Making a freestanding mailbox is relatively simple. You can do it with basic tools and a minimal investment of time and money. One advantage of a freestanding mailbox is that if it is hit by a vehicle or snowplow, it will likely suffer little or no damage and can simply be placed back upright. A mailbox post sunk into the ground would likely snap off, making repairs more difficult.
Things You'll Need
- 4-by-4 lumber
- 1-inch-thick board
- Tape measure
- Wood glue
- Paint or stain
- Power drill
- Small drill bit
- Wood screws
- Power saw
- 5-gallon bucket
- Gravel or potting soil
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Building a Freestanding Mailbox
Check guidelines with the U.S. Postal Service prior to building your mailbox. Regulations require the bottom of the mailbox be 41-45 inches above the road’s surface. The mailbox door must be 6-8 inches from the front of the curb or road edge. Contact your local post office before moving your mailbox.
Build a mailbox stand made of treated 4-by-4 lumber. Cut one board 57 inches long. Cut the other 36 inches long.
Measure your mailbox. Allow an extra inch of clearance, and mark the 36-inch board accordingly. For example, if your mailbox is 20 inches long, mark the board at 21 inches. Put another mark 3.5 inches beyond the first mark to accommodate the width of the other 4-by-4 (a 4-by-4 actually measures 3.5 inches square).
Cut between the two marked lines to a depth of 1.75 inches (half the width of a 4-by-4). Remove the waste wood with multiple cuts from a power saw, or with a hand chisel and hammer.
Measure the 57-inch board. Mark it at 41 inches and again at 44.5 inches. Remove the wood in between the marks to a depth of 1.75 inches.
Dry fit the two boards together. Remove additional wood as needed until the boards fit together snugly. When they fit, glue them together with exterior-grade wood glue. Let dry. Stain or paint the 4-by-4s.
Measure the underside of your mailbox. Cut a 1-inch-thick board so it fits just inside the mailbox bottom. Screw the board to the 4-by-4 mailbox support arm. Set the mailbox on the 1-inch board and screw the mailbox to the board through the holes in the side of the mailbox.
Obtain a 5-gallon bucket or antique milk can. Drill multiple small holes in the bottom to allow water to drain. The holes must be smaller than the gravel that will be used for fill.
Place the mailbox post in the center of the bucket. Pour in fine gravel until the bucket or can is nearly full. You could substitute potting soil for the gravel and then plant flowers inside.
Place the mailbox the required distance from the road or curb.