After a couple of months lurking, I am making my first post. Which means that I cannot imbed the many photos I actually had the presence of mind to take. If you are so kind as to read on, you will find links to slideshows of the two stages of the project. This post will make more sense with the captioned photos. Let me know if the links do not work or if you have any questions.
While I am lucky to live in a cute mid-century A-frame with my DH, the house is not so lucky to have had all of the things it has done to it over the decades. This included having bolted to its clean white brick some off-the-shelf colonial style lamp and mailbox. http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/thegreencraftster/?action=view¤t=5ca3f15f.pbw
When my DH replaced the light with a clean industrial chrome lamp we had picked out, I planned to spray paint the mailbox to match. Once I got it down, though, I saw more ugliness and structural disintegrity than I could stomach. My first stab at trying to move the reinforcements to the inside got me thinking I should just build a whole new box. But with what?
*Insert Lightbulb Here*
We had removed our range hood a few months back while installing undercounter lights. It cast a shadow and, as we have no over-range fan, was extraneous. But I could not toss out all that shiny steel. (At the time I was thinking it would make a great magnet board.)
So, with a lot of tools I had never before used (tin snippers, Dremel, electric drill and pop rivet) and a little guidance, I set to.
I grabbed an old copy of WIRED to estimate the maximum dimensions of any one piece of mail we might receive (the publishers have since trimmed a bit off the side.) From there, I sketched out a basic pattern and made sure the measurements I wanted could be cut from the largest (top) side of the hood. (The other sides of the hood were crimped on and easily popped off with the aid of a flat headed screwdriver.)
Then I set to work with the tin snippers. They are super-fun to use but can make sharp slivers if one leaves off and starts snipping at imprecisely the same point. So I would recommend using gloves and making continuous cuts.
Once I had the template as I wanted it, I cleaned up the edges with the Dremel (it is a handheld rotary too with loads of bits to cut, file, etch, etc; a rasp or appropriate sandpaper could also work) and then made the folds with the aid of a dead weight mallet.
Then my superkind neighbor stopped by to see how the project was coming along and offered to fetch me a pop rivet from his shop so I could hold the box together without any screw threads protruding. (This is the same guy who said encouraging things about my concentric pinecone ring yard art sculpture. So living in the burbs isn't all bad.)
Before I could pop rivet the sides together, I had to drill the holes through which the rivets would pass. While I managed to get the drill through the metal with minimal 'dancing' on the surface, I did make my One Major Miscalculation.
See, the way I designed the box, the bottom panel has short side tabs and the front and back panels have full side tabs. So, the sides of the box have two layers at the top and three at the bottom. All this is to make the box impervious to the elements. (Which in this case --with it to hang slightly under the roof line-- means mostly spiders.)
When I went to drill the holes I clamped the two side tabs together so the drill would pass through them at once. This worked for the top two holes on either side. The small bottom tabs, however, were just bent back by the speeding drillbit.
I semi-managed to brace the small tabs against the long tabs with the dead weight, but one corner is pretty fugly from where I gave up and cut it away with the tin snippers. (So anyone wishing to adapt this idea would do well to cut a brace to fit from some plywood.)
Eventually, I got all the rivets in. The first image is a mock-up I did half-way through to see what it would look like 'in action'.http://s198.photobucket.com/albums/aa17/thegreencraftster/?action=view¤t=6a3f0a4d.pbw
There was enough material from the sides of the range hood to make a new house numbers plate, as well. Which led me to much font obsessing.
I copied and printed samples from a commercial font site. In the slideshow are (from top to bottom) the old house number, the new house number and a template on which I am fucking around with ideas for increased nighttime legibility. (Read: Glitter Glue.)
Brillo Pads, BTW, are excellent for cleaning scrap metal and for use as a Sharpie eraser thereon (much needed in freehand applications as this.)
The last thing I did was to cut an attachment piece and rivet it to the back of the box. I used drillbits two steps off from each other to make the screw slide holes.
Here is the box mise en scene with the aforementioned porch light. Just one trip to Hardware City and I'll have the hinge for the lid and some bolts for the housenumbers.
Thanks for reading. This was a big confidence and skills builder.