Last night I made a remark about "contributing" to the house blogger community. Then I started wondering just what it was that I might contribute - since most of my time cruising the other houseblogs is in search of answers. Then I remembered the radiator cover bench that I built a couple of months ago. I'm no carpenter, and we only have very basic tools, but I'm pretty satisfied with how this project turned out so I thought I'd share how I did it.
I've made a sketch showing a kind of "exploded view" below. But, this is how I did it - it turned out sturdy - and you can make one too if you'd like for a lot less than it would cost to have one built. (Believe me - I priced them - YOWSA!)
First measure the length of your radiator and any pipes sticking out next to them. Add a couple of inches for adequate clearance. Write all this down, and maybe sketch it too or you may find yourself staring blankly, as I did, at a pile of lumber later.
Measure the height and again add an inch or two for clearance. Our radiator was pretty long and I wanted the bench to be even longer and even with the window sill. Ours is a little over 6 feet - with a long span you should definitely use 2" thick board for the top.
After figuring out how long and how tall I wanted it to be I cut four 2x4's to lengths 4 and 1/2" SHORTER than the desired height. Then I cut four lengths of 2x4's to my desired depth. I then screwed them together to make two identical sort of "frame" shapes - with the "depth" boards on the top and the bottom.
For the ventilation holes on the top I cut a bunch of little 2" squares from the 1/4" by 2" slats I used for the front and side covers. Then I measured out equal distances on a 1"x2" board and made a sort of "triple decker sandwich" - One 1x2, little squares along my marks - another 1x2 - another layer of the little squares - one more 1x2 - then drove 3 and 1/2" screws through all the layers at each little "chunky" part where the squares from the 1/4 x 2 x 2" squares were. I've been told I could have done this with a router. I don't have one. What's more I don't know how to use one. But, if you do I guess that's something to consider.
Next I put both 2x6 boards andthe vent section I'd just made on top of the "frames" and "mooshed" them around on top until I was satisfied with the positioning and then fastened them to the frames with screws from the underside.
I used 1x6 boards to make rectangular frames for the front and sides, then screwed the 1/4" x 2" slats to the backside of the frames. Next I screwed them into place from the backside of the 2x4 end frames. It might be easier to use metal corner brackets to attach the side panels. I think I just "toenailed" them at an angle.
Also - I didn't show it in the "exploded view" - but after the front and side panel were in place I went in from the open back side and attached another 2x4 lengthwise to the 2x4 end frames just for additional stability. It probably wouldn't have hurt to do one across the bottom too - but I was out of 2x4s and it really is pretty sturdy as is. Someday I'll probably get around to adding it. My husband is a little over 200 pounds and he and I can both sit on it at the same time without feeling nervous. If you're just making a cover, and not a bench the extra reinforcement would probably be overkill.
Oh, and I almost forgot - when it was finished I put two of those little self adhesive plastic slider things under the 2x4 frame on each end so it's a breeze to slide out if we need quick access to the radiator.