Plastic shelves for a mailbox

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Forum topic by Niceguy4186 posted 11-02-2012 02:40 AM 1266 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 2762 days

11-02-2012 02:40 AM

Hello all,

I plan on making a 27 slot mailbox for my wife (who is a 1st grade teacher). She made it clear that she wanted clear plastic shelves in it verse using wood or anything like that. Seems everywhere I’ve looked, still 9×12ish sheets of plastic are crazy expensive. Am I looking at the wrong thing? Doesn’t seem like a thin piece of 9×12 plastic should cost 3-4 bucks each. While she would prefer clear, solid color plastics would work too. While talking to my dad, he suggested that I get some cheap clipboards and remove clip part.

Any body have any other suggestions?


9 replies so far

View wjbclocks's profile


16 posts in 2055 days

#1 posted 11-02-2012 09:17 PM

It seems like Father Knows Best..
I have bought plastic sheets from This company.Delvies Plastics inc. Toll fre number 800-533-5843.
And I do not have any connetions with them except as a custermer

-- WJ Brady

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#2 posted 11-02-2012 09:58 PM

Have you checked with your local glass companies? Is there a plastics dealer near you like TAP plastics? I know HD and Lowes carries sheet plastics, but I don’t know how much they charge.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3741 days

#3 posted 11-02-2012 10:20 PM

Plastic prices are tied to the price of oil, so it’s about the most expensive way to go.

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#4 posted 11-03-2012 06:38 AM

I would go to a glass place. They will have glass, acrylic, polycarbonate, etc. and let them tell you what is the cheapest.

-- Rick M,

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2847 days

#5 posted 11-03-2012 01:41 PM

“plastic” is like “wood.” except that it’s a lot harder to tell one petroleum product from the other. I am not an expert, but I keep the stuff around and, (confession) buy clipboards at thrift stores and save the plastic.

Acrylic is generally the cheapest. It tends to be brittle and you need a sharp, many-toothed blade on your table saw.

Polycarbonate is the one that will bend and bend and not shatter (think motorcycle windshields). There’s more, but I list these just because they’re the most common.

Rick and Ron: right on. At least get some quotes for the stuff and present it to the professor. Perhaps an alternative would be hardboard (Masonite) painted with high quality oil base product in primary colors.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View oldnovice's profile


6847 posts in 3365 days

#6 posted 11-03-2012 05:32 PM

Cut edges on plastic are very sharp, be sure to ease the exposed edges.

That can be done in many different ways:
  • torch the edges, easiest but the trickiest … to much heat = warped plexiglass
  • round over or chamfer bit and polish
  • sanding, least visually appealing unless it is followed by a polish
Other point:
  • You can torch polish Polycarbonate and Plexiglass.
  • Polycarbonate can only be made clear after sanding/machining by vapor polishing.

ABS, the plastic used in DWV (Drain Waste Vent) may be cheaper but it is not as strong in the same thickness is not available in clear. It is the easiest to machine and can be polished with fine grit paper.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Shawn Russell's profile

Shawn Russell

2 posts in 1861 days

#7 posted 04-25-2013 08:22 AM

If she doesn’t mind solid colored plastics, you could try Ikea. Yes, Ikea. They do have planks made of wood with laminated plastics that can be use for shelve. If you asked me, lamination would be the cheapest option you have. Of course if you’re willing to spend, good quality plastic boards are easily available in plastic distributors or fabricators. You can even get them to cut to size and smoothen for you. You might have to think about a sort of carrier for transport as they can break quite easily on impact. Make sure they are wrapped properly and if they are really long, you might need your wife to help carry so each of you can be at both ends. Leave whatever you bought in its wrapper/carrier until the moment of installation to prevent scratches.

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#8 posted 04-25-2013 10:38 PM

This thread is almost 6 months old, hopefully he’s figured it out by now.

-- Rick M,

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


4727 posts in 2348 days

#9 posted 04-25-2013 10:58 PM

Go to a hardware store and get a big sheet of plexiglass. You can cut it on a table saw w/ a fine tooth blade and a zero clearance insert.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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