Hidden heat: Build a radiator cover with storage
Photo by Roger Yip
Building a simple radiator cover gets you two home improvements in one. A radiator cover hides a big, utilitarian device in a more aesthetically pleasing package and the flat top gives you a little extra storage or display space.
You can build this simple rad cover using off-the-rack lumber and easy joinery. For the front frame, you need 1x4 poplar or pine. Cut the top and sides from 3⁄4"-thick medium-density fibreboard (MDF) shelving stock or similar sheet materials ripped to size. The steel mesh comes in many decorative patterns. I found mine at Metal Supermarkets (< a href="http://www.metalsupermarkets.com" target="_blank">metalsupermarkets.com), where they even cut the product to size for me.
To begin, figure out how big your radiator cover needs to be. Measure the height of the radiator, its projection from the wall and its length. A rad is typically higher on one end than the other, so be sure to get the highest measurement. Also, be aware of how the water pipes feed into the radiator. If you want to conceal the pipes inside the cover, you need to include them in the length measurement. Next, add 1" to the height and depth measurements, and 2" to the length measurement. These figures give you the inside dimensions of the rad cover, leaving 1" of clearance on all sides of the radiator.
There is only one critical detail to remember when making your design: the front face frame overlaps the edges of the side pieces. That is, the sides are butted to the rear faces of the front face frame. If you are using 3/4"-thick stock for the sides, make sure to add an extra 1 1/2" to the length of the overall front face frame.
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