What is a Drafting Table?

A drafting table is designed for the specific use of architectural/engineering drafting and mechanical drawing, consisting of a rigid leg-support structure with a variable pitch top for convenience of user. Drafting tables come in various top sizes and vertical adjustment considerations for normal drafting requirements. Drafting tables have many uses and can be used for drafting, drawing, painting, viewing large documents, crafts, hobbies or general writing.

Step 1: Measure your space.

Drafting and drawing tables can take up a large amount of space. If you are limited on space consider a portable drafting board or a fold-a-way drafting table. These tables can be easily stored when not in use and are generally smaller in size. However, what you save in space and portability you take away in stability. Because of the fold-a-way legs, these tables are not as sturdy as other drafting and drawing tables available but are generally less expensive.

If you have ample space, consider a Four-Post or Pedestal drafting table. Four-Post and Pedestal drafting tables are much sturdier than fold-away tables. Because of the sturdy base, these tables have larger top sizes available but are generally more expensive.

Just remember, when you are looking at any drafting table that the legs make a footprint on the floor but the table top itself is larger.

Step 2: Determine what table top size you need.

Make sure to choose a table that is large enough to fit your needs. Find out what size paper you will be using and choose a table that is at least one size larger.

If the table is going to be used for viewing and correcting drawings choose a table that will allow you to open the bound blueprints and keep the entire set on the table. When the blueprints hang off one edge they will want to fall off the table making them difficult to view.

If the table is used for drafting and drawing a larger surface area will give you more room to spread out books and other reference materials next to your drawing. When you only have just enough room for your drawing the space can feel cramped making you easily frustrated.

Standard drafting table top sizes are 24" x 36", 30" x 42", 37.5" x 48, 37.5" x 60", 37.5" x 72". Other sizes are available.

Step 3: Determine your style.

What drafting table looks good to you? Do you like steel or wood? Traditional or Contemporary?

Four-Post Drafting Tables

Four-Post Table Benefits

  • Sturdy Tables - These tables will not wobble when leaned on.
  • Larger Range of Tops Available - Because of the sturdy base the top sizes range from 30" x 42" all the way up to 43" x 84"
  • Storage Available - Many tables are available with tool drawers and/or plan drawers

Four-Post Table Disadvantages

  • Large and Bulky - More space is required for these drafting tables
  • Permanent Fixture
  • More Expensive
Pedestal Drafting Tables

Pedestal Table Benefits

  • Large Tiltable Range 0° to 90°
  • Go from office to drafting height easily
  • Top adjustment (height and tilt) very easy, with either a lever, foot pedal or switch


  • Permanent Fixture - Takes up more space and is not easily portable
  • More Expensive
Fold-A-Way Drafting Tables

Fold-a-way Table Benefits

  • More Portable
  • Takes up less space -- The legs fold in and top folds down to approximately 5" in width for easy storage under a bed or in a closet.
  • Lower Priced


  • Not Very Sturdy
  • Smaller Table Tops
  • Not made for heavy use
Craft and Hobby Tables


  • Smaller Top Sizes
  • Storage Options
  • Made for Crafters


  • Not made for drafting - Because of the rounded corners it is very difficult to attach a parallel bar
Step 4: Choose the right accessories

Once you choose your drafting table you might also need accessories to complete your workstation.

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