How to Repair a Decorative Cast Iron Mailbox
A decorative cast iron mailbox serves the dual purpose of keeping your mail and adding color and elegance to your home. There is no hard and fast rule of decorating the mailbox and you can do it whatever way you desire. Cast-iron is heavy but it might break if dropped because the metal is brittle, therefore you must be careful while working on it. With the following guidelines you will be able to repair your decorative cast iron mailbox, yourself.
Step 1 – Identify Problem
Figure out what has happened to your cast iron mail box, so you can select what method needs to be adopted for repairing the mailbox. There are various problems that might have caused the need for repair. These problems include, rusted cast iron, cracks on surface, broken decorative part, the door might need adjustment or the plaque may have come off.
Step 2 – Fixing Hinge Problems
If the hinges are creaking and not functioning smoothly simple oiling can do the job. Regular lubricating will take care of the problem in future also.
Step 3 – Fixing Latch Problems
However if the curved latch is not fixing properly you can use pliers to either pull it a bit outward or push it inward to the position where it fixes properly in the main body of the mailbox.
Step 4 – Addressing Problems with Decorative Embellishments
If the plaque or decorative part is fixed with screws which have come off, get new screws of the right size and screw them on with a screw driver. New holes may have to be drilled if the old ones have loosened or if the screws you have do not fit in the old holes. But remember to use the correct bit of the drill for this purpose. Adhesives can also be used to fix such parts if they are not very heavy. However choose an adhesive which works on metal and is weather resistant. Be careful as to not let the adhesive touch your skin. Use gloves to protect your hands.
Step 5 – Protecting Against Rust
Rust may be removed by rubbing with an abrasive sheet or steel wool. Lightly rub surface & wipe off the dust with a cloth. After cleaning apply oil or unsalted fat or lubricant evenly on the surface & let it dry. Repeat oiling periodically in future to avoid rusting. You can also paint the rusted mailbox to give it a new and fresh look.
Step 6 – Repairing Cracks
For cracks, either use a good sealing compound or use welding technique if you are comfortable with it. The sealing compound application instructions are given with the product. Read them carefully before applying the compound. These are usually very easy to apply. The mailbox can be repainted to hide the sealant.
As for welding hire the services of a professional, because cast iron requires high temperature preheating. Without preheating, welding is ineffective on cast iron even if it is a branded welding rod.