Less than a year ago, we decided to replace the leaning tower of crap we called a mailbox with a new box and post. After much deliberation we purchased a new Solar Group Rural Locking mailbox for roughtly $80 from Lowes Hardware store.
There were a lot of reasons we decided on this:
- Metal mailboxes don’t crack in cold
- I wanted a magnetic latch system that wouldn’t wear away like plastic
- The larger size meant bigger packages could fit in it
- honestly, I just liked the style
When we got it home I immediatly remove the concealed locking access door, since it wasn’t a feature we cared out, plus it made the inside huge. When I drilled out the 3 rivets holding it in place to a plastic frame I noticed that the piano style hinge was rusty as all hell. Figuring that this was the only part of the box that was rusty (no other rust was evident and it was powder coated after all) we just chaulked it up to poor storage. I sent an email to Lowes via their website, after all I hadn’t spent $80 bucks to buy pre-rusted mailbox..had I? Their response was to talk to a general manager, who when I called was basically “yeah….and what do you want me to do?”
Way to to Lowes….I call you to give you a heads up because I thought you might want to know your selling rusty crap and that’s all I get?….nice.
So whatever, I figured thank god we took that rusty door off and saved ourselves….little did I know what was going to happen.
May of 2005 I noticed rust starting to form on multiple spots on the box. Corners, flat parts, no real rhyme or reason. Not even spots where water might have possibly pooled…just all over. Kind of like hives. This is where the story really starts.
I drilled out the rivets holding the main door’s piano hinge to the chassis and found that basically this mailbox was eating itself alive:
I was shocked honestly….I really thought that by paying more for a mailbox I would have gotten better quality than this. I mean the thing was rusting to high holy hell and the power coating was bubbling off the front of the door in the upper right corner! This was quality? So I figured what the hell and I called the Solar Group’s customer support line. Afte speaking with “Naomi” was asked to send some pictures via email of the rust.
The result? Basically they told me to go pound sand because I had drilled out the rivets to expose the rust. SOMEHOW BY DRILLING OUT THE RIVETS I MAGICALLY CAUSED RUST TO FORM ALL OVER THE MAILBOX.
So me and my magical rust abilities were pissed. No freaking way was I going to let them get away with this crap. So I did the next logical step. I decided to strip down all the paint to metal, reprime and repaint it myself. Along the way I discovered a few things about how hard power coat is to remove, and about how bad the rust really was. Mental note: depending on the thickness of the metal…if you have a choice use chemical automotive/marine paint thinner as opposed to trying to blowtorch off the powder coat. Otherwise you’ll warp the metal easliy.
Below are pics of about two weeks of my life of non stop working on this (Jen was out of time). I think I probably lost enough brain cells to the chemical solvent that now I am actually qualified to work for the Solar Group powder coating dept:
The entire damn with was covered with MAGICAL RUST….I mean jesus christ this thing wasn’t even close to being powder coated correctly…I have no idea how in the hell somebody could even sell something like this. Why not just take 5 extra seconds to do your job right, or heaven forbid use aluminum???!!!
The end result of a solid week of blowtorching, chemical paint remove, wire brusting and scraping my little black heart out:
Primed with Rust-oleum Rusty Metal Primer and painted with Rust-oleum Textured Black (which I don’t recommend…doesn’t come out quite right…at least not for me. Took two can’s of each to finish the damn thing….of course I had to paint the plastic bits as well to match. I put it all back together AFTER PAINTING EVERYTHING using generic stainless steel pop rivets available at any hardware store:
That’s about it….I put one more coat on the hinges and pop rivets that you don’t see to seal them up. All told my $80 dollar mailbox cost me:
1 pair of work gloves $9
1 can of paint thinner $7
2 wire brushes (drill) $8
1 asst hand brushes $2
4 can’s of rustoleum paint $12
2 packages of pop rivets $6
Not facturing in my time, or tax that means that this mailbox cost at least $124 dollars. Honestly, based on this whole debacle, I recommend you go out and buy twelve $10 dollar plastic cheapo mailboxes and just replace them yearly. Regardless avoid this mailbox by all costs.
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