Best drafting table for an amateur artist?
July 25, 2015 9:12 PM   Subscribe

I recently received birthday cash, and I would like a sturdy drafting table. I have researched drafting tables, and companies like Studio Designs, Alvin, and Mayline pop up. Despite the many options present on sites like Amazon, I haven't found information reliable enough to whittle down to the best table for the space. Would anyone be willing to recommend a table that fits the specifications below, based on experience? Are there any tables too good to not recommend, regardless of space or cost?

The space available can accommodate a 5'x5' table. The budget for the table is $500. I would like the tabletop to tilt to 45 degrees at least. I plan on working in graphite, ink, and eventually watercolor on paper at most 2'x3'. Basic aesthetic preferences include a wood tabletop and no drawers, but if, for instance, you work best with a glass tabletop, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by TemporaryTurtle to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Utrect or Dick Blick are art suppliers who ship all over the place. They are in most mid sized cities. They have good coupons and sales. They have good merchandise at realistic prices.

A table top that does not absorb water is best. You want a really hard surface not inclined to mar that you can tape to or clip along the edges. You want to be able to clean it, and not have water soluble pigments bleed back up under wet media.

You also want to work with what ever media you dream up even cloth, so a cleanable surface. i keep a big thick sheet of glass to use on a work table from time to time. I use a round 30 inch table glass as a palette for oil painting,

It is good to have something like formica so you can take a razor blade to take off dried drips, paint or gesso.

I found two laquered wood, vintage closet slider doors to work on, they were on the street. They are 3 feet by seven feet. One goes at waist level supported by round restaurant table bases, and the other functions like a large desk top. I also use these as easels for large pastel drawings, I just stand them up against a wall at the angle I need. I tape onto them or clip. I use artist tape that easy releases. To stretch watercolor paper on one would also work. One is beat up by now, the other I keep the surface pristine for drawing.

With a drawing table you will need a side table or tables to hold your media, because drawing tables slant and your stuff rolls or runs off. I also have a big easel that a board can go on to back up works on paper.
posted by Oyéah at 11:41 PM on July 25, 2015

An illustrator I use to work with swore by a single pedestal drafting table; he suggested finding a good sturdy base at a used office furniture-type place, and put your own top on -- plywood, or some kind of composite board, any size you want.
posted by Bron at 7:25 AM on July 26, 2015

I bought my drafting table (can slant more than 45*) on Craigslist. There were a number of really nice ones on Craigslist over the course of the two months I was looking - I don't think many people want/know what to do with these once they're not needed. I picked the one I did because it was in really good condition, very sturdy, and a large size but still folds up and fits into my car (and while it's really heavy, it's just within the range of what I can pick up and carry). I appreciate its (relative) transportability. I believe I paid $80 for it and it definitely retailed at over $300 originally. There were some flimsy ones on Craigslist, too, but it was pretty clear from the photos and descriptions what you'd be getting, and obviously you can ask to see it before committing to purchasing it as well.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:59 AM on July 26, 2015

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