Saturday, June 1, 2013

AC vent covers

They're ugly.  They're filthy. They're difficult to clean.  And they're in almost everyone's house. These particular ones were in my mom's house. She's always hated them. So when I was a-pinteresting and I found this lovely picture below, I decided to do something about these.

I think she cleaned hers before taking a picture.  I didn't. This is probably the first post I've ever done that didn't involve a single trip to Bart's Barn. I went to my local big box hardware store and found some decorative moulding, and some pretty sheet metal, and then I was off to a miter saw. 

This one's mine.  I inherited it.  

I always wear safety glasses and usually gloves when I operate a saw, because they are scary.  Not scared of a metal blade that could easily remove your fingers flying around at more than 100 miles per hour?  Then you're an idiot. Respect the flying blade of death, and it will do wonderful things to you.  Don't respect it, and it could do horrific things to you. Whilst I was cutting my moulding (yes I said whilst. Don't judge.) the blade snagged on an imperfection in the wood or something, and the wood sort of... exploded beneath my hand. I was too shaken up to take a picture, but splinters went flying all over my patio. I was wearing my gloves and eye protection, so I was fine, and I never operate my saw without someone nearby to call 911 if necessary, but I was pretty shaken.  I could feel the impact  in my hand half an hour later, not unlike when you get electrocuted, and you continue to buzz for a bit. (How do I know what getting electrocuted feels like?  That's another story.) So kiddies, always wear your safety gear, and respect the flying blade of death.

Long story short (too late) I cut my moulding to length and mitered the corners like a picture frame.

Now, I guinea pigged this project on my mom, and didn't get many pictures of her vents during the process.  For hers I used a bit of moulding with a simple bullnose on one side.  Mine were made from the lovely decorative moulding you see here. When you're mitering corners with moulding, it's important to make sure all the cuts are made with the decoration in mind.  Remember which edge is on the inside of the frame, and which is outside. If you need to, get a speed square and mark the cuts you're going to make before you make them.  And buy a little more wood than you need in case some of it explodes or you make the wrong cut. 

Next I glued the corners, and used my handy dandy corner clamps to keep them in place whilst (yes I did it again) the glue cured. 

I'm sure you could use some elaborate rig to replace the corner clamps, but they do make it easier. 

Then I cut the pretty metal into the right size with my tin snips.  Which have disappeared in the shuffle of the tools in the garage. I'm sure they're in the same dimension as my mom's lost keys. 

And painted my frames white.  I stained my mom's because she has this thing for stained wood. After pictures to come!

Now we attach the metal to the frame.  There are several ways to do this. At my mother's suggestion, we duct taped her metal to her frames. After all, we were about to screw it into the wall, and that would hold up the metal nicely.  If I was going to go with tape again, I would use double sided tape instead.  We didn't get good stickage with the duct tape, mainly because there wasn't enough wood to get a grip on. But as she predicted, when we screwed it to the wall it held just fine.  For mine, however, I went with tiny screws.  I think they're 1/4 inch screws. I put one screw in each corner of the metal. That gave me a nice firm grip I knew wasn't going anywhere. 

Mom wanted hers to be removable, so I screwed them into the wall by drilling two holes through the frame, and then just using the screws from the previous returns. 

Mine, well I figure I've lived here five and a half years without ever needing to take the returns off except when I painted.  I already painted. I'm not doing it again any time soon. So I finish nailed those suckers into place. 


Now.  That metal is not cheap. In fact it's rather on the pricey side.  But I LOVE the way this little detail makes my home look just a little bit classier. Like a nice necklace turns a pair of slacks and a blouse into an outfit. My ex boyfriend thought they were a waste of time and money.  One of many reasons he's my ex boyfriend.  What do you think?