Friday, May 10, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of Freight Shipping... An Anvil's Journey

I have been an online seller for many years. My photography either fits into rigid mailers, large flat boxes or tubes. My vintage shop on the other hand poses a variety of situations, sizes and shapes. Up until recently everything has always shipped out US Mail, UPS or FedEx. Then we acquired an anvil.

And not just any anvil, this was a 400 pound Antique Peter Wright Anvil. My father was a blacksmith when I was very small, so we couldn't pass up this find. 

We did lots of research on the history of the piece. All that was left was to figure out how to ship it.
We knew we could offer local pick up, however, this is a very specialized piece and the chances of it going to a collector close were slim in rural Pennsylvania.
We knew we could offer delivery within 300 miles for a fee.
But our buyer was 2000 miles away in another country.
Learning about freight shipping became a high priority. Just down the road a piece from my parents (where we were storing the anvil) is an ABF  terminal. Our plan, to lift the anvil into a Kubota and drive it to ABF.

I first called the customer service number to get a shipping quote. Because we had researched the anvil and the marking made it identifiable as a 400 pound anvil, we knew an estimated weight. They also needed to know what we were shipping it in or on. We decided a pallet. The shipping company needed the dimensions of the pallet as well as the total height, including the anvil. When shipping freight it is YOUR responsibility make sure it is properly packaged and ready for transport. Think about what you will need and include that in your shipping.

We used zip ties to make sure that it would not move. If you are shipping something fragile, a wooden crate can be used on top of your pallet, you can even build one yourself. But because the purpose of an anvil is to get pounded with heavy hammers, we felt secure without a crate.

I made a stop into ABF to introduce myself and find out the logistics of shipping the anvil. I also made my request to deliver it by Kubota. It was so much easier than I expected. They had my shipping quote on the computer and were also able to advise me on what extra things needed to be done since it was going out of country. When shipping freight into Canada, there is a crossing border fee, which is included in the shipping fee. However, there is also a customs fee. A customs BROKER can be arranged to clear the item in Canada. This needs to be arranged before shipping. The broker's name and contact information needs attached to the shipping form. Your customer can choose SELF broker if they want, but it's not always convenient for your customer to have to travel to the customs and do this. Now we were all set to move it.

It was time to let it go. It's important to give your customer an estimated day of delivery when shipping freight. From Pennsylvania to Canada they estimated 5 days.

The finishing touch, lots of plastic wrap to protect and keep our new friend secure and in place and then we watched them load it up.
It arrived on the date that was estimated and we had a very happy customer.
As a lover and seller of vintage, I am no longer afraid of freight shipping.
If the item's value exceeds what you think the shipping will cost, go for it, especially if it is a really special piece like this was.

So when should you use freight? According to American Freight Companies:
"freight is used for those items that, because of their shear volume, size or weight, they cannot be shipped with the Post Office or Parcel shipping companies."


  1. Very cool and congratulations on the sale.

  2. Hello!

    I was wondering if you could say how much it did cost to Canada and what you might recommend if one didn't have a kutoba?

  3. Judy, no problem, it goes by distance, weight size etc.
    So from where I am to where it was going in Canada was $505.00

    A freight company can come right to your door and pick it up, just like they delivered it to my customer. But there was construction going on at my parents home where we stored it and it was easier not to have a tractor trailer truck coming up. Also, I think that helped on the price a bit. You can let them know all of that when arranging it. Hope that helps.

  4. Wow Molly! This was some project! I'm so glad it all went easily and smoothly!

  5. Thanks for sharing your anvil's journey! I never considered the implications for shipping something like this before. I think it's great that you did the research and have provided people with the info they need to do this kind of shipping!

  6. Wow! What a project! It still seems like such a daunting task, and I'm glad that most of my stuff weighs less than 4 ounces, but I guess it must be like a lot of things that seem overwhelming until you actually do it and it's not so bad. The new owner of that anvil is a lucky person!

  7. What a great learning curve! It really is possible to get almost anything anywhere these days. How wonderful that your dad was a blacksmith, too... and what a beautiful anvil! I would love to own one myself... I think freight costs to Australia might be a bit prohibitive tho, but at least now we know how to go about it! :)