Friday, 24 July 2009

Crating for Travelling Exhibitions

As you may remember I was accepted along with others on the basis of a proposal to exhibit with a travelling exhibition organised by the Scottish Glass Society.

This will be packed and unpacked by other people at least four times during the next year. My experience with helping to pack up the Collect work exhibited by craftscotland showed me the need to prepare the packing properly.

At the conclusion of Collect we had three large and heavy objects to pack away. One weighed approximately 30kg. It was of glass with some delicate undercuts. The crate to contain it was lined with polystyrene sheets. Some foam was included and the rest of the space was filled with polystyrene peanuts. The other works had similar arrangements. It just did not feel to be a secure way to transport the works.

So for this work I decided to build a crate with custom fittings to cushion the work from any damage. I felt when I finished that it was such a simple arrangement that others may benefit from a description.

The crate can be made from a variety of materials. Wood is easiest for me. I used some plywood offcuts to form the base and sides. The ends were formed from 3 ply plywood with 19 by 45mm timber cut and nailed to it.

The side rail does not have to be so large as I made it - just too lazy to cut it down, I guess. The side rail allows the top to be screwed to the sides holding them from expanding or bowing with the pressure of the packing materials.

I then cut 50mm. thick polystyrene sheets to fit the case. These were attached together with "U" shaped copper wire stuck into them. The shape to fit the glass was cut with a heated cutting tool. It is a bit smelly and smokey, but does the job. When the shape for the glass was formed, a 10mm sheet had a collar cut out to go around the rim of the glass.

Note that the packaging is also numbered so that each piece is put back into the crate in the order required for transport. When the base layer and cradle for the glass are placed in the bottom of the crate, the glass is added.

Now the crate is ready to have the wooden part of the work packed. This shows the piece with the glass in the wooden cradle with the packaging around the "slipway".

The packaging for the "slipway" is put into the crate separately from the glass and packaging. You can see there is a layer of polystyrene between the glass and the wood.

Then the "slipway" is inserted into its cradle.

The polystyrene had holes made with the hot cutting tool to correspond to the supports for the glass. The holes are larger than the supports, so there is no pressure on them during transport.

Again the packaging is numbered. The final packing pieces are to be added now. Still each has its number!

The major pieces of packing are now added ready for the topping out!

Next add the essential tools and spares. In this case the tool is a two way spirit level so the piece is placed horizontally and level.

Then there is the necessary photo to show how the piece is to be displayed.

Finally the list of contents and instructions on installation.

Now the lid can be put on and screwed down. Note the locating marks on the lid to show how it fits without having to run new pilot holes for the screws. The screws to be removed are noted with an "X".

All screwed together solid and ready for delivery.

If the instructions are followed everything should be secure for delivery to the buyer!

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