Introduction: Defeat Mailbox Vandalism

Picture of Defeat Mailbox Vandalism

If you own a mailbox like this, you may have found someone hit it with a baseball bat one night, probably from a moving car. The mailbox will be badly distorted and the front lid likely no longer fits and closes properly. In a heavy rain your mail will likely become very wet. You can either try to straighten the parts of the mailbox, which usually does not work very well. Or, you can buy and mount a new mailbox. But, if someone painted a custom design on the mailbox for you, you will lose their artwork.

This Instructable will show a simple way to minimize the damage from a baseball bat strike delivered from a passing car. You will be able to make the mailbox almost as good as new in a few minutes with a simple pair of pliers.

(We no longer have a mailbox like this, so I do not have photos. The image is by me in Google SketchUp. I use it so seldom that my skills in it are very elementary. I did some editing of the image in MS Paint.)

Tools

  • Saw
  • Drill and bit
  • Screwdriver

Materials

  • 2 x 6 lumber (short piece)
  • Screws (wood or sheet metal)

Step 1: Where the Damage Happens

Picture of Where the Damage Happens

The yellow arrows show where the side and lid of the mailbox will be badly distorted in the side and the lid from a passing strike with a baseball bat. The arrows point to the right side of the mailbox, which is the direction from which an approaching automobile will come.

Step 2: The Solution

Picture of The Solution

Carefully measure the actual opening in the mailbox. Cut a piece of 2 x 6 lumber to fit between the sides of the mailbox. Make the fit reasonably snug, but loose enough that you can open and close the mailbox easily. Position the piece of 2 x 6 on the inside of the lid as shown. Drill a couple of holes through the front of the mailbox and into the 2 x 6 piece. Attach the wood to the lid with screws.

When someone strikes your mailbox with a baseball bat, the forces will be broadly distributed by the piece of 2 x 6 wood. There may be some small denting on the side struck, but just a little work with a simple pair of pliers will have the mailbox lid working almost like new after just a very few minutes.

In case you are wondering, I did this to one of our mailboxes a number of years ago. Our mail carrier never said a word, so we believe it does not violate any requirements from the Post Office. We did have a baseball bat strike after I made this modification, and the damage to our mailbox was much less than after the previous strike.

Comments

RayJN (author)2017-02-23

About 40 years ago WA on a country road there was a mailbox in the
middle of a quarter mile radius curve. I assume the owner got tied of
replacing his mailbox. The last time I passed their it was mounted on a
V snow plow blade.

I have also seen people put their mail box in a brick column.

kooth (author)2016-04-16

Very quick and easy solution, Phil! Thanks for sharing!

Phil B (author)kooth2016-04-16

Thank you for looking and for your comment. It worked quite well for us.

neo71665 (author)2015-03-22

We had some idiots targeting our mailbox a few years back so I built an exo cage out of 1/2 inch rebar. Was sitting in the house one night heard a loud clang. Walked out to the box to find a cracked aluminum bat and glass all around. Guess the idiot hit it, bounced back to their car, and hopefully broke their hand. Havent had any problems in the 10+ years since.

kooth (author)neo716652016-04-16

I hope the idiot's hand is still ringing! Great solution!

snoopindaweb (author)2015-04-12

I recall years ago while driving truck in N./Cal delivering R/R containers from the Yuba City to S/P Roseville I would use XYZ road - south to the rail yards. I would pass a mail box pounded FLAT, it stayed that way forever as far as I know now. ~(:-})={>==== ]

Susitna (author)2015-03-23

My husband was a Mack truck mechanic, so he welded our armoured mail box to it. We msde the mail box by taking the door off of the regular size one. Then we attached the small one to the floor of the big one and filled the space between the walls with Quickcrete. I think the next batter must have s
told their buddies since the vandals with bats have been skipping us.

Phil B (author)2015-03-23

I have thought about making a mailbox from 1/4 inch plate steel, and wondered what the reverberations in someone's arm would be like when he hit that with a bat. I was surprised how much a simple piece of 2 x 6 screwed to the lid does to save the mailbox. (I sometimes love, but often hate autocorrect.) Thanks for commenting.

ke8bg (author)2015-03-23

sheet metal. not shameful.... lol. auto correct.

ke8bg (author)2015-03-23

We went through this year's ago. After several mailboxes vandalized or hit by cars. We finally bought a thick steel mailbox instead of the thin shameful type. I did not want it to disappear so I bolted a chain to it and a lag bolt to the pole. It's been over seven years now. I have too paint over the scratches left by attempts to vandalize it. I bet that it hurts when they try to wack it! It's more expensive route as the boss was about $65.

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Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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