Having now shipped dozens of propellers using a variety of methods, I have settled on this method of "crating" for shipment via FedEx Ground or FedEx Express for all propellers up to 9 1/2 feet in length. (Propellers larger than this will exceed the "dimensional weight" limit for those options and will require shipment via freight, but this crating method can still be used for freight shipments too.) The propeller itself adds strength to the crate, so in reality the propeller only requires protection from surface impact when shipped.
General Information: (2012)
Approximate Cost (8 foot propeller within the lower U.S.) :
Crate weight - 20 to 25 pounds
Crating materials - $25 to $30
FedEx Ground - $100 to $150 within contiguous U.S.
Dimensional Weight is defined as the length of the crate plus twice the height plus twice the width, or more simply, length plus "girth". For example, a crate that is 100" long, 12" wide, and 6" high will have a dimensional weight of 136", and this, rather that actual weight, will usually determine the shipping rate.
FedEx Ground - maximum acceptable length is 108", maximum dimensional weight is 165".
FedEx Express - maximum acceptable length is 119", maximum dimensional weight is also 165".
So most propellers can be shipped using FedEx Ground, which is typically less expensive than FedEx Express, but if the crate length will exceed 108" and is less than 119" then FedEx Express is still an option.
(NOTE: When shipping to a residence rather than a commercial address FedEx Ground requires "Home Delivery" nomenclature, which incurs a very slightly increased charge.)
International Shipping: Ratesvaryconsiderably depending on destination. Recently I have used IPSparcel, which essentially brokers the lowest rate among carriers and is able to save almost 40% to 50% on the rate charged by the carriers themselves. I have shipped propellers to England, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Indonesia and Italy using this method and have been pleased with the price and service. Quotes are readily available once the crate size and weight are known.
This "crate" is lightweight, very sturdy, and inexpensive to construct.