A while back I built a pinewood drafting table for myself. The mechanism works great but I find that papers, books and my laptop sometimes slide down the table. I don’t want to coat the table with a thick paint or a mat because I like the look of the wood. However I am looking for some type of clear varnish or finish that will stop things from slipping (in the same way that some slanted desks have a rubbery surface)

  • Hi, welcome to StackExchange. You could matt the finish down to increase friction, but I suspect it won't be enough by itself to solve the problem. Bare wood with a coarsely sanded surface might provide the most resistance, but then it may no longer be suitable for draughting depending on the paper or velum you're drawing on. BTW can you reduce the tilt? Lowering the angle by about 2-5° may help quite a bit.
    – Graphus
    Feb 8, 2021 at 1:12
  • How much does the drafting table slope?
    – Ashlar
    Feb 9, 2021 at 0:15
  • Lowering the angle is an option. At the moment it can slope from between 0° to about 80° in 6 steps. I can change out the stay so that I get smaller angles but sometimes I like working on a higher tilt of 40-50°
    – user16378
    Feb 9, 2021 at 5:11
  • 2
    50° and you still want to set your laptop on it? I'd suggest building an add-on stand that's always parallel with the floor for supporting the laptop. Either that or some sort of hold-down system. Laptops are cheap these days, but I wouldn't trust my laptop to that angle even if it had one of those rubberized "stick anything to any surface" coatings on it.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 10, 2021 at 18:33
  • This does feel like an "X-Y" question. Have you look to see how other such tables are built to allow for places for tools, lights, papers, etc?
    – user5572
    Feb 13, 2021 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


I can hear my instructors now, "Drafting tables are for drafting, they are not dining room tables to be cluttered up with whatever you like!"

Aside from the questionable practice of expecting weighty objects such as books, laptops, etc. to stay put on the described incline, any papers, velums and prints are still affixed with tape when being drafted.

Consider Anti-slip spray. Currently unavailable online here. But I find listings for it at the big box stores. Whether you will use tape or not, silicone is what you are looking for, just take your time applying it in several thin coats.

After that its personal choice whether using a patch of scotch tape is handy for quick sketching.

  • I'm giving this a +1 for the first two paragraphs, but anti-slip spray I think is a non-starter. These tend to work by making the surface rougher which I'm sure is going to be a problem for the OP.
    – Graphus
    Feb 17, 2021 at 2:40
  • You might have a good point. I didn't want to lean towards an opinion on doing this, the OP specified a paint/varnish solution so submitting a rubber sheet instead was moot.
    – user9897
    Feb 25, 2021 at 20:56

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