Case Study: Common Case Mishaps
How You Can Avoid Case Mishaps
Several years ago, a well-known musician stopped by our facility to pick up a brand new case for his Fender amp. He brought the amp inside, and it fit perfectly in its made-to-measure case. After posing for a picture with me, the musician took his new amp case out to his hatchback and loaded it in the back. Things were fine until he got on the freeway and accelerated to full speed. Then, the case suddenly slid backward and the metal reinforced corners shattered the rear window with a crash. But at least his amp was still in great shape!That got us started thinking about all the DOs and DON’Ts we’ve learned in our more than 30 years of working with our products. After all, you buy our cases to protect your prized possessions. And you want to get the most out of what’s protecting your gear. Here’s how to do that.
Things to DO with your case
- Cushion your case with a shipping blanket if you’re loading it in a hatchback, van or station wagon. When you take off, the case may slide backwards and blow out your window.
- Change out the foam lining in your cases every ten years or so. Soft foam is a petroleum-based product and it breaks down over time. After a while, the petroleum will melt into whatever is inside, either destroying the contents or making a mess that you’ll have to clean up with acetone.
- Strap down your case in the back of a truck, even if it’s big and heavy. When traveling fast, wind can actually flow under the case, lifting it out of the truck bed. And you don’t want to be retrieving your case from the fast lane of the freeway.
- Explain your shipping needs when ordering your cases. Knowing how you travel and how you handle your equipment is vital to the construction of your cases. Feel free to ask a lot of questions.
- Include a solid one-piece caster board on the bottom of your case. If you have casters installed, this board will prevent the wheels from being torn off. You can always purchase removable caster plates as an option.
- Make sure your case supplier is using a quality spray adhesive to glue your foam in place. “Peel and stick” foam is a cheaper product and won’t last as long.
- Look for rivets placed every 2½ to 3 inches apart. This is one sign of a well-made case, and inferior case manufacturers will skimp on this.
- Examine the material that will be used to cover your cases. Poor quality cases often use a cheap black vinyl that tears easily, exposing the wood to the elements.
Things you DO NOT do with your case
- Use your cases as a ladder or step. Our cases are built of heavy-duty materials and they can withstand the sheer weight. But their coverings (fiberglass, laminate, vinyl) can be slippery — especially when wet — and you could easily slip and fall.
- Specify hard foam to line your case if you have delicate props and don’t want them to get scratched. Hard foam is actually abrasive and can scratch many surfaces. If you need hard foam for some reason, ask your case maker to line the foam with velvet or felt. It will only cost a little more. And it’s OK to request a mix of hard and soft foam. Remember, the case is being custom made for you.
- Ever buy a case made of anything less than ¼” plywood. Imported, cheaper cases are frequently made of thinner material or inferior plywood. Your cases just won’t stand up to the wear and tear of shipping and moving, ultimately damaging the contents of the case.
- Expect an inexpensive imported case to be made well. These cases may work fine for DJs who typically handle their own gear when performing at local gigs. But based on my experience, my advice is to never put a case like that on a plane or give it to a shipping company. It will come back in pieces.
- Assume a low priced case will be equal in quality to a higher priced case. Most established, quality case companies operate within a ten to fifteen percent price range of one another. If a company’s prices are considerably less, there’s a reason why.
- Be fooled by case makers advertising “birch plywood” cases on the Internet. Like so many other things you find on the Web, these products are knock-offs, sold as legitimate name brands. I’ve seen the material they use. It’s an imported product made of poor quality ply with a paper-thin exterior layer of birch that easily separates from the laminate. I’ve also seen cases made of this material do the same.
- Presume all case companies are created equal. As in any industry, there are good and bad operators out there. Asking questions and doing a little research will help you make a decision about which company you should turn to and why.
Since 1976, Encore A&S Cases has been making all kinds of cases for all kinds of artists: musicians, acting companies, dance troupes, magicians, circuses, and dozens of other specialties. If you’re looking for world-class craftsmanship and the highest quality materials, turn to us. We’ve become one of the world’s preeminent case suppliers because our cases are built to take the rigors of the road and keep their contents good as new. Call us at 818-768-8803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.