | China | Chile | Colombia | Costa Rica | Dominican Repubic | Ecuador | Egypt | European Union | Guatemala | India | Japan | Jordon | Kenya | Korea | Lebanon | Mexico | New Zealand | Nigeria | Oman | Peru | Philippines | U.S.A. ¦ South Africa | Syria | Trinidad and Tobago | Turkey | Vietnam | Venezuela

For more information about ISPM 15 click the link below



No stamp, no send, no exceptions!