I want to make a wooden mailbox that will be on a pole at the front of my house. I live in Phoenix Arizona so the temperature ranges where this will be sitting, are from 20F (-7C) to 150F (65C). (Remember this is sitting in the sun and stats measure the highs in the shade which is why the high appears way over what you would expect.) I doesn't rain often and when it does it usually buckets down.

I would love to ask the question "What wood, finish and joints should I use?" but I realize how subjective that question is. So instead I'll try and ask it in a more objective way.

If you were making a mailbox for these conditions what factors would you consider when selecting the wood, joints and finish?

I feel that an elimination answer is also perfectly acceptable. For example, listing wood, finish and joint types that would not endure these extremes would be helpful for myself and hopefully others reading the answers.

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    Well asked, +1. As to wood selection, actually you could probably make this from nearly anything and have it last. Last well enough that you'd be happy with how it looks, that's a different story :-) – Graphus Sep 27 '20 at 17:56
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    If you wanted something more unique, find a local mill and see what local trees are available that they have. The Southwest has some very interesting trees that are not found elsewhere in the US. Joints come down to aesthetics in my opinion, but pocket screws probably offer the best option so you can hide fasteners. As far as the finish, any mainstream outdoor finish would be fine I think; they are designed to withstand the elements. – UnhandledExcepSean Sep 28 '20 at 12:36
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    Temps will cause expansion, however, as I understand it, the major expansion issue is moisture. Since the desert Southwest is mostly dry any reasonably well maintained finish should protect the wood from the occasional downpour, and the heat will probably dry it again before moisture content has a chance to rise significantly. – FreeMan Sep 28 '20 at 17:27
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    I'd go with something tough and dimensionally stable. My go to, quartered-sawed white oak. My grandfather used to joke his table saw could cut steel. He'd then pull out a freshly cut white oak board. I like @UnhandledExcepSean 's suggestion of a local wood too. Maybe there is something local that's as tough as white oak. Desert mesquite maybe? I usually don't prefer pocket screws but in this case they seem tailor-made. I'd finish with a very good marine varnish or maybe some heat tiles from the space shuttle. Stay cool. – Jim Oct 19 '20 at 9:45

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