Greig Morgan tells how to make a letterbox the neighbours will envy.
Every home needs a letterbox to protect mail from the weather, and that's just what ours wasn't doing. It was way too small and the mail would hang out of it so if I collected it after it had been raining I'd get a handful of soggy bills.
So I made a new letterbox, one big enough to contain our mail and the Herald on Sunday, and at the right height to keep on the good side of the postie. A letterbox is an easy, fun project and if you paint it a bright colour your friends won't have any trouble finding your house.
Mark the following measurements on your length of 300x25mm, using a tape, pencil and builder's square: bottom panel, 280x300mm; two side panels, 280x300mm; front panel, 280x380mm; back top, 280x220mm; back bottom, 280x60mm; two roof pieces, 280x390mm; rain protector, 230x60mm; front and back side rods, 275x60mm. Cut along the waste side of each mark.
If using a handsaw, clamp the front and back top pieces together to the bench. Measure the centre point along the top edge of each panel. Now measure down 100mm either side and scribe a line from point to point. This gives you the angle for your roof. Cut along the line.
For the newspaper hole, measure down 70mm from centre of the top of the front and the back top panels. Scribe a line around the piece of downpipe. Then, using a hole saw or a jigsaw, cut to the mark on each panel.
To make the letter slot, find the centre points on the sides of the front panel, then measure in 85mm from either side. Measure up 100mm from the bottom of the panel, then 35mm up from that mark. Drill a 10mm hole inside the marked space, then cut along the lines.
To make the rain protector, plane a bevel along the top edge. This should prevent the rain getting into the slot. Fix it in place from the inside.
Take your two roof pieces and plane a bevel along the top edge of both pieces, making sure the two pieces fit neatly together. Then plane a bevel on the top edges of the side pieces for the roof to sit on, with no gaps. Bevel the same angle for the front and back side rods.
Glue and screw one side panel to the bottom panel. Space the screws evenly and screw them in from the bottom. Repeat for the other side panel, making sure the angles for the roof are the right way around. Now glue and screw the front panel to the front edge of the bottom, then screw the front to the sides.
Now you're ready for the back section. Line up the back top piece flush with the sides then glue and screw together. Do the same with the back bottom. Fix the side rods to the front and back of the side panels, keeping everything flush.
You should now be able to slide the piece of downpipe through the holes on the front and back top panels. Mark and cut the pipe so that it's flush at each end. Fix with a screw at either end to hold it in place.
Align the roof pieces with even overhang at the front and back, then glue and fix down with screws. Fix the external metal corners to cover the joint in the roof.
Make sure all screws are countersunk just below the surface, then follow the instructions on how to mix builder's filler. Fill the screw holes using a putty knife, wait till the filler is hard, then sand off any excess. Paint and fix your address number.
300x25mm dressed gauge pine H3 @ 2.7mtrs (finished size 280x20mm)
External metal corners x2 (center of roof)
100mm piece of downpipe (newspaper hole)
PVA external wood glue
45mm stainless screws
Sharp handsaw/mitre saw
Tape & pencil