aschaeffer

Material choice for radiator covers

5 posts in this topic

I am planning on building radiator covers similar to these (http://www.fichman.com/0.jpg). 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?

Thanks!

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

    • Best way to flatten this island
      I believe finished thickness was 1.5" Let's hope it works out for you. 
    • Design Idea.
      Play with the spacing and the arch just a bit, and you have room for another set of drawers.  Unless you plan to execute some killer joinery to show off, I'd probably go with side panels to emulate the drawer fronts.
    • Design Idea.
      I agree that the arch looks too thick in the front. I usually define arches by the difference between the height at the center and the height at the edge. For that size the difference should be around an inch. Try two inches thick in the center and three inches thick on the edge and see how that looks You can add a skirt under the top to make the piece more balanced. For the sides, I think a solid panel would be fine but a bit boring. Some ideas are a solid panel over the bottom and arts and crafts slats on the top, headboard, or arts and crafts slats top to bottom to expose the drawer.    
    • Tube Heater Woes
      Jason, I appreciate your responding openly in the thread (albeit it's an old one) and I will give you a call tomorrow (I'm located in Waterdown, not too far up the peninsula from you on the Niagara Escarpment).   I had the very unusual experience of having two similar but different units installed in the same location which would be a rarity, and my space is echoey with multiple insulated windows, finished walls and ceiling and still somewhat barren floor space. The EZ DUZZIT unit can keep the space heated, there is no doubt of that.  It may also be that I and the others who have experienced it are expecting more of an evenly heated air space such as would occur with a Unit Heater with blower fan. But really it's the culmination of all of the various qualities that drove my declaration of dissatisfaction.  It would be good to have you try to help me even them out to get the best possible performance from this unit before I decide whether to replace it this summer. I have been meaning to call Easy Radiant Works anyway to clarify a question with regard to the EZ Duzzit exhaust mounting instructions (whether exhaust to the outside should angle UP to the outside - as most gas exhausts do - but which "can" cause condensation back-up, or DOWN to the outside (which would help drain condensation but generally not done that way to avoid flue gas back-up).  Caveat: I am not a gas installer or any sort of pro in that regard.  Handyman extraordinaire, yes.  The instructions say "Horizontal vent systems shall slope downwards not less than 1/4" (5.5 cm) per foot from the start of the vent system to the vent terminal."   So I would assume that means sloping downward from the end of the radiant tube baffled exhaust end to the exterior exhaust (since the radiant tube itself needs to be mounted level to avoid "walking").   A subsequent certified gas installer (with radiant tube installation experience) was hesitant to say that would be a correct orientation (again since most heated gas exhausts slope upwards). NOW, the condensation issue with the EZ Duzzit could have a few different causes typical to such systems (although I hadn't thought about a missing baffle). In my case the heater is mounted in the dead middle of a 16' span so it is a right angle and 8 feet to the outside exhaust, and the original installer only used a 4 foot length of B vent.  So perhaps some cold exterior air is condensing on the thinner exhaust pipe between the B vent and the radiant tube, AND the original installer left a slight "v" bend in "supposedly" well caulked exhaust vents (so water is pooling and exiting the B-vent fitting). In hindsight, I might have chosen to mount it closer to the exterior wall and angled it in to the space to avoid the long run of exhaust piping.  I was just afraid of uneven heating which is partly why I chose to run it straight down the middle of the ceiling.  (I may yet move it, although I had intended to mount other woodworking equipment high and on the exterior side which might prevent that orientation.) I would gather that is pretty much installer error and I can correct it.  There is another installer issue with regard to the heavy flexible gas connector hose that is possibly causing the burner unit to "turn" on it's radial axis with vibration.  The other thing that is notable is that there is still a smell of burnt oil (or maybe it is burning red silicone) even a year after the original installation when it is running hard. I am sure that with your assistance I can get this unit running as well as possible and that my experience was tainted by the difficulties with the original installation. I do still maintain, that the one-stage Space Ray PTS40 unit that was originally installed appeared to me to be a smarter more advanced design for the burner unit and ultimately quieter with the blower motor mounted "inside" the heater unit housing. It's delayed exhaust fan setting might also assist with reduction of condensation (but I have a feeling that feature is more of a safety for units installed where the intake air is taken from the interior) .    Why I was told the EZ DUZZIT unit was $1000 more expensive than the Space Ray is something only the original installer could answer (and he may have padded for his time  and delivery cost). The manufacturers won't release much in the way of pricing information to anyone other than a heating contractor, who all have different mark-ups. Whether the heat distribution differences and resonance vibration rattling I perceive are due to incorrect installation of the EZ DUZZIT unit I can only guess at.  (My best guess is that the rattling IS the interior baffle rattling, because it is not the reflection hood.) One thing I did learn that may be useful to another woodworker was that the installation of a large slow moving ceiling fan will definitely benefit the heat distribution from the unit (to prevent heat pooling near the ceiling).  It somewhat defeats the purpose of not installing a Unit Heater with a blower (which I did not choose because I do some painting and wanted to minimize airborne saw dust), but at least I can choose when to turn an independent fan on and off.  I am currently using a floor mounted fan to get that air circulation until I decide on the final location of the radiant gas heater, but the distribution of heat is definitely more even once some air circulation is introduced.     Another novel!  lol 
    • Here we go. Roubo from scratch
      Does dried glue stick to this if you forget to rinse right away? I have an acrylic one and it doesn't but is getting close to needing replaced.
  • Popular Contributors

  • Who's Chatting

    There are no users currently in the chat room