Friday, July 20, 2012

The Horsey Mailbox

My wife has been wanting a mailbox for her horses. Not that the horses get letters, but she wants them to get used to approaching a standing device, and have the rider get things in and out. Supposedly it’s good training, and I’ve been meaning to do it. With her teaching this weekend, I decided to knock it out.

I didn’t want a set post in the ground, but I’d made a couple volleyball posts and one had broken. So I decided to use that. I cut two 2x4s and added them to the broken post, giving me an upright set of posts to hold the mailbox.


I screwed these in with 6-7 screws on each side. Once that was done, I grabbed the mailbox I’d bought the other day. First I measure the underside, which was about 6 1/4” wide. I cut a 2x6 down to fit in there, and then ripped a rabbit in the middle of it so the mailbox would sit on it. I then bandsawed the end to fit inside my two upright posts. You can see the top here:


Once that was done, I screwed it into the two posts, using a clamp to hold it. I also added a support at an angle, screwed into the upright posts in the same way.

Photo Jul 20, 10 14 49 AM

Once this was done, I added the mailbox and it was set. The mailbox is about eye level for me, so it shouldn’t be too low for someone on horseback.

Photo Jul 20, 10 18 10 AM

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Trim, Sanding, and Finishing

No pictures, since I didn't have the phone or a camera with me and didn't both going to get one, but the bench is shaping up nicely. I have a coat of finish on it, and I'll sand it tomorrow and add a second coat.

Yesterday I decided to get off my butt and do some work on the bench. My wife asked me when it would be done since she liked it, and I wanted to knock this one off, so I went out there and went to work. First I trimmed about 1/4" off each end to get them straight and even.

Next, I turned it upside down and then cut a 45degree corner on the end of one of the 2x4s, on the wide side. That way this would be a 3.5" trim piece hanging on one side. I set it next to the bench, measured, and then cut the other end a little long. I measured again and then trimmed it down.

I repeated this process for all 4 sides, until I had four miters that were close, not perfect, but good enough. I only blew one of the short sides and had to scrap it and cut a new one. With all four laid out, I clamped the long sides to the bench and screwed one side in, using 3 screws into each of the cross braces that were holding the top. With these done, I could clamp on the short sides, lining them up and trimming them slightly to make them fit better. They were screwed into the top and I had a bench that was  done as far as assembly was concerned.

The next step was to sand everything down. I used the belt sander with 80grit to clean up the top a bit, getting things fairly even. There were a few places where the top boards were slightly chipped on an edge and I couldn't get down to them. I could have pulled everything apart, but I was out of patience. I added a little wood filler over the screwed and tried to smooth that out. Today I realized I should have wiped off more of the filler, but live and learn.

The random orbit sander also helped, with 80 to start and then 220 all over the top and sides. Things were looking good when I knocked off.

Today I went out and bought more 100grit round pads and then went to work on the legs, smoothing and evening them out. I didn't want a completely perfect finish, so a few knots and blemishes are fine. Once everything was done, I wet a paper towel, wiped it all down, and set it in the sun for a couple hours.

Not a big selection of finishes in the house. I had some colored stain + poly choices, but they were small. I had one big outside poly finish, and decided to leave things natural and just apply that. I set it out and put a complete coat on the top and legs, getting the trim one. The bottom of the top (inside) wasn't done, but I need to flip it over, and I'm thinking to wait until I have the top done before I do that. At that time I also want to epoxy the bottom of the feet a bit as well.

So far it looks good and I'll snap pictures tomorrow.