Material choice for radiator covers

5 posts in this topic

I am planning on building radiator covers similar to these ( Question is what material do I want to use? I contacted the company who makes the one in the image and they use MDF. Having never used MDF I am concerned about the edges (do miter the corners?, paint the ends?, can I nail or screw MDF joints?). My other thought is birch ply which I think I would be able to work with much easier. Would the ply hold up to the heat from the radiator?


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Endgrain on MDF is a pain to seal up for paint so miters are worth using. If you use butt joints, it helps to use a spot putty to skim the end grain before paint. Glue and brad nailer is the way to go. I think the birch ply would work just fine as well.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try to post a picture of my drill press cart that I made out of MDF and painted. The technique I used for sealing the ends for paint was to take drywall spackle and a rag and just run some using my hand into all the end grain. I then waited for it to set and sanded. When I painted it then took paint just like the rest of the project. I also routed a roundover with ridge into the top and it looked good and took really well. As soon as my wife is done uploading her 270 pictures from the mardi gras ones I will post for you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've built many radiator covers from MDF, ply, and hardwoods. They all hold up fine, with some caveats...

Keep the MDF out of bathrooms... Any water, from splashes, leaks, heavy steam, or wet mopping, and they're toast. I also like to protect MDF edges with a paintable wood, like poplar. This makes the corner more durable to usage damage and wear and tear, as well as easier to paint after shaping. Incorporate a reveal into your MDF to poplar interface, and the joint will stay pretty as the materials move with temperature. Mitered joints can hide edges, but can be fragile in MDF. Think ahead of things that could strike the mitered corner. If things might, find a better corner.

MDF takes screws well, if you use the right screws. Confirmats are great. I've used regular McFeeley's screws after predrilling and countersinking both sides of the joint. The internal countersink allows the mushroomed material a place to go without separating the joint. If you don't have a lot of time, spend the money for proper MDF screws.

To use solid wood, you really need to understand and allow for movement. Do it right, and they'll last generations. Do it wrong, and they'll explode. Incorporate metal fasteneners that allow movement, space for the wood to move, and reveals to hide the changes, and you're good! My own home has white and red oak baseboard covers. They look great in a natural oiled finish, and hold up nicely when the wood can move.

GOOD cabinet ply is the great for painted items, stable, easy to work, screw and finish.

With any material in this use, reveals can go a long way towards keeping joints pretty as the stuff grows and shrinks under the paint.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok so I uploaded a couple pics for you to check out. The first one is of the top edge with the profile that I routed into, sealed with spackle, and then painted.

The next one is of an edge that I sealed and painted.

The next two are of the butt joint between a side and the back. I did an extreme closeup for the last part so you could see that there is a line visible in some parts but barely. It is zoomed into and area about 1-2 inches big. I had to search for this area so I would not say it is a problem. I also used normal wood screws in it #10 - 2 inch screws. I pre-drilled and countersunk the holes. As long as I drilled about 1 1/2" there was not any problem with mushrooming. This was built from 3/4" MDF and seems super sturdy (obviously it holds my table top drill press plus three drawers worth of storage.)

Hope that helps and feel free to ask if I forgot to include something.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Popular Now

  • Topics

  • Posts

    • Hello, i would like to present you mine project that i been working on, is still in some prototype phase but you will see (sorry on my bad english). Deskbloks is the world’s first modular desk. Our “bloks” allow you to build a desk that suits you perfectly. With our modular design, you can combine various numbers of bloks into a fully functional desk. Our bloks, so far, have: built-in USB ports, speakers, mic and headphone jacks (not even iPhones 7 have that), wireless charger for your phones, perfect cable management and much more. A new desk for a new age. One desk to rule them all. Deskbloks is something new and revolutionary in desk design. Your desk no longer needs to be simplistic. Now, with Deskbloks, you can make it larger, smaller, you can rotate it, make it fit any of your walls, add new bloks with some cool gadgets that will save your space, etc. If you want to use Deskbloks as a regular desk, no problem, you can use just regular bloks. But if you need USB ports, for example, then you can use bloks with USB ports. Hey, but what about a speaker? Maybe you don’t have enough room on your desk or you simply hate the cables. No problem – in that case, you can use bloks with a USB speaker built-in. At the moment, there are 5 different bloks that we created. With your help and if the crowdfunding campaign proves to be a success, we will create additional bloks. Currently, for our prototype, we are only using one type of wood – the Croatian oak, but in the future, we will allow our customers to choose between more types of wood, depending on their preferences of desk color, structure and design. Our bloks are connectable in all directions, providing for infinite possibilities. It takes less than a few minutes to connect 6 types of bloks, together with legs, into a fully functional desk. The process is easy: Pick your bloks, then group and arrange them as you wish Put them on the backside Use our metal plates and screws to secure them together Add legs Done The same process is used for adding new bloks and reversed for disassembly. You have some pictures to see, i will not post any page because i dont know if i am allowed, so if there is needed for any additional info just ask. Hope you like it.
    • looks awesome Ice, the finish line is in sight, no pun intended
    • Ice, you are joining treeslayer in knocking it outa the park.
    • Getting closer. Added reveals to everything.   Rounded everything over.   Then sanded. the top turned out great, this is cool looking wood   Puzzle pieces   Next up is making those upper leg details.
    • Aside from the obvious (in the UK) like Amazon etc. I've used and  Sugatsune is particularly good for some of the harder to find hardware.
  • Popular Contributors

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room