If you’re not new to the DIY world and are looking for a project to challenge your skills this custom metal mailbox is the perfect undertaking for you.
This project not only requires you to test your metal bending, grinding, and cutting abilities but involves work with concrete and wood.
It’s a task that will take a bit more time, especially if you’re just starting out with more complicated DIY projects. But it’s totally worth adding a completely custom-made exterior piece to your landscape design that you made with your very own hands.
Before you begin your project, however, make sure you are fully prepared. Start with
Assess Your DIY Skills
Check if creating your own metal box is a project you are ready to undertake by asking yourself a few questions:
- Do you have the time, resources, and skills to complete your mailbox?
- Can someone help you in the process if you need assistance?
- Can you assure your and others’ safety while working on your DIY metal mailbox?
If the answer is no, then consider outsourcing some of the work to someone who is better prepared to handle it, or choose a less challenging project to work on.
If the answer to all three questions is yes, however, then go ahead and move to the next step in fulfilling this project.
Plan & Prepare
Every home improvement, renovation, and DIY project should start with planning and work-space preparations. That will help you streamline your home project and complete every task.
Research all the information you need to know beforehand. For example, do you have all the tools and materials for completing the project? Do you know what to do at each stage? And if not gather the information you need. There are plenty of articles, video tutorials, and useful tips from expert DIY-ers.
You will have to be prepared to cut, weld, and polish metal, which is not the simplest of tasks, so any useful practical and safety tips should be considered. You can also look for advice from family and friends who you know have tackled such projects or have the knowledge of working with metal, wood, and construction.
Once you have the necessary information, make a list of all the equipment, tools, and materials you’ll have to purchase or rent. A tip when creating your lists is to compare the pricing and quality and choose the best that fits both your budget and needs.
From here you can move to:
Separate Work Into Stages
This is a great way to ensure you’ve dedicated enough time to each task so the results come clean and durable. This way you’ll also have the gratification of completing each task, and won’t get overwhelmed and abandon your project in the middle.
Dividing your work into smaller tasks will be a perfect way to space your work in time so if you’re on a tight budget you’ll know which items, tools, and machinery need to be prioritized first.
Safety Always Comes First
Needless to say, taking safety measures is the first step you need when starting any building process.
Be sure to always wear safety gear like glasses, helmets, gloves, and heavy-duty shoes. In the case of your metal mailbox, it’s also recommended you get a welding helmet, as you’ll be required to cut metal which will produce some sparks.
A steady and even work-table and ground are a must, especially when working with cutting wood and metal. Make sure you have a place where you can safely secure the metal and wood pieces during your build to avoid them flying in the middle of cutting and grinding.
With all that out of the way, let’s build a metal mailbox!
Create Your Own Metal Mailbox
Materials and tools you’ll need:
- 2 Sawhorses
- 2x 6-inch wood pieces
- 3.4 oak piece
- 3/16 inch steel plate
- Galvanized ¾ inch steel pipe
- Concrete mix (fast setting)
- 10 inch long galvanized tube
- ¾ inch Pipe 36 inch long with flange & coupling;
- 8-inch quick tube (at least 20 inches in length)
- Circular saw (or table saw)
- Drill & metal drilling bits
- Angle grinder
- Grinding wheels
- 6 T-bar clamps
- Metal ruler ( a triangle is a good choice too)
- Wood glue
- Rusty metal primer
- Protective enamel
- Hinge, cabinet poll & rare-earth magnet
Take the metal plate and draw 3 straight lines across its width each 9 inches apart from the other. Use your angle grinder and score the plate halfway through the steel on the first two lines and then cut all the way through on the 3rd line.
Move to clamp the metal piece with the scored lines onto your sawhorses and clamp the sheet with your t-bar clamps to the 2x 6-inch wood pieces. Start bending the wood pieces and the metal sheet with cuts upwards. You can put something heavy on the side that is clamped to the sawhorses, so the construction doesn’t move when you bend it. Your concrete mix will do. Bend until you form a rectangle out of your metal sheet.
Move to cut your oak piece with the circular saw. Cut a piece for the bottom of your box and two for the sides, fitting the size of your metal openings. Then get working on your mailbox base.
Get your quick tube and cut an 18-inch long piece to use to form the concrete. Dig an 18-inch hole at the place where you’ll set your mailbox in and put the tube in it and level it, before filling the gaps, so it wouldn’t move.
Once you’ve done that, mix your fast-setting concrete mix and pour it into the tube. Make sure you place the galvanized 10-inch pipe in the middle of the tube to create an opening for your mailbox post.
Go back to your metal rectangle and smooth the pieces out with a CBN grinding wheel. Then drill holes where you’ll be attaching the wood bottom and sides. Clean the metal and spray it with the primer and once dry spray the protective enamel.
Repeat the praying process onto your ¾ inch pipe, this will be used to support your mailbox. You can then paint the metal pieces in a color or leave them as they are.
Glue and screw your wood pieces (the bottom and one of the sides of your mailbox) together. Take the other wooden side and attach it to the glued wood construction with a hinge- this will serve as your mailbox door. In the middle of the door piece, you can glue or drill a cabinet poll. At the top of your door attach the rare-earth magnet.
After that, slide the wood construction into the metal structure and drive screws to attach it. Then attach the ¾ inch pipe at the bottom (in the wood piece) and screw the mailbox onto the concrete foundation.
And that’s it!
You have a metal mailbox you DIY-ed yourself!
Another option for installing your mailbox and cutting down on the work you’ll have to do is attaching it straight to your fence or gate. This option is particularly fit if you have a wrought iron gate and fence, your metal mailbox will blend seamlessly into the design you’re already committing to.
Sleek, and durable this metal mailbox design combines the beauty of three building materials in one harmonious exterior decor piece. Completing this fully-functional and striking mailbox is sure to give your DIY skills a boost. It will help you gain confidence and skills, essential for tackling more complicated projects involving any sort of material, be it wood, cement, or metal. All you have to remember is to approach each project with safety in mind first, the rest you can always learn.
About The Author: Terry Tateossian, Founding Partner of Socialfix Media is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who is recognized as an Inc. 5000 America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies, Forbes’ Top Women in Business, Fastest Growing Women Presidents by WPO, and 40 Under 40 Business Leaders by NJBIZ. Terry has been featured for outstanding leadership and career accomplishments in numerous industry publications as an engineer, a thought-leader in technology, and an innovator in the field of marketing. But her favorite and toughest earned title is being “Mom” to her 2 children.
Photo by Paula Hayes on Unsplash
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