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Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying

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Naemanson 23 Oct 02 - 11:51 AM
Clinton Hammond 23 Oct 02 - 12:17 PM
Steve in Idaho 23 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM
GUEST,Don Meixner 23 Oct 02 - 12:38 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 Oct 02 - 01:32 PM
Catherine Jayne 23 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM
EBarnacle1 23 Oct 02 - 02:04 PM
GUEST,Mooh 23 Oct 02 - 02:34 PM
treewind 23 Oct 02 - 04:22 PM
NicoleC 23 Oct 02 - 04:56 PM
Clinton Hammond 23 Oct 02 - 05:01 PM
DonMeixner 23 Oct 02 - 05:09 PM
mooman 23 Oct 02 - 05:35 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 23 Oct 02 - 05:51 PM
CraigS 23 Oct 02 - 06:08 PM
Naemanson 24 Oct 02 - 09:13 AM
Naemanson 08 May 03 - 02:12 PM
open mike 09 May 03 - 04:37 AM
Dave Bryant 09 May 03 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 09 May 03 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,reggie miles 09 May 03 - 11:07 AM
Eric the Viking 09 May 03 - 04:49 PM
Midchuck 09 May 03 - 04:54 PM
Gurney 10 May 03 - 01:20 AM
Eric the Viking 10 May 03 - 06:42 AM
CraigS 10 May 03 - 10:15 AM
Midchuck 10 May 03 - 12:41 PM
Eric the Viking 10 May 03 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,ghost 11 May 03 - 01:21 AM
Grab 11 May 03 - 08:08 PM
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Subject: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Naemanson
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 11:51 AM

If things go well next year I will be moving to Italy. I expect that will be the start of a lot of time spent in airplanes and a lot of flights for my guitar(s). What is the collective Mudcat experience on this? I expect one flight case will be pretty expensive and I have three guitars. I need to start saving my pennies.

Questions:

1. What is available and what are the pros and cons in your experience?

2. Do you believe plywood and fiberglass can do the job? I think could build my own case for less money than what I think a manufactured case might cost.

3. If you have any horror stories please include details of how the case failed.

Note: I remember, while boarding the ferry to Nantucket, seeing baggage handlers deliberately destroying a guitar. I don't know where they got it but I was shocked to say the least. I want to protect my sweethearts.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 12:17 PM

Well, the new Fort cases are supposed to be very resistant to crush and impact...

Check this thread for more info


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 12:24 PM

There has been a couple of threads on this - try the one below. I've not had to ship my instrument so far and I have flown several times since 9/11 even. I carry it on and put it with the crew's gear.

Here's one

Steve


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: GUEST,Don Meixner
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 12:38 PM

Look into an M.W. Holt case. They are similar to Anvils and they have the added benefit of a musician (me) being in on the design and construction of each one.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 01:32 PM

Do your future plans involve flying with all three guitars after the flight to Italy? Or will you be more likely to take only one guitar and leave the other two in Italy on subsequent trips? If the latter is the case (no pun intended) I would buy one good case of the Calton, Anvil, Mark Leaf class and build sturdy shipping crates for the other two. Of course, if the three guitars are of very different sizes (Say a D an OM and a big J) you'd have to order the case to fit one of them and the other two would get jealous.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Catherine Jayne
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 01:52 PM

I think I said this in another thread but what the heck. Try to take your instument on board as hand luggage. Some airlines are very good about it. I have never had a problem flying with my instruments. You can fit your passport and a book and your tickets in your case everything else can go in your suit case!!

Have a good time

Cat


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 02:04 PM

Thread drift: Concertinas also need to travel. IBM circuit cases seem to be the current best. These are plastic cases with handle on top. They are shells and, if you get them from a good supplier, have foam rubber that only needs to be cut to clear the thumbstraps. The closures are similar to Dzus fasteners. I once found, accidently, that they seem to be watertight.

Various recycling companies, especially around Poughkeepsie, carry them for $5 each.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: GUEST,Mooh
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 02:34 PM

(Still trying to reregister...)

ClintonHammond (above) must have tongue firmly in cheek, the Fort case is not what you want.

From what I've seen of touring celtoids, Calton and Mark Leaf are two of the big names. Years ago I used Anvil cases but they got swiped at a local (!) gig. I really like the confidence that Calton owners have.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: treewind
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 04:22 PM

Keith Calton has just made me a new cello case. Lovely job!

Calton (UK) the original one-man designer/maker or
Calton Cases of Canada who make cases to the same design and method under licence.

They are very strong double-skin fibreglass with foam lining made to measure, carefully designed to keep every part of the instrument well away from the hard shell.

Horror stories?
Calton cases have fallen out of airport loading trucks and got run over by vehicles and still protected their contents from damage.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: NicoleC
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 04:56 PM

Airlines tend to be sporadic about what the will and will not allow on board, and sometimes what they say they'll allow on the phone turns out to be different at the gate. I would HOPE you could carry it on and try -- but plan to have the guitar in a luggage-compartment safe case anyway.

Just in case. I'd hate to choose between giving up my seat on the the plane to Italy and sending an instrument to the baggage handlers in a lightweight case!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 05:01 PM

Why not a Fort case????

Dropping them from a 2 story building with a several thousand $$ guitar in them, and have BOTH survive unscathed is a ringing endorsment for me...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: DonMeixner
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 05:09 PM

OR!

Put your guitar in it's case. Put the case in a large box full of popcorn and bubble wrap and Fed Ex the thing to Italy. Better flight insurance and it will get there before you do. It won't be re-routed to Algeria or Portuguese Goa. And it will be so much cheaper than a $300.00 flight case. Elderly ships this way all the time.

Don


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: mooman
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 05:35 PM

Calton cases are very good but are heavy and very expensive. I have one for my mandolin and is immensely strong but it still suffered a chunk out of it (the material is rather brittle) when some silly person in a shop knocked over a bunch of bottles on it. I managed to repair it with epoxy resin and suitable paint.

Hiscox cases are excellent and very tough and I can recommend them highly. They are somewhat less expensive than Carltons. I have one for my guitar.

The best case I have (better than both the Calton and the Hiscox) is a Clarke case which protects my prized octave mandola. I haven't, however, been able to find an instrument website for them (I think they may mainly do cases for aircraft equipment).

Best regards,

mooman


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 05:51 PM

The Fort case provides excellent padding, but it doesn't have enough stiffness and puncture resistance for airline use. But, a Fort case inside a well-built plywood box with all the vacant areas filled in with styrofoam popcorn or bubblewrap should do the job quite nicely.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: CraigS
Date: 23 Oct 02 - 06:08 PM

The method described by Don is also used by Gruhn Guitars, and seems to work well (although Gruhn tend to supplement the bubble wrap and popcorn with screwed-up newspaper).

There used to be a standard for flight cases - they were tested by dropping them onto a concrete floor from 3ft or 6ft high. You could ask manufacturers if cases have been drop-tested.

Even if you go to the extent of buying flight cases, I'd still wrap them in boxes. Most flight damage tends to be digs and dints from sharp corners - two inches of padded void around the case reduces damage immensely, because it absorbs shock.

I hear that SKB cases are very good, although I have only come across one (US rather than UK product) - I would think they would survive in a padded-out cardboard box. They retail at about $170 - $190, but I've frequently seen them advertised at half this price.

A horror story - John Miles on his first tour of the US wanted to bring home a 50s Les Paul. He bought one ($5000, over 20yrs ago) and booked an extra seat for Mr Gibson. Having transported it safely to the UK, a Customs officer asked to look in the case, opened it up and picked the guitar up by the head, at which point the body detached from the neck and fell off...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Oct 02 - 09:13 AM

There's some great stuff here. Thanks to all.

I guess my best bet is to buy a hard shell case from Calton for the 12 string and build cases for the other guitars. I'll ship the built cases. I think I can build them sting enough to do the job. I'll paint them bright yellow or something equally ostentatious so they can stand out in a pile. Hopefully that will help to protect them. Then on my trips I will use the hardshell case to carry the one guitar I need and let the others abide at home.

I agree with everyone who prefers to drive. I do not like flying. It doesn't scare me (much) but it is so uncomfortable and regimented. I hate being driven like sheep through the sterile plastic environment of an airport. I hate airports, security, bland art work, fake smiles, hurrying, and all the other things that make up the flying experience. I drive whenever I can avoid flying. However, moving to the other side of the big puddle will require me to grin and bear it.

Amusing note: I followed one of the thread links and read all the way through. Then, having forgotten I was not on my original thread I posted the above paragraphs. Not thinking very clearly this morning. About par for the course.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Naemanson
Date: 08 May 03 - 02:12 PM

Refreshing with new info. I have a crate for the guitars. It has an oak frame and 1/4" plywood sides. It is designed to take four guitars in their regular cases. My only problem is shipping the damned thing.

Any advice?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: open mike
Date: 09 May 03 - 04:37 AM

here is a case company in the seattle area...
flight form


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 09 May 03 - 06:01 AM

I'm surprised that no-one has mentioned HISCOX cases yet, they're made in the UK and are almost a standard over here - you have to put stickers on them so you know which one's yours ! Many guitar manufacturers badge them as their own.

They have a website here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 09 May 03 - 10:59 AM


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: GUEST,reggie miles
Date: 09 May 03 - 11:07 AM

Oops, that didn't help. Hit the wrong thingy.

I picked up an anvil flight style case last year at a garage sale for $50. It's just the right size for my large bodied acoustic. Just thinking that if there was an outside possibilty of me gettin' outta Dodge someday, to say maybe Europe or even across the country, I'd be prepared. Gotta keep yer options open. You never know what freakish turn of events may lead you on to new possibilities. I've heard horror stories about flying with these cases failing to do the job too.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 09 May 03 - 04:49 PM

I use a Hiscox, but so far as yet have not had to put my guitar into the hold except on the way back from Ireland.(But then I kicked up such as fuss, it was hand loaded and unloaded in my presence) usually I tell them I'll take it to the aircraft, get it into the fragile hold.(Pressurised and heated) but then I just walk up the stairs or down the tube and into the cabin, tell them it fits, the lockers and that it always goes in there, the stewardesses usually shrug and let me put it in, but then I am charming by nature and always polite, but firm, never rattled or cross.Never let it get loaded and unloaded by the staff-did it the first time I flew to Spain, all I got was a broken case full of matchwood!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Midchuck
Date: 09 May 03 - 04:54 PM

...the stewardesses usually shrug and let me put it in, but then I am charming by nature...

Some guys have all the luck...

P.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Gurney
Date: 10 May 03 - 01:20 AM

I've watched guitars being unloaded at the airport. Hard cases got thrown onto the pile as they come, soft cases were PLACED on one side, them PLACED on the top.
You pays your money and you takes your chances, to rework a phrase.
In my only experience (21hrs, 2 planes) the expensive guitar in the (not very) hard case suffered, the cheapo Spanish in the soft vinyl case had not a mark.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 10 May 03 - 06:42 AM

Hey Midchuck, guess I'm just lucky eh!( "Charming etc". That was meant as self-sarcasm)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: CraigS
Date: 10 May 03 - 10:15 AM

To ship the crate as freight, fit two pieces of wood to the bottom to allow handling with a fork truck, then look in yellow pages under international freight forwarders. If a man in a big truck comes to collect it, and he's the kind that won't lift anything, you put the crate on the truck and then load the guitars into it - so don't seal it for transit until you know there's no more manhandling to do. If the crate is not fitted with the legs, it will have to be shipped strapped to a pallet, which will add to the weight and encourage the morons to stack things on it. If the legs are on the narrowest side they are less likely to put something heavy on it. Also, you can buy tilt indicators which have a liquid inside which shows red if a case has been tilted in transit - I've seen them on delicate equipment I've delivered, which has been shipped from US to UK. These seem to encourage careful handling. Talk to your freight forwarder.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Midchuck
Date: 10 May 03 - 12:41 PM

Eric, I had no intention whatsoever of casting any doubt on the degree of your charm.

I simply thought when you said "...the stewardesses usually shrug and let me put it in" you were guilty of thread creep.

If you were still talking about guitar cases, I apologize...but I'm disappointed.

P.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 10 May 03 - 02:29 PM

Midchuck, you should know by reading the different threads, I'm strictly a one sheep man!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: GUEST,ghost
Date: 11 May 03 - 01:21 AM

Eric, then you're not guilty of sheep creep I hope.

CraigS, hmm, tilt indicators?, they sound like very high tech. Are they costly?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Instrument Cases for Flying
From: Grab
Date: 11 May 03 - 08:08 PM

A friend with a Hiscox case just recently had it trashed by baggage handlers. It looked like it had been crushed in a vice or something - hinges were all bent and stuff. Guitar inside was fine though, so the case is obviously pretty tough.

Following Gurney's comment, I've done that - I took a cheap nylon-string to Greece in a soft gig bag, and it didn't get a scratch. I guess relying on the kindness of strangers is easier when there's less at stake though!

Graham.


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