15 March 2021
It will be a dry, bright season!
The heater we have just shown you how to make works like a treat, but it can also be used to dry small items of clothing, towels and so on – with this simple detachable add-on drying rack.
As noted in the panel heater feature, these panels do not get very hot, but you must ensure that the detachable add-on drying rack we describe below is wide enough to ensure that the any material items being dried are kept well away from the panel surface.
It is also not intended for drying or warming heavy or bulky items and furthermore should not be made so wide that when it has a garment or towel on one side, it moves the entire unit’s centre of gravity outside the casters. The whole unit’s centre of gravity must ALWAYS be within the centres of each caster’s wheel when the caster is turned inwards (see illustration). (Ideally, it should be balanced with items of about equal weight on each side.)
Finally, regularly check anything you are drying or warming and remove it or them once they are dry or warmed.
Meranti dowels – two 16mmØ dowels, 1m long.
SA pine – 32x32mm offcuts left over from the heater project… two lengths cut to 300mm.
Finish of your choice; I used water-based white paint
In passing, the two ends of this drying rack are from leftover pieces of 32x32mm SA pine from the original project… it’s always a good idea to hang on to project offcuts that are regular cross-sections in nominal sizes… 44x22mm, 32x32mm etc…you never know when you may need them.
- The only extra materials you will need are the two dowels.
- First measure the distance of the inner surfaces of the heater frame.
- Ideally the drying rack should extend just beyond the top panel securing dome nuts. They keep it in position on top of the heater frame.
- Cut the two main supports, each to 300mm long.
- I wanted to round off the support ends, so I used an aerosol can as my template.
- I used a jigsaw to cut the ends… you can use the jigsaw to round them closer to the cutting line, but I prefer to cut well away from the line.
- Then I use a rasp, coarse sandpaper (40 grit) to roughly round off the end, and then fine sanding with a sander fitted with 220 grit pads or finer to complete the rounding off down to the marked lines.|
- The completed ends.
- Mark off the centre and then 16mm of either side of it for the support braces.
- Use a square to ensure a scrap piece of 32x32mm (used as a spacer to replicate the heater’s frame cross-section dimensions) is at a perfect 90°, and clamp it firmly in position.
- Now cut eight 45° wedges, and with a strip of 250 micron black plastic sheet to ensure the clamped spacer will not become glued to the rack ends. The plastic sheet also ensures that there is a tiny gap between the braces – so that they slip over the frame, but very snugly. Crafty, eh…
- This is where your extra four wedges come into play… they allow you to clamp the four braces down and in while exerting clamping pressure at 90° to the surfaces. This is the top view.
- Here’s the side view… notice how the two upper pieces of wood hold the wedges hard down on the braces and on the ends, while the two clamps shown more clearly in the top view, are able to push the wedges in… securing the braces hard up against the frame spacer.
- While the glue is curing, set up your 16mmØ spade bit, to insert the ends of the dowels about 20mm into the ends.
- Mark off the positions of the dowels on the ends… I biased them slightly towards the top so that there is a little more timber under the dowel ends – but again, note, this rack is for light items… nothing heavy.
- I checked the rack ends rested on the frame without too much play, but bear in mind that when the braces inner surfaces are painted, the paint itself will make the fit a little tighter.
- Dry fit the dowel into its hole in the rack end, then position it on the rack, and mark off where you should cut the dowels on the other end. Rather cut a little long and then trim to get the fit you want.
- I confirmed everything fitted properly and only when satisfied, applied glue and left the rack to cure. Finally, I painted the drying rack to match the heater frame itself.
- When not in use, the rack is simply removed and put to one side.
- Here it is warming a couple of towels, which are a minimum of 120mm from the panel surface or either side, but still keeping the entire unit’s centre of gravity well between the casters on the feet.
The finished unit – and like the perfect partner, warm and silent…
I always find it best to pre-sand the various pieces before I assemble any unit, with a final fine sanding just before applying the finish, and in this case, paint the frame and feet before attaching the panel and completing the project… it just makes thing a whole lot easier.
These materials are available at Selected Mica Stores. To find your closest Mica and whether or not they stock the items required, please go to www.mica.co.za, find your store and call them. If your local Mica does not stock exactly what you need they will be able to order it for you or suggest an alternative product or a reputable source.
TIME: 2-3 hours (allowing time for the glue to cure; water-based paint dries very quickly in full sun
COST: R50, for the two dowels.
Jigsaw and/or circular cut-off saw, sander – random orbital or orbital, drill/driver and 16mmØ spade bit.