Custom Decorative Mailbox Post Designs

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Cracked Mailbox Post

My mailbox post got backed into and cracked. My brother happened to be in my front lawn when a lost guy in a truck spotted him and pulled in the drive to ask directions. When he backed out, he bumped the mailbox post and my brother said there was a clearly audible crack. I know what that means; it’s just a matter of time before it prematurely rots and/or gets pushed up and out of the ground by the frost cycle – because that crack almost always happens just below grade, not deep enough for long-term anchoring. It still took about 5 years after a Spring thaw to finally tilt so drunkenly that it was unusable.

I had made that post out of pallet wood and whatnot when I moved into my house and all I was given was a mailbox because the previous post had been nailed by a drunk driver. I guess mailbox posts don’t do so well at this address. Since it was untreated wood (but I spray painted the crap out of it!), I knew its days were numbered, but getting backed into shortened that lifecycle even further.

2 Custom Mailbox Post Designs

When someone I work with asked me to make a mailbox post design for them, I decided to make myself one too. I made some new concepts out of steel plate and square tubing, with house numbers cut out of the side plates.

[Rambling Sidebar Alert] I don’t think any of these actually got cut and fabricated. I ended up just waiting it out, and when my post needed attention a year or so later, I got another piece of found pallet spacer wood and used a circular saw to create a half-lap joint. So I squirted some PL-something glue into the joint, and some really long screws I have for some reason (maybe they’re for door hinges?), and I caulked up the egregious cracks. Thanks to Tom Silva and This Old House for showing me the Yankee ingenuity of half-lapping timbers with circular saws, because before then the idea had never occurred to me.

Mailbox and Post Standards and Guidelines

If I remember correctly, I did a little investigation on the USPS official standards for residential mailboxes, and that drove some of the dimensions, both height and box platform.

T1 Custom Mailbox Post - print1
T1 Custom Mailbox Post – print1
T1 Custom Mailbox Post - print2
T1 Custom Mailbox Post – print2

Here’s a tip for when you’re installing your mailbox post: Get a level. If you’re going to go to all the trouble of digging a post hole and installing this thing, make sure your mailbox sits proud as you pack the dirt back in. I notice how on my street many other posts lean backward or toward the street, but not mine.

USPS Curbside Mailbox Guidelines
USPS Curbside Mailbox Guidelines

I’m pretty sure we had this mailbox on the farm when I was growing up. In fact, I still see them occasionally on rural roads.

Large Rural Mailbox - From the USPS history of Mailbox Standards PDF
Large Rural Mailbox – From the USPS history of Mailbox Standards PDF

See the history of USPS mailbox standards PDF here.

What’s a Quattro Foil?

Do you know what a quatrefoil pattern is? I didn’t. My wife suggested them for our mailbox. It took me a while to find it since I was spelling it so incorrectly.

quatrefoil stencil
quatrefoil stencil
T1 Quatrefoil Mailbox Post
T1 Quatrefoil Mailbox Post

Backlit House Numbers

Joe came up with the idea to have a light in the post to backlight the address numbers. I thought maybe it could be done easiest by taking one of those rechargeable garden lights with the solar cells on top and disassembling it, mounting the solar cell part outside the post (to catch rays), and splicing in longer wires and routing them to the lightbulb part mounted to the inside by the numbers.

Notice the bent plate bracket on the back, for holding the solar cell.

T1 Custom Mailbox Post - solar cell mount
T1 Custom Mailbox Post – solar cell mount

Notice the bent bracket underneath, a place to mount an LED or small light bulb.

T1 Custom Mailbox Post - rechargeable LED light mount
T1 Custom Mailbox Post – rechargeable LED light mount

Mailbox Post renderings at multiple angles


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