Choosing the right postal tubes
Help on choosing the right postal tube for your item.
"How do I decide which postal tubes are right for the item I’m sending?" is a question often asked by people new to sending rolled items.
Here are a few tips on the basics to help you get it right...
1) Starting with the length you need: it might seem very simple — surely you just need to measure the shortest length of the item you intend to roll in order to determine what length tube you should purchase. But hold on a moment; postal tubes are often quoted with two lengths: overall length & usable length. The reason this is done is because both are potentially critical. The overall length is important because most carriers have a length limit & the usable / internal length (what is left after inserting the end caps) is what you really need to know for inserting your item. Remember though, to always leave more room than the usable length to avoid the caps damaging your items when you insert them. You don’t want to spend valuable time adjusting your poster etc to make sure it is exactly central; giving yourself a little leeway will save a lot of frustration — trust me.
WIDTH / DIAMETER
2) The diameter you need is largely dependent on what you’re sending. A poster will be fine in a narrower diameter postal tube than an oil painting that has been removed from its stretcher to be rolled for shipping. If you attempt to roll an oil on canvas too tightly the oil paints may crack. We therefore advise that before buying your tubes: roll your items as tightly as you’re comfortable with & secure the rolled item with an elastic band to allow you to measure the diameter. Once you’ve done that you can find the most suitable postal tubes for your shipment.
STRENGTH / WALL THICKNESS
3) Wall thickness is what mostly gives the tube its strength (though more about that later), and the value of the item you intend to send will largely determine the wall thickness you should aim for. Postal tubes should have a minimum wall thickness of 1.5mm (sadly more & more tubes are less than that & unwary buyers are duped into buying an unsuitable product by its lower price) as a good quality 1.5mm tube will provide ample protection in most cases for less valuable items such as posters & prints. More valuable items would be better served by thicker walls and we offer stock tubes with 2mm, 3mm & even 4mm walls. We can also custom make tubes to a customer’s specified wall thickness. Wider diameter tubes with thin walls would not be advised.
Not all wall thicknesses are the same...
Having said that wall thickness determines the strength of the tubes, there are some caveats: poor quality paper with short fibres will not be as strong as tubes constructed with better quality paper. We are therefore extremely strict over the paper we use for our tubes — a major reason why so many of our clients are surprised by how much stronger our tubes are compared to other tubes supposedly of the same specification.
To cap things off...
Securing your caps will add strength to your tube and consequently extra protection of your items.
Stapling your caps into place is a great way to help safeguard the contents of your tube — as you will be bringing air pressure into the equation. Just as an empty pop bottle is more difficult to crush with the lid screwed on, so is a postal tube if its caps can’t simply pop off in the event of a heavy item being dropped on it by a careless courier.
Hopefully this is helpful to those new to posting items out in postal tubes... but if you need more help, just call us & we will be happy to offer advice.
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