My Unusual Custom Mailbox Project

Have you ever thought to custom build your own mailbox? I have and did!

My unusual custom mailbox project was a while in the planning. I had a rough idea of what I wanted and had met with my handyman, Barry, to get an idea of how much time it would take him to build, so I had an idea of what the labor costs would be. However, it took me a while to source the materials.

This is the story of my custom build mailbox project...

Designing my custom mailbox

The inspiration for my custom mailbox design came from what I initially thought was a unique mailbox that I saw on one of my local walking routes.

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Then I noticed another similar letterbox just up the road from my house.

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Then I spotted yet another one in another nearby street.

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Okay, so by now I've realized this isn't a unique mailbox design (as in it's not a one-off)! However, it is still one of the most unusual mailboxes I've seen. I'm guessing that the first person built theirs and it inspired the next person to copy it. The next person saw one of these 2 (or both) and was also inspired to copy the design. And then they inspired me! I don't know which of these was the original, maybe none of them?!

I drew up the design of my custom mailbox based on these 3 and started to look for suitable timber planks or sleepers and for a ready made metal or wooden box to use. Finding the sleepers took a while because I prefer the look of hardwood sleepers and these are now quite uncommon in Australia (or at least in Sydney, where I live). It was easy to find treated pine sleepers, but I was holding out for hardwood.

I also struggled to find a ready made box that would work in this design. I looked in local hardware stores and online, but couldn't find anything quite right -- either the price was too high, or the slot too small, or the box too small. Hmmm...and how would we fix the box to the sleepers? I struggled with this until I stumbled across another variation in the next suburb.

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It made me realize an in-fence mailbox would work best. I found one in my local Bunnings hardware store. I'm sure I would have found one online too.

By searching online I also found a place that sold new hardwood sleepers and they let me pickout the 2 I wanted. I had hoped for reclaimed ones, but decided this option would have to do!

The mailbox materials

In case you want to build your own mailbox using a similar design. These are the materials we used...

  • 2 x hardwood sleepers -- 2.4m long x 200mm wide x 100mm deep
    ( I think mine are Jarrah, a Western Australian hardwood, although there's been some debate about this)

  • 1 x in-fence mailbox -- for example, powder coated box with removable stainless steel front plate. The one I used is the "Venice" made by the Milkcan Letterbox Co from Bunnings

  • 12mm galvanised threaded rod -- used as studs to join the 2 sleepers together

  • 19mm steel tubing, like that used for bathroom towel rails -- used to cover the rods, cut to the width of the gap between the sleepers

  • Eco protector creosote alternative, for example Diggers brand from a hardware store -- used to coat the part of the sleepers that will be buried to help protect against rot

  • Super Glue -- to stick the rods into the wood; and to make the front plate of the mailbox more waterproof by creating a drainage path

  • 2 x 20kg bags quick set cement -- to anchor the sleepers into the ground. Barry told me fencers put it in dry and let the water in the ground set it. We added a little water to start it off. It goes off in about 15 minutes and is fully set in about 7 days.

The finished letterbox

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Here are photos of my finished mailbox. Of course, you could also view it as simply a custom wooden mailbox post, but I think of the whole thing as the mailbox!

I've heard a few people make nice comments about it already!

If you live on Sydney's northern beaches and would like Barry the handyman to build you a custom mailbox similar to this one, or another type of custom wooden letterbox, contact me (don't forget your phone number and email address) and I'll put you in touch.

Enhancing your frontyard

My new mailbox provided the finishing touch for my re-designed front yard.  To get more inspiring ideas for your new mailbox continuing looking around my website.

For inspiration of other ways to improve your frontyard, and for other home improvement help take a look at the Continuous Home Improvement Help website.