Light Table #1: Lighted Drafting Table...why not.

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Blog entry by Philip posted 12-16-2013 09:34 PM 2264 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Light Table series Part 2: Wiring and Finishing »

A few (OK, many) months ago when I should have been finishing my workbench I got the idea that it would be great to build a light table that would double as a drafting table. When I was a kid I loved to tape a piece of paper onto a window and trace pictures, it was like a magic drawing superpower.

Now it’s going to be used for designing furniture and more importantly- stained glass. When you only work in the evenings and you have to hold up the glass to the one-incandescent-light-bulb-garage-light it just doesn’t work well.

The final reason was price. There are no light tables (unless you have enormous amounts of disposable income); you can buy a light box that is the size of a notebook and costs $100. So I did some research and came up with what I thought would be an ideal set up. First off, you need to have some ventilation so the lights don’t overheat. Instead of cutting some holes I had to go and scroll a design instead. Nearly 200 little leaves later, I’ll never do that again! I had to rout away material where the leaves were because it was just too thick to scroll tiny stuff like that in 3/4” stock.

Oh but it looks so GOOD!...

Time to do some dry fitting and cut some biscuit slots…

This shows the lights being placed and the rubber spacers I had to use in the dado because it was a little too deep, whoops…

I needed a way to hang this on the wall that was free. I had some shelf brackets lying around and decided to use those to mount the light table on the back. This way the front legs can be folded and the table can lay flat against the wall when needed.

Once the shelf bracket is cut, I drill a hole and cut a notch for a bolt that will be attached to the box.

This shows the brass bolt that is epoxied into the side that will hook onto the bracket on the wall.

Ah yes, it works…

In the next segment I’ll talk about the top and wiring and all that good stuff…

-- I never finish anyth

6 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile


12082 posts in 2436 days

#1 posted 12-16-2013 11:24 PM

That is the fanciest light box I’ve ever seen.

-- Rick M,

View justoneofme's profile


639 posts in 2535 days

#2 posted 12-17-2013 05:25 AM

I don’t know Philip … but it looks totally awesome to me! I hear you … cutting those little leaves through that thickness, but you were challenged, and totally up to the challenge! You have put the WOW into what would otherwise be just another light box. I’m impressed!!

-- Elaine in Duncan

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3390 days

#3 posted 12-17-2013 08:59 AM

I already have a shop built light table Phillip, but after seeing yours I might have to make a new one! I love the vent holes on yours. Very nice!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Benboy's profile


105 posts in 2317 days

#4 posted 12-17-2013 03:01 PM

I have been contemplating this exact thing for a few weeks now. You are the match that lit my fire to set my other projects aside to do this instead.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 2594 days

#5 posted 12-17-2013 05:27 PM

Thanks for the comments!

I’d love to see how yours comes out Ben.

-- I never finish anyth

View mafe's profile


11739 posts in 3145 days

#6 posted 12-17-2013 07:17 PM

Ahhh here it was!
I was curious when I saw your shop pictures.
Lovely work.
Looks so cool.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

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