Me...paranoid? A little crazy? Um, I guess so. This fact may have been proven by my fanciful idea that the location of our new letter slot would be a magnet for perverts and burglars. As you may remember from a previous post, the location of the mail slot in our new door is now roughly waist height. Our old mail slot was a more pervert proof location, just inches from the floor.

After cutting the hole in the door and hanging the door in place, my paranoid self didn't feel comfortable with a hole in a location that could allow someone to lift open the new mail slot and take a look around. 

Of equal or greater concern was the possibility the burglars with freakishly small hands could reach through the slot and unlock the front door. Please disregard the fact that we live on a busy street and someone would be bound to notice them finagling their arm through a mail slot just 1 1/4" tall. Also ignore the fact that we are diligent about using our security system and are installing a secondary deadbolt. No matter, I still didn't feel good about it.

After some great suggestions and inspiration from our readers, we finally landed on a solution from eBay. The solution is a cast iron mail chute slot from an old building. This is the entry point for a mail drop that you might find in an office building. You know, the glass covered mail chutes you would see as a kid and would just want so badly to see a letter fly by from an upper floor?

We figured that when inverted and affixed to the back of the door, this decorative mail chute would offer the perfect shield to obscure any would-be peepers or small handed robbers. 

When we received the mail chute slot it was covered in a rich patina of rust and flaking paint. The back of the slot had a date of 1932 cast into the back of it, so it did come out of an older building of some sort. Though it was lovely, it didn't fit with the clean look of the glossy black door. So Alex cleaned it up on the wire wheel.

The end result of a few minutes on the wheel was a beautifully clean and great looking guard for the back of our door. Here it is installed with four screws that Alex darkened up to make it look antique.

From the outside looking in, the most you could possibly see when opening the slot is the floor of the hallway. And there is no way you could get your hand inside of the slot to even come close to the lock. (You can't get much mail through it either, but we have a backup plan of installing our larger, former mail slot in one of the anterior french doors.)

This triumph acts as yet another eBay success in our home. Just goes to show that a little bit of creativity and sometimes a re-purposed item or two can solve just about any home dilemma...even ones revolving around a personal neurosis.

A fun sidenote: While my other half was holding down the fort during the WEEK OF ALEX and I was away on business, I had the opportunity to meet Meg Whitman, the former President and CEO of eBay. I mentioned to her that eBay is a great resource for antique/salvaged hardware, and was able to personally thank her on behalf of those of us completing historic renovations. Too cool!

Comments 8


9/8/2011 at 7:47 PM
I LOVE the mail slot -- so much charm! And, I don't think you're paranoid .... I totally wouldn't want a hole in my door!
9/9/2011 at 8:21 AM
Hey, there are a lot of craaazy folks out there - and better safe than sorry, right?
Linda Schardine
2/25/2013 at 5:04 PM
I have what I think is an OLD cast iron opener for the door, but I don't know. I have had it forever and brought it inside so it wouldn't rust away. If I sent you a picture could you tell me what it is?
Hi Linda -- Yes, we'd love to see the picture. I can't guarantee we'll know what it is, but we'll do our best to answer. Thanks!
Linda Schardine
2/25/2013 at 5:32 PM
how do I get the picture to you?
You can send it to We look forward to seeing it!
9/9/2016 at 1:42 PM

Very clever indeed. I had similar concerns when I had a mail slot, and I used a Snail Sakk to provide some additional security and draft protection. It also keeps the mail collected rather than strewn about the floor. Mail slots may have gone out of vogue for new construction, but for the millions of older homes that still use them, it's nice to have something other than a hole in your door that strangers can peep through.

Ricardo Guijosa
7/27/2018 at 1:24 PM

You're not paranoid at all, there're are a lot of crazy guys and weirdos out there, i think using a hodded slot was a good idea, i was also going to suggest using a snail sakk because it also covers the mails slot. It reduces drafts and catches your mail too. I'm pretty sure they work with hooded slots, so you might wanna use the two things together.

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