How to Build a Drafting Table

Want to build a drafting table? Building a drafting table can save you a ton of money over buying a professional drafting table. With some basic building skills and the right know-how, you can have your own drafting table without spending a fortune.

Start with the surface.
Drafting table surfaces vary depending on what you want and need. You could build a drafting table using plywood and call it a day. If you're looking for something larger, you could even use a door. For a smooth, professional surface, overlay it with Borco, which is designed to withstand compass points and hard pencils. Think about the size you need, and the space where you'll be using it, when you select a drafting table surface.

Plan your frame.
Next question: Do you want a fixed, flat drafting table, or an adjustable drafting table that you use at an angle? You can theoretically use the same frame for either style; you just need to make a few modifications depending on how you want to use it.

For a basic, flat frame, use four pieces of 2-by-4 wood, approximately 6 inches shorter than your surface on every side. For example, if you're building a 48-inch wide drafting table, you'd want 36-inch pieces of 2-by-4 for the long part of the frame. Remember to cut the inside supports shorter to allow for the width of the 2-by-4 in the long frame. Drill and attach the frame directly into the bottom of the surface.

For an adjustable drafting table, plan a frame for 6 inches shorter than your surface on the top and sides, but flush with the bottom. Mount the frame even with the bottom of the surface on secure, square hinges. This enables you to tilt the surface relative to the frame. You'll also want to install supports to the frame, using blocks of wood cut for the appropriate height and angle. You can attach the supports directly to the frame; drill a hole in the prop slightly bigger than the screw for clearance, and mount it with washers securely but with enough room so you can move the props.

Mount your legs.
Next, mount your drafting table legs to your frame. You can use brackets to mount the legs, or if you're covering the surface with a finish, you can screw directly through the surface of your table into the legs. Mount the legs flush with the frame edges at each corner. Select legs according to the height at which you want to use the drafting table. An average height would be approximately 36 inches. You may want to add self-leveling feet to adjust your table once you've finished it.

Add supports to brace your table.
You'll want to add cross-braces to support and stabilize your table. Measure and cut the braces to fit within the legs in the same configuration as the frame you've mounted to the table at the top. These pieces of bracing are slightly shorter than the frame itself, due to the size of the legs, or they may be equal to the frame size if you've mounted the legs directly to your surface. Screw the bracing into the legs 10 inches from the floor.

Optional finishes.
If you're using Borco, you'd apply it now to finish the surface. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install your Borco. You may also want to install a pencil tray, T-square or other details, depending on your needs.

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