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Building the indestructible rural mailbox.

When starting a building project, particularly an outbuilding, garage, or workshop, check your local lumber store for cull lumber or seconds.

Our local hardware-lumber store allows customers to reject a board if they think it's bowed twisted, split or whatever. These rejected boards are sorted b size and banded up and sold a half-price or less.

My husband and I have build three garages and a deck, all out of cull lumber. Some o it is in fairly good shape. The really bowed or twisted stuff we save to cut into smaller lengths to use where needed. It may take a little extra time and a couple of clamps but the money saved is worth it.

Another tip: Maybe I had a deprived childhood or something, but I have never understood what attraction or thrill there is in beating up mailboxes. If your mailbox sits at the end of a long lane, chances are sooner or later, somebody is going to beat it up. Save yourself the expense and frustration of replacing it every couple of years by doing it right the first time. I've seen man homemade boxes put together out of well casing or welded 1/4" steel plate. These are fine but I think our box is a little simpler to construct.

First purchase two regulation metal mailboxes. Buy one small and one medium or one medium and one large, depending on the amount of mall you receive. Remove the door and catch to the smaller of the two boxes. Place the larger box on its end opposite the door. Lay a piece of 2x4 in what is now the bottom of the large box. Place the smaller box inside the larger box. The opening of the little box should set about 1/2 to one inch back from the opening of the larger box. Center the smaller box within the larger box. On the side that will be the bottom when set upright, mark and drill four holes. These will be used to bolt both boxes together post.

You will need a sturdy post. We used a piece of four-inch steel pipe. Well casing would also work well. We bought a piece of 1/4" steel plate to fit the underside of our larger box. Mark and drill four holes in the plate to match those in the box. Weld the plate to the top of the post.

Bolt your box to the post. Set the box on the end opposite its door. You'll have to support the end of the post so that your box sits level. Take the small door you removed earlier and close the opening of the smaller box. Attach the flag to the outside of the larger box at this time.

Now mix up a small batch of concrete. It should be on the runny side. Pour the concrete into the space between the two boxes. Use a small stick to work the concrete down between the boxes. Fill the space up almost to the opening of the smaller box Let it sit for a couple of day until it has hardened.

Dig the hole for your post and get some help to set it. It will be heavy. Remove the door to the smaller box but save it. If someone ever rips off the larger door you may be able to use it.

Now the next time someone takes a ball bat to your box, they're in for a bit of a surprise.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:May 1, 1993
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