Learning how to build a locked mailbox will give you a personalized, decorative look while protecting your bills and personal letters from mail theft. Whether you live in the city, suburbs or country, mail-related crime is unfortunately a reality, and you can keep your mail from being stolen or tampered with by designing a receptacle that is more secure than the average neighborhood mailbox. While few mailboxes are fully indestructible, this step-by-step process will guide you through the building of a customized box that will be functional without causing a street-side eyesore.
Things You'll Need
1 in. galvanized finishing nails
1 ½ in. #10 wood screws
1 2/4 in. wood screws
Choose the materials you need to build your mailbox. You can make a locking mailbox out of nearly any wood or metal; the sturdier, the better. However, for this particular project, we will use plywood. Purchase 18 inches of plywood for the top and bottom and 6 inches for each end. Consider buying 10 percent extra of each material in case of mistakes.
Cut your plywood into the lengths mentioned above, and then position them together to ensure they are the right size to fit together. Then take wood glue and nails to permanently assemble the box. Cut the legs for the mail box that is 6 inches wide and 9 inches long. You can create these with 2 x 2 pieces of wood. Join them together in the middle so that they form a top crosspiece. Use your wood glue to make an initial fusion between the legs and the bottom of the mailbox and then drill screws in the center ¼ inch deep for a permanent hold. They should rest in the middle of the box bottom, forming a stand.
Make four square pieces that will fit snugly around the legs - approximately 9 inches wide. These pieces resemble a picture frame in design (open in the middle) and are called collars. Just like the legs, put these together with countersunk screws that attach on the sides of the collars, fastening them together in the center. Drill a hole that is 2 ¼ inches from the front end of the collar and repeat on the rear.
Put the box together by placing it upside down. Center the box between the wooden legs and slip the first collar over the legs until it fits tightly against the box's bottom. Use 1 ¾ inch screws to attach the collar to the legs, using the holes you drilled in the front and rear.
Add another collar approximately 4 inches away from the first one. Repeat this process for the last two so that they are screwed to the other end of the legs in the exact same manner.
Cut a strip of wood and fasten a flat end to the front rim of the box so that it hangs over the box like a flap. Drill holes where your lock will go. Install your locks per the instructions found with whatever lock you select. You can also choose to get a simple padlock or combination lock if you wish to simplify things. Carve out a mail slot on the front and paint.
Mount your completed box in concrete to protect it from seasonal elements. Paint your box any way you like - get creative and personalize its look. Make sure that your mail slot is small enough to discourage theft but large enough for both standard and oversized envelopes.
Take caution when using power tools and strong glues. Keep away from small children. Check with your city for your local postal regulations. Often, the only rule is your box must be 42 inches off the ground. Keep in mind that your neighbors will have to see your mailbox, too - so keep it in coordination with the rest of the neighborhood.