Shipping your hammered dulcimer sometimes is necessary. You may want to return it to me for repairs, alteration or installing a pickup. You may want to ship it to a destination where it can be waiting for you. Doing this will avoid the hassles of bringing the dulcimer on a plane.
I have developed the following method of packing which seems to work well. You'll need to find a box big enough to accomodate your dulcimer with some extra room on both ends, top and bottom and in between the bridge face of the dulcimer and the side of the box. I have found that bicycle boxes are plentiful and work very well. Contact your local bike retailer. Make sure that the dimensions of the box don't exceed the overall size for packages shipped normally. If the box is exceeds that size, you will get charged a hefty surcharge for an oversized package. You can check your dimensions by visiting the UPS site and entering the dimensions into the shipping estimate page.
Your instrument should be in either a soft case or wrapped in bubble wrap to begin with. Please to do not use plastic peanuts. They are horrible to deal with on both ends and really don't provide the necessary protection plus they definitely aren't green. I use either styrofoam blocks or stacked and taped together cut pieces of cardboard to buffer the instrument from the sides of the box. The only side you don't have to buffer with blocks is the back. You can get away with just the soft case or just a layer of bubble wrap. Use packing tape to secure the blocks to their locations so they don' t migrate during shipping. I place the bottom block in first, place the dulcimer in the box on top the block, than wedge the two end blocks in place, next place the blocks which protect the bridge face and finally add the topmost block. I than fill the rest of the space with wadded up newspaper, smaller boxes or whatever. Egg cartons work well. Seal up the box with plenty of tape and you are ready to take it to your favorite carrier.
Note: If you are shipping an instrument to me, please don't require a signature.
I currently ship most of my instruments via UPS ground. Again make sure your package isn't oversized! The least expensive route is to either take your package directly to a UPS Customer center (not a UPS Store®) or go to UPS online as a guest. There you can pay for the shipping via a credit card, print the label out and either indicate you'd like UPS to pick it up (extra $) or just drop it off at any location of a UPS Store®, a UPS Customer Center, any Office Depot® or Staples® location, or any UPS Authorized Shipping Outlet. There is no charge to drop off a labeled prepaid package. If you take your dulcimer to a UPS Store®, you will pay a lot more especially if you have them package it up. You can also do similar things with Fed Ex Ground.