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Moving a studio


Well the time has come to begin organizing and packing for my move
to England from NC. Any suggestions on how to pre-pair so the packers
don’t mess things up or steal anything? I was thinking of sending
expensive items by mail.



Hi Kelli.

Wow…What exactly are you moving? (how long are you going for? )
the requirements for moving a small ‘hobby’ level shop are radically
different than the requirements of moving a production facility. If
the move’s not permanent, you might want to think seriously about
getting a storage locker and mothballing the larger items in NC. Have
you priced shipping lately?

I had a lot of fun studying in London when I was in college, so
enjoy yourself. The Brits have some wonderful things to teach us
’generalist’ yanks.

Two words of warning: they use ‘Birmingham’ gage for silver. It runs
backwards to our B&S gage, so higher numbers are thicker. The
crossing point is somewhere around 16-18 gage. (Just use Metric. It’s
simpler.) Also, aluminum. For them, it’s aluminium. (“alu-min- e-um”)
Really. My classmates used to have great fun mocking my American
pronunciation. (Oh, and guilding metal is red brass. Very much like

So, the questions are these:

(1) what are you moving?
(a) how long is this for?

(2) what needs power?
(a) is it worth rigging a converter? or would it be simpler to buy it
there. (their prices are astoundingly high.)

(3) what’s the shipping budget? This is probably the real crux of the

Enjoy yourself.

Brian Meek.



I just did a short move using movers. Being a naturally paranoid
person, and since we used cheapest bidder type movers, I didn’t
want to advertise

the contents of everything in my studio, but, I wanted to be able to

tell what boxes had which tools in them, etc. Instead of labelling
the outside of the boxes with the contents, I just wrote a big number
on the box (on top and on all 4 sides) using a wide tip Sharpie and
then wrote the contents of the box - IN DETAIL - on a notebook page
with the same number on it. I found myself taking much better notes
of the contents of boxes than on any previous move. I had the movers
stack the boxes along the wall only one row deep so I can see at a
glance the box numbers (on the sides) and it’s easy to prioritize
how to unpack.

Hope that tip helps a bit, best of luck with your long move.
Permanent relocation or is this temporary change of scenery?



Well the time has come to begin organizing and packing for my move
to England from to pre-pair so the packers don’t mess things
up or steal anything? _

Having been through 8 international moves from the US to Europe,
South America and Africa, I can offer some suggestions. I used to
pack about half the house myself, especially my studio because move
cost were determined by weight and packers want to wrap every little
thing in two full sheets of paper. I sew, so I packed several boxes
with fabric and put metals and tools between the folded layers. I
also packed studio equipment with some of the small kitchen
appliances. Packers are generally not interested in such mundane
things. I never had anything stolen, either.

Donna in VA


Kelli - be sure when you book your move that you are VERY clear with
the booker for the movers on what you are moving and how you expect
it to be packed - and then be willing to pay for it! I work in the
moving industry as a supplier, and hear their end of the horror
stories. Most often because the folks being moved did not understand
or were not willing to pay for what was needed to move their stuff

Decide what will need to be crated, and how you want the crates
constructed. Get them to price creating the crates and crating the
pieces; price doing this yourself and just having them transport the
crates (I’m thinking crates for larger/more fragile equipment). I
had all my 2-D art work crated. Be VERY specific on how you want the
crates secured (nails or screws?), and then WATCH them do it (in my
case I specified screws, then heard hammering… hmmmmm… NOT
GOOD!). Be aware the person who takes your order will most likely
NOT be there on the actual move!

It is possible to have custom fitted cloth quilted covers made for
items that deserve that (this is one of the things my company does).
Again, they will include this in the price if you have something you
want protected this way. They also can protect with paper, with
bubble wrap, and with a range of other methods. Discuss options with
your booker, and prices, and level of protection. Each has its
positives and negatives.

Be sure to secure any moving parts (handles, etc) so they don’t move
during the move.

Depending on how much you are moving, you may be able to request
that you have an entire crate or whatever to yourself.

Mailing things, especially heavy things, is a pain and expensive.
Check costs before meeting with the booker so you can compare.

Any valuables (gem stones, precious metals) should probably go with
you in your carry on if possible… not sure how secure those would
be if anyone knew they were there.

Good luck!
Beth in SC


Hi Brian,

So, the questions are these:

(1) what are you moving? Small studio, mainly hand tools, rolling
mill, torch small oxy tank and concentrator, bench, books, enamels,
small kiln, stones, mainly silver sheet and wire. Also my glass bead
making gear. My vent hood needs to be on a pallet. I had to re rivet
it once due to shipping damage when I got it. (a) how long is this
for? 3 years

(2) what needs power?Flex shaft, kiln and oxy concentrator. Vent hood
(a) is it worth rigging a converter? or would it be simpler to buy it
there. (their prices are astoundingly high.) I would like to bring as
much as possible. I would like to get a new bench overseas, but the
exchange rate is horrible so I will wait and see.

(3) what’s the shipping budget? This is probably the real crux of the
issue. Their is no real budget, we as a family are allowed 17,500
pounds of household goods that the Air Force pays to move. We can
also ship items via mail and they will reimburse us as long as we
don’t go over this weight. Anything over we pay for. I told my
husband I would rather sell off some furniture then leave my
jewellery stuff behind.

It will take about two months for my stuff to get overseas. I am
excited about the move and look foward to learning from the Brit’s



OK Kelli - if you are moving with the military that solves a LOT of
your problems up front you’ll be glad to know! There are very
specific and fairly stringent regulations related to military moves,
so you have a bit more quality control built in up front.

You will need to order the correct converters for your power
equipment, and they will be both expensive and heavy. You may also
need plug adapters. Travel Smith ( does a great
job with this, and you can call and talk to their expert and get
advice on what you need. You will need to know the details off of
each of your pieces of electric equipment.

The movers should be able to crate and pallet what every you want.

You might want to check and see if there is rental studio time/space
available in the area where you will be stationed. If so it might be
that some of your heavier equipment could be stored, and you could
use locally available equipment as needed.

I am still inclined to think you should carry gem stones and
precious metal with you… If you do ship be REALLY careful with the
whole insurance and packing process!

Good luck with the move.
Beth in SC with a sister who lives in England


Hi Kelli:

You’re military, that’ll help. When you get settled, check around
with the families network, I’m betting someone’s left a power
converter or three behind.

You may have real trouble finding a converter heavy enough to run
your kiln, but the flex shaft should be no problem. The NG
concentrator strikes me as the sort of thing the brits would have a
problem with if you told them what it was. (Nothing concrete on that,
but it’s making my whiskers twitch.) There may not be a house gas
supply to run it off, and if there is, you may have real trouble
getting it installed properly. (Depending on the exact status of who
owns the housing. (many (?all?) of the UK bases are technically still
British property.)) If you’re living off base, it may be easier to
install, but be prepared to explain it. Repeatedly. The O2 tank may,
or may-not be refillable there. I never had to deal with tanks when I
was there.

The rolling mill should be knocked off its stand, and crated, take
the handle off, and zip-tie the adjustment handle into place. (Get a
big bag of zip ties. They’re terribly useful.) Get a can of LPS-3
rust inhibitor (at the hardware store) and spray the rolls before
you crate it. Leave the rolls gapped apart a bit. Wrap it in a heavy
plastic bag before you crate it, and throw a bag of silica gel in the
bag when you close it up. The rocks and silver should go with you.

The hood? Up to you. As far as buying a bench, you can make one
pretty easily, and far cheaper, especially with the dollar so far
gone. I’ve got a link for a ‘how to make a frankenbench’ on my
website. (

Have fun,


I just wanted to say thank you to the Orchid community for moving
advice. We just sold our house and the packers come the day after
Memorial day. I am excited.



I’m a bit behind, so perhaps you’ve already gotten a slew a
responses. I moved my shop a few times, and I basically packed it up
myself. I assured the movers that they wouldn’t WANT to pack it,
there was toooooo much stuff, tooooo many little things, so I was
actually doing them a favor by doing it myself. I either packed
groups of things into small boxes that they then put into their
larger boxes, or I created a moving-size box of my own. It was
agreed upon that anything I packed wasn’t covered the same way as
theirs- I mean if the box was damaged then it was their thing, but if
the box was fine & I just didn’t pack it well, then it was mine. I
suppose I was “allowed” to pack anything I wanted to, with that same
stipulation. They used their own boxes, so it was obvious which ones
weren’t packed by them. So, in doing that, I was able to pack all of
these things without them knowing really what was there. A couple of
the moves were transatlantic (in a ship container), and I wouldn’t
have wanted to mail stuff that distance, nor carry it on the plane,
so I perhaps I just made sure it was good and buried amongst my
stuff in the container. For a domestic move that I made, though, with
the same things, I just transported the valuables (metals & expensive
stones, as well as other personal valuables) myself since it was
in-state and I drove from the old place to the new place. You’re
move is somewhere between the two, of course. Not across the ocean
but not a short drive. Perhaps you’re driving anyway, though, so you
can still take your really valuable stuff & just pack up your myriad
of tools & such yourself for the movers. Good luck, and have fun
setting up your new studio!

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

Oops, I just realized you said England, not NEW Enlgand. So it IS
transatlantic! So your move, then, is pretty much like my move to
Germany. In a container across the sea. Again, see if they will let
you pack up some of your things yourself.