My cousin has donated me an old tube radio from the 40’s. But I need to ship it cross-country. Any recommendations on that? Remove the tubes and pack separately? Leave the tubes in and pack the interior with cotton?
Definitely remove the tubes and pack them in soft foam. This is for the sake of both the tubes and the tube sockets.
I’d also recommend all handling of the tubes be done with latex (or other material) gloves to avoid getting skin oil on the glass. Sounds fanatical, but actually improves tube life.
Also make sure to make note of what tubes go where
Depending on the value, I would suggest going to Harbor Freight and see if one of their Pelican type cases could be used (depending on dimensions - they go up to about 6" tall). (Note: If your amp has a cage, you could ship it separately in a separate box). Otherwise, I would definitely double or triple box it to prevent the parcel carriers from damaging it, and definitely insure it. If you use fedex, and you insure it a high amount they will often check your packaging. Photos too. Foam is your friend.
I store my headphones, and various vacuum tubes in these types of cases.