Mail Holder

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Project by mminella posted 04-18-2010 05:44 PM 3346 views 7 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is what I call my first true woodworking project. Up to now I’ve been relegated to painted crown molding shelves. Although I can sit here and pick it apart, overall I am very pleased with how this project turned out (the wife is pleased enough to let me do other things that will be displayed in public ;)

With regards to construction, The bulk of the piece was done with pocket screws. The bin in front was nailed together and attached to the back with biscuits. The top piece (with the individual pieces) was built by creating three layers, layers 1 and 3 are just a 1/4” thick piece of oak used to cover up how the middle layer was built. The middle layer was built by gluing each of the longer pieces (that you can see) together with spacers. Looking forward, if I do that type of build again, a jig is definitely needed to make it as nice as it could have been.

For the finish, I started by sanding it with 150, 220, 300 and finally 400. I have to admit, I had a hard time not touching it with how smooth it is. I then laid on a single coat of Zar’s Red Oak stain. On my sample board (not pictured here), I experienced some bad lifting of the stain when I put the first coat of wipe on poly over the stain. Luckily I found this post here . The Zinsser’s Bulls-Eye Seal Coat worked like a charm. Two coats of that followed by three coats of wipe on poly and it was finished.

Overall, I’m very pleased with how this turned out, however I’m curious about how other people handle the detail at the top in mission style furniture (how that’s traditionally built, how you go about constructing such small pieces and what that is called for that matter). Please, any feedback or advice is appreciated!

As a side note, the bench it’s sitting on in the last picture is my inexpensive knock off (construction grade lumber with an emphasis for being able to break it down and store) of the Popular Woodworking’s 21st Century Workbench. If there is any interest, I can put that up as a project as well.

9 comments so far

View Dave Price's profile

Dave Price

90 posts in 3212 days

#1 posted 04-18-2010 07:12 PM

very nice

-- Dave Price , Roswell New Mexico

View sras's profile


4969 posts in 3366 days

#2 posted 04-19-2010 01:41 AM

Excellent project! Especially for a first one – well done!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View woodworm's profile


14470 posts in 3828 days

#3 posted 04-19-2010 02:50 AM

Nice design, I like it.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Mike's profile


93 posts in 3402 days

#4 posted 04-19-2010 04:33 AM

Looks great! I really like the design I am going to build one for the wife.


-- Mike, Cantral Oregon

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3541 days

#5 posted 04-19-2010 04:42 AM

Pretty darn cool.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 3432 days

#6 posted 04-19-2010 04:41 PM

Nice design, simple. I like it.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View MyFathersSon's profile


180 posts in 3550 days

#7 posted 04-19-2010 08:15 PM

GREAT looking piece!

I never give ‘advice’ (heaven forbid – someone might take it).
But you asked how others might approach the assembly.
When doing something like that—when I have the time and patience I use mortise and tenon joints. As I understand the Craftsman style that is more traditional – plus for me it’s just more fun.
For the rails and stiles – sometimes I ‘cheat’ and do half-lap joints.
And yes – I have done the spacer thing exactly as you describe—mainly on porch railings.

That being said—as long as the finished product meets your needs and expectations—I am a firm believer that the ‘best’ procedure is the one that gives you personally the most satisfaction in your work.

And yes—I would love to see more pictures and info on your bench.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

View Karson's profile


35152 posts in 4638 days

#8 posted 05-17-2010 02:43 AM

Great looking mail box.

Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3814 days

#9 posted 05-17-2010 02:56 AM

I like your mail holder great design.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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