Fortified mailboxes, part 2

I received a bunch of great email about my fortified mailbox entry. If you have pics of a vandal-resistant mailbox, email me!

texas-mailboxNumber42  sez: This one is my favorite mailbox of all time...

Nicholas sez: I don’t have any photos, but I have a suggestion. My mother kept on getting her mailbox hit in by someone driving by with a baseball bat or similar object. To punish future bashers, I dug a good sized hole, and planted a thick metal pole in it. After that set, I made a hole in the bottom of the mailbox large enough so that the pole would fit in. I put the mailbox on top of it, and then using more cement, filled up the back of the mailbox with the cement, attaching the pole to the inside of the mailbox. Make sure the pole goes into the back half of the mailbox, as to still be able to get mail. This secures the mailbox the mailbox to the pole, and from the outside, looks like every other mailbox, but if someone hits it with anything, their hands will sting for a while, and the box should stay intact.

John Wilson sez: I remember seeing an article in a magazine (popular mechanics?) about 4 or 5 years ago about a guy who went through three mailboxes in quick succession.  He was a welder, so he bought one of those great big mailboxes, and modded it by replacing the sides and bottom with 1/2 inch thick steel, and the top with a section of 1/4 inch steel pipe cut in half.  Mounted it on a big-ass pole, deep hole, lots of concrete, etc.

Couple days later he found a half broken baseball bat at the foot of the mailbox.  Not a dent in the box itself..

I googled and found a lot of messages in welder mailing lists of guys doing similar projects.  Another guy suggested putting down tire spikes, or have some sharp, rusty metal scrap "accidently" fall out of the back of the truck, near the approach path to the mailbox.

Googling for "welded mailbox" only brought up this though

Pancho Cole sez: I don't have a good picture, but I suspended my mailbox from an overhead post using chains so that it was hard to do damage to it - the mailbox just moves when a bat or a snowplow hit it.

Then there is this approach: and the trick is to make your tough mailbx look "vanilla" - when they hit it with a bat you get the satisfaction of hearing them scream as the shock goes all the way up their arms. Of course you need a tough post to put it on, some local kids borrowed their parents Hummer and went around driving over mailboxes, they would have got away with it except they got stuck in a ditch behind one mailbox. I suggest a steel post filled with concrete, buried at least 3 feet and hopefully with a concrete footer poured around it.

Dave Hurley sez: Here is a link to a mailbox that the venerable Norm Abram of the "New yankee Workshop" built on his PBS show some time back.  I'm not sure if fits in the category of "brick shithouse," but it certainly looked stout enough on the show and it has the added benefit of being good-looking to boot.  I don't know about you, but I think building one from NYW would be fun and it would certainly have a certain caché.

Nick Papadakis sez: Don't make the mailbox *look* fortified.  Just fill it with cement, and put it on a spindly ole pole so it looks naked and vulnerable. With any luck, they'll break an arm ...

Eric Thorsen sez: As a test: if the mailbox survived a hit the pebbles would get knocked off. Or maybe someone is buried in it...

Michael Green sez: How typical that people would overlook the fun they could have with this and instead go for the brut-force approach. I have a buddy who lived in a similar area and, after losing two mailboxes in one week, went for the “Q-Ship” approach.  He found the most noticeable, but flimsy looking, mailbox available, painted it day-glo orange, filled it with cement, and mounted it at radiator level.  Fortunately no one was killed, but he did manage to demolish the engine compartment of a Ford F150 pickup that tried to take it out later that evening.  He never had another problem after that.

Alan Macdougall sez: could the pebbles be the markers of door to door itinerants?  In the area of rural New Zealand where I grew up, a small stone on the mailbox was sometimes used by the Jehovah's witnesses to mark out which houses they'd visited. So a kid's small prank was to remove these and cause the house to be visited more than once, much to the annoyance of the inhabitants.

jeremy hunsinger sez: just steel on a 4x4 post, like these.

you want a wood post because it is safer in case you run into it yourself, you want it to break if you hit it with a car.  to make the post, get a 5 gallon pail, fill it with a plastic bag, pour it 2/3 full of concrete then sit the post in the concrete and let it set up, then sink the concrete about 2 inches underground, so only the post is sticking out, and put the rolled steel mailbox on top of it.  then... tell your neighbors, once a few neighbors have these, it ruins the whole mailbox baseball sport.

David Friedman sez: While those homebrew solutions are nice, check out the Fort Knox Mailbox.

Their website comes complete with confusing rollovers, a promise to be "The Last Mailbox You Will Ever Need to Buy!" and even a gallery of ugly mailboxes.

According to the FAQ, the 1/4" thick steel mailboxes ("Most skyscrapers and bridges are made of the same material") can withstand:

Baseball bat = Definitely!
Pumpkin = Pumpkin Pie!
Sledge Hammer = Sure thing!
Rock / Boulder = Boing!
M-80 (explosive) = A 1/4 stick of dynamite has been tested with no phase to the mailbox. It is equivalent of the force of four average M-80 bombs together at once. Your mail will be ashes, but they won't steal it!
Dump Truck = Pulled the mailbox out of the ground in 180 pounds of concrete & dragged it down the street for about 100 ft. A little exterior paint patching and it was back to work the next day receiving mail.
28 Ton Boom Truck = Let's just say there was more damage to the boom truck!

James Goggin sez: Why don't you just dig a hole, put a large metal casing in the ground with lockable hinged lid, yellow marking around a slot so your postman knows what to do, and you'll have a mailbox with no further concern for structual damage or, indeed, disapperance?

Michael sez:  

i saw your entry on boingboing.  

i am looking for information on a mailbox that i think i saw on the hdtv network.  

when vandals hit it with a baseball bat a spiked probe locks into the bat, also two vials of liquid release and spray the vandal. the first vial has a phosphor paint, the second vial has a very strong skunk odor.   if someone happens to email you about this mailbox, could you please forward the info to me.

48clifford hedin  sez: This is a mailbox my dad put in about twelve years ago after a few teenaged bashings and careless drivers.  He made it out of four railroad ties, the 8 x 12 pieces of wood they lay down to support railroad tracks. Those are tied together with several metal straps hidden by some decorative rope. The whole thing got buried in the ground about four feet. The original box is embedded inside. A few years after he put it in, the road was repaved. That added a few inches to the road height, so we attached a new mailbox to the outside to appease the complaining mailman. The only time I can remember anything happening to it, a car hit it and ran off. The impact tilted it about four inches, not such a big deal to fix.  I'm sure the car had a bigger problem than we did.

Joe Schneider sez: There's an interesting mailbox on my commute work.

It appears that the homeowner had some problems in the past, as they used what appears to be a 4-5 inch "I" Beam, which I can only assume is sunk more than a few feet down.  Painted on the side is "HIT ME."

As I thought about it, it's a hell of an idea, and would do major damage to anyone who hits it.  I just wonder if it's legal, as anyone hitting it is going to have some serious problems.

Anyway, i'll get ya the pics as soon as I get a chance.

dfghdfgh sdfg  sez: The brick shithouse can survivae a car based attack, but not pedestrians. It is usually quite fragile.  A 6' 180 lb person can easily separate the brick 'house' from it's concrete foundation.  Once separated, the center of gravity is high enough it can easily be rocked back and forth until it topples.

take it from one who knows...