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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dug out this 1947 Dietzgen Drafting Board from the garage Friday afternoon. I've had it since the late 60's and used it always as a work bench. (Q1 January 1947 noted in the lower left of the assembly instruction glued to the underside.)
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I intended to shorten the legs to match my table saw height in my wood shop and use it for assembly. After cleaning it a little I changed my mind about cutting the legs down and began refinishing. (The top has a single coat of Arm-R-Seal.)

Wondering is anyone knows of the value for this 'almost' antique? (It was a 'throw-away' where Missey worked in the late sixties.)
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Don't know the value but looks great!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Well it is valuable to me now more than ever as I just finish two Arm-R-Seal coats on the top and one everywhere else. I'm looking for something to top/protect the original top. For years I had 1/4" tempered board (Masonite), but something else may be available now days.

Thought of MDF, SoyStrong board, and 1/4'' Baltic Birch Plywood, but . . .

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Looking at T track quite seriously, especially if I can make my own cross intersections . . . like this . . .

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So I'm thinking T Track. Rockler sells this set for $25. Amazon carries 'off brands' for about half that. I made three sets from a $11.27 three foot piece of the extrusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I received a T Track pack of 4x 36" and cut starter pieces for the left and right side.

Am I'm still looking for a suitable 3/8" thick material for the top between the tracks. I'd like Baltic Birch Plywood but I'd have to glue 1/8" material to their 1/4" Baltic Birch since they don't make 3/8".

Not sure how to move forward just yet. I think I'll look for maple or oak 3/8" plywood.
 

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I received a T Track pack of 4x 36" and cut starter pieces for the left and right side.

Am I'm still looking for a suitable 3/8" thick material for the top between the tracks. I'd like Baltic Birch Plywood but I'd have to glue 1/8" material to their 1/4" Baltic Birch since they don't make 3/8".

Not sure how to move forward just yet. I think I'll look for maple or oak 3/8" plywood.
Woodcraft in Tigard claims to have 3/8 baltic birch in stock....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Woodcraft in Tigard claims to have 3/8 baltic birch in stock....
tquarles ~
Really . . . that's would be an answer to prayer. I'll call them this morning and 'check-it-out'.

Well if the above is true I have direction and it will be 'full-speed' ahead.

I continued cutting and fitting T Track to the board Tuesday. It's tedious and takes time, safety glasses are mandatory. Attention to the detail using a wood fixture I made that holds the track steady while cutting the 45º ends. (It's slick, you cut one 45º on the correct length piece, then remove it, flip it over, and re-insert for cutting the second 45º. (Both cuts needs to cross the center at the same place, this helps ensure it.) The blade does a nice job . . . no burrs.

This is where I left things late Tuesday . . .

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The left side is just about complete, two pieces just need screwing down. Then continue right of center. I'll run out of track today but I have another four sticks of 36" coming Thursday.

If Woodcraft in Tigard has 3/8" Baltic Birch plywood in stock I'll see if I can get there today for a couple sheets . . . hopefully they stock 3/8" in 30" x 60" sheets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow, a lot has changed since my last post.

The 3/8" thick Baltic Birch plywood when measured was too thin for my liking so I picked-up a couple sheets of 1/2". I oops'ed and cut the first 30" x 60" sheet wrong forcing it to go through the thickness planer with cross grain. While the first two pieces would work it took forever and was exceptionally noisy.

So I cut the second sheet correctly and planed it to about .010" thicker than the T track. It was quicker and easier, a lesson learned . . . pay attention Marlin.

I set the first pieces in between the track that was already mounted . . . I wasn't happy with the fit, too loose it spots. (Even tho I used a centering pilot drill I found hole centers wondered.) So I removed track and started over using the most centered track as the zero datum.

I cut and planed a couple 12 x 14 1/2" sheets and fastened them. Then the track was set and adjusted between and one hole screwed down. Rather than glue the sheets I mounted these two sheets with screws.

It worked exceptionally well and I'm very please with the results. There are no gaps, it is perfect. This is where I left off yesterday afternoon.

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The four sheets around the center are mounted. I have enough plywood from the second sheet to continue left and right from the center four. Not sure what to do with the two pieces you see just sitting there that are planed wrong, but considering using then around the perimeter. The grain that is 90º out of phase with the rest of the pieces will certainly show up as a strong accent on the top.

So onward today with this project,
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I found this picture of me sitting at a drawing board identical to this one.

The year and location . . . 1964 working for Oak Mfg in Crystal Lake IL.

Oak Mfg 1964.jpg
 

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When I first started working after college I did a lot of hand drafting, about 1984 to 1990. The CAD took over. Your drafting table is missing the bar that is spaced out from the front edge of the table. Your has the two screw holes on each side where it was. It shows up in Marlins picture quite well. The bar is so you can slide large plan sheets down the front of the desk and protect them.

I included a pic of mine from work, I kept using but it was setup for a computer a CAD work. Mine was metal and wood. After I retired my replacement is using it now.

783239
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
When I first started working after college I did a lot of hand drafting, about 1984 to 1990. The CAD took over. Your drafting table is missing the bar that is spaced out from the front edge of the table. Your has the two screw holes on each side where it was. It shows up in Marlins picture quite well. The bar is so you can slide large plan sheets down the front of the desk and protect them.

I included a pic of mine from work, I kept using but it was setup for a computer a CAD work. Mine was metal and wood. After I retired my replacement is using it now.

View attachment 783239
dodgeman ~ I removed that bar because of the T Track which needs to slide into a track from any end. (I may add something back later to protect your gut when you're leaning on the table top.)
Over the many, many years of drafting positions I also used that table. Lots of memories.

****

Well, I tediously worked on the T Track addition all day yesterday. Lots of interruptions but I did get a lot of work completed. I'm waiting on another T Track buy to arrive which will be Tuesday. Meanwhile I can begin flush routing the edge and finishing, probably stain and Arm-R-Seal.

Nearly done . . .jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Since you repurposed it for other uses no reason to add the bar back to the front. Nice use of the drafting table, I like to see things like that get used for something useful.

dodgeman ~ Yea I won't be adding it back but I might end-up wrapping the edge all the way around the board with a 1 x 2" or something. The corners of the track can be sharp and hard. It may need a wrap to protect the users arms, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
All the T Track was installed . . . but I got to thinking. I want to add a 3/4" maple trim around the circumference.
It is slow going, lots of interruptions dealing with my brothers matters. Every T Tack and Baltic Birch replacement piece must be 'custom cut/fit'.
I'm tired and quitting for the day. This is it for today,.

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Exactly as flyweight shows, very handy. I added it to my mobile bench some time ago and I was amazed how handy it is, it makes 'hold-down' clamping so much easier and faster.
I made a bunch of clamps, even added one to my miter saw for T Track cutting, secure and no fingers close to the blade.

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I did it . . . finished the top and side trim. Now all T Track, Baltic Birch and Hickory trim are in place . . and 'finishing' has begun.

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And the first of two coats of General Finishes Nutmeg gel stain has been applied to dry overnight.
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I want to wipe the stain on one more time after sanding a little with 220 grit. Then one heavy brush coat and two light 'wipe-on' coats of Arm-R-Seal Satin.

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(y) (y) (y)
 

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Looks great!

One comment/question... are you worried about damaging the exposed edge of the plywood top? Could a piece of quarter round or similar be used to protect it?
 
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