Introduction: 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.)
- Drill and bit
- 2 x 6 lumber (short piece)
- Screws (wood or sheet metal)
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Step 1: 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
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.