Radiator Cover

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Project by Ryan Sandler posted 11-12-2020 04:28 AM 1052 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Our house has radiant heat from big cast-iron hot-water radiators. The heating is lovely, but they’re kinda ugly. I built this cover for the radiator in our dining room, to give us a little sideboard.

Body is ash, top is ash, walnut and mahogony. The whole thing is finished with several coats of Watco Danish oil, and I added four coats of satin lacquer to the top.

I’m rather pleased with the top—this was my first time attempting breadboard ends. Having breadboard ends with a breadboard middle (is that a thing?) was perhaps overkill, particularly since there’s not much overhang. This was partly for aesthetics, and partly to compensate for difficulties I’ve had flattening long boards on a short jointer. But, with regular heat fluctuations from the radiator, any little bit helps, I figure. I do plan on putting some insulation between the radiator and the top, perhaps closed in with aluminum foil, both to protect the top a bit and to keep the heat headed out into the room instead of warming the space under the top.

9 comments so far

View controlfreak's profile (online now)


3192 posts in 932 days

#1 posted 11-12-2020 02:59 PM

beautiful! I am a bit nervous as to how the wood will behave with that proximity to a heat source over the dry winter. Please give an update after a few months please. I love the design.

View BigMig's profile


658 posts in 3944 days

#2 posted 11-12-2020 05:06 PM

Hey Ryan, this is terrific. I have similar heating system, and have metal covers that we’ve painted. They are okay, and probably transmit (don’t absorb) the heat well, but I’ve been considering what you’ve done. Only your idea is MUCH better…so I ‘m considering putting this project onto my list.

Very well done!

-- Mike from Lansdowne, PA

View Madmark2's profile


3248 posts in 1919 days

#3 posted 11-12-2020 05:14 PM

Tip: Put a piece of sheet alum between the radiator and the wall & paint the radiator flat black.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Bstrom's profile


360 posts in 504 days

#4 posted 11-12-2020 05:59 PM

If the metal sheet could protrude the enclosure’s exterior wall (a slot below the top and above the sidewalls?) as a reflector to send heat out of the cover assembly you would get more out of this idea all a round.

-- Bstrom

View Ryan Sandler's profile

Ryan Sandler

49 posts in 1785 days

#5 posted 11-12-2020 06:03 PM

Tip: Put a piece of sheet alum between the radiator and the wall & paint the radiator flat black.

- Madmark2

Yes, I’ve been thinking the same. Or perhaps attach a thin sheet of plywood to the back stretcher, lined with aluminum foil. Anything to reflect the radiant heat out into the room.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4321 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 11-12-2020 09:38 PM

Beautiful work.

One of the first things I made after we got married with radiator covers. They are probably still in that home.

-- Petey

View JRAP's profile


146 posts in 3280 days

#7 posted 11-13-2020 03:40 AM

What a great job. Looks like a proper piece of furniture. You should definitely do a little more though with insulation, reflection, and protecting the cover from the direct heat of the radiator.

-- -- Jim, Cumberland,RI -- Life is all the other stuff you do when you're not in the shop. -

View Angelo13's profile


22 posts in 429 days

#8 posted 11-13-2020 07:47 PM

looks great! I have the same radiators so will certainly use your design for inspiration.

-- oops, I just learned something.

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5182 days

#9 posted 12-31-2020 11:34 PM

Nice job and congratulations on your ‘Daily Top 3’ award.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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