Antique-Inspired Drawing Table w/ Built-In Lightbox

I wanted a bigger, perhaps even fancier, drawing table than what I've been using for a few years; and I had a pile of wood left over from other projects, so! I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

The instructions here are different from what I did in a couple places, because I realized after the fact a better/more efficient/etc way of doing it.

Hi-Res Blueprint

What You Need
Wood: I used mostly mahogany and poplar; but the pegs are oak dowels, the roll guard (not the real term, but I don't know what it's actually called) is pine; the lightbox, pivot plates and angle rings are plywood (obviously would be fancier with real wood); the bottom of the lightbox is pressboard
Glass or Plastic Sheet: 24x36" piece; glass is cheaper, but plastic--plexiglass, acrylic, etc--would be sturdier; if you do go plexiglass, you'll need a thicker piece than with glass, as it's not as stiff, and so will need to route out more of the top to make it flush
Light(s): I used a set of under-cabinet lights; might get more even illumination with a flourescent bar-type light
Spray-On Glass Frost: in addition to diffusing the light in the lightbox, this also gives the glass a decent enough texture to keep stuff from sliding around on the desk
Stain 1: a light color; this will be your base; I went with a "sunbleached" shade; you just need a small can of this and your other stain color
Stain: a darker color; I went with a burgandy; again, just need a small can
Shellac: I used an amber shellac, as it imparts a warm, aged look to the wood; you could substitute lacquer or polyurethane; you'll need enough for at least 2 coats, more if using a more porous wood (mahogany, oak, etc.) and wanting a very smooth finish
12 Small L-Braces: these are used to strengthen the pivot plates and angle rings
2 Wooden Knobs: these will be fixed to the angle rings' pegs
2 Small Chains, 6" each: these are fixed to the pivot plates' pegs
Wood Glue

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
redbyrob4 months ago
Awesome. I made a small one awhile back using a glass cutting board from a thrift store & a fluorescent light. This one is very nice.
Boygasmo10 months ago

You can use opauqe plexiglass.

jmacfarlane (author)  Boygasmo10 months ago
You can; I didn't because a piece of plexiglass the needed size is about $60 whereas real glass was $15.

Make me one too ??? LOL. This is great idea. I plan on making this soon.

mao77777771 year ago
My dad used to make one for me, but did you do so flexible, good!
wilsone01 year ago
I made a similar drawing table, but I used a florescent light.
I placed aluminum foil under the light and this brightened things up considerably, making it easier to trace.......
jmacfarlane (author)  wilsone01 year ago
I thought about doing something like that, but with the lights pointing up it didn't seem like it would make that much of a difference. I'll give that a shot--it's good enough as is, but I'm all for making it better where possible.