drafting table problem/help

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Forum topic by Belg1960 posted 05-30-2010 01:09 PM 2321 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Belg1960's profile


966 posts in 2485 days

05-30-2010 01:09 PM

Good morning guys/ladies, I need a little guidance on flattening a top of a draftsman style table. For over a year my wife had her plants on the surface and the center has now bowed because of the weight. This is a link to the type of table I have.
I was hoping to salvage the top by somehow repairing beefing up the piece. Any ideas would be most appreciated. Pat

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

7 replies so far

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2342 days

#1 posted 05-30-2010 01:24 PM

Try taking the top off and turning it over,laying on a flat surface and weight it down for a week or so.

-- Life is good.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2417 days

#2 posted 05-30-2010 03:38 PM

You might be able to take some bow out by attaching reinforcement on the bottom but I don’t think it would be worth it. Generally, the MDF that they use for the tops of those isn’t long lived once it starts moving.

Also be aware that when you are dealing with low end tables like this, (not a snub, quality drafting tables are some serious money) a fix can cost more than replacement. It looks like it has a nice solid metal base so you are at a good starting point.

If it were me, I would put a new top on it. I made a top for a similar table out of a cheap computer table frame for a heavy sewing machine as a torsion box. Nice and light and quite stiff. Two pieces of 1/4 in luan underlayment top and bottom with a grid of red cedar around the edges and across the middle at about 8 inch intervals worked for me. I planned ahead and made sure that solid wood matched up with with the attachment points for the base. I could probably stand on it without too much deflection. I am not a light person. Add a nice self healing cutting mat on the top and you would have a drafting table that would be much improved over what you could buy for 3 or 4 times the price. You could cheat a bit and use a hollow core door but it would not be as nice in the long run.

An alternative would be a sheet of quality plywood but then you still would have the reinforcement issue in the future.

Now, assuming that you are going to actually try to salvage the top…

I will assume that the bend is probably just in the middle (like folding a taco). A couple of 1×2 on edge spaced across the bottom would straighten it out and add more support. If it is a laminate face on the bottom, the only thing that you will be able to do is try to stick them on with screws (which will probably eventually pull out of the core) If no laminate, glue them.

Gook luck and let us know what you do.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View cutmantom's profile


388 posts in 2454 days

#3 posted 05-30-2010 03:45 PM

get a piece of melamine, cut it to size and edge it any way you want

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 3425 days

#4 posted 05-30-2010 03:58 PM

Mount two 1” x 2 1/2” hardwood cleats to the bottom with heavy thread screws to bite in the mdf. Should pull that bow right out.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3313 days

#5 posted 05-30-2010 04:13 PM

I agree with cutmantom…..............just replace it

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Belg1960's profile


966 posts in 2485 days

#6 posted 05-30-2010 05:45 PM

thanks so much for the replies guys, my solution started by looking at some “better” quality tables and they had metal supports under the top. Well I got some 1” square tubing and made a frame that looks like a Roman number 2 and proceeded to attach this to the top with 1 3/4 screws which took the bow right out and made the top MUCH stronger.
Miles, your solution was my first thought as well, and I was going to use some pocket screws to pull it together, but because its Sunday I can’t buy any lumber today as none of the stores are open.

-- ***Pat*** Rookie woodworker looking for an education!!!

View joey's profile


396 posts in 3323 days

#7 posted 05-30-2010 06:57 PM

I am with dkirtley I would go with a torsion box, in the long run it will give you a great surface to draw on I made mine out of 1/2 ply 1” wide and skinned it with 1/4 Baltic birch. I add blocking at the connecting points and used maple banding. It was a great little table.


-- Joey~~Sabina, Ohio

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