Drafting Table for Shop or Home

Tin; DRAFTING ROOM at the college where 1 teach furniture making had long been a sore spot with me. The tables we used were industria]-type library tables, not designed for drawing. The students who used them were far from comfortable. For hours at a time, they hunched over a flat surface that was at the wrong height. It made drafting a pain.

To solve that problem, I designed and built the prototype shown in the top photo on p. 73. After working out the bugs in the design, 1 realized that this would be a good beginner's project for the woodworking class. By the time the projects were finished, we had refitted the drafting room al the school, and the students were a lot more comfortable.

The construction process is simple, and the hardware we used is readily available from hardware stores or mail-order supply houses. The knockdown design makes it easy to disassemble the table for storage or moving. The torsion-box top is rigid and dead flat, yet light and *» portabl e.

The key hardware components holding the table together are four threaded rods that fit within metal pipes.The nuts and washers on the ends of the threaded rods pull the leg assemblies firmly together while the rigid lengths ofpipe keep the two sides apart. This combination of tension and resistance to compressive forces stiffens the structure .The smooth cylindrical surface of the metal pipe also provides an ideal pivot pin for the tilling top.

by cameron russell

How Drafting Table Making

Torsion-box core makes top lightweight and strong.

Support pivot screwed to tabletop

Notched supports hold top securely at different angles.

Accessory trays for drafting supplies

Threaded Inserts for mounting trays. 4 in.

Accessory trays for drafting supplies

Threaded Inserts for mounting trays. 4 in.

Copper plumbing pipe or electrical metallic tubing houses threaded rod.

Drafting Table For Shop Home

Torsion-Box: Light but Strong

The design for the top guarantees that it will be lightweight, dead flat, and strong. The outside skins ofX-in. plywood are glued to the narrow surfaces of an internal wood frame, and the considerable overall surface area makes a healthy bond. As with any face-to-face gluing ofwood, this construction process offers a lot of resistance to twisting forces, making the panel very rigid for its size and weight.

1 built this tabletop 24 in. wide by 42 in. long, but the lower structure could easily handle a top up to 30 in. wide by 60 in. long. Ifyou plan to fit a drafting-arm machine or a parallel straightedge to your table, take that size into account when you determine the length ofyour top.

The internal framework of the top's core consists of ribs of lumber X in. wide by X in. thick, as shown in the drawings and photos on p. 74. It's a good idea to add a

A Good and Simple Design

Frnnt few wider blocks to receive the fasteners that secure the pivoting lop to the lower frame. The extra size gives you a little more leeway for mounting the hardware.

Mill all the lumber for the ribs at the same time to ensure they're all the same size. Also, accurately marking the locations of intersections where ribs are joined together is important. Apply a small spot of glue to each joint, and drive a staple to span the seam. Use a small-gauge staple and gun. Once one side ofthe frame is complete, flip it and staple the other side.

Gluing the plywood skins to the core frame requires a lot of pressure. A large veneer press is ideal, but ifyou don't have one, you might ask someone at a local cabinet shop to glue up the skin for you. You can do it yourselfby sandwiching the top between sheets ofplywood weighted down with bags of cement or boxes of nails. In any case, mark the hinged edge before adding the outside skins—you'll avoid trouble later

uilt with common materials and

Drafting Table For Shop Home

uilt with common materials and kC

knock-down hardware, this table is inexpensive and easy to make. Movable hinged supports make it possible to adjust the top to different angles. Accessory trays mounted on the sides provide plenty of storage space for drafting materials.

when you want to install threaded inserts for the wood-hinge mounts.

Legs and Notched Support Rails

Each side of the table is made with a front and rear legjoined by two rails, as shown in the drawings on the facing page. We used mortise-and-tenon joints to connect legs and rails, but either dowels or biscuits also could be used.

The size ofthe tabic calls for standard lengths of36-in. threaded rod. The pipe can be either thin-walled, X-in. JJMT (electrical metallic tubing) or X-in. copper p 1 umbing pipe. The copper is much more expensive, but it can be polished and clear coated for a visually pleasing finish. Ifyou use the EMT, you might want to dress it up a bit with primer and paint.

When drilling holes for the pipes in the legs (and in the prop pieces for the underside ofthe top), drill the counterbored pipe holes first.You can use the center point left by that hole to line up the bit for the smaller hole that the threaded rod passes through. Depending on the type of pipe you choose, the diameter ofthe hole may or may not be a standard size. It's critical for the overall slurdiness ofthe table that the pipes fit snugly within the counterbored holes with no slop.

A X-in.-dia. hole should be right for the X-in. capper plumbing pipe.The outside diameter ofX-in. EMT is between % in. and X in.'I'he best method 1 know for getting a

Spacing about 6 in.

HI he core framework of pine is L lightweight and rigid. The six frame pieces that are wider receive threaded inserts to hold the top to the hinged support pieces.

Staples span glued butt joints.

Staples span glued butt joints.

% in.thick

Spacing about 6 in.

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Spacing about 4 in.

Core blocking

Spacing about 4 in.

Core blocking

BUTT JOINTS ARE PLENTY STRONG. Glue and staples hold the core framework together. The torsion-box top assumes full strength once the plywood skins are glued to this frame.

Torsion Box

Connector bolt

Top prop piecc

Threaded Rod Architecture Plan

Pivot support piece

Threaded insert Core blocking

Acorn nut with washer

Threaded rod

Acorn nut with washer

Counterborcd hole for pipe is not drilled all the way through.

Pivot support piece

.. Section through Yo/i Hinge Mount

Threaded insert Core blocking hese drawings show the important details of parts that connect the top to the lower frame. For rigidity, the holes for the metal pipe should have flat bottoms and furnish a snug fit. If you use a spade bit (right), you may have to grind it down.

Connector bolt

Top prop piecc

Acorn nut with washer

Threaded rod

Acorn nut with washer

Counterborcd hole for pipe is not drilled all the way through.

Cross dowel and connector bolts secure notched supports to rail.

Cross Dowel Bolt Dwg

Cross dowel and connector bolts secure notched supports to rail.

ACCESSORY TRAYS ARE ADJUSTABLE. They are fastened with connector bolts to threaded Inserts mounted in the legs. The author's design calls for two shallow trays and one deep one.

snug tit for the EMT is to tile or grind down a X-in. spade bit until it makes a hole into which the pipe fits just right. Don't forget to mark the bit, so you don't get it mixed up with your standard-sized bits.

The other wood parts are easy to cut, drill, and shape. Half-round holes in the notched supports (see the drawing on p. 75) can be drilled by clamping rwo pieces together, edge to edge, and using thejoint line as the centeiiine.With any part that must revolve around the metal pipe, like the hinge blocks mounted to the underside of the top, be sure to drill the hole large enough to allow free movement. Sand and finish all the wood parts before assembly.

Assembling- All the Parts

Once you've fabricated and finished all the pieces, putting them all together is a cinch. Start with the legs and notched support-rail assembly. It's important to remember to slip the hinge-block pieces over the pipe as you do this, so the hinge blocks are in place when you want to secure the top later. The only tools you'll need to set up this table (or take it apart) are a box wrench, a ratchet for the threaded rods with acorn nuts, and an Allen wrench for the connector bolts.

The small blocks ofwood that allow the top to pivot and to be supported at different angles are bolted through into threaded inserts set into the underside of the top. For applications like this, where I thought parts would have to be taken apart and put back together many times, 1 used threaded inserts and bolts.

Ifyou plan to assemble the table and leave it set up, you could certainly substitute regular wood screws for some of this hardware. Keep in mind, though, that ready-to-assemble hardware makes adjustments easy when aligning the moving parts of the lilting and supporting pieces.

I also installed threaded inserts on the outsides of the legs for rearranging or adding accessory trays for drafting equipment (see the photo above).You could customize your own table to handle other specific accessories, such as a paper-roll holder or a T-square rack.

CAMERON RUSSELL teaches furniture making at Camosun College in Victoria. B.C.. Canada.

How To Sell Furniture

How To Sell Furniture

Types Of Furniture To Sell. There are many types of products you can sell. You just need to determine who your target market is and what specific item they want. Or you could sell a couple different ones in a package deal.

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  • fiorello
    How to make a drafting table?
    6 years ago
  • Medhanit
    How to build a drafting table?
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