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How to Pack Thundereggs

This may seem an odd thing to need to write about, but any collector will agree that there are few things worse than excitedly opening a new delivery and feeling that grate and scrape of gravel moving inside. I have both received and sent many many boxes of eggs in my time, and yes I have experienced shattered ruin and despair – and been responsible for it. So I thought I would jot down some thoughts. There’s no one guaranteed right way to pack things safely, but there’s definitely things to think about and things to avoid.

To Start With, Some Basic NO-NOs.

Padded envelopes are not your friend. It may seem easy to just shove a thunderegg in a padded envelope and send it on its way, but in one of these, there is little to protect them from crushing. Padded envelops only work when a stone is small and strong. Look at your stone. Look at the padded envelope. Would you throw your stone against the wall in that thing? If not, don’t use it!

The thin layer of newspaper wrapped round your t-eggs, which are then tossed in a box, is also not good. There is little padding in newspaper and a blow will go straight through into the eggs themselves. The number one cause of accidents in my experience, is just using a basic newspaper wrapping and putting them in a box. If it’s a big box especially, the likelihood of at least having edges chipped off is high.

Eggs on the bottom of the box, then fill with padding. Seriously – what exact part of the box do you think is going to get the shock if it is dropped or chucked around? Yet the number of times I have seen this beggars belief. People wrap up their eggs (with newspaper!), toss them into an empty box, then put the padding on top! I mean – come on! That’s almost a perfect inversion of what it should be, which I will get to below.

Some Better Ideas

Bubble wrap. There really is no excuse – with vast rolls of the stuff, enough to give you stress release for years, available for under £10. Get in some bloody bubble wrap! Keep a bale of it in the corner. Hug it when you are feeling gloomy. My personal approach is to cut a double width of the stuff long enough to go round the egg several times, then fold it over and wrap it round the egg, sealing it into a ball with tape. You can also wrap two eggs at once, face to face, provided there is wrap between them as well. For smaller deliveries, a box of stones wrapped in plenty of bubble wrap seems to work fine. A layer of twisted newspaper underneath is still a very good idea, and more round the sides as well, making a nest. Empty spaces in the box should be packed tightly with more newspaper, making sure the stones cannot jostle about. It can also be well worth lining the box with further layers of cardboard for added strength.

Boxes within boxes. For really big or fragile deliveries, these days I always try and use boxes within boxes. Specimens are wrapped thoroughly in bubble wrap and then put securely in a box, or several boxes, so they cannot jostle. These are then put inside a larger box. There should be a layer of newspaper or scrap padding all round the inner box, especially underneath.

Advanced and Specialised Ideas.

Shock absorbers. Do you buy books? If so, keep the book boxes they are delivered in. They are not much use for packing thundereggs, but what you can do is fill them with newspaper, tape them closed again and place them on the bottom of the box, underneath the eggs. There they will act as cushions in the event of any hard blow. Useful if you have a fragile or very large boxful.

Slabs in a book box. Book boxes are also very good for slabs, including as part of a larger delivery as a box within box. Alternately they can be packed within thick layers of cardboard taped together securely.

Capsule toys, egg boxes, plastic flowerpots, old tennis balls – the world is full of odd things you can protect an especially fragile specimen in! Anything, I beseech you, other than just that thin layer of newspaper!

A broken egg is a unique thing that has been destroyed – and people always remember if you send them a box of hardcore. So it’s worth going that extra mile with this, and it’s not particularly expensive either. Bubble wrap is cheap – newspaper is free if you know where to look – two boxes aren’t that much more expensive than one, or also free if you are lucky. Hey – recycling! And of course, there’s always other possibilities and no ‘right way’ here. Foam, polystyrene, etc. can all be good as well.

And also, if you are really creative, customers can have a fun game of ‘find the eggs’ in amongst all those shock absorbers, extra boxes, tennis balls . . .

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