a pocket drafting table.

I went to Staples the other day, and saw these things on sale for $20:

It’s a mobile laptop cart, and as you can see, I’m using it as sort of a drafting table for longhand.  The problem with regular desks these days is that they’re not as high as they used to be when people were actually still writing longhand.  The new desks are all about two inches lower, because most people use them with computer keyboards.

As a laptop desk, it’s actually not that great, because it wobbles a bit when you type (at least if you have a heavy touch on the keys like I do.)  For longhand work, it’s pretty close to perfect.  The adjustable height lets me bring the work surface up so I don’t have to sit hunched over, and the platform has adjustable tilt as well.  For $20, it makes a dandy longhand drafting table.  As a plus, it’s also much easier to move around the house than the 100+-pound desk.

One of these days, I’ll have to track down a used actual drafting table somewhere, and see how that works.  With my recent back issues, I figure I should make every kind of ergonomic concession I can afford.

12 thoughts on “a pocket drafting table.

  1. That’s pretty awesome, actually. Were there any left?

  2. john b says:

    Well, I’d jump right on it but since my ambition is to live in a tiny house.
    I like high tables, I used to use US GOVT GSA desks and either extend the legs with iron pipe, or just set them on cinder blocks if I’m in a hurry!

    At 6’6″ I have always had back issues, it’s on fire today.

  3. PorterAnderson says:

    Marko, this looks really useful. I’m going to check with my local Staples. I need it as a movable side-desk to my main desk, which — and this is a suggestion for your back — is a stand-up desk. Ever tried it? You, too, John B. This has saved my back. I’ll send you a pic when I find your e-mail address. There’s a company that makes expensive, gorgeous ones to your specs ( standupdesks.com ), or you can put your own together. The rule of thumb (okay, rule of elbow) is you want the writing surface at elbow height when you stand. Amazing the difference it has made for me, no back trouble. I started doing it while posted to Denmark, then recreated it here Stateside. I use an IKEA dining table as the base, then add a few small shelf units on top to get the height. I can also take the shelf units off and sit occasionally if I need to (or use the dining table for, um, dining, which is not often, lol). Hemingway used one, you know. http://ht.ly/3Gurv Thanks again for the tip on this laptop stand, I’m going to check into it at Staples.

  4. Chrystoph says:

    Re: Drafting Table…

    Might I suggest putting an advert up on the local Freecycle?

  5. Mike Dodson says:

    Trying to write while you are constantly having to shift or when your writing surface moves, or when … (insert your own aggravation here).

    To help eliminate my aggravations, I bought a drafting table that’s 2.5 H X 3.25 W from Hobby Lobby for under $100 two or three years ago. It is firm, non-wobbly, and has a pencil tray at the bottom so I can leave three or four sharpened pencils on hand so I don’t have to stop to sharpen one. I’ve also used by Toshiba 17″ portable on it — a little tilt makes the keyboard easier to access. A nice design feature are wire baskets that ride in slots like drawers in a desk. Ink, pencils, paper, etc., can be right at hand. If they don’t have Hobby Lobby stores in Cryogenia, just about any art supply store and some business stores (e.g., Office Depot) should have them. For some reason they are priced higher in office products stores.

    When I’m not using it, I set the top to the most vertical position and push the whole think into an old butler’s pantry that’s too small to use as a pantry.

  6. Sigivald says:

    Used is fine, if you’re willing to wait.

    But new ones (just an example; any art supply store has ’em) aren’t exactly crazy expensive.

    (Even if you get, as you should, the vinyl surface pad to add on. Makes the surface have a little “give”, like an old leather writing pad on a secretary desk.)

    And if it turns out to not suit for writing, they have myriad uses.

  7. Charles says:

    Looks like a fancy hospital tray. Enjoy!

  8. og says:

    Drafting tables used to be quite common, but I myself have burned about a dozen of them. The coolest ones- and the one I kept the very longest- were the ones with ornate cast iron legs. They were awesome tables, but then could fold flat and adjust in height to become awesome spare dining tables that seated four.

    Not very portable, mind you.

  9. tjbbpgobIII says:

    There should be plenty of real drawing boards still around. The best one were the wooden “squad leader” table. All of them have a real good writing surface if they haven’t been abused by some old drunk draftsman. Mine is a 5′-0″ Hamilton I’ve used for many years.

  10. Will says:

    There used to be table adapters for minor drafting duties. Angled top surface, with the lower edge about 2 inches high. Many years since I’ve used one. For use with a t-square and triangle.

    Would be simple to make one, and easily portable. Get creative with a full length hinge at the front edge, and adjusters on the sides for angle changes, and maybe adjustable feet for fine tuning the height. Add a slim drawer for holding writing stuff, instant portable writing desk adaptor. Maybe a flip up stop edge to keep a keyboard/laptop from sliding off.

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