Category Archives: Fragile Items

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China Bear Fine Arts Removals & Storage Crates in Sydney

A little more about our fine arts removals & storage crates offered in Sydney

Something must be in the air, because we’re doing a lot of crating at the moment. You’ve probably never thought about the planning and effort that goes into moving priceless antiques, fine artworks, chandeliers and grandfather clocks, but they need more security than an old quilt or some bubble-wrap. That’s why we offer custom-made timber crates. Fina Art Crates China BearWe use sturdy plywood because it meets with all the fumigation requirements for export. It’s not natural, so there are no wood insects or borers or diseases that could be freighted around the world. Our sales reps take some measurements and run them back to the workshop, where our in-house carpenter Daryl builds the crates to fit the items we’ll be relocating. Each one takes around 2-3 hours to put together, and then the boys take them out to the site to pack ’em and wrap ’em, as we say. Inside the crates, we’re even more careful. When you buy a new TV or laptop, you might have noticed a white, plastic-paper sheet over the screen. It’s called Tyvek, and it’s a moisture-resistant product that we use so that when the organic products breathe and sweat, the packaging material doesn’t stick to them. It’s essential for moving wooden furniture that has an organic polish as opposed to a lacquer, for example. To give you some examples of the kinds of things we crate up, we’ve got some artworks going to London at the moment. They’ve been in the family for 300 years, out here for some of that time, and now they’re getting shipped back for auction. In addition, Persian rugs are quite often wrapped and rolled and crated. If you fold a rug, it creases and it’s very difficult to get them out. Putting them in timber crates keeps them flat and rolled properly. The crates you see here have been made in our workshop. One’s for a dining table, one’s for a buffet and the big cardboard box is for a large artwork. Once again, that’s not just any cardboard, like you’d grab from the local supermarket dock. It’s Hydraboard, which is highly moisture-resistant, strong and what they call “virgin cardboard”. You wouldn’t put that much effort into Fantastic Furniture – this is really just for antiques. The dining table we mentioned is worth $220,000. Obviously we made a crate for that. If you don’t, you’ve only got to knock one of those things and bang – you’ve got a chip. All of a sudden, the entire item’s ruined and your insurance company gets cranky at you! To find out more about our fine arts removals & storage services in Sydney, contact China Bear today!

China Bear

WHEN THE BEAR WAS A CUB

People often ask about the origins of China Bear, especially when it comes to the name. The truth is, it came from a boat.

Back in 1978, the founders of the company, Tony Kuypers and Bruce Bailey, had come to an agreement on almost everything that would make up their joint venture into the removals game. They were having a quiet ale in a bar on Sydney Harbour at the time, discussing what they were going to call the company, when they saw a large cargo ship come in. The name of the ship was China Bear!

Aside from being very memorable, the name has been a benefit in other ways. In 1988, when two giant pandas visited Australia from China as part of our Bicentenary celebrations, we were chosen by Taronga Zoo to handle the ground transportation. We rocked up at the airport with the iconic truck, and the crates holding Xiao Xiao and Fei Fei were loaded into the back – as well as some zoologists and vets to make sure the pair didn’t get carsick. Under police escort, we weaved across Sydney, over the Harbour Bridge to the zoo.

China Bear

(Later, when we drove the pandas back to the airport so they could go home, we were presented with the framed poster at the top of this entry.)

China Bear has built up an amazing history since 1978.We’ve always been based in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, so the green trucks with the dancing panda have become very recognisable over the years, giving us a lot of repeat business. Now that the kids have grown up and moved out of home, they continue to use the Panda!

And yes, we’re still available for the transport of endangered species, if any zoos are reading.

Moving Buddha

ENLIGHTENING THE BUDDHA

This week the China Bear team were called upon to move a god. Or, more precisely, a statue of a god.

Weighing somewhere around 500kg, the statue of Buddha was a spur-of-the-moment purchase by its owner while he was travelling through Indonesia. Years before we got near the big fella, Buddha had had a rough life. Somewhere between clearing Customs and landing in the backyard at its first house, the packing crate holding it fell apart, so Buddha’s got a few war wounds.
Buddha Crane

Because the piece is so heavy, when he got it home the client had soaked the concrete it would sit on in oil to position Buddha in a traditional way, which shows a lot of respect. On the other hand, it was apparently used as the Twelfth Man in many a game of backyard cricket! A good spare fieldsman, never complained once…or asked for a go at bat.

Anyway, the kids have moved out of home so the parents are relocating to a new house. They couldn’t leave Buddha behind, of course, and that’s where we came in. Moving the thing caused us a bit of grief, because 500kg winds up being a little bit more than you think it is. In the end we used a specialist contractor to lift Buddha up over the fence, as well as to position it in the right way at the new place (behind the stumps).

Funnily enough, on that particular day, we moved two jade statues, that were 250-odd kilos, for a Chinese guy. It’s not beyond what we do as removalists, but it’s unusual and sometimes does require some specialist equipment and contractors.

Just one question: aren’t statues meant to stay put?

Mirror Image

MIRROR, MIRROR – OFF THE WALL

Unlike most jobs, being a removalist means you’re invited into people’s homes every day. That means you get to see all sorts of things, and you build up a collection of stories – be it furniture that’s tricky to move, funny things that happen on the job or how we dealt with a dog that went on the attack while our arms were full with some delicate antique.

That’s why we’ve launched this blog as part of China Bear’s brand-new website – to give you a bit of insight into the life of a mover.

You face a lot of different challenges when you’re dealing with people’s prized possessions. This week, for example, we had to move a mirror. Not just any mirror – this was a designer piece of art that’s 180cm wide by 2.4m tall, and shaped like the sun, with long metal arms twisting out from the centre. Obviously that made a bit of hard work for the fellas, as it had to be handled very carefully.

Before we even got there, the owner was very clear about how we should treat her mirror, saying, “I don’t want any more twists or turns to be added.”

Under her watchful eye, we set up a scaffold on the staircase to lift the artwork down before strapping it into a cargo net, inside a specially designed crate.

It was actually the second crate we’d built for that mirror, because our salesman forgot the old “100mm rule” on his tape measure, which meant the first one was just a bit too small. So we’ve got a spare crate here if anyone needs a slightly smaller sculpture moved…

In the end, we got the mirror over to Rose Bay with no dramas – only to find it doesn’t fit on the wall in the new house!

The owner will have to get some modifications to her staircase before she can display the sun, so at the moment it’s still suspended in that crate, awaiting a new dawn.