5″ Fire Hose – Bring Water… or the Mail!
Some types of fire hose are very easy to think of projects for. After all, I have created more than a 100 items from fire hose. Crosslay hose (1 3/4″ diameter) is my number one choice for projects. It has just the right width when laid flat (approximately 3 1/8″) to create numerous items. The 2 1/2″ or 3″ hose is a little more limiting on projects than that. But what do you do with 5″ hose? Sure the large diameter is great at bringing water from the hydrant to the engine but once it is decommissioned what can you do with it then.
I’ve seen very few projects made from it. Not only is the large diameter limiting, the bright yellow color can be very limiting as well. However, in my case, I also love that the color and materials make it very recognizable when you are making a project that you are, in fact, using fire hose. The coupling is also very recognizable for firefighters. The new and improved Storz couplings are made from aluminum and have a easy locking sexless coupling. They really are just beautiful outside of the actual beauty and ease that they create for our careers.
This is our fire station dilapidated mailbox. It appeared as if a family of beavers had been dining on it for weeks and was in desperate need of some personality. What better place to use a fire hose than as curb appeal at a fire station. When I called our department facility that handles this type of request, they sent a 10 foot 4″ x 4″ weathershield post and a new mailbox. I am sure that they would have replaced it for us eventually but I believe that part of our responsibility is to make our fire station home better than we found it. We do live here a third of our life. Plus it gave me the opportunity to think outside the box and be creative. The supplies sat at the fire station for more than 2 weeks because we never could find the down time to actually start the project. So finally, I told the Officers on the two other shifts, that I was taking it home to create the project and would just bring it back ready to put it in the ground.
This was my first time to ever create this project and to be honest, I had not seen that anyone else had thought of this project from 5″ hose. I will share with you the steps to re-create it if you need more curb appeal at your home or at your fire station.
Step 1: Cutting the post to the correct size. My driver at work had the great suggestion to not only sink it in concrete but that we should create a form around the post to encapsulate the base in concrete as well. This way we can limit the damage that the weed eater does to the post in the future. The bottom of the mailbox height should be around 42″ from the ground. I dug a 16″ hole plus added the 6″ concrete base form that would actually be above ground and determined that my post needed to be cut at 70 inches. That gave me 12″ above the arm that the post would extend to further support the mailbox.
Step 2: Cutting the 5″ hose. I decided that visually it made the most sense to have the coupling toward the ground but not actually sitting on the ground. I wanted people driving by to see it and I hoped that they would actually realize what our post was created with. I cut 16″ from one coupling and 34″ from the other coupling.
Step 3: Thinning the post with my planer. The 4 x 4 post fit through the 5″ diameter hose well. However, at the Storz coupling, it became stuck. So I just quickly rounded out the corners of the post from 30″ down. Once I finished with the planer, I just sanded it smooth.
Step 4: Topping the post. I knew that I would need to top off the post to decrease rain/water entering between the hose and the post. I had some left over cedar from a previous project. One 8″ square piece that would be the cap and some 3″ planks that I mitre cut to be the trim directly below the cap. This trim would secure the hose and remove the possibility of water entering between the two surfaces where mildew and rot could form. However, in order for the trim to fit flush because as I said earlier the hose has a 5″ diameter and the post had a 4″ diameter, I needed to fill out the gap at the top. Luckily sitting around my garage I found some shims that did the job perfect.
Step 5: Creating the arm and bracket support. The previous mailbox post had a 21″ arm so I knew that cut. Then I just cut the remaining piece of 4 x 4 post with two 45 degree angles. This created my support bracket. A few Kreg drill holes and they were ready to be painted. I couldn’t decided if I should paint the arm and support black or red. Personally I love distressed black and yellow together. I use the color combination frequently when I try to find projects to do with yellow crosslay hose. My husband and son voted for the paint choice to be red. I am not sure why I asked when ultimately I decided that black would be best. It will allow me to minimize the color on the post and potentially be more colorful with the mailbox. Once they were dry, I just marked my spot on the post and applied them. I needed an extra set of hands so one of my two MTD Assistants (my husband and son) were johnny on the spot. The photo below is also courtesy of my MTD assistant Michael. My husband doesn’t know it yet but he has been promoted to MTD Head Assistant since he is retired. Basically, he will be VOLUNTOLD… We all know what that means… It means your chain of command called and asked if you wanted to head something. They really aren’t asking for you to volunteer so the only answer coming out of your mouth will be Yes! And YES that is VOLUNTOLD!
To be continued… Please check back to see how the final project looks!
Step 6: Setting the post and customizing the mailbox!