Canadian Woodworking

Mailbox with scroll sawn house number

Author: Mark Eaton
Published: August September 2002

Even if you are in a community that doesn’t get mail delivery the door some mail will always find its way to your home.


I recently moved into a new home, so I thought it a good idea to build something for this issue that I needed myself – a new mailbox.

I have made this mail box long enough to accept the local newspaper. Newspapers are regularly delivered but often don’t have a place, other than on the porch floor. It is also a handy place for you or others to leave things for pickup when you’re not home. Our porch is covered so I chose pine for our box to match our décor but Cedar would be an excellent choice for such exterior projects.

Photo 1


Photos 2 and 3


Photos 4 and 5


Photo 6


Photos 7 and 8


Photo 9


Photo 10


Photo 11


Photo 12


Photo 13


Photo 14


Photo 15


Photo 16


Photo 17


Photo 18


Photo 19


Photo 20


Photo 21


Cut the 2 sides (A) to the dimensions listed in the bill of materials.

Set your table saw mitre gauge or mitre saw to a 22.5 degree angle and cut the angle on the side pieces (photo 1).

For safety I used a wide board for the top and lid. Cut a 3/4” x 8 1/2” x 22” piece of stock for the lid. Saw a 22.5 degree bevel on one edge (photo 2). Now rip a 1 1/2” strip from the beveled edge for the top (photo 3). Then rip your final dimension for your lid.

Cut parts (D), (E) and (F) to size.

Part (D) is the back and has a decorative curve on the bottom. A simple way of drawing a curve is to nail two small finishing nails on either end of your stock 1” up from the bottom. Now take a thin piece of scrap stock and place it against the two nails. Flex the strip against the nails towards the bottom. Keep your pressure on the centre of the strip and draw a perfect arch without measuring (photo 4). Bandsaw around the outside of the arch and then sand to the line (photo 5).

Part (F) is the front and it requires a matching 22.5 degree bevel on the top.

Now put your design on the front. I decided that I would make the mail box a personal item, so I scrolled our address. You could put any design you like on the front or maybe even paint it. To get a nice looking set of numbers I turned to my computer. With the almost unlimited amount of fonts available I was able to please everyone in my family with this design. Adjust the size to fit your box and print the design. Mine fit on a single 8 1/2” x 11” sheet of paper.

Lay out your design on your front part (F). Centre it to the piece and adhere it to the stock (photo 6).

I chose a reverse image for my design so I pre-drilled all of the white areas with a hole large enough to accept my scroll saw blades (photo 7) If you want to cut out the numbers then drill inside all of them. Scroll out your front piece (photo 8).

Drill and counter sink three 1/4” holes in the bottom of part (E). These will allow any rain that may get inside to drain out of the box (photo 9).

Begin drilling screw hole pockets in parts (D), (E) and (F). Drill two on either end of part (D), plus three on the top also. These will attach the top part (C) to the back (photo 10), two on either end of part (F) and two on either end of (E). Drill two more on either side of part E to attach the front and back to the bottom (photos 11 and 12).

NOTE: if you don’t have a screw hole pocket jig you can drill through the side into the back, front and bottom and then plug the holes after.

Sand all parts (before assembling) to 220 grit, progressing through the grits (photo 13).

Begin assembly by gluing and attaching the front part (F) to the bottom part (E). Now attach the sides (A) to the sides and bottom (photo 14).

Cut a piece of 1/2” thick stock 10” long for the cleats (G). Chuck up a rabbeting bit in your router table and set the depth to 1/8”. Position your fence so that 1/4” is exposed past the fence and cut a rabbet along the length of the piece. (Photo 15 and 16)

Rip a piece that is 1/2” x 1/2” x 10 (photo 17). Cross cut this piece in half for the two cleats (photo 18).

Glue and clamp the two cleats on either end of your design in your front piece (F) making sure that they are square (photo 19). (Mine were 2 1/2” in from the box ends.)

Now attach (D) the back to the bottom and sides. Make sure that all of the beveled edges on these pieces are flush at the top.

Cut a 22” piece of piano hinge from larger stock and attach it to the top and lid pieces (photo 20). Glue the top (C) to the back (D) making sure that it is centered to the box on either side.

Apply a clear weather resistant finish to the box making sure to finish all interior parts too. Cut your acrylic piece to fit into the cleats in the back of your box. Hold the box against the wall where it is going to be mounted and level it. Mark on the inside back three spots that will be drilled and counter sunk for the screws and anchors that will mount it to the wall (photo 21).

Use #8 stainless steel pan head screws for rust resistance. Remove the protective wrapping from the acrylic and slide it into the cleats for a protective window to see inside. Now sit back and watch as your family and friends (and even your postal worker) smile at a job well done.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Gifts/Crafts projects to consider
Username: Password: