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Searching For The "Perfect" Mailbox

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  • #16
    Originally posted by DrBob View Post
    Great Job, MTB!
    a claymore tripwired to the post and some reactive tank armor would be good
    DrBob
    **** I dont care you are, that some funny stuff right there.

    Comment


    • #17
      I had mailbox problems too. You can't see my house from the road and my road curves perfectly for a car to line up. I got so mad I built a 3/8" plate mailbox and got a 6" diameter pipe to hold it. Sadly I never put it up because, living in Massachusetts, I would just end up in court when the "poor youth with a promising future" got ripped out of his moving car when he tried to take it out with a bat.

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      • #18
        Promising future

        I would just end up in court when the "poor youth with a promising future" got ripped out of his moving car when he tried to take it out with a bat.
        Well, GDA use MTBob's idea and mount the box so it'll swivel out of the way when hit by the bat (or a snowplow blade. I lost so many boxes to the orange rod that shows the snowplow guy where the edge of his plow is that I wound up pouring a new footing and setting a new brick column 14" further back. The Postman has to get out of his seat now but at least there's a box to put the mail in

        DrBob

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        • #19
          ...The Rest Of The Story

          Well, this post continues to have interest, so let me kick it one more time by telling the rest of the story (first, my humble apologies to any postal employee that this may offend - I love our mail carrier, he's a great guy):

          I began this project like any good citizen would, by collecting the facts from the folks who would use the mail box the most, the Post Office. I visited our local office to ask them whether they had any standard designs, recommendations or other references. A bad idea. The first problem was simply getting inside someone's office to actually talk to a human. Apparently the Post Offices are a bit paranoid about folks going "postal"... After this experience I can see why.

          The first person I talked to said it "was not her job" (I've come to find out that these are the first four words that begin any sentence uttered by a postal clerk). She then sent me to another Post Office. But, before I left she told me that what ever I was making was not going to work because the only mailboxes they would service had to be approved by the United States Post Office. Oky Dokey... off I go to the next bureaucratic...

          So, I go to the next Post Office and after passing the Homeland Security screening (just short of a full cavity search) and after entering a bullet proof combination locked door, I finally sat down in front of the Post "Master". I figgered I'd gotten to the person who knew just about everyting. I told her why I was there and the first words she said: this "was not her job". We then talked about mailbox design. She pulled out some wrinkled forms that showed the precise height, offset from the road and a bunch of other irrelevant details. The more questions I asked, the more shrill her voice became.

          Finally, we got around to the real issue. These folks don't like anyone putting a mail box on a post that can't be easily knocked over by a mail delivery car going 2 MPH. When I told her I was going to use a 4" steel pipe driven 5 feet into the ground, she went nuts, telling me that if her mail delivery guy hit the post it might kill him. I asked her if most of their mail carriers delivered mail while intoxicated. Wrong comment. At that point I was thinking of going postal, but simply told her that it sounded like a great way to clean out the gene pool - and, while she was sputter'in, I got up an left. At that point I decided to do what ever the **** I wanted to do - which, after thinking about these events - is what I should have done to start with.

          There are lots of lessons learned from this experience and I'm sure you'all have your share to tell as well.
          Last edited by MTBob; 01-27-2009, 05:51 PM.

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          • #20
            That's a great story Bob. It sounds like you had some fun with the build. There was a story about mailboxes and kids with bats on CSI last season. Kid gets killed and mailbox owner tries to hide it. I hope you'res don't get tested, cause at 20 mph and a swinging bat even with swivel I don't think that box is going to give.. I never understood what fun destroying others property would be.

            Thanks for the great story.

            Rich

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            • #21
              I would recommend checking with the letter carrier as the USPS has regulations and rules about mailboxes and I think they must be "approved" or what ever.

              Paul

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              • #22
                The Final Word In Mailbox Design? - From the USPS

                For those inquiring minds that like to read volumes of regulations here's the straight poop from your government on the subject of "Mailboxes" - and some other interesting stuff:

                U S Post Office References:
                http://pe.usps.gov/Archive/HTML/DMMA...41.htm#Xbi4678

                http://pe.usps.gov/Archive/HTML/DMMA...1.htm#Xbi15246

                http://ribbs.usps.gov/files/fedreg/usps2001/01-2232.PDF

                Other References:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_box#Standards

                http://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infmai.html

                Comment


                • #23
                  MTBob - the Post Masters worries of the pipe might just be something to think about. Back in the early 70's, my dad nearly got in trouble over vandal proofing our mailbox.

                  After having lost a couple mailboxes, and post, due to vandals hitting the boxes with their old beater pickups, dad decided he'd had enough. Being a welder, dad always had plenty of scrap iron around the shop. Well, out came a section of railroad rail. Two sections cut, welded back to back, and buried about 6 feet in the ground.

                  A few months after installing the 'post from h3ll', we were awakened in the middle of the night by a terrible noise. Out the front door we ran only to find a Mustang, nearly cut in two, on fire, and with our 'post from h3ll' nearly sitting in the Mustang's back seat. Unharmed... minus the mailbox.

                  Well, dad was real proud of his post, but the Trooper that responded to the accident came over and suggested he get the post gone... and right now. Seems the Trooper had know of someone getting sued for hurting someone that had hit their mailbox post that was "unreasonably stronger than necessary to support the mailbox.

                  We did get ride of the post that morning. And yes, that afternoon someone showed up asking to see the post that caused the damage to the Mustang... "sorry, it was destroyed and we replaced it

                  But on the other hand, I thing that the mailbox constructed in this thread probably needs a 4" sch 80 pipe just to support it

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    All good posts. It's all true about suing someone for having too strong of a mailbox post. I remember reading one guy who gave in and welded an old coil spring from a car a third way up the mail box post. That way the mailbox would give if "accidently" hit or ran over it. I'd be careful, in this day and age of lawsuits. The guy who hit's your bombproof mailbox could be living in your house after the court settlement.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      We have a guy 3 houses down that had so many boxes knocked down that he took a large mailbox and put a regular size mailbox inside it and filled it with cement around the center. Mounted it on a railroad tie. A summer ago a woman was driving down the road trying to pick up a lipstick off the floor and hit a pole, a cable box, went back across the road and hit this mailbox. It ended up in the passenger seat of her truck after driving the roof almost into the box. Scary but no injuries. He now has a T post and a small mailbox. Never heard of any problems for him. She didn't have any insurance on her truck at all so that may have saved him.

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                      • #26
                        SOOOooooo, build them to be destroyed or get sued.
                        I was thinking of a strong one, got an old cast food mixer, 750 lbs.
                        Might just keep the one I have, old wood post, knock it over with a bike.
                        Aint life grand!!!

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by richard86 View Post
                          I never understood what fun destroying others property would be.

                          Thanks for the great story.

                          Rich
                          When I was in school, my best friend's family owned a hardware store. His older brother had a friend that opened a competing store and the older brother and friend would go out on Friday night and smash mailboxes . . . then bet on which store would sell more replacements the next morning.

                          Jim

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by richard86 View Post
                            I never understood what fun destroying others property would be.

                            Thanks for the great story.

                            Rich
                            Me either. Not very long ago, I saw some guy on TV giving a speech and he said something like "people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." If everybody thought that way, I doubt we'd be replacing mailboxes or skyscrapers.

                            There is an entire specialty of Highway Design called Roadside Design. It revolves around the fact that vehicle can, will, and often do depart from the roadway. It just happens. They don't go out thinking "Man, my CD's gonna get stuck in the radio and I'm gonna run off the road while screwing with it."

                            The idea is that cars are virtually certain to end up 7-10 feet from the edge of the travel lane, so you don't put telephone poles, bollard posts, massive concrete structures, or anything else there that is likely to kill someone if they hit it.

                            This concept is spelled out in "AASHTO A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets" (AKA "the Green Book") which is the supreme reference for highway design, just like AWS D1.1 is for welding.

                            There is no mailbox so important that it's worth making a state trooper knock on somebody's door at 2am to let them know there's somebody they're never gonna see again.

                            In that respect, the biggest requirement of the perfect mailbox is that it should break before the human does, even if it's a motorcycle.

                            See http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/clearzone.cfm
                            Last edited by Bodybagger; 01-31-2009, 08:40 PM.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Bodybagger View Post
                              There is no mailbox so important that it's worth making a state trooper knock on somebody's door at 2am to let them know there's somebody they're never gonna see again.

                              In that respect, the biggest requirement of the perfect mailbox is that it should break before the human does, even if it's a motorcycle.
                              DADBURNIT MAN, why do you always have to be right!!!
                              Very good point, I guess someone has to keep us on the right track at times.
                              Like I said "I have knocked a few down, so replacing mine is no big deal".

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Holy Sheeet Batman - you guys are serious folks. Your collective comments about liability certainly give me something to think about.
                                But, hey, let's get real here. Take a look around at all the very immovable objects that line our roads, from street light posts, telephone poles, or horizontal 10' long 2x10 wooden beams that hold a dozen mailboxes among hundreds of other fairly strong objects. It seems to me that a 4" steel pipe is one of the smaller objects along many roadways. Also, the road where this box is located is in a very, very rural area - there are few vehicles and they are usually going slow. But, still someone could hit the mailbox or pipe support.
                                Sure, why take the risk of a lawsuit? Well - crapola - every day I get up I face that question; i.e. driving a car, doing my job, someone slipping on ice on our porch... that's why we have insurance.
                                GeeGads, compared to the liability we have with cattle pastured on our place, the mailbox is nothing. You might be interested to know that in Montana if a large animal, horse or cow, gets loose in a roadway and is hit by a car, it is the specific responsibility of the driver to not hit the animal, not the owner of the cattle to keep it fenced in.
                                Now, regarding my new mailbox. I intentionally set the post back off the road (actually placed in the edge of the ditch next to the road). If a vehicle hits the post, it's likely already driven into the ditch. Also, the box is on a cantilever arm that rotates if the box gets hit.
                                On the other hand, if someone veers off the road, the mailbox post is the least of their problems. There are two gate posts next to the mailbox that are railroad ties driven 4' into the ground.
                                Is this a "Perfect" mailbox. Absolutely not. If I lived on a main highway with higher speed traffic, I would rethink the liability question and perhaps redesign the project.
                                For now, I'll take the risk with this mailbox and post.
                                Last edited by MTBob; 02-01-2009, 06:31 PM.

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