DIY Drafting Board

Written by judy filarecki
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DIY Drafting Board
Tools used with a good drafting board. (drafting image by Kimberly Reinick from

An adjustable drafting board is not just for people drafting up plans for a house, but anyone trying to draw a design for a project that requires precise horizontal and vertical lines and accurate measurements. It also is good for drawing tasks that requires a smooth, stable surface. For people painting, it allows for angle adjustments. Building a drafting board that is adjustable and fits on a table top requires only a few materials, some basic woodworking tools, and moderate woodworking skills.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 27-x-25-x-1/2-inch Baltic-birch plywood
  • Table saw
  • Panel cutting sled
  • 27-x-21-x-1/4-inch plywood
  • Wood adhesive
  • Portable screw driver and drill
  • Drill bit
  • 1 1/4-inch screws
  • 5/8-inch screws
  • 3 2-inch wide hinges
  • 2 1-inch wide hinges
  • Sandpaper
  • Acrylic finishing liquid

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  1. 1

    Place the plywood on the panel cutting sled on the table saw with a 25-inch finished edge against the fence of the sled. Push the sled forward to trim the 27-inch side to make it perpendicular to the first side

  2. 2

    Turn the plywood over keeping the same edge against the fence of the sled. Trim this third side so it is also perpendicular.

  3. 3

    Measure 1 1/8 inches in from the edge and mark it. Slide the plywood panel over to align the mark with the edge of the sled to cut a 1-inch board. Repeat this to make three more.

  4. 4

    Keep the plywood in the same position and measure from the far edge across 20 inches and mark it. Align the mark with the cutting edge of the sled and make the cut .

  5. 5

    Turn the board a quarter turn so the newest cut edge is against the fence. Measure 26 inches across from the far side. Align the mark with the sled cutting edge and make the cut. The resulting panel is a 20-by-26-inch rectangle.

  6. 6

    Square up the 1/4-inch plywood for the bottom so it is also 20 by 26 inches.

  7. 7

    Cut the four 1-inch boards so that two are 25 inches and two are 15 inches. Cut two 11-inch boards out of the leftover pieces.

  8. 8

    Mark 10 quarter-inch-wide grooves in one of the 15-inch pieces. Start 1 inch in from the end. Space them at 1-inch intervals. Each groove should be a quarter-of-an-inch deep. Exactly duplicate the grooves on the second 15-inch piece.

  9. 9

    Put the board on the sled against the fence so the marks are showing. Lower the blade to make the groove a quarter inch deep. Align the first mark with the cutting edge and cut the groove. Move the board slightly back so the second mark aligns with the outside of the blade and finish cutting the groove. Repeat for the rest of the grooves.

  1. 1

    Apply adhesive to one side of each of the two 25-inch boards and glue them together. Apply adhesive to one surface and centre it along the 26-inch edge of the 1/4-inch panel. Pre-drill five screw holes equal spaced and attach with 1 1/4 inch screws.

  2. 2

    Put adhesive on the underside of the two grooved boards and place them half an inch in from the 20 inch sides. Position so there is maximum adjustment for elevating the drawing panel. Pre-drill four holes and screw them in with 5/8-inch screws.

  3. 3

    Attach the three 2-inch hinges equally spaced along the 26-inch side on the underside of the drawing panel. Lay the hinged side up and align the panel with the thicker side of the base panel and attach the hinges.

  4. 4

    Screw 1-inch hinges to one end of the flat surfaces of each 11-inch piece. Open the hinges flat and butt the boards up against the opposite edge of the drawing panel one half inch in from the side edges. Attach the hinges.

  5. 5

    Sand lightly and finish the wood with multiple layers of acrylic.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow all manufacturer recommended safety precautions when using power tools.

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