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Technical
Transporting Mallets on Aeroplanes

Edward Duckworth asks The last time I had to fly with mallet, there was no problem having it as extra hand luggage and the stewardesses storing it in their sleeping quarters. I suspect now it would be viewed as a potential offensive weapon and will have to go on as hold luggage. Whilst I know some airlines offer a special carry-on service for fragile hold-luggage, I would rather it was fully protected................

I was wondering what others use to protect mallets when booked in as hold-luggage?

Chris Clark: I bought a second hand keyboard case for about £40 which fits 3 mallets in it. I think David Maugham has a custom-built case which is more robust, heavier and more expensive. Robert Fulford has a cricket bag which the mallet fits into.

Liz Laarson: Chris and I found that standard waste pipe (available from B&Q etc) provides good protection for the mallet shaft - in his case a Pidcock carbon fibre round-headed mallet. When I made Chris's, I cut the wastepipe to be slightly longer than the shaft, and, using a Stanley knife, trimmed the ends that met the mallet head with two curves so that it sat on the mallet head neatly - this also helped to protect the area where the shaft meets the mallet head.

I then bought some strips of velcro (Hobbycraft) - one with a self-adhesive strip (the hooks) and one (the loops) which was not self adhesive. I stuck a strip of the hook velcro on each side of the waste pipe. I then took the loop velcro strip, pressed it down on the hook strip down one side, took it round the mallet head and then pressed it down on the hook strip on the other side of the waste pipe. It held very firmly, protected the mallet, is lightweight and it is quick and easy to take on and off.

We transported it out to New Zealand in a soft lacrosse bag (because of its length), but bought a Gunn and Moore cricket bag with wheels while we were out there, as the lacrosse bag didn't have wheels. The mallet was fine both ways and the cricket bag was excellent as it not only accommodated the mallet, it had lots of room and with wheels, was easy to transport around. We intend to do the same again going to Florida.

I'm sure that this 'Blue Peter' type of mallet protection could be adapted to a square mallet. I got the idea from a piece of plastic tubing that Leo McBride used to protect his mallet.

James Hopgood:The key point of the cricket bag solution is that they are simply massive holdall bags, and should, obviously, be large enough to hold a mallet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's tricky to find a holdall that is more than 80cm long in most high-street shops. Hence, the cricket bag solution if you are looking for something in the order of 100cm length. For example, I imagine the following would be useful for a lot of people:

ttp://www.worldcricketstore.com/acatalog/Slazenger_Elite_Wheelie.html

This online shop is based in an industrial estate near Nottingham, and I was lucky enough to a) pop in with the mallet, b) get it "over the counter". This meant I could check the mallet fitted, which it did -- just. They didn't have the Slazenger at the time, but did have an Albion bag at a length of something like 93cm. The 102cm bag would have been perfect ... I've used this bag for all travel recently -- including to the US from the UK several times -- and only had one issue with being over-sized. Well, it wasn't an issue -- it's just it came out on a different carousal ....!

Cricket bags also tend to have really good support at the bottom of the bag, and so there's less risk of the mallet shaft being bent. The biggest trouble is that you can easily end up packing these bags with lots of junk and end up over weight .... there is so much volume that there's no incentive to pack conservatively, especially since these bags have nice chunky wheels, and can be dragged even over the roughest of tarmac ....

Michael Wright: For those who have mallets with detachable heads, the following steps produced my "bullet-proof" mallet transport system:

For the shaft, a piece of 3-inch PVC pipe a little longer than the mallet, plus two end caps that fit the pipe. Drill 2 holes in each cap, and thread a piece of bungy cord through the caps and through the pipe (i.e. forming a loop) - this keeps the caps on, but stows all the cord neatly inside the pipe. The shaft is inserted while one hand keeps the end-cap on the side of the pipe, with the cord under tension - as soon as you let go of the cap, it gets pulled back onto the pipe automatically.

Build a cardboard box for the mallet head - simply use thin cardboard (I used a breakfast cereal box) and lots of sellotape, completely enclosing the mallet. A tight fit is best.

The head requires a wider section of pipe (6 inches), and two threaded end pieces that fit snugly into the pipe. Each end piece has a cap that screws on. Glue a round cork coaster into the inside of each screw-on cap. The end pieces must be glued into the pipe using PVC cement, after the pipe has been cut to the exact length. The length is determined by dry-fitting the end pieces to the pipe (with coaster-fitted screw caps in place) with the cardboard-encased head inside the pipe, so that the striking faces of the head are in firm contact with the coasters.

Screw one cap onto the end piece, and stand the pipe on that end. (So it forms a giant beer stein.) Place the cardboard-enclosed head inside the pipe. Inject expanding foam into the pipe. Note that expanding foam expands - just one squirt onto each of the 4 sides of the head should be enough to fill the pipe to the top. Scrape off any excess once it starts setting. You should still see the cardboard-covered top (striking face) of the mallet. Try not to get foam onto the screw threads.

Once the foam has set, use a blade to remove the cardboard square over the striking face of the mallet head. Unscrew the end cap at the other end, and do the same. You should now have a pipe containing a square cardboard-lined space that exactly fits your mallet head, with a screw-on cap at each end. You can poke a hole into the foam to stow the allen key used to assemble the mallet.

This arrangement cost me about $20 for the parts, and will probably last longer than the mallet. I spray-painted both units black, but the paint has scratched badly from day one, so the pristine appearance of this transport system is a one-time affair. (Any suggestions for more durable paint finishes for PVC will be appreciated...).

Kevin Garrad: I have for many years (16?) used a GunGuard 2-stage (or Take-down) Rifle Case. Plastic shell, metal edging, foam lined.

Mike Town has used a similar case, also for many years. I use mine to hold mallet, shoes, markers, sunglasses, small towel and (sometimes) water-proofs. I have never had a problem with the case, and reckon to use it on something like 40 - 60 flights per year.

Stuart Lawrence: I used a lightweight, inexpensive plastic gun case for a couple of years and then it got stolen off the baggage claim belt at the West Palm Beach airport, with an airline worker watching, by a thief who undoubtedly believed there was a gun inside. (I pity the guy who is driving around Florida with my Pidcock in the gun rack of his pickup truck.) This experience soured me a bit on the gun case idea. Now I have a mallet with a detachable handle, which can be transported in a simple tube, but airport security people have refused to let me carry it on and airlines have charged me as much as $50 to check it in addition to another bag. The sensible solution would be to find a piece of luggage that is large enough to fit the mallet handle and the rest of my stuff, but there's also a 62' limit on total dimensions (length+width+height) over which the airlines charge enormous fees, if they will carry it at all.

For domestic trips, at least, simply shipping the handle ahead by FedEx or United Parcel Service is becoming a more and more attractive option.

Nathaniel Healy: I use an electric guitar case, which also fits one's playing clothes for a weekend. It, too is accepted by Ryanair as "ordinary" luggage - in fact they seem relieved to be told that there is no musical instrument in it.

Adrian Wadley: Try Big Deal Cases in Canada for a custom built case. I have one that takes two mallets and all my croquet paraphernalia. http://www.bigdealcases.ca/flightcases.php

It might just meet the current airline regs for normal size - total dimensions add to 62" (42" x 4" x 16").

Johnny Mitchell: I am lucky to play with a 32" mallet For it, I just travel with a 36" duffel in which my clothes and mallet all travel in with no problems from the airlines. Bought from: http://www.luggageonline.com

Kevin Carter: I have just been informed that BA has introduced a maximum dimension of 90cm for all hold baggage. This is 1.5 cm less than a standard mallet and therefore much less than most carrying cases. Anything over 90cm has to go a different route and incurs an additional charge of £25 per trip.

It is in BA's Ts & Cs, but not Easyjet's. Since the reason BA has given for its introduction is that long items of baggage clog the conveyor presumably this should apply equally to all airlines.The new regulation came into force on 1st April 2009.

Fenwick Elliot Bag: http://www.insearchoftheperfectmallet.com/Accessories.html takes up to a 40" mallet or greater if the mallet comes apart [2011]

Fenwick Elliot Mallet bag
Fenwick Elliot mallet Bag

Craig Winfield suggests:

Slazenger ultimate wheelie cricket bag

Slazenger cricket bag
Slazenger ultimate wheelie cricket bag

I grabbed this for the princely sum of £15 and it fits a 39" pidcock with ease and the 11" head fits nicely between the wheels at the back which are reinforced. Just thought I'd let you know as it seems a very good value bag if, like me, anyone is looking to find a way to transport their mallet on a tight budget. [2016].

 

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Updated 22.ii.17
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