Regarding shipping delicate parts -- I rebuild Steinway action
frames and have shipped around 75 of these all over the United States.
I ship via UPS. The boxes I have been using are 1/2-inch plywood
lined with 2-inch thick soft foam rubber. I have never had an action
frame damaged when shipped in my box. I am now on my third box since
UPS is not kind to the outside of the box.
I have discovered that if you ship in a wooden box it goes in the
back of the truck with the brake drums, axles, springs and other large
unboxed items. If you put the wooden box in a cardboard box it will
ride with the other cardboard boxes and receive better treatment.
I get about two round trips out of the cardboard outer box, but my last
plywood inner box has made nine round trips and it shows no sign of
being damaged at all.
I have had only one UPS shipment delayed for shipping problems. They
lost the same shipment three times in four days, and when my customer
called to say he finally had the box, I called UPS just for grins to
see what they would say and they told me it was still lost.
I concluded that if there is a black cloud over a shipment it follows
that shipment all the way through the system. But they did get it
there, just a few days late.