You know those brick mailboxes that are in front of every house in every subdivision all across the land? We had one at our last house, and we really liked it. It matched the brick on the house and, well, I think it classed up the place. Our new house did not come with a brick mailbox. It wasn’t even an option. So, during the building phase, we collected all the bricks that were left around the house, that would have been bulldozed under the ground. We stacked them in the garage until the day came that we had no impending projects. This would be our last project for 2014. So, it’s November now, but luckily the weather was holding. At least in the beginning of the project. I remember days, or nights really, as we ran out of daylight that we froze our keesters off!
I’m sure you’re wondering how we knew we could build a brick mailbox. We didn’t know. But, we figured it couldn’t hurt to try. We knew we had to pour a footer for a solid foundation. We measured our neighbors mailbox and did a test layout to make sure all the bricks would fit in the designated square footer. Once we did that, we dug out a square hole. Square hole? Um, yeah, square hole. We used 2×4’s as forms, the size of our square hole, and put in rock that we tamped down. Then we mixed the concrete and poured it in the form.
I honestly don’t remember how many days it was from the time we poured the concrete till we started laying the cement blocks and bricks. Most likely it was an entire week, as we only have Saturday and Sunday to work on projects. Anyway, once the concrete was set it was time to begin. It went pretty fast at first.
You start out by centering your concrete blocks on the pad. Then you put on a second layer going in the opposite direction, with cement in between. We started putting down bricks once we got the first 4 concrete blocks set.
Make sure you have the right tools. Besides something to mix the mortar in, we used a wheelbarrow and shovel, you will need a rubber mallet, a level and a few of these nifty tools.
Now it was time for the curve. Now I know this is not how professionals do it, and it takes them like a half an hour to complete the entire mailbox, but this is how we did it. We cut some templates, to put around the mailbox, to support the bricks as we made the curve. We added wire mesh to that to hold the mortar..
So curving with rectangle bricks. Not wedged bricks, rectangle bricks. We have a big chop saw, not a miter saw, but a saw that can cut bricks and other super hard stuff. We knew we weren’t going to have enough bricks, so my husband picked up some bricks that were very similar in color. The texture was very different as was the process in how they were made. These were hard bricks and they were not easy cut. We used the chop saw, didn’t work too well and we used a grinder. Worked ok, but man was it messy. My poor husband…take a look.
See what I mean? Luckily, we didn’t have to cut too many. We gave up on trying to wedge the bricks and just used more cement to force them to curve. At one point, it was late, dark and we really hated how it looked, so we tore it back down, cleaned up as much as we could and left it to start again the next day. It was very frustrating at times.
Figuring out the layout for the back.
So, here we are, 99.9% done. We were pretty happy with it.
Now it’s done!
So, that’s it! One thing I would be better at is brushing the bricks to remove the cement off the face of the bricks. Once it’s dry, it’s dry. We didn’t do an acid wash, which might have removed more of the dried cement, but honestly, we were tired. So, if this is something you’ve always wanted to do, go ahead and try it. What have you got to lose? Ok, you might lose a few weekends and some skin off your fingers but when you pick up your mail out of your beautiful new mailbox, you won’t remember any of that.
Until next time…