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Greene and Greene Mailbox

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We needed a new mailbox, but I couldn’t find an off-the-shelf version that I liked. So I decided to build my own. As I’ve always admired the work of Greene and Greene, the architect brothers who fused Asian design with Arts and Crafts style during the early 20th century, I thought it would be cool to include some of their signature elements in my mailbox: Pronounced joints with heavily rounded edges create the structure, stepped profiles accentuate the lid, and faceted pegs add visual interest and overall balance. The pegs also hide the screws used to assemble the box.


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Start by marking and rough-sawing the sockets. Their inside corners will be radiused by routing in a later step, so leave sufficient material.

Click any image to view a larger version.


Rout the fingers and sockets using templates and a flushtrim bit. This template creates fingers at the top and bottom of the front and back pieces. The fingers and sockets are reversed on the template used to rout the side pieces (below).


Round the fingers and sockets on a router table. First, hold the piece on edge and rout clockwise around each finger. Then lay the piece flat and rout full length on both faces.


Assemble the box one corner at a time. Square the joint and clamp the parts firmly. A squarely-milled 4x4 makes this easy. Pre-drill, then install the screws.


Use a washer to create a complementary profile when you trace the lid’s handle onto the spline blank. The groove for the spline was cut in the lid earlier, before the handle profile was sawn.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker May 2008, issue #135.

May 2008, issue #135

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