NYC wooden radiator cabinet cover suggestions?
September 22, 2016 4:39 AM   Subscribe

I have a wooden window seat/radiator cabinet cover that's aged and warped. It measures approximately 88 inches wide by 25 inches deep with a hinge in the middle. Pictures here. Does anyone have suggestions on cabinetry companies I could contact and an idea of how much it would cost?

Alternatively, do you think this might be something I could do on my own as an amateur with a trip to Home Depot, or somehow address creatively without having to special order something from a carpenter?

An added complication is that I will probably get a second set of internal windows (for noise reduction) soon, and eventually update my floors, so Iā€™d prefer as neutral a finish as possible.

I don't want to go with a finish for the cabinet, and then have it locked in with the second set of internal windows, and then be limited in how I can update my floors by the finish on the cabinet cover.

Wood warps easily, so I was thinking a slip-proof steel cover might look cool ā€” but I wonder if it will get too hot from heat transferred from the radiator.

All ideas welcome ā€” thanks!
posted by Borborygmus to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Any carpenter worth their salt could make that, no problem. It would be a fun little project for a handyperson, ideally someone who does furniture on the side. The magic phrase you want to use when you go looking for someone to do this for you iis "custom built-ins." It's hard to say what it would cost (I'm finding your photos a little confusing for some reason; maybe I just need more coffee) but if I were a skilled carpenter I'd bill it at $75/hr plus materials.

As for whether you could do it yourself, it's hard to say since I don't know your skill level or what tools you have access to. My gut feeling is that if you could do this, you'd already know how. Do you know someone who's handier than you who might be willing to work on this project with you in exchange for food and beer? That would probably be your ideal solution.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:19 AM on September 22, 2016

If you want to do a quick temporary fix until the new window is put in you could just go to local lumber place and ask them to cut you a piece of 3/4 inch plywood that would fit over the mess you have there now. The only problem would be if it's not 4-sided rectangular, I can't tell from the photos. If you have a drill you could put several 1/4 inch holes in the plywood for ventilation.
posted by mareli at 6:37 AM on September 22, 2016

There are lots of companies in New York who do this - we've always used our contractor since they're doing wordwork for us anyway (and the guy who does your windows and floors will definitely either be able to or know who will). But if you're looking for a quick and easy solution, Crosstown has been around forever and seem to do good work.
posted by Mchelly at 7:48 AM on September 22, 2016

By the way, I don't think that cover warped because it was wood per se, it looks more like it just wasn't beefy enough. (And also it looks water-damaged.) Hard to be sure from the pictures, but it looks like it's just made with 1/2" or 3/4" pine boards, not reinforced or cross-braced, largely unsupported across the middle, and of course with a big cut-out where the radiator vent is. That's really not strong enough. I'd want to do something in hardwood, probably oak like your floor appears to be. There's no reason it couldn't be made much stronger and more warp-resistant than it is, even with wood.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:12 AM on September 22, 2016

Hammer Time Studios does custom wood radiator covers. I think prices start at around $500, depending on size.
posted by bobafet at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2016

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