Too Big To Mail
March 15, 2013 2:25 PM   Subscribe

How I can I get a 4x4 ft. painting from Brooklyn to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia in the cheapest way possible?

The painting, which is rather delicate, is too big to fit in my car (a Jetta). Strapping it on top would ruin it, I think--the painting is old and flaking already, and I'm not confident of my strapping skills.

--Shipping it via UPS is too expensive--I think somewhere around $400.
--I was thinking a rideshare web site, but it's rather a specific location, and the painting has to be delivered door-to-door.

Basically I need someone with a van going that way already, to whom I could pay gas and toll money, but what's the likelihood of that?

Any other ideas?
posted by Ollie to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Remove from stretcher bars and roll up?

Rent a van and rent the passenger seat to someone else who needs a ride to West Virginia?
posted by notyou at 2:36 PM on March 15, 2013

Best answer: Have you tried uShip?
posted by cyml at 2:47 PM on March 15, 2013

Since the piece is delicate & flaking you might consider carefully protecting it no matter which way you ship it. Cut a piece of fomeboard/gatorfoam to fit the frame so nothing touches the painting's surface.

I've shipped many paintings that size and larger, and never was UPS that expensive...however I build my own crates. Did you want them to crate it? And Overnight it?
Consider building your own box and insulation, then ship UPS ground for best price (I prefer fedex).

For local distances to galleries I rent a uhaul type panel van.
posted by artdrectr at 3:43 PM on March 15, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for answers so far. The painting has no frame--it's a large, heavy piece of masonite mounted on four pieces of 1 x 2. So putting a piece of foam core directly on the paint I think would just rub it off...I will ask the artist (my mother) how she wants me to handle this. As for building a crate...I have no skills or equipment to do this...if I could buy a 4x4 box, wrap the painting in bubble wrap, and insert, I would.

U-Haul Van also very expensive, something like $1.29/mile
posted by Ollie at 3:56 PM on March 15, 2013

If you are willing to drive it, you could rent a van or SUV - a 1-2 day rental, especially in the middle of the week, shouldn't be too expensive. Or perhaps you have a friend with a big car who will trade you cars for two days, especially if you throw in a full tank of gas to sweeten the deal.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:18 PM on March 15, 2013

Don't rear seat of the Jetta fold down.
posted by tman99 at 4:26 PM on March 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rent a pickup from Home Depot?
posted by tealcake at 4:35 PM on March 15, 2013

Greyhound PackageXpress?
posted by mullacc at 5:14 PM on March 15, 2013

Assuming it is about 360 miles from Brooklyn to where you want to go in W. Virginia, at $4.00/gallon for gas, that would be a one way gas charge of $120. Roundtrip $240. Add it tolls and a shipping crate and you start getting a little over $300. Add in the cost of renting a vehicle and suddenly the $400 seems like a fair price.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:56 PM on March 15, 2013

I've heard good things about Greyhound for shipping large, awkwardly-shaped fragile things. A 100-lb, 48" package from Brooklyn to Wheeling WV on the next bus out is $154; "space available" is $106.

If you can ship to and from a business address, they'll pick up and deliver, too.
posted by mgar at 6:53 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: One thing I've done to move random items: look on Craigslist in the "shared rides" section for someone who is going where you need the thing to go. I've done this for practically no cost at all.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:22 AM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. Uship did the trick. Craigslist rideshare probably would have worked too--lots of people replied to my ad and were willing to take it for gas money one way.
posted by Ollie at 7:32 PM on March 19, 2013

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