I am considering incorporating a drafting table into a set of built in
bookcases that I am getting ready to make. The first design question that
popped into my head was an odd one. Is the lip at the bottom of the
drafting table, the one that the triangles and such rest on, of any
particular dimension? Does it need to be a particular height above the
table or a particular thickness?
I have little experience with drafting tables, obviously, but I thought it
might be nice to have. I just bought my wife a mat cutting system (from Lee
Valley of course) for Christmas and thought it might be a good work surface
as well as my using it for drawing plans. My last project really taught me
the value of drawings of a project.
Why not get the top-of-the-line above with the special light attached to the
drafting machine in a garage sale for around $100! Lots of those around -
everyone converted to CAD years ago, so not much demand for tables and
associated drawing devices. That motor operated table is so nice and
drafting machine is sweet and smooth where once sold for perhaps over
To answer your first question, there should not be a raised rail at the
bottom of your table. It just gets in the way and cuts into your arms
as you draw. A shallow tray routed in the base rail will work fine.
As to the comments about CAD being so neat, I did drafting for over
fifty years. My work was unmistakeable. While leafing through some old
highway plans at the highway dept., a set that I had drawn up in the
early fifties literally jumped out at me. The use of line weights and a
distinctive lettering style made it stand out. When a car accident
disabled me, I had to learn CAD. Although I still utilize the options
for varying line weights, there is nothing to be said for the lettering
fonts. My drawings no longer have any character. Everyone should learn
at least basic drafting and lettering, if only to make preliminary
sketches in the field.
[rant turned off]
On Sat, 24 Dec 2005 01:49:42 GMT, "Highland Pairos"
The drafting tables I used to use had no rest for triangles and
drawing instruments. One simply avoided setting down pens and pencils
such that they would roll. The tables did have a 3/4 by 1-1/2 bar
across the front edge, flush with the top surface, attached with
spacers at each end to create a 1/4 slot for long paper to be fed down
You may be able to set the triangle on the t-square.
I actually preferred the parallel-arm board version, where you had a
horizontal arm that moved up and down. That way you didn't have to
worry about keeping the t-square tight against the side.
Yes, YOU DO SET the triangle on the top edge of the T-square.
Once you have been drawing for a while using a T-square you can see if it is
not parallel to the lines on the paper. Really not a problem because you
always hold the t-square in place pulling it up snug against the edge of the
Highland Pairos (in F03rf.251$ email@example.com) said:
| I assumed that it was necessary for setting a triangle 90 deg to a
| t-square that is set along the edge.
In the time before CAD, drafting machines, and sliding parallel rule,
the sides were the reference edges for T-square use. The T-square
registered against the side of the table and triangles then rested
against the T-square. The better tables were fitted with inlet steel
channels for the head of the T-square to bear against.
As Leon points out, a pencil ledge at the bottom of the table is
really uncomfortable; and after breaking enough pencil leads, one
learns to put things down so they don't roll. For those who had
learning disabilities, there were all kinds of anti-roll/anti-skid
accessories that could be bought.
For the kind of work that might still be done manually, it might be
worth DAGS for "taboretr" (I found
d_taborets.htm>). These are small rolling carts that hold and store
art paraphernalia. Building one of these little critters has been on
my want-to-do list for a long time.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
You square the drawing paper to the T-Square. Then you set the triangle on
the top edge of the T-square. Some drawing desks have this ledge to keep
the drawing board from sliding off of the desk it the desk top angle is too
I seem to have fallen into a nest of old draftsmen/persons? like
myself. Probably the last coven of a dying breed. We did some great
things in our time. Drew up a coast-to-coast highway sytem, put men on
the moon, designed a vast array of domestic gadgets, and advanced
automation to a level that has replaced us.
Too bad there isn't someone coming up to replace the thinking that went
into those drawings.
Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah, etc. etc.
You know there is something that those of us that used to draw, recognizes
in other draftsmen. Hand writing. It is still very easy to spot an old
draftsman by his hand writing. I always get a smile when I start a
conversation with the question, Do you still draw.
I put myself thru slinging lead.
Spent a lot of time bent over the layout table.
Had a callus on my right hand middle finger from holding those drafting
Since printing was the standard on drawings, got to the point where I
forgot how to form script letters because I didn't write anything
anymore, I printed it.
Today, I type.
Time moves on.
LOL... My hand writing was terrible untill I started lettering sheets and
drawing in school. Magically my script hand writing transformed into a
rather "Girly" looking style. My printing was emaculate.
Today...If I try I can do pretty good.
This all makes great sense. Thank you to one and all for your insights. I
think I will leave off the ledge for comfort, and perhaps work in a better
way to hold pencils etc.
Now the next challenge will be working out the folding mechanism. Probably
not a big deal.
I like the sliding parallel rule. Although I do most all of my drafting on
the computer, I still like to draft on real velum. At home I use a smaller
folding table 30x42 with the parallel rule. In my office I have a large
43x72 power table with a track drafting machine. Now all it does is make a
grate layout table for reviewing plans developed in AutoCAD.
The folding table gets little use but I would recommend a good drawing board
cover. They will also work great when your wife uses it to cut mats on.
Me too. I just had my K&E drafting machine rebuilt. You should have
checked this guy out... too cool. A real German engineerey type. Had his
workshop strewn with transits from back in the day they measured the
height of Mount Everest... museum quality stuff. The rebuild cost me
$175.00, and NO off-shore parts..*lol* which was WAY more than the
table/machine combo when I bought it.
But the way that rolls along those linear bearings and locks in place
like a Ft Knox door...it's a treat to use. (I'm AutoCAD trained, 3 years
at a local college, just for fun, not the same).
I like walking past the drawing and looking at it as the day goes
by..making a change here and there...I would never launch CAD just to
scroll around and find this and that detail to tweak and tune...
Most of the stuff is actual size as well...
I agree, Dave... something organic happens.. it's almost as if the brain
has more opportunity to be creative because it is less busy processing
commands and stuff.... it's that 'one-cheek-on-the-stool' thing again.
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