Friday, October 15, 2010

Answer for Allen about my mailbox

Thanks for the question Allen!  This is exactly what my intentions were when I had the idea of starting a blog and website.  You see, I have no problems sharing whatever I can to help.  If you can do it yourself, great!  If you can't, I will do it for you if you want.  I would rather do one off's (customized to you) than production work. If you look at my house pictures in the "Our new old house" tab, you can possibly understand why I went with this design.  In my opinion, the house can best be classified as a Georgian style of architecture.  With that thought in mind, my future plans for other elements (Footbridge, seated arbor, low picket fence), are going to stick to that theme for the sake of consistency.  Now on to your question.

I don't use plans.  There are several reasons why.  First and foremost, I just like to figure it out for myself.  Next, I can never find plans that are "exactly" what I need, or fit my particular application.  I usually get general dimensions and work off a rough sketch, creating as I go.

I started out making a basic box 12 x 12 x 60" out of 3/4" plywood with simple butt joints, glue, and nails.  Inside the box I put (2) 12 x 12 squares about 6" and 36" up from the bottom with a 4" square cut of of the center of those so I could put the completed mailbox over a 4x4 post set in concrete.  I made all the molding myself with a router out of regular pine boards and treated lumber. Basically you just apply the molding to create the frames and trim to the basic box.  You can use store bought molding too if you want, I just didn't want to run to the store for such small quantities (and I have to justify the expense of the router bits to my darling wife).  The top was actually four pieces of wood cut at a 15 degree angle.  I stacked one on top of the other, glued and clamped together, then sanded.  Once it was assembled I caulked everywhere I thought water could enter, then primed and painted with 3 coats of exterior paint.  Before I set it in place I sprayed the inside with Thompsons water seal.  I figured it couldn't hurt .

The Residential Mailbox Standards gave me the guidelines for mounting the mailbox.  I didn't want it to sit directly on the dirt, so I leveled off a small area and dug a hole about 18 inches deep to accept a 4x4 post that stuck up out of the ground about 4 feet.  I then made a form out of 2x4's and used (1) 80# bag of concrete to make a small pad and secure the post.  After all that was dry, I had my son Patrick help me lift the mailbox and slide it down over the 4x4.  That's it!

If you have any more questions, just let me know.  I'll be glad to help.  Please visit my other blog for some of my other projects.

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