Constructing Wood Grilles for Floor Vents

      Advice on custom-crafting wood grilles for heating supply and return vent openings. November 23, 2012

Looking for any tips or ideas on building some wood floor grates. We need to build some wood floor vents for cold air returns. They are large custom sizes Iím looking for ideas. We plan on using 1/2" wide x 3/4" thick slates and to half lap them to create a square grill. I don't think creating the grill will be an issue, how about connecting it to a frame? I was thinking about small dowel possibly? Any ideas would help.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor O:
I have made similar things and to be honest notching them is the best method, just like you said. As for the connection to the frame, you can either leave a tenon on the end of every other slat, or you could use a 23g pin nailer and glue and nail from the underside and fill. Or from the outer edge since it is always below the floor and not visible. That is what I would do since the glue does most of the work. I think I would rabbet the frame before assembly, leave little grooves, and then assemble all at once. You don't even need a fastener at all (rabbet corners too, maybe a 23g pin while they dry).

From contributor B:
You need to get a book on shipwright joinery. It would most likely have drawings and diagrams for building all kinds of deck grates. You can also buy pre-milled teak grate stringers from a marine hardware store and assemble them to any size.

From contributor M:
We start by placing flat stock on the CNC and cutting dados across the board half the thickness and width of slats required. The next process is to rip a little wider than will fit the dado and plane or sand to finish dimension for tight half lap. Glue and pin nail from the back is easiest and wrap in a frame of your choice. We usually do something small with a shadow line then overhead sand flat. We also have builders who will use the top of the base profile for low wall mounted cold air returns. Itís not terribly difficult but can be time consuming especially if you are trying to hit a set overall dimension.

From the original questioner:
We have done some out of laminated boards cut on a CNC, but we're limited to straight cut vents with this kind of design and they need to be sealed on all sides to prevent any sort of warping after installation.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Custom Millwork

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2016 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article