How Do I Ship a French Horn?

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 French horns (with or without a case) in a double-walled corrugated box (at least 250 lb. test). It should be sized at least 28″ x 18″ x 18″ (72 x 46 x 46 cm). A “dishpack” box will suffice. It can be found at most truck rental locations, self storage centers, and home improvement stores. 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.

Fixed Bell French Horns

Pack the horn bell up, towards the top of the box. The more peanuts you can squeeze into the box, the better. Use bubble wrap or peanuts inside of the case to make sure the instrument is secured tightly. If the horn is being shipped without a case, be sure to wrap it multiple times with bubble wrap. The wrap you use should have large bubbles (at least 5/16″ (8 mm)).

Detachable Bell French Horns

When shipping a detachable bell French horn in a case, make sure it is positioned so that the corpus of the horn is not on top of the bell flare. Use bubble wrap or peanuts inside of the case to make sure the instrument is secured tightly. When shipping without a case, wrap the corpus of the horn with bubble wrap multiple times. Wrap the bell flare separately. Make sure the wrap you use has large bubbles (at least 5/16″ (8 mm)). Place the corpus toward the bottom of the box and stack the bell flare above the corpus, being sure to allow at least an inch between the two. The more peanuts you can squeeze into the box, the better.

For step-by-step photos of a detachable bell horn being packed for shipping, click here.


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.

Shipping Options

Houghton Horns currently utilizes UPS 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.


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