Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Molding Into Shape

I'm finally feeling like things are starting to show progress.  Maybe we will have a finished room after all.  I was beginning to think it might never get done.

The next step is putting the heaters into place.  I'm just going to temporarily mount them for now; I need to know exactly where they will be so I can cut the molding.  Some of the molding will go around the heaters.  I won't be wiring them up just yet - that will come later.

I have a pair of heaters - one is 3 feet long and is 750 watts and the other is 6 feet long and is 1500 watts.  So we have a total of (doing math in head...) er...2250 watts.  The heaters are made in South Carolina, USA, by Marley Engineered Products.  Turns out that Marley markets these under the name Marley (duh) and Q-Mark.  Not sure why the different names, because the different heaters appear to be exactly the same, but that's what they do. 

The (I hope) neat thing about these baseboard heaters is that they are hydronic.  The heating elements contain a liquid that is in a pipe that's heated electronically.  The idea is that they maintain some heat after they are off, making for smoother on and off transisitions.  We shall see how well they work in practice, yes?

I'll go into the wiring and thermostat when we get there, but for now we're just mounting.  The heater above is the 3-foot one.  I propped it up on scrap wood and used a level to get it, well, level.

You need to drill your own mounting holes into the heater body.  This lets you 'customize' the hole spacing as you need it.  In reality, there are only a couple of places where a hole can be drilled and not interfere with or hit the heating element.   I marked holes on the back and went for it.

Because I was careful, I didn't manage to hit the heating element.  The metal is just thin (maybe 20 gauge?) sheet metal, so drilling through it is No Big Deal.

The fins seem to be aluminum and they are very thin and easily dented.  In fact, both of my heaters came with dented fins from the factory - at the ends where they mounted the elements.  No big thing to straighten them out again. 

You can see the (dented) fins on the right.  I was using my brand-new Black and Decker power screwdriver.  After all these years of driving fasteners manually, I finally broke down and bought one.  Still coming to grips with it, but I think it's a good thing to have.

I used #8 (I think) wood screws to go through the heater case and into the wood trim.  Easy for even me to do.

Here's a shot of the 6-foot heater mounted.  The heaters have a cover that goes over the inner workings - I removed them to do the install.

I read somewhere - the internet, the instructions for the heaters - that they should be up off the floor a bit.  Or maybe I made that up.  I can't remember, but maybe I just figgured they'd look better.  At any rate, they're mounted about an inch and a half up off the floor.  Which means I need to cut the molding so it will neatly go under the heaters and look nice n' perfesshinul like.

Or something like that.

So now it's on to the molding.  I've learned a few things about molding during this project.  The first thing is that I really dig it.  I mean, it looks cool, it comes in nine zillion different patterns and sizes, and it lets you cover up ugly stuff.  The latter is important in this case.  It's not truly ugly underneath, but the molding will make the whole 'shelf/trim' thing look so much better.

The other thing I learned about molding is that it is deceptively expensive.  When you go to your local molding place to buy some, you see the signs that have like "$1.50" and you think, "wow, self, that is cheap."  But soon you realize that the price is per foot, and that 60 feet of the stuff will not be cheap.  

You can see that I have laid out a bunch of molding and will need to cut it to length, and also cut the corners.  Not, of course, in a literal sense.

One way cool, and indespensible tool that choo gotta haff for workin wit de molding is a miter saw (aka mitre saw...depending on your flavor...flavour...of English).   When I did the ceiling molding I tried to use a hand saw and miter box, but that was just not happening for me.  So I plunked down the tidy sum of ninety-nine dollahs at the Despot and came away with my now-trusty Ryobi mitre saw.

This puppy rocks!

You can accurately cut bevels, even compound ones (two angles), which you see the saw set to cut above.  I read up on miter cuts and found out that a 45 degree cut on the horizontal and a 30 degree cut on the vertical works best to cover up joins.  And you will have joins.  In the shot above, you can see the saw about to make that exact cut.

And on the right, you see the result.  If you then cut your next (abutting) board the same way, you will be able to butt them together and only have a small join line which is easily filled.  We'll see how to fill and finish it in a bit.

Aside: when Ms. Yr Fthfl Blggr saw the Ryobi, she was like "how much was DAT?"  I was like "niney-nine dollahs."  She was like "that's it?"  Me: "mmmm yup."  So it was indeed a bargain I think.  (Although I will confess I briefly considered the $300 model but couldn't justify it).

To get the molding to go under the heaters is pretty straightforward.  I just laid the molding in front, and then drew a vertical cut line on either side of the heater.

Then I measured the distance up from the floor I wanted and drew that horizontal line.

I'll then go and cut the resulting piece out of the molding.  We'll wind up with a little strip of molding that will run under the heater. to the cutting.

To make the cut easier, I planned to have a join under the center (or thereabouts) of the heater.  I cut a miter angle on the end of the board, then I could just use a circular saw up the length of the horizontal line.  For the small vertical cut, I used a coping saw by hand.

It came out fine, but I will admit I made a couple of goofs and cut the small piece out the first time!  That's why you see my instruction to myself on the board in the picture.  I had the flat (back) side of the molding facing up when I made the cuts, so I had to mark that side of the board too in order to get it right.

Oh well, it's just's not that expensive....

Here you can see the piece in place.  Came out ok I think.  It might not be necessary to cut it this way - some folks might just stop at the side of the heater, but not me.  I wanted to have it run all the way around.

You can also see that I left a bit (about 1/8") of clearance between the heater and the molding.  I expect the heater will expand when it's hot and wanted to allow for that expansion.


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