We rapidly discovered that this was a project that would involve much more than just pushing the pipe back to square and re-bolting the mailbox to it's support board. Upon emptying out the whiskey barrel planter, we discovered three things. First, the bottom half of the barrel was filled with the same gravel that was used in the driveway. Second, there was no wooden bottom in the planter, either because the boards had completely rotted away, or because they had been removed to accommodate the steel pipe, which went into the ground. Either way, it meant that moving the planter was the same as pressing its self-destruct button. Third, the steel pipe had partially fractured underground, right at the point where the pipe went from vertical (the part in the ground) to angled (to get the mailbox close to the road). It was very rusty, and the pipe could be bent further off-kilter, but not back toward it's original position. That's likely because the impact from the snow plow had introduced a large number of dislocations in the steel's grain structure, which drastically reduced it's ductility along the negative of the snow plow's initial force vector. But, that's not important right now. What is important is that we now had a completely broken off mailbox pipe, an imploded whiskey barrel planter, a pile of gravelly dirt, and most importantly, no mailbox.
|This is what the mailbox was supposed to look like. |
|So we trimmed the ends of the whiskey barrel planks, screwed them together with some corner brace scraps, and stapled 0.25" hardware cloth to the bottom. (Ok, we did have a few scraps, just not the right ones.) Ooh, it looks very vintage-ey.|
|Here's a closeup of the corner. The cut end smells like white oak. It must have fewer tannins to leach into the whiskey than the red oak. Anyway, definitely drill out the holes before screwing it together. These are some old boards, after all!|
|Pop quiz! What's the next step in this process? If you guessed 'scoop up the dirt with rocks and put it in the sifter, you're right! Congratulations.|