In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva explains how to build a radiator cover.
1. Measure depth of radiator, then add 2 1/2 inches to that dimension.
2. Cut two MDF side panels to size with circular saw and straightedge guide.
3. Stand side panels beside radiator allowing for proper clearance, then measure for length of the front panel.
4. Cut MDF front panel to size.
5. Mark front panel for cutting out the legs and large opening.
6. Use circular saw and straightedge guide to cut opening in front panel; complete cuts into corners with handsaw.
7. Make curved radius cuts along legs with jigsaw.
8. Nail together the two side panels and cut out their openings with a circular saw; finish corner cuts with handsaw.
9. Use power miter saw to cut cove molding to fit around inside of openings in front panel and side panels.
10. Glue and nail cove molding in place with pin nailer.
11. Fasten decorative metal grille to back side of front and side panels using hammer stapler and 5/8-inch staples
12. Screw the side panels to the front panel using glue and 2-inch drywall screws.
13. Fasten a 1x4 brace between the upper, rear corners of the side panels.
14. Cut the MDF top to size and trim its edges with base-cap molding.
15. Attach 1x4 cleats to underside of top so they fit within the assembled radiator cover.
16. Fill all nail and screw holes with wood putty; sand the surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper.
17. Apply two coats of primer and a topcoat of paint.
18. Staple a piece of galvanized sheet metal to the back of the cover to help reflect heat into the room.