External milk or mail box.


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Marischal Ellis

Established Member
20 Nov 2021
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Good afternoon to all,
I am very much out of date or knowledge now (20 years on), but..... last year I made an external milk box to stop our milk being pinched, more a nuisance than anything else, 500mm x 220mm x 400mm approx size l x w x h. with hinged lid. and sits on bricks. Ext .ply was unbelievably expensive and the merchant suggested Chinese ply to be be fine with a good paint. Got sheet home suitably cut to fit roof rack only to realise it was poor, very very poor. I still cant think what it could possibly be of use for, for anyone.

It is now shedding layers like a wet book blowing in the wind and of no practical or visual use to me ......or anyone else either.

What should I have used please? There used to be TAC type boards and many more. I could use something else if available though more involved for me I did enjoy making the box and was quite pleased with my efforts as an old dog. Any suggestions from you would be so helpful to me as I have to replace it. Your advice and suggestions most welcome please. Best wishes to all.

two thumbs.
PS I may still have a useful half tin of good paint to use !!!
Way back, I bought a pallet of 12mm Chinese plywood because there was nothing else available except the £60 a sheet stuff.

After using the first sheet, I knew I'd made a mistake. Ah well only another 83 sheets to use no problem eh?

I put it on double hoping this would be strong enough, but I still had to go back and replace some.

I vowed never again, I would use OSB first, but I wouldn't use that either.

So now I use Malaysian plywood, which although not high quality is good enough at a reasonable price.

I only use it indoors, so it would need to be well sealed for outdoors.
I would consider using marine plywood , a good quality waterproof glue and then exterior paint or varnish to suit. A lot of plywood nowadays is just full of voids and filled repairs that withstand the elements. There is also ply with a phenolic coating on one side but I’ve never used it personally. I didn’t think people still nicked milk - I have to admit to pinching a few bottles 40 odd years ago but i stopped when one particular person ambushed me catching me red handed .
solid wood and then you don't have to worry about de-lamination. Or as a curve ball I made a rectangular planter out of some old roof slates. I drilled small holes so i could wire the corners together. Easy enough to cut to shape and will never rot out on you.
Jewsons sell some ply in 1200x600 sheets, I think they call them handi or similar. I bought a 9mm and a 6mm for some trap trays (used by percussionists for things like sticks, triangles and other small stuff 9n stage) I think they were eucalyptus, seemed decent enough, doubtless more ££ per sq m than big sheets but if you don't have a need for leftovers it's fine. Easily goes in hatchback car too.

Design the lid so the rain runs off, lift it off the ground a bit so it's not standing in water.
it was poor, very very poor. I still cant think what it could possibly be of use for, for anyone.
packing cases.

How does this box stop the milk from being pinched, if the milkman can put it in then the crook can take it out or does it have one of those fancy letter box type entrances where it prevents you getting stuff back out ?
Make an oversize lid, 10 cm overhangs front, back and both sides, minimum to help keep the weather of the sides, drill holes in the base, so that the inside is vented, that way, any moisture that gets in, including condensation on cold milk, has somewhere to go. I have 4 x 30 mm holes in the base of a 20 X 30 cm box, as others have said mount it off the ground.
Just like a Devon cob building, give it a good hat and keep the feet dry!
Look up dibond or "aluminium composite panel" and consider making it out of that.
It will cut with TCT woodworking tools.
The thin aluminium skins and plastic core make a 3mm thick sheet that is immune to water and probably as tough if not more so than a ply box.
Rout through one skin only with a v groove bit and it will bend along the groove, then you could drill and pop rivet. ...
Ebay is your source for offcuts or whole 8x4 sheets.
I finished one last year which is made using real wood finished with Sadollin.
(it was a half completed project unearthed in my late father’s workshop)
Still looks fine 12 months on….

As A-zed has suggested, solid wood rather than any sheet material. Obviously weather proofing of the box itself isn’t critical as the milk would otherwise be sitting in the open anyhow. I would be thinking along the lines of using 150mm pressure treated boards, simply butt joined to achieve the desired width.
To all,
I have just found out the internet has come back on in the house. It has been off for a few days but everything else has been a bit queer as well for a bit. A real nuisance. My reply has been long in coming to everyone, so thank you everyone. A lot of good food for thought here.

The laminated alum sheet was I think known to me as 'Alucobond'. I never used it at a high level so I don't think a custodial sentence is coming my way, ie 'Grenfell Towers type story '.

Sadly Artie found out too late as well. I am leaning towards pressure treated boards at the moment but will think a bit more. In many ways easier for me to handle. So thank you everyone for your help and advice. So very encouraging.st wishes.