I’ve had several people inquire about the drafting board I have in my workshop. Like my workbench it’s evolved through several incarnations and the current version serves my needs quite well. Most notably, it folds flat and can be carted across country and used on film sets and at woodworking events I occasionally speak at. I also like the fact that it can be set up on the dining room table or on my workbench for that matter. Often in preparation for a video shoot or a speaking engagement, I’ll produce scores of drawings. It’s a pleasure to set up on the back patio and draw out in the open air. In case you would like to build one this couldn’t be simpler. The drawing surface itself is simply a piece of cabinet grade veneered plywood (in this case cherry) wrapped in a frame of inch thick poplar. The board is approximately 30” high by 36” wide but that’s completely arbitrary. I used a dado set to create a tongue and groove joint that locks the panel to the frame. The board is left unfinished to cut down on glare. The bottom of the frame has a lip to catch drawing tools and it provides some material to screw a pair of hinges to the back.
I used half lap joints to construct a framework that’s hinged to the board itself. I adjust the tilt of the table with a couple of props that rest in a series of V shaped grooves at the rear of that bottom frame. In practice I seldom adjust the table tilt once it’s comfortable. Probably most important to me is the location. I’ve managed to shoehorn it in just off the end of the workbench. It’s clamped to a base made earlier for a router table that no longer sees much action. I consider myself a woodworker first and a designer second. Much of my design work is done as the project goes along, with many design decisions made at the bench rather than on paper. It’s what works for me.
For any of you wondering why I’m still in the knuckle dragging stone-age of paper and pencil. I’ve found that drawing skills (including freehand drawing) spill over and cross pollinate with the hand and eye skills needed to guide a chisel at the workbench. Somehow drawing with a mouse doesn’t do the same thing for me.
George R. Walker