Wooden Floor Vents - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

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Wooden Floor Vents



Illustration by Mike Del Rizzo

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Glue set-up pieces (A) and (B) as indicated on the illustration.

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Making your own wooden floor vents is an easy way to add the beauty and warmth of wood to the rooms in your house.

Try replacing the plastic or painted metal vents in your home with these attractive wooden ones, and see what a big difference a little wooden accent can add to your rooms.

If you have wooden floors, these vents will fit right in, whether made from the same wood as the floor or with a contrasting wood. This vent is designed to fit a standard vent hole. Measure yours and adjust the measurements as required. It’s easy to make the vents using a simple template. Try one, and soon you will have all of your floor vents replaced with beautiful wooden ones.

This vent is for an existing 4" x 10" vent hole. The wooden vent itself is 5 ¼" x 11 ¼", providing an overlap all around for the lip to add strength and to account for any irregularities in the existing hole.
 
Making the Vent Template
A template is required to cut even, accurate vent holes. The template is designed for use with a router equipped with a 3/16" template guide and a ¼" plunge bit. The template is designed to cut the three vent holes first, then you reposition it to cut the last two holes. This allows the wood between the openings in the template to be wide enough so that they won’t flex while routing.

Cut out the template and the set-up pieces, cutting the set-up pieces about ⅛" under the stated length to make assembly easier. Locate the ½" holes on the template using the illustration as a guide. Carefully draw a straight line between the edges of the holes to outline the template openings. Drill the ½" holes using a forstner bit for a smooth, clean hole.

Cut out the template openings with a scrollsaw, ensuring the hole is straight and even. Use a file to clean up the hole as required. It is important that this is done accurately, as any imperfections will be reflected in your finished vents.

Glue the set-up pieces (A) and (B) as indicated on the illustration. For accurate location of the set-up pieces, first cut a vent blank to size, and use the blank to position the set-up pieces. Note that the set-up piece (C) is not glued in place.


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Cut out template with scroll saw

Routing the Vent
Position the vent blank on the template between the set-up pieces. Add set-up piece (C) and make sure it stays in place. Use double sided tape if required. This accurately locates the blank for routing the vent holes.

Flip the assembly over and position it on a scrap board that will allow you to rout completely through the vent blank and not damage your workbench. Place a scrap piece the same thickness as the vent blank under each end of the template. Then clamp the assembly to your workbench at the ends, ensuring the clamps won’t get in the way of the router. 


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Position vent blank in template

Install a 3/16" template guide and a ¼" bit in your plunge router. Rout the three vent holes, stepping through the material ¼" deeper each pass until you have routed through the blank. This will protect the vent from the dry air coming from your furnace.

Remove set-up piece (C), slide the vent blank to fill the open space, and replace the set-up piece (C) on the other side.

Finish routing the two additional vent holes as above. Do not rout the 3rd vent hole closest to the set-up piece (C). Now you can remove the blank from the template.


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Rout vent holes using template and template guides

When the holes are finished, install a ¼" roundover bit in your router and rout the top edges around the vent. You can use a different router bit profile if you like.

To make the dado that allows the vent to sit in the vent hole with enough overlap to cover any gaps, set up your router table with a ¾" straight bit protruding ½" above the table with the fence set for a ¼" deep cut. Rout all four edges of the template. Move the fence farther away to reveal an additional ¼" of the bit and rout all edges again. Finish by moving the fence so that the total depth of the dado is ¾" and rout all edges one last time. 


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Rout dado all around edge of vent

Sand the vent with progressively finer sandpaper, finishing at 220 grit. Apply several coats of polyurethane, making sure you coat the insides of the vent holes. This will protect the vent from the dry air that will go through it.



MICHEL THERIAULT
Michel Theriault