Drafting Table - Helpful information
about the drafting or drawing table
The drafting table is still in use despite all the advances in computer aided drafting. There are still a great many individuals who still use the traditional drawing table.
Architects, graphic artists and many structural steel drafters use the drawing table to develop their ideas. Some see the drawing table as a more secure way to protect their intellectual property. Hand created drawings are more difficult to alter or copy than their electronic counterparts. So some degree of security is afforded.
The first drawing tables were true pieces of furniture, quite at home in a victorian residence. They were handcrafted from solid oak with brass fittings and many were prized possessions just like any piece a fine furniture might be.
As industry moved forward, drawing tables became more utilitarian, but still retained some degree of style. Typically the drawing tables used in the 1940's and 1950's had strong, robust oak frames and an adjustable top hinged at the front edge, so you could adjust the angle of the table surface. You could lay the surface down flat to use the table in the normal way or you could adjust it at an angle. This helped you to draw standing up, with less strain on your back.
The frames of these old drawing room tables were often made to come apart relatively easily and the board it self could be removed. In this way the old tables were "portable". I always remember my fathers old drawing table he purchased when he started his drafting business in the early 1970's. Even the 6 foot long solid oak frame came apart. It still took four of us to get it into the office. You sure dont want to move too often with these old tables !
Newer drafting tables started to come along that incorporated steel frames and a system of linkages and clutches that allowed you to angle the board by depressing and releasing a foot pedal. The new boards used a large counterbalance full of lead shot so that when you released the foot pedal, you could adjust the height and angle of the board from totally horizontal to totally vertical. These boards are extremely versatile. You can set them so you can work standing or sitting, and use them as a regular table and elevated for presentation purposes. The steel frames also make them more portable than the huge old oak drafting tables.
While these drafting tables work well, you have to maintain the linkages and clutch to make sure that when you release the foot pedal, the board doesnt fly up and injure you. Never change the table top to a different size. That will affect the balance of the counterweight system. Ideally, you should be able to release the foot pedal and move the table surface practically anywhere you need without too much force.
Some drawing table manufacturers incorporated electric motors into their tables. This allowed you to adjust the height and table angle just by pushing a button. Unfortunately, the weight of the motors and actuators used brought the table back to the weight of its old solid oak counterparts. If you want pushbutton convenience, you had to sacrifice portability.
With this background information you should be able to make a more educated purchase if you are looking for a drawing table. You can check your local classified advertisements for bargains. Auctions are often a great place to pick up drawing tables. Nowadays some companies even give away their old drawing tables. If you keep your eyes open, you can often find soem great bargains. Ebay is a good source for old drafting tables. Just bear in mind that drawing tables are usually quite heavy. Your best bet is to pick them up using your own vehicle as shipping charges are often more than the purchase price of the table. Below are the latest ebay auctions for drafting table. Take a look an see if there is anything that interests you.