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Thread: wooden radiator covers

  1. #1
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    wooden radiator covers

    Does anyone know if I use ash to build a couple of radiator covers(the cast iron hot water/steam type), does it need to be lined inside with any type of sheet metal? anything?
    Can I just build it with all solid wood and not worry about the steam?
    Anyone have any experience with this?
    (I can switch woods, but I have alot of ash)

  2. #2
    There shouldn't be any steam coming from the radiator (if there is then something is not right. Saying that, the wood will surely dry completely out so If you do use wood then make sure it is Kiln dried. And been in the room with the radiator for a considerable time. As for solid wood construction, Not a good idea as there has to be some kind of air flow for the radiator to create an air flow (hot air rises and cool air enters to replace the hot air... ) solid construction would trap the hot air inthe box and then heating the box will create a radiator itself (but less effecient)

  3. #3
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    nothing actually rises out of the radiator, but I believe thats the type of heat it is.
    I was going to leave 4 or so inches on the bottom front for cool air, and build a grill 6-8 inches wide in top front.
    Not a solid box.
    I looked at pics online and some companies spoke of inner linings.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by allen levine View Post
    nothing actually rises out of the radiator, but I believe thats the type of heat it is.
    I was going to leave 4 or so inches on the bottom front for cool air, and build a grill 6-8 inches wide in top front.
    Not a solid box.
    I looked at pics online and some companies spoke of inner linings.
    Actually the radiator creates a convection effect where it heats the air surrounding the radiator and it rises, so there is air movement, You must allow for that movement.

  5. #5
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    since its small builds, Imgoing to start after xmas season, and Ill post up a drawing to see if its adequate before I start cutting wood.

  6. #6
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    Interesting reading, below is a good basic concept that could be modified to ones tastes.
    Looks like good air flow from the bottom and sides and the metal sheet or reflective insulation
    in back of the radiator is used to project the heat out into the room.
    I would think that thin reflective insulation would be a better material.. rather than just the metal sheet
    behind the radiator.
    From other articles that I read , .. some covers are made using plywood, solid hardwoods or
    combinations of both. ..some seem to prefer mdf.

    Article Link:
    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgu...US231%26sa%3DG




    Last edited by Dave Trask; 12-18-2008 at 09:15 AM.
    Donít have the best tools, don't use the best woods and projects donít always turnout perfeck.
    I just feel the need to work with wood!

  7. #7
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    What Bill said is important. The wood will dry and crack.
    Covering radiators does impair efficiency. I don't know why the heat doesn't eventually have the same convection action as without but it does. IMHO, covering radiators is not recommended or practical. I know they are a ugly as can be but thet's the way it is.

  8. #8
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    I would think ash would be fine. Like the others, i would be hesitant to trap heat - even if the sides are open and the top is solid, you're reducing the efficiency of the radiator. The rule of thumb i've used is to make sure the sides and top of the cover are as open as the radiator itself. In other words, if you look at the side of the radiator, if 50% of the "face" of the radiator is cast iron and the other 50% is open air, i'd keep my cover 50% open as well so that i don't restrict air flow.
    The radiators in old houses were placed very carefully to take advantage of the convection and heat flow for an entire room. Warm air drafting up under a window, for instance, reduces the cold draft effect of the window itself. Placing them near doors and at the bottom of stairs not only gives you a warm spot at those points, it's a deliberate attempt to mix the cool air coming in with the warm air coming off the radiator.
    It's a bit of work, but i've made mine with the sides as vertical slat grills (line up the slats with the radiator fins, and the top as a slat grill as well.
    Hope this is helpful.
    Paul Hubbman

  9. #9
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    We had low pressure steam heat with radiators in the 100 year old house we lived in while in Indiana.
    I learned from that experience why fireplaces were invented.

  10. #10
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    I now have custom built metal covers over them.
    Theres nothing wrong with them, they cost me a bundle.

    But the floor is being replaced with wood floors, the wallpaper being ripped down, no more white furniture, no more white anything, so I thought Id make wood replacements.

    Heres one, and the top is completely closed.Click image for larger version. 

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    this is what I have in my head, pardon my bad drawing.
    I dont have enough red oak, but have plenty of oak ply in 3/4 and 1/4.
    Id use ash for a face frame, use #20 biscuits to secure the ff to the ply sides,(although Im thinking about buying a pocket screw set) and use a set of vertical slats in front on top and bottom, with a piece of 1/4 inch oak ply in middle to break it up.Click image for larger version. 

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    Id use a simple cleat under the lid to place it and lock it in place, and a small piece of wood running wall to wall in the back along the top as a support.

    Dave, I dont care for the metal mesh screen, although they are easy to make, and HD sells the screen in different colors, I want to use all wood, no metal.(I appreciate the idea, I like the cleats on top instead of a hinge)
    Last edited by allen levine; 12-18-2008 at 06:02 PM.

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