Carve toekick to make heater vent grill. Bad idea?

mudwormAugust 31, 2011

We have forced air heating system and will be converting to floor vent into toekick vent once we install the cabinets. I was hoping to find inset wood grills for that, but they are hard to find (locally) and then we need to deal with staining them to match the color. Then the idea hit me -- why don't we carve in the toekick where the grill should be? We can drill a series of holes (maybe in some interesting patter), which will be the easiest, or, we can use router to carve the slots just like in a real wood grill. Do you see any problem with that?

I believe both toekickes are of MDF material (right, not real wood), but I plan on lining the inside with aluminum foil.

Any thoughts on this idea?

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You can order wood vent covers for forced air heating, made of the same wood as your floor, on the web or in advertisements in woodworking or homebuilding magazines. Other than that, any of the things you suggested are ok. You should use solid wood rather than MFD.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 2:00PM
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I made some for my last home out of wood. I tilted my table saw blade maybe 10-15 degrees, put the wood on it, raised the blade, lowered it, moved the fence over 1/4" and repeated. Keep the blade at a consistent height either by counting the revolutions on the hand wheel or minding the entry - exit points visually.

You need to use very straight-grained wood for this, or the vanes will tend to warp.

While this is not complicated, it requires some skill and safety awareness by an experienced operator.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 8:52PM
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"I believe both toekickes are of MDF material (right, not real wood), but I plan on lining the inside with aluminum foil. "

By the time you have enough hole area the remaining material is going to be very weak.

The first time a foot or mop bangs into it it is likely to simple fail.

Wooden rates need to be made of solid wood to have any strength.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2011 at 10:05AM
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