The Shipping News

For the last couple of week I have been engaged in a transcontinental moving process with my Hitachi bandsaw. It’s a hulking 1500lb/640 kg machine with a 4″ blade and digital fence etc.. I bought it back in 2003 in San Francisco. From there I had it shipped to an island off the west coast of Canada where I lived for a while. Then, with my move to the US East Coast a couple of years later the machine was put into storage in someone’s garage. Then it got moved to another storage garage, and finally the fellow that owned that space needed it back again so it was suddenly time to deal with it.

It’s a great machine though I found it slightly intimidating at first. It runs on 3-phase and uses Star-Delta to get rolling – once up to full speed it is quite awesome and with it’s Stellite-tipped blade it will slice through most things with ease. It’s a dedicated re-saw, and a great machine that I’ve been holding onto after shedding my other stationary machinery. Hitachi still makes the exact same bandsaw, though of course like most of their heavy duty tools, they don’t ship them outside of Japan. For some reason – temporary insanity perhaps – they shipped some to North America in the mid- to late-1980’s, and one of those machines was purchased by a fellow in San Francisco with a small printing business out near Pixar studios. He had been using the machine only occasionally to re-saw material for doing wood-block prints. By occasionally, I mean once or twice a year. A few hours here and there. So, this machine is in absolutely mint condition and when he decided to close up his business and sell the machines he had, and some wood too, I was in the right place at the right time. Actually, I wasn’t all that timely – by the time I got there, several others had looked at the bandsaw and decided against it. Too scary looking I guess – and the 3-phase aspect deters a lot of buyers. My offer of $1500 was accepted however, as I also purchased a Felder combination machine from the fellow and a few choice planks of wood. Shipping both machines up to Canada cost me about $2500, and at least $1000 of that was due to that border, and the two ferry trips required to get the machines to their destination.

This time, a little savvier about the border and its implications for shipping costs, I decided to arrange to have the machine trucked across Canada to Drummondville, Quebec, which is a 5 hour drive from my current location. My trusty diesel Toyota LandCruiser has a flatdeck and can carry a ton with no problem. My plan is to go up and retrieve the machine and bring it across the border myself, thus eliminating the brokerage fees at least.

Shipping is always an adventure for me it seems and I can count on something going wrong somewhere along the line. Thus far I have co-ordinated a very helpful friend back on the island off the west coast to put the bandsaw on a pallet and plastic wrap it. Then I organized the local building supply people on that island to pick the machine up with their HIAB truck and transfer it to their 10 ton truck and then a week later cart it off that small island and over to Vancouver Island. That all went smoothly. The machine was then picked up, seamlessly, by another trucking company, taken down to Victoria, B.C., then onto the ferry across to the mainland and Vancouver B.C..

And since then the machine has been making its way across the country. That was supposed to take a week, however I then learned it was going to take 10 days. I am not in a particular hurry to receive it, so I didn’t both asking why the extra time was involved. Today I got notice that the machine is delivered to the warehouse and ready for pick-up. Dah-dah-dah-dah-daaaahhhh!

One minor detail: while they did ship it to a place beginning with ‘D’, but it wasn’t Drummondville, but rather Dartmouth in Nova Scotia, another 6 hours away to the East.

When I asked them about the pick-up address, and why it wasn’t Drummondville in Quebec, there was a definite pause on the line, and a “I’ll have to call you back”. I laughed. Of course, I should have known that something had to go wrong.

Yep, the machine is in fact now sitting in Nova Scotia, and again, good thing I’m not in a hurry to get it. This will not have been a highly profitable shipping exercise for the company involved, but that’s not my problem now is it?

That saga continues – hopefully by the end of this week I will be able to go and get it. I’m looking forward to seeing the old girl.

4 thoughts on “The Shipping News

  1. Steve,

    yes, they are shipping it back to Drummondville. No way I'm driving 11 hours to pick it up. I should be able to retrieve it by the end of this week, barring further screw-ups.


  2. Had I been following your blog back then I would have glady picked up the saw for you, or at least given you a place to crash.

    -In Dartmouth NS-

  3. Matthew,

    appreciate the kind offer. My wife and I have often talked about taking a trip to NS, so maybe one day we'll look you up.


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