Mailbox mods for snow country.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BobbyZ, Jan 26, 2020.

  1. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    The "joys" of living in snow country you just have to accept. Besides knowing your car's going to rust out there's the rural mailbox/snowplow interaction.
    Before I got involved in plowing roads I always thought it was the idiots driving the plow trucks that caused all the problems. Just like everybody else. Now that I'm one of those idiots I see things in the big picture and there's three parties that should get blamed.
    Obviously if a plow hits the box or it's stand, it's going down. No question about that. That actually is pretty rare.
    Most of the time it's the snow hitting the box that knocks it off. People are supposed to maintain their own boxes and use approved stands that swing and have enough clearance so the wing plow fits under the box.
    So a guy puts up a box, maybe on the approved stand, (most likely not) then wonders why his box gets knocked off some years later. Well the metal gets road salt just like your car, it rusts out. And that wood you used rots away.
    Now the third person to blame. The mailman! And here's where I had trouble with my new, Post Master General Approved made in USA box on a MNDOT approved stand. Mailman wasn't getting the door closed. Door hung down and the guy plowing by my place had to swerve to miss the door.
    Snow removel by the box is the home owners responsibility, few people bother. So I had to take the blower down there and clear the snow. (If you leave that snow the next time the plow goes by and the doors shut it'll probably lift the wing and hit the box. That's actually your fault but you blame the plow guy.) I really don't like running a snowblower, even a vintage one, so something had to be done.
    A scrap 2x4 keeps the door from opening all the way. A spring mounted so it goes overcenter pulls the door closed and a magnet inside keeps it closed. Turns out the latch inside those Post Master General approved made in USA boxes ain't worth a crap. If you live in snow country or just don't like wet bills when it rains you might want to mod your's too. 20200121_102122.jpg 20200121_102129.jpg 20200101_143701.jpg
     
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  2. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    That is one trippy-ass finish on your mailbox
     
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  3. Average_Joe

    Average_Joe Tele-Holic

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    This one might work too

    magnum mail box.jpg
     
  4. Steerforth

    Steerforth Tele-Afflicted

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    1). Dig hole in ground away from road. Fill hole with concrete.

    2). Stick a piece of pipe in the concrete.

    3). Mount mailbox on larger diameter pipe with a 90-degree bend and a long arm reaching out to the road.

    4). Slip larger diameter pipe over smaller pipe in concrete.

    5). Drill hole all the way through all pipe walls. Stick a nail through the holes.

    6). When snow comes, pull out nail. Snowplow will make mailbox rotate out of the way.

    7). When snow storm is over, rotate mail box back so mail person can reach it. Put nail back through holes until next snow storm so the wind doesn’t keep making the mail box sail in circles.
     
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  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I built my last one so the mailbox sits on a shelf on the back side of the post from where the snow will strike it. So any huge ice chunks thrown at it from the snow plow are likely to hit the post not the over extended box. Still it gets pummeled but not knocked down flattened. Last winter my box was bent but twenty other boxes down the road for two miles were in as many states of destruction from stuck in the snow bank separated from their posts to just plain smashed to pieces. It was a surprising sight to see.

    Another solution is a plywood sheet on the plow side of the post/box to take the impact.

    I've seen some try to use the spring system so the box spins away from the ice striking it, but any mail in those is sprayed out by centripetal forces.

    Vandals attacked castles with catapults throwing rocks not much larger than snow plows hurl ice boulders at mailboxes at 50 mph.

    It's a siege. Be out there in your plate armor, shield, and long sword.

    .
     
  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'll have to take a photo of our mailbox stand. One of my neighbors is a retired Air Force welder. So he mounted all of our mailboxes (we all must travel some distance on dirt roads to get to the mailboxes) onto a super heavy duty monster spring loaded platform for our mailboxes. The snowplow makes a u-turn at our mailboxes (we all live beyond the end of the paved road), might get more damaged if he ever hits it.
     
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  7. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Not necessarily for snow but my dad always tells me a story from the 80s of this guy around here who’s mailbox kept getting trashed so he took one of those old metal milk containers and filled it with cement and put his mailbox post into that
    Not long after some high school kid in a sports car ran into the thing and totally wrecked his car the guy actually felt bad and gave the kid money to have his car fixed

    I guess it looked something like this
    B3B7F210-01F1-411D-BA1C-79ACFBA5FBBE.jpeg
     
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  8. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Ha there’s actually a guy down the street from me that has a mailbox that looks like a big automatic pistol I’ll see if I have a pic of it
    931DC6EC-3492-48BA-9497-FEAF83989950.jpeg

    I couldn’t get a good pic because I was driving by
     
  9. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe he was responsible for this:
    https://www.usps.com/manage/mailboxes.htm
     
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  10. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Although I am not a rural carrier, my city route does go to some rural areas. Looking at your design, I wanted to make a few observations.

    1. If the door doesn't open all the way, your carrier will not be happy.

    The reason for that is many small packages are sent using boxes designed to fit a standard mail box. If the door doesn't open all the way, some of those shipments will not fit and require the carrier to take it to the house. That may sound trivial, but our routes are a race against the clock as it is, so any extra delay can really trip you up.

    2. Does the spring pull the door shut? Is there tension on it to hold the door open?

    If there is tension on that door to where you need to hold it open, that will be a real pita for the carrier who only has one hand to open the door and insert the mail. My route includes a historic area of town and all the houses still use those stupid mail slots in the front door or on the front of the garage. When you have a stack of magazines and newspapers in your left arm, holding a stack of letters in your left hand, and need to raise the flap with your finger in order to insert mail it you get upset. I have received stitches from getting sliced by those things in the winter.

    Obviously, a rural doesn't carry in their arms, but my point being that you still only have one hand to open and insert mail so that door should not be spring-loaded (if that is indead the case)

    3. There is a reason the letter carrier hits mailboxes when snow is on the ground

    Not saying that they should or that it can't be avoided, but I think every letter carrier has hit a mailbox or two. What happens is that as you pull up to the box, you are on a slant and it is often icey or just packed snow. As you drive away, the back end tends to fishtail and clips the mailbox. We are reminded all the time to pull away slowly, but again, the clock is ticking and we are on a tight schedule. Rural carriers have it worse since most are using their own vehicles and not many will be 4x4 or even have a posi-traction axle so they would slip even worse.

    If you really want to win the battle in winter, build yourself a mobile mailbox that can be retreated when not in use. I've seen many designs from using a platform that can be rotated around to those on cables that run from the street to the house. In fact, as a kid in the country, we had our mailbox mounted that way. My Dad just used a simple pulley and clothesline to jerry rig it so that my mother could just wind the mailbox up the driveway to the house and back down. I think I would use an electric motor these days, but the idea would be easy to apply.

    Oh, and my other advice to everyone regarding mailboxes is this: Get a BIG one or else at least empty it out every 3 days. Junk mail will fill up a normal box very quickly and we are bound by law to deliver it.
     
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  11. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Holy crap, is that you driving? I've heard that dog owners start to resemble their dogs, but wow.
     
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  12. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    I meant to mention that in the pic my avatar dog Lois is visible , also undisputed “proof” I’m a “real” person that took a photo or at least maybe I’m a dog?
     
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  13. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

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    @Milspec the spring goes over center and holds the door open, a little flip and it shuts.
    Guy I play guitar with is a rural carrier he told me to buy a big "farm box". He can't stand the little boxes 90% of people have because nothing bigger than a standard envolop fits in them.
    His car broke down one day so I drove him around in my car. It was a warm day maybe in the 40s with ice, snow and mud on the back roads. How I didn't hit a box or go in the ditch I'll never know! Thankfully they told him having a friend drive was against the rules!
    That's a tough job!

    While concrete and things seems like a good idea, it's not a good idea and you might want to check local laws first. The box and stand are supposed to break away if hit by a car. Put anything out there that isn't approved and somebody hits it and gets hurt, you will be in court. We report anything like that, county and city here apparently don't.

    The paint on my box? I told my daughter she should paint it when I got it this summer. Not exactly sure what she was going for but I guess it was hot and the green spray paint stuck on. She lost interest in finishing the project so I just put the damned thing up. Other side is worse but it scares away most of the salesman. Of course the guy that disappeared from this place a few yours back, keeps a lot away too. :)
     
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