Radiator cover - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Radiator cover

I'm trying to design a radiator cover for my mother-in-law's radiators in her house. She's probably got about six or seven of them but I'm only going to start with one for right now. I'm looking at the designing the front and needed some suggestions for joinery. Looking at the front only figured I would do mortise tenon for the Stiles and rails and what I wanted to do for the middle slats is have them insert in the rail without a tenion. Attached is going to be a picture of my daughter's crib which has the same thing that I'm looking for. Obviously I'd like to stay on the cheap side because she's not going to want to buy any expensive wood so we're looking at probably Pine.
What I'm really worried about is the contraction of the wood because it's on a radiator. Anything that I need to avoid and what suggestions do you have for joinery when putting everything together(connecting sides to front) in the rear just going to have a piece of 1/2 inch plywood rabbeted in. Also how would you attach the top.

Or should I just I just use pocket holes to put the front together. Would be a lot quicker because I'm not that fast at cutting mortises. And obviously I'm doing it for free.

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post #2 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Forgot to put the pictures.

Also wasn't very clear on my second way of doing it with the pocket holes obviously I would use three quarter inch wood and attach it to 3/4 inch rails
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Or should I use dowels?

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post #4 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 02:18 PM
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How will the heat affect the wood? Curious.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 05:22 PM
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Radiator cover

I made a radiator cover for a specific spot in an apartment where my daughter rented. Made it out of plywood. The left half is shelving, right half open on back and side covering tall radiator. Made it so I could put shelves on right when she moved. Its held up well.




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post #6 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
I made a radiator cover for a specific spot in an apartment where my daughter rented. Made it out of plywood. The left half is shelving, right half open on back and side covering tall radiator. Made it so I could put shelves on right when she moved. It’s held up well.




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Did you do it with all pocket holes?

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-28-2018, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
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Did you do it with all pocket holes?


I probably did use pocket hole screws because I never expected that she would take it with her when she moved because it was built for a specific spot in her apartment. I used scrap plywood wherever I could.


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post #8 of 18 Old 04-05-2018, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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Can I use dowels and glue on the perimeter pieces and on the vertical slats use dowels without glue. What my thought process is.... The dowels will prevent them from falling out but should I glue. I'm worried that because of the heat I may get some gaps.
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post #9 of 18 Old 04-07-2018, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Can I just use 2 dowels on each end for the vertical slats without gluing them?

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post #10 of 18 Old 08-12-2018, 07:35 AM
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I'd love to know how it turned out and how you did it.
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 04:33 AM
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Looks good!
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 11:11 AM
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I like one with a big thick slab of stone for the top surface. The stone (granite, marble, soapstone, etc) makes a great top surface as it is easily cleaned.

The thick slab will even out the heat from the radiator as it will absorb heat and distribute it later when the radiator shuts down with the thermostat.

This is a "remnant" size piece of stone and you should be able to pick one up on the cheap from a stone yard.
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 12:02 PM
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Have no experience at all with radiators, but understand the passive heating process.

How does it affect the heat output when you essentially put a cap on the top, which inhibits the heat from rising?
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 12:41 PM
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Have no experience at all with radiators, but understand the passive heating process.

How does it affect the heat output when you essentially put a cap on the top, which inhibits the heat from rising?
I think it improves the efficiency. Normally the heat radiates in all directions, including towards the wall and up towards the ceiling. We really don't need to heat the ceiling, or that wall.

The radiator cover will direct the heat into the center of the room before it rises to the ceiling. I think a radiator cover with sheet of galvanized steel in the rear will be even more efficient, especially if it is curved and directs the heat into the room.

Most radiator covers I've seen are open in the back allowing a good portion of the heat to go straight up the ceiling.
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 01:22 PM
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I think it improves the efficiency. Normally the heat radiates in all directions, including towards the wall and up towards the ceiling. We really don't need to heat the ceiling, or that wall.

The radiator cover will direct the heat into the center of the room before it rises to the ceiling. I think a radiator cover with sheet of galvanized steel in the rear will be even more efficient, especially if it is curved and directs the heat into the room.

Most radiator covers I've seen are open in the back allowing a good portion of the heat to go straight up the ceiling.
Hot air rises right?

Which means as soon as it clears whatever obstruction is keeping it from rising, it will rise, just as you indicated with the open back.

So there really isn't a "direct it to the center of the room", it will move it slightly forward until it clears the obstruction.

It addition it may feel warmer near the radiator because the air flow isn't allowing as much heat to be transferred to the (obstructed)passing air, so the surface temp of the radiator may be higher.

The only thing that makes sense is the metal panel at the back, that would promote better airflow across the radiator(IMO).

I'm not a heating expert, just have enough understanding of this to be dangerous.

To me it seems the best design would be open at the bottom for cold air to enter, and open as much as possible at the top to allow the heated air to escape. If you choose to put a solid top on it, I would omit the top rail of the cabinet to allow the air to move more freely.

Here's just one clip from a site I found when I did a google search on "radiator cover design considerations", looks like some of what I think is correct, some may not be...

Lots of concerns/considerations

Most radiator enclosures result in decreased output. All enclosures have a significant effect on HOW the radiator liberates its heat.

All diminish the radiant portion of the output. The method of construction determines how much the convective portion is enhanced to overcome this. You essentially want to turn a radiator into a convector.

Below from enclosure studies where the quantity of condensate produced by a steam radiator painted black was used to determine differences in output. Water radiators AT HIGH TEMPERATURE (around 180) are said to have nearly identical characteristics when covered.

Manufactured metal covers reduce the output by about 15%.

The most efficient typical enclosure leaves an open "slot" about 5" high at the bottom of the radiator. The top contains a grille the same depth and length as the radiator itself. TOP AND FRONT PLACED 2" from the corresponding faces of the radiator. Placement of side panels (solid) has little or no effect. About 2/3 of the grille should be open. This type of enclosure results in about an 8% reduction.

Output can be INCREASED if you do not use a top and instead cover the front and sides. Again, leave an OPEN slot at the bottom AT LEAST 1/5 the height of a tall radiator or 1/3 the height of a shorter radiator. Taller is better regarding the size of this slot.

A TOP ONLY "cover" should not be installed directly on top of the radiator. It should be at least 3" above the radiator. If the shelf only projects to the mid-line of the radiator it has no affect when 3" or higher. If shelf projects to the front edge of the radiator try to keep it 4" or move above the radiator.

Low "window-type" radiators were ALREADY designed to enhance convection. The output reduction effect is MAGNIFIED when covering low radiators. Generally output will be reduced by AT LEAST 25%.

In general, use the 2" distance away from front and top and try to keep the area of the outlet larger than the inlet.

EFFECTS ON COMFORT:

Increased output does not necessarily translate to increased comfort and vice-versa. As all enclosures eliminate much of the radiant output there is a corresponding increase in convective output with those that are well-designed. Higher convection usually translates to higher temperature stratification in the space. So, while the "open top" example may be producing more heat, much of this is just zooming to the ceiling with cold air being pulled across the floor with increased velocity.

It is possible to design an enclosure to counter this effect--it essentially tries to "project" the convection into the room instead of letting it rise to the ceiling. "With a well-designed enclosure having a large free area of grille work at front and ends with a solid top and a back carried down to the floor, a tubular cast iron radiator may operate to produce higher useful temperatures in the living zone below the breathing line and lower temperatures in the upper part of the room for a given breathing line temperature and at the same time condense less steam than the same bare radiator."

Again, these studies are either with steam or very hot water. With modern control, insulation and weatherization, old water radiators generally operate at MUCH lower temperature than their design. As the temperature of the radiator decreases so does output, BUT convection decreases more rapidly than radiation. Temperature stratification decreases as well. This contributes GREATLY to the comfort of these old systems and covering the radiators negates this benefit. When old oversized water radiators are controlled proportionally, many will claim that they approach radiant floor comfort.

Because iron radiators are now typically quite oversized, a radiator cover (even one poorly designed) most likely won't result in not enough heat. BUT in a simple unzoned system you may well upset the temperature balance compared to other uncovered radiators in different rooms. The rooms with uncovered radiators may now overheat.

If at all possible I would try NOT to enclose the radiators. A good cleaning (a pressure washer with zero-degree nozzle works great) and repainting can do wonders. Modern "bronzing" can be extremely attractive.

Modern "bronzing" is NOT the same as old bronzing which actually contained metal particles. Modern bronzing is actually mica in most colors. As best as I can determine, "paint" made of mica powder and linseed oil has an emissivity only slightly lower than standard paint, so the effect on radiant output is very small.
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 01:58 PM
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The stone cap would be a "heat sink" and later, a "heat source" all in that room. No external losses.
It can't get any hotter than the radiator itself because the stone will be radiating heat all the time, as well.

Scandinavians manufacture wood stoves from soap stone (not the carving stone, much harder) .

Solid woods don't have the dimensional stability with repeated dry heatings. Stone does, plywood too, maybe.
Warp, cup, twist and cracking are all things to look forward to.
Solid woods for the side parts, thick plywood for the cap.

We had soldered gal. tin dishes on the tops which were repeatedly filled with water for winter humidity.
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Robson Valley View Post
The stone cap would be a "heat sink" and later, a "heat source" all in that room. No external losses.
It can't get any hotter than the radiator itself because the stone will be radiating heat all the time, as well.

Scandinavians manufacture wood stoves from soap stone (not the carving stone, much harder) .

Solid woods don't have the dimensional stability with repeated dry heatings. Stone does, plywood too, maybe.
Warp, cup, twist and cracking are all things to look forward to.
Solid woods for the side parts, thick plywood for the cap.

We had soldered gal. tin dishes on the tops which were repeatedly filled with water for winter humidity.
That was my point. In fact, a stone top alone might be all that is required. It will provide a good flat surface and can easily be made to fit snugly on the top using silicone adhesive. (A few dabs will be enough). Silicone will withstand high heat.
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-04-2018, 05:14 PM
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I'd glue some stone segments as a collar to the underside of the cap stone.
Just my gut sense of needing to take the stone off, some day.

I run a Harman p38++ wood pellet stove for home heating all winter. I burn an average of 10,000 lbs per winter.
All of my insulated exhaust pipe sections are cemented together with a wipe of high temperature silicone, good to 450F.
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