This information is provided as a public resource. Houghton Horns LLC assumes no liability for damage incurred during shipping or damage claims denied by your carrier.
We recommend shipping detachable bell French horns (that are not shipping in a case) in a double-walled corrugated box (at least 250 lb. test). It should be sized at least 20″ x 20″ x 20″ (50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm). Use a new box; it will be stronger. When packing the horn, make sure there are at least 3″ (8 cm) of space between the instrument/case and the wall of the box to allow for peanuts or bubble wrap. If these guidelines are ignored, the carrier may deny any damage claims. No matter who you are shipping the horn to, be sure to include a “packing slip” inside of the box with a detailed list of the items being shipped, the value of the items, your address, email, phone number, and the recipient’s address, email, and phone number.
Houghton Horns recommends always packing your instrument yourself, to ensure proper packing. Avoid the packing services offered by shipping centers.
For instructions on how to ship a French horn in a case, please refer to “How To Ship a Horn”
Assemble the Box
Assemble the bottom of the box with strong packing tape. Fill with packing peanuts, about 4 inches deep.
Prepare the Corpus (Body) of the Horn
Using bubble wrap with large bubbles (at least 5/16″ (8 mm)), wrap the body of the horn many times, securing each layer with packing tape.
Wrap with bubble wrap until the body of the horn is only slightly visible, about 6 layers of bubble wrap.
Place Corpus in Box and Secure With Bubble Wrap
Place the wrapped body of the horn in the box, on top of the 4″ layer of packing peanuts.
Place rolls of bubble wrap between the horn and box, on all four sides for necessary padding (as shown in the picture to the left).
*TOP TIP: Securing any instrument in this way, with or without a case, is crucial. Make sure the horn is unable to move around in the box, avoiding damage during transit.
Prepare the Bell Flare
Us the same bubble wrap with large bubbles (at least 5/16″ (8 mm)), as you did for the body of the horn, to wrap the bell.
Wrap the bell flare in 4 to 5 layers of bubble wrap, until the flare is barely visible, securing each layer with packing tape.
Place Bell Flare in Box and Cover in Packing Peanutes
Place the wrapped bell flare on top of the body of the horn.
3″ of clearance between the bell flare and the top of the box is needed.
Fill the box with packing peanuts. Gently push down the peanuts, especially in the corners (as shown in the picture above), to fill every empty space.
Fill with peanuts all the way to the top of box. Do not overstuff with peanuts; the box should close without force.
*REMEMBER: include a “packing slip” inside of the box with a detailed list of the items being shipped, the value of the items, your address, email, phone number, and the recipient’s address, email, and phone number.
Shipping and Insurance
You should always insure the package with the carrier for at least the dollar amount you paid for the horn. Note: The United States Postal Service (USPS) will only allow you to purchase $5000 of insurance.
Houghton Horns currently utilizes FedEx Ground for most of our domestic shipments of instruments. We have found they have the best combination of speed and cost from our location. In addition, we have had no problems with damaged shipments when using them. As mentioned above, USPS will only allow you to purchase $5000 of insurance, so it is not a good option for more expensive instruments. If you use USPS, make sure to choose Priority or Priority Express. Packages sent via USPS Parcel Select Ground and other economy services spend a lot of time in shipping, significantly increasing the risk of damage.
Place “Fragile” stickers all over the box, one on each side, and you are done packing your horn!