View Full Version : Crating and packing (from ListServe)

Paul Brewin
06-06-2010, 12:33 PM

I have built a packing crate (1 of 7) with a lid to house 4 paintings that I am sending to a gallery. The plywood is 3/4 inch thick and I have framed the crate with 2 x 1 on all sides. The lid is screwed on and off with steel screws that are fixed into steel casings for reuse. I am going to line the inside with tyvek and would like to better seal the lid with a product. Do you have a suggestion? The crates will be painted on the outside and could you suggest a vapor proof paint or similar type paint for this purpose?





When you say 'vapor-proof' I assume you mean gas impermeable. In my experience, I have never seen any paint or surface finish that is truly gas impermeable; rather, the reasons to paint the outside of crates are: aesthetics, identification and water resistance. Note that this is not waterproof.

As for the seal, you can use a sililcone product, in thick tape form, with a pressure-sensitive acrylic adhesive. Check out a company named 'Clean Seal' on the 'net.

On another note, is the plywood you used interior or exterior grade? Interior grade, while much better than in years past, is still made with less stable, and therefore less archival, glues than
exterior grade. Also, 5/8" plywood is the norm for crates. Last, if the crate is going to be shipped to Europe you need to check into which woods are currently acceptable for the crate's framework. I know that pine is not acceptable for shipment to the EU.

Good luck,


A couple of coats of a good quality, water-based polyurethane should seal the exterior. You should also have a silicone gasket (adhesive-backed) on the top edge of the crate where the lid fastens down.
David Kalan


Pine is acceptable -- if it has been heat treated and if you are registered with the Feds (through one of the lumber associations) to "Bug Stamp" your crates. The bug stamp certifies that the wood has been heat treated to specified temperatures and periods of time and bug stamped crates can be shipped all over the world. If you don't use soft woods for crate construction to avoid the bug stamp, you should use a hardwood or an all plywood or composite crating material to construct your crate. Most of those of us who are art shipping companies, grit our teeth and pay the $ 325 monthly fee for the privilege of being able to bug stamp our crate production. In reality, pine is the best material for cleating and battening crates. It is less likely to split than many of the hardwoods and makes for a stronger crate than using plywood for cleats. Plywood does not accept nails or screws very strongly when screwed into in the plywood ends.(edges). Bryan Cooke

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