Introduction: Hideaway Drafting Table
Enjoy a stand up desk?
For years I've dreamed of having a drafting table in the apartment but was unwilling to sacrifice living space. This project allows for a drafting table to be installed anywhere - even over an existing desk. The Sketchup rendering is from an old apartment and doesn't match the installation but shows the intention.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Here are the suggested tools and materials for building a platform desk.
- The Basics: Hammer, Screw Drivers, Tape Measure, Extension Cord
- Four foot level
- Pry Bar
- Circular Saw & 'Japanese Style' Handsaw
- Drill & Drill Bits *I recommend corded drills unless you specifically need cordless
- Speed Square
- Paint Brush (not shown, who doesn't like a Wooster brush!)
- Safety: Goggles / Ear Protection
- (4) 2x4s
- (~24) 3" Screws
- (~12) 1-1/4" Drywall Screws
- (2) 4x8x5/8" OSB or plywood
- Paint (optional)
- Cork, Acrylic, Blackboard Paint (I used the paint on quart... easier is the spray paint)
- (1) 4" Ceder Strips (optional for trim)
- Hardware: (2) cleats, (2) latches, (10') chain or rope
- Hardware: (2-4) hinges -see Hinges Section
Cost: All materials cost around $60 from HD/Lowes/Habitat. All tools cost under $120 . Fasteners: I recommend using all screws for the project. --- 2x4s were salvaged from a previous couch project at last apartment. Couch frames made the frame for the table. Links provided for where I would buy today on Amazon.
Step 2: Building the Frame
The photos show a frame that is salvaged from the prior couch project. The existing frame was oversized so I cut it down to a 5' width.
To build a frame from scratch.
- cut the top and bottom piece to length
- cut the studs to length by subtracting 3" from the desired height (allowing for width of 2x4s) and cutting equal length studs
- add additional studs as required to provide for shelves inside the hideaway desk
- secure using 3" screws. two at each connection
- the last photo shows the back piece of plywood cut to fit the frame and attached with drywall screws 4" from frame connections.
Step 3: Shelves
Shelves -locate/add as needed
- Solid Shelves: I used scrap wood cut to fit to make the shelves. The brown piece shown in the photos is scrap cut to fit and with holes drilled for power cords. I later decided to put the monitor on the first shelf and drilled a second set of holes through the frame.
- Adjustable: I drilled holes for 1/4" dowels. The dowels are not show but can be installed running along the narrow section on the right side. Much the same way shelves are installed in standard cabinets.
Step 4: Hinges
There are many options for installing hinges. I used 2" hinges I had leftover from another project. The steps can be applied for any size hinge. Adjustments are required for the depth of recessed hinges.
- mark out locations on the base of the frame where the hinges will be installed. I spaced them evenly but slightly adjusted for the location of the supports
- set the depth of the circular saw blade to match the closed width of the hinges. use the circular saw to notch out for flush mounted hinges.
- set the hinges in place and screw them into the frame
Step 5: Desk Surface
I used a scrap piece of 1/2" plywood. It is recommended to use 5/8" or 3/4" for a more solid surface.
I painted the back of the plywood. If it is a new sheet of 1/2" plywood avoid painting the back because it could warp while drying. With 5/8" or greater it shouldn't be a problem.
- cut to match the size of the frame
- paint as required
- line up board with the hinges and use a 2x4 and scrap plywood as required to allow the board to sit at 90 degrees to the frame
- loosely secure one screw at each hinge before installing the second and finally tightening
Step 6: Wall Mount & Hardware
The full assembly is heavy. I recommend fixing a 2x4 to the wall and using that to rest the weight of the desk while using the drywall screws to screw into studs.
Most latches should be usable. For this project I used smaller hinges mounted to the frame and catch screws at the side of the table when in the closed position
Rope is mounted to the inside of the frame and connects to cleats on the table itself. Chain is preferred to avoid any flex but the rope was at hand.
Step 7: Options
Installing a monitor
I purchased a monitor from goodwill for $20 in San Francisco a few years ago. The monitors available are in great shape and can be tested in store. To install simply remove all hardware and use screws drilled into the frame to hold the monitor in place. Drill holes as required for power cords.
Installing cork or dry erase board
I used a piece of acrylic from a local frame store cut to length. Acrylic is available in white which makes it easy to work with. Avoid paint on or roll on dry erase surfaces. Roll on cork works fine. Blackboard paint is also an option but make sure the surface is smooth.
Mounting a light/radio/phone charger/fan
Drill for power and mount as required
Mounting an extension cord
I mounted an extension cord outside the frame
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Please be positive and constructive.