Should You Build or Buy a Radiator Cover?
As a 'maker' I tend to think it is better to build something rather than buy it. But is that always the case? Is it cheaper, more time efficient, better quality to Build or Buy? In this post I'm going to explore if its best to Build or Buy a Radiator Cover.
The Carpenters Daughter has a great step by step post showing how she made her radiator cover. Check it out here: http://thecarpentersdaughter.co.uk/diy/diy-radiator-cover/
Here's how I made mine...
CNC - Not needed!
MDF Sealer - Not Recommended
I wanted to make sure that it was in fact cheaper to build the radiator cover compared to buying one. I created a list of prices to compare the 2 options. I found it was cheaper to build in my case. While price is often the biggest factor to consider its also worth noting that building gives the ability to make the radiator cover fit your space perfectly. Of course it takes your time to build one but its a nice quick process and definitely not beyond an Average Joe.
Above is the cut list for the Radiator Cover I made. Of course the measurements will need to be adapted to fit your radiator.
I started by cutting the MDF into the series of widths I would need. I did this on my table saw. It is a simple repetitive process but remember to wear the relevant safety gear. Eye protection and a respirator is a must when working with MDF.
Once I had the widths I needed I moved over to the mitre saw to cut them to the correct lengths. I ticked of each piece on my cutting list so I could keep track of my progress easily.
Once all my pieces were cut, I laid them out how they would be assembled. I was using a biscuit joiner to join the pieces together so I used a pencil to put marks where I would cut slots for the biscuits.
I could then use the marks to cut the slots ready for glue and biscuits.
For the legs of the cover there is a 10mm reveal so I adjusted my biscuit joiner higher by 10mm to give me the reveal I wanted. I then cut the slots in the legs.
I glued up the front panel first and left it to dry overnight.
I was going to add 2 panels to the front of the cover. Just a simple striped pattern. I wanted to create a groove to bring the panels closer to the front and also give me a place to glue them in.
I use my router to create the grooves all the way round the 2 openings in the front panel. I could then glue on the leg pieces.
I opted to use dowels to attach the top as I feel they are easier to line up than biscuits.
I drilled 6mm holes in the top of the radiator cover at each of the points where the top would meet the cover itself. I then put in the dowel centre points.
I lined up the top and made sure it had the same reveal all the way around. Apart from the back where it needed to be flush. I then tapped along the top with a hammer to leave marks where to drill the corresponding holes for the dowels. I then drilled the 6mm holes in the top and glued it to the base using 6mm wooden dowels.
For the front panels I was intending to just cut 45mm strips of 6mm MDF I had a run of bad health during this project so I opted to use my CNC machine to cut out the panels for me. You of course don't need a CNC and I wouldn't recommend using one for something so simple.
With the panels cut I just had to sand them and glue them into place.
I sanded all of the radiator cover to knock off the sharp edges and make sure everything was smooth to the touch. I then brushed on some MDF sealer. However, I wouldn't recommend this. It didn't help as much as I thought it would. Using a paint primer is the best option in my opinion.
My cousin wanted to paint the radiator cover so this was the last time I had my hands on it. They chose white paint for the radiator cover and I think it turned out great.
I hope you found this post useful. As you can see, it can often work out cheaper to Build rather than Buy.