Registers in the Base of a Built-In Bookcase

Ideas for building vents into the bases of built-in cabinets. August 14, 2007

I have a set of built-in bookcases to do in which the customer would like to have a vent routed into the toe area. I haven't done this detail before and am looking for suggestions, as well as what type of pattern would look nice. The available area on the face of the base is about 6".

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor I:
It should not be a problem with the 6" toe kick. Make the cut-out at the time of installation. Simply use a 4x10" x 90 degree sheet metal boot, and the cut-out to suit the grille you are using. If it is for a cold air return, you don't need the metal boot.

From contributor D:
Google "real wood vents" and check out Ridgefield Industries and Grille Works for some ideas. We like a removable frame with louvers so duct work can be periodically vacuumed free of dust bunnies. The vertical angled slot style conceals better but is difficult to clean out. Filligree can be nice as well, with the same difficulty in cleaning.

From contributor R:
Duct it out to prevent condensation problems. In humid regions you will have a problem down the road.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the responses. I'm actually going to route the pattern into the baseboard and am looking for a pattern and tips on doing this.

From contributor T:
I have been cutting them in the toe skin. I cut 1/4" slots on the table saw with the blade angled at about 20 degrees. Clean up the end of the cut with the edge of a file. Customers and architects seem to like the clean look.

Click here for full size image

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. Contributor T, I think I'll give your method a go and maybe do a diamond shape, the middle slots longer than the top and bottom ones.