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Old 10th July 2017, 10:34 PM   #1
estcrh
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Default Persian shamshir destroyed by USPS!!!

The picture says it all. You can never over pack.
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Old 10th July 2017, 10:59 PM   #2
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Did they have an elephant step on the box or something!!!
Should be insured though, yes?
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Old 10th July 2017, 11:09 PM   #3
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HOLY CRAP!!
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Old 10th July 2017, 11:21 PM   #4
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Sue the BASTARDS!
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Old 10th July 2017, 11:33 PM   #5
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My condolences.
It is awful......
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Old 11th July 2017, 12:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Did they have an elephant step on the box or something!!!
Should be insured though, yes?
The seller should have insured it, I have asked for a refund of course. I think only a wood box or gun case would have prevented this type of neglectful shipping.
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Old 11th July 2017, 12:13 AM   #7
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That's a crime; and now someone has to go through the insurance process.

Not a single FRAGILE sticker?
That's also a crime.
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Old 11th July 2017, 12:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
That's a crime; and now someone has to go through the insurance process.

Not a single FRAGILE sticker?
That's also a crime.


Yea not very well packaged but this particular dealer does sell a lot of swords and probably has not ran into this type of problem before, lulled into a sense of security. The funny this is that right before I got home and found this I had shipped a very long naginata in full koshirae for some repair work and even though I packed it quite good seeing this damaged sword made me wish I did a better job.

This is the first damaged item I have received in many years, I posted this as a warning for anyone who may be shipping or receiving a sword, gun etc that maybe should be over protected just in case. I will be sending this image to people I deal with. Plastic gun cases with foam lining are not expensive and would probably have prevented this from happening......what really makes me mad is seeing a beautiful sword like this one destroyed, what a waste.
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Old 11th July 2017, 01:08 AM   #9
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Now, if you don't want any damage...
Expensive but reusable.
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Old 11th July 2017, 02:04 AM   #10
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In my experience, where possible use a ROUND TUBE rather than a box. Not entirely fool proof but stronger I believe, and pack item as tight as possible. Do not leave gaps in the internal packaging which will reduce strength.
Sad to see the damage caused here, and though the sword may never but recovered, at least I hope that insurance will cover the cost.
Stu
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Old 11th July 2017, 07:35 AM   #11
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Unhappy Ouch!

I expect that even an adequate insurance reimbursement will not fully cure that sickening feeling down in the gut. It would be interesting to know how this damage was achieved. Perhaps it was sticking out on one side of a forklift load and whammed into a structural support?

I have had one return from Lew's estate sale and the re-used packaging had a kink just like that. The repacking had omitted the tip restraint it had departed with and so the tip was sticking out of one end by about of an inch. Remarkably, I am happy to report the keris penjang inside was entirely intact and there were no blood stains.

I have some nicely made custom wooden air freight crates, as well as segments of heavy plastic pipe up in the attic left over from inbound shipments and such packaging might have saved this sword. However, I doubt many would be enthusiastic about the added costs, except for the most valuable shipments.
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Old 11th July 2017, 09:14 AM   #12
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Looking at the damage on the item I would argue that this is not a case of poor packaging but criminal negligence by the transporter. Damage like this requires considerable force. The many priority stickers on the package should have made it clear to the transporter that there is something reasonably valuable inside.
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Old 11th July 2017, 09:55 AM   #13
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There is no physical defense against an unpredictable accident. Traditional packing is usually enough, but rare event is always a possibility. The box might have fallen from the pallet and run over by a truck.
That's why God created insurance . Never skimp on it, never accommodate a buyer who wants to save money on insurance premium or ( very often) import dues.
Loss of a beautiful irreplaceable antique is emotionally traumatic enough, but at least one can recover monetary damages. Cold comfort is better than none.
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Old 11th July 2017, 01:10 PM   #14
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Asolutely, sickening!

A sword that has survived in good condition hundreds of years, to be destroyed (albeit not completely) by some idiots...

Similar things happened to me two times: once with a Thracian Sica that was broken and another time with an Iznic ceramic vase. Both items were insured and I got all my money back... BUT THAT DID NOT HELP MUCH as I remained with the devastating feeling of having some pieces of history irreplaceably destroyed...

However, it this case it is not the shipper's fault as the damage resulted from exceptionally strong forces that were applied to the package. No normal packaging could withstand the forces that bent the sword like this. In my oppinion is solely the carrier's fault.



PS: Both, the sword and the scabbard can be repaired... albeit, they will never be like before...
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Old 11th July 2017, 01:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
That's a crime; and now someone has to go through the insurance process.

Not a single FRAGILE sticker?
That's also a crime.


It is a sword for God's sake not a glass vase, so I don't think it should be labelled as fragile since it can withstand shocks and stress resulted from normal handling.

What happened here goes way beyond NORMAL handling and the package was subjected to tremendous forces (I would say more than 200 kg bending force).

So I believe the crime was on part of the carrier (USPS) for mishandling the package, not on part of the shipper who packed the sword adequately to withsdand NORMAL/REASONABLE handling.
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Old 11th July 2017, 03:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mariusgmioc
It is a sword for God's sake not a glass vase, so I don't think it should be labelled as fragile since it can withstand shocks and stress resulted from normal handling.

What happened here goes way beyond NORMAL handling and the package was subjected to tremendous forces (I would say more than 200 kg bending force).

So I believe the crime was on part of the carrier (USPS) for mishandling the package, not on part of the shipper who packed the sword adequately to withsdand NORMAL/REASONABLE handling.


I put fragile stickers on everything I ship Marius.
You can't be too careful; and if it helps just the slightest bit to prevent damage then I'm all over it.
It sure can't hurt.
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Old 11th July 2017, 04:49 PM   #17
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Unhappy condolences

That is..truely..awful.Can't find better words.I had a kind of similar experience once blade point get cracked during shipping.It's always nice to add some extra protection for the package.
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Old 11th July 2017, 07:29 PM   #18
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Default making a choice on shipping

An exceptionally shocking example of postal abuse! It's a wonder the blade didn't break considering the sharp and deep bend... Wootz tends to be brittle by nature (due to its high carbon content).

After years of generally high satisfaction with the US Snail, I began to notice a decline in service quality in the last four or five -- including a high percentage of parcels arriving with severe impact damage (bent, gashed, or with corners bashed in), sometimes affecting the contents but thankfully not as disastrous as the example on this thread. Since a lot of what I receive is restoration work from customers, this is unacceptable from a business standpoint so I switched to FedEx. For shipments within the US, the prices for Ground and Home delivery are very competitive with USPS, and transit times vary between 2-4 business days depending on distance. Reliable tracking and much more careful handling.

The courier services DO charge significantly more on overseas shipments, but on an exceptionally fine piece which is all but irreplaceable, how much is too much to pay for shipping -- assurance that it will arrive intact and in a timely manner, with peace of mind?

Some of my colleagues in Europe like UPS (they will accept antique firearms whereas FedEx and TNT do not), but I've noticed that their handling is a lot rougher (one parcel arrived open and pilfered), and their in-house customs unit charges a handling fee even though on antiques over a century old, there is no duty charge entering the US -- a ripoff in my estimation.
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Old 11th July 2017, 09:59 PM   #19
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This is a very disappointing occurrence. The package appears have been subjected to extreme force, and I doubt that there is any practical way to protect against this.

I started to sell internationally in 1978, that's almost 40 years, and I don't know how many packages containing sharp pointy things I've sent from Australia to other countries since then, during that time I have suffered one loss because of similar damage to that which occurred to estcrh's sword.

The damage occurred in White Horse, Yukon, Canada, and what actually happened was that a piece of earth moving machinery drove over the package. As to why a piece of earth moving machinery was anywhere near some Canada Post parcels is a question that only God can answer.

In any case, this parcel was insured, but the insurance only covers total loss, it does not cover repair, so when the claim is lodged the choice is of accepting the damaged goods or accepting the insurance settlement. The damaged goods remain the property of the postal authority.

The goods belong to the person shipping those goods, until such time as they are accepted by the person to whom the goods are sent. So the seller gets his money from the insurance settlement and then refunds the purchase price to the buyer.

In accounting terms nobody loses.

But there is no insurance available that will recompense for disappointment and frustration.

The damaged goods remain the property of the postal authority. Do they go to auction? Do they go to the local garbage dump? Does an employee take them home?

The things I sell are mostly keris, which are pretty fragile. The packing I normally use is a lot of bubble-wrap, corrugated cardboard, and light three ply lining of the box for especially fragile or valuable articles. This level of protection seems to work pretty well, but nothing is going to work against a major force such as estcrh's package was subjected to.
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Old 12th July 2017, 02:21 AM   #20
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Correct, it's hard to "armor" the type of slender corrugated carton (the sort of thing that golf clubs or rifles fit into) that a lot of us use to ship swords. The longer it is, the more vulnerable. It's the lateral stresses some distance in from the ends, whether from earthmovers, elephants, or guillotine-like overhead rollup doors that are especially bad. A postal clerk once told me that when skinny boxes get stuck crosswise on the conveyor belt, against an abutment of some kind, with a pile of heavy parcels coming up from behind, the contents are likely to get bent. He personally saw it happen with golf clubs, not a very encouraging admission!

With swords of typical length that are not as curvey as shamshirs, I've had good luck inserting them into those very thick fiberboard carpet tubes, to at least cover the entire blade section. (they are generally too small to accommodate wide crossguards or basket hilts). But then, the entire sword, so packed in the tube, can be enclosed in the conventional square long box. And as Mr Maisey says, lots of bubble-wrap, styro peanuts, and the like!

Nothing's absolutely foolproof but the presence of one of those heavy tubes over the blade will cut the risk significantly.

For a deeply curved saber, a length of fence planking on either side of the blade, suitably padded with bubble, is better than relying on just the cardboard walls of the box. Bubble-wrap and styro are great protectors against crushing or penetration, but don't provide significant lateral stiffening.
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Old 13th July 2017, 12:54 AM   #21
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A terrible shame but I'd have to agree that this is the fault of the shipping company and not the seller.

One trick I've used in the past for cardboard rectangular boxes is to acquire, and I can't remember where I found them, a long length of L shaped hard wood paneling, relatively thin but still strong. Once I'd pack the item I'd insert the L shaped paneling cut to the size of the box along the inner edge on all four corners. This would prevent this kind of damage.

Another option is to reinforce a cardboard rectangular box with 1/3 inch or 1/2 dowels, in the inside of the box also along the inside edge, which are quite inexpensive and readily available at Home Depot.

Shipping in a gun case, whether internationally or domestic, may attract the kind of uninvited attention from pilferers that a regular box would not.
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Old 13th July 2017, 01:12 AM   #22
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Argh...that is infuriating! Regardless of your financial loss, it is one more lost piece of history.
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Old 13th July 2017, 04:37 AM   #23
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Well the seller has asked me to return the sword, he is working on the USPS insurance end of things. It hurts my eyes just looking at the sword!!!

The plastic tube works well, I have had spears as long as 9ft shipped in them, the problem with these is that anything that has a significant curve will not fit. My naginata was over 6 ft, the shaft fit but the blade had to much curve.

I do not ship very much but in the future I think I will line my cardboard boxes with some plywood, I recently had a sword shipped to me that way, the seller drilled two holes in the plywood and zip tied the sword to the plywood, no way it could be crushed like the shamshir was.
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Old 13th July 2017, 04:41 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip

After years of generally high satisfaction with the US Snail, I began to notice a decline in service quality in the last four or five -- including a high percentage of parcels arriving with severe impact damage (bent, gashed, or with corners bashed in), sometimes affecting the contents but thankfully not as disastrous as the example on this thread.
I have seen the same thing recently, in fact I just had a package arrive from Japan yesterday, one corner of the box was split open from the top to the bottom, fortunately the item was made from leather and was not damaged.
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Old 13th July 2017, 06:40 PM   #25
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The amount of bend and the flattened scabbard suggests a fork lift was used, one of the forks pressed down onto the box to intentionally destroy its contents.
If the blade is not cracked it could be straightened and the scabbard reshaped, nothing is impossible.
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Old 14th July 2017, 09:42 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
If the blade is not cracked it could be straightened and the scabbard reshaped, nothing is impossible.


Yes, but emphasis should be put on the word "could", with the unspoken caveat that nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes. As a restorer, I have encountered blades bent in varying degrees, in different locations along their length, and in odd ways as well (twisted, and even distorted edge-to-back rather than side-to-side). Most cases do turn out well, fortunately. On the more severe ones I consult with colleagues who are sword MAKERS, such as Vincent Evans (pattern welding and differential heat treat), and Ric Furrer (he makes wootz in the traditional manner).

Blades bent at the forte CAN be less risky than those distorted nearer the tip. I once fixed a katana blade that was tweaked about 5 degrees from true just ahead of the habaki, and managed to do it "cold". Like most Far Eastern blades, the steel is hard only along the edge, and in many cases, the "hamon" or crystallized zone is narrower at the root. Fortunately, this made the job quite doable. I've also straightened a few Moro swords that were bent in the same region, on those blades the hardening really doesn't start until a few inches further towards the business end, so the metal is less brittle there.

Wootz can be another matter. The material has a higher carbon content than the range for "tool steels" which most sword blades fall into, and is inherently more brittle as a result. I am surprised that this shamshir could have been bent that much without snapping outright. But my years of polishing these blades has shown that some of them ARE differentially hardened (after a full polish and an etch, a "hamon" does appear along the edge on many Indian and Persian wootz blades). This crystalline edge zone, on Islamic sabers, tends to begin somewhat ahead of the hilt. And when skilfully etched, you can see at the forte a gradation in steel color corresponding to oblique bands or zones, which tell me that the smith treated the metal in stages to optimize the degree of hardness and resiliency as required in different areas. This is confirmed empirically when polishing, the forte area does not "resist" the abrasive action of the stone nearly as much as the fully hardened cutting edge. In such case, the steel at the forte would be more ductile and thus pose less of a risk of breakage than with one of those that was uniformly heat treated so that it it is just hard (therefore, likely to be brittle) throughout its length.

In the case of a severe bend or with wootz that is quenched to uniform hardness, the risk lies with whether or not the steel has been stressed sufficiently to have created internal faults that will develop into a real problem (hairline crack, or a crack spreading to complete breakage) when the metal is moved back the other way. This is where consultation with my swordsmith buddies, and a frank exposition of the risks with the customer, are in order before formulating a POA.
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Old 15th July 2017, 07:00 PM   #27
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OH NO !!!! Estcrh, I am so sorry this happened. That is a beautiful sword!!!
It seems like this always happens to the valuable items. I would be flaming angry. @#$%^&* As mentioned above, it looks like someone either lowered the forks from a forklift unto it, or backed over it.
Historically, I've had good success with USPS. I had only one incident with a Balkan made pistol with a silver stock. It arrived with the grip area severly bent and a small crack in the bend area. But the damage was primarily due to the worst boxing and packing I've ever seen. Especially for an item like this. And this from a gun dealer, who should know better. I decided to keep the pistol - but - with 70% of what I paid for it refunded to me. Fortunately, between my old gunsmith and his Fater in Law, who was a genuine old time Silversmith, it was repaired masterfully. Cannot detect the repair.
Generally, double-wall boxes with lots of bubble wrap will work. But I use everything from PVC pipe to pine wood crates, depending on what I'm shipping.
Again, so sorry this happened to you. I hope you at least get a full reimbersement.

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Old 16th July 2017, 03:45 PM   #28
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Philip you do have good points. I too straighten blades occasionally. Always a risk to some degree and taking into account what you mentioned.
The blade is worthless in its current condition so I see no alternative but to attempt a repair.
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Old 16th July 2017, 10:37 PM   #29
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This sword is out of my area of study, however, I do have a background in knife & sword making and I have straightened badly bent blades. My work has always been forge work, not stock removal.

In my opinion this blade should be dismounted and given to a competent and appropriate sword-smith to repair.
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Old 17th July 2017, 10:57 AM   #30
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As it is now, the sword may be covered by the insurance. If it is not returned, the insurance is void. And, if the attempt of straightening fails, the buyer will be left with a broken sword and no money.
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