Sign In to join the community | Help
Tools & Hardware

Utilizing Sketchup

Google's Sketchup is a free application that allows you to model all sorts of things in 3D, easily and quickly. Here is a video by Dave Richards of Fine Woodworking, showing how he goes about drawing a piece of furniture.


 A Fern Stand by Dave Richards

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2011-09-10T12:08:47+0000  by Paul Paul

Hey Paul,


I've seen your drawings on more than a few occasions around here and I've always been impressed by the level of detail in them. I took your advice on the Sketchup program and I've been toying around with it so that I can replace my nice but well...sketchy looking MS Paint diagrams on here = D


I'll be sure to post up what I come up with and perhaps you can critique my work. Thanks again for sharing this with the community! Great resource!

Posted 2011-09-29T20:57:11+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

The important thing to keep in mind, as stated in the video from Dave Richards, make everything a component. That way you're only drawing like pieces once. Any holes you have to make, taper you have to cut, etc is automagically repeated on all the like pieces. Just pay attention to how he flips things along the axis when moving things around.

Posted 2011-09-30T20:14:23+0000  by Paul

I've been learning SketchUp as I learn woodworking. It is a terrific tool. Yesterday I made a few size adjustments as I finish the body of this DVD cabinet, tweaking the two tops a quarter inch or so to account for the "planned size" vs. "actual size" of the finished piece.


Cabinet 1.jpg

Posted 2011-10-14T07:29:42+0000  by kullervo

Hey kullervo,


Welcome to the community! Thanks for sharing your Sketchup work, it looks awesome!~


Very worthy of a "Nailed it!" Nailed It.PNG


How long did that take you to create? And are you planning on making the real thing anytime soon, I'd love to see how it turns out.


This is one I recently created to illustrate a framing issue underneath a plywood base. It worked out so much better then trying to whip something up in MS Paint = D


Stage Frame.PNG


I found that adding the shadows really gives it a nice effect too! Oh, and one thing I found that I was doing too was making a ton of guide lines and it looks like you did just the same too = ) You can hide them using View -> Hide Guides, just in case they bugged you when looking at the final product, like they did for me.


Hope to see some more Sketchup work from you in the future! And perhaps the SketchMaster Paul will weigh in on our pieces too = )

Posted 2011-10-14T13:20:35+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

LOL - I am by no means a master...


Unless you need the guidelines, you'll probably find it easier to create them and then delete them as you go. Just use Edit / Delete Guides.


As I mentioned before, the best thing to do, make everything a component. Create the rough shape, then triple click on it, right click and select Make Component. Give it a nice descriptive name too.


As an example, here is a coffee table a friend asked for help designing.

Coffee Table1.jpg

Relatively simple. MDF top (2'x4') with a routed edge. The feet are just 1x6 and the skirt is a 1x3.


Coffee Table2.jpg


Each of the legs is made up of four pieces of 1x6, cut square. The dowel hole on the top and the screw holes to attach them all together are in the same place on all the pieces. By drawing one of the pieces and making it a component, I only have to copy the piece around where I need it. If I have to make an adjustment, I only have to do it once and it's then replicated to all the copies. To make those adjustments easier, I just make a temporary copy to work on. In the example above, The outside two pieces of each leg are identical, so there are eight pieces I only had to draw once. The inner two pieces are slightly different, so I copied one of my outer pieces, selected it, right click on it, Make Unique, add my new screw holes and copy it in place. So there are five variations of the main component that makes up the leg. I drew the long skirt piece once and made a copy for the other side, likewise for the short skirt.


Dave's video is a great learning tool to watch to figure out an efficient workflow.


BTW, the cushion is from the 3D Warehouse. My friend intends to make their own cushion. It will be used as a floor cushion to sit on when not on the coffee table for storage.


EDIT: one advantage of using Sketchup to visualize and plan out a project, I just noticed I forgot two of the dowel holes in the top. I'll have to go back in and add those before I hand this over to them.

Posted 2011-10-18T22:41:05+0000  by Paul



Paul, thank you for the reference to my video. I hope some readers have found it helpful. There's another video showing a similar process using Thomas Jefferson's bookstand as the model. 


Your comment about deleting guidelines is a good one. Once you're finished with the guidelines, delete them so they don't clutter the drawing space. I do this frequently enough that I've assigned a keyboard shortcut to Edit>Delete Guides. 


In case anyone is interested here are a few recent doodles.



Box JointGridwork Table and Morris Chair

Posted 2012-03-15T23:49:40+0000  by DaveR

Welcome Dave!


Now to those of you who don't know, Dave is the Sketchup guru for woodworking. He helps run a blog on Fine Woodworking's site called Design. Click. Build.


The Sketchup Workflow Dave mentions can be found here (the link got messed up):


To set a keyboard shortcut in Sketchup, do the following:


Click Window > Preferences > Shortcuts (found on the left hand side of the Preferences dialog box). Scroll down through the list of menu options and assign a key sequence like Alt+G to Edit / Delete Guides 


Now anytime you want to delete guidelines, just press Alt+G.

Posted 2012-03-17T04:12:51+0000  by Paul

Hi Paul,


Thank you. And thanks for alerting me to the bad link. I've repaired it now.




p.s. I had a little fun with the 2x6 chair. It's a good drawing exercise for learning SketchUp and building an efficient workflow in drawing.


2x6 chairs


Thanks for the video.

Posted 2012-03-17T11:52:41+0000  by DaveR

Here's the follow-up on my post from six months ago. My DVD/VCR/modem/cable box cabinet is done. The bottom door will conceal the surge supressor, and all the internal shelves have holes to allow power cords and cables to move through.



Posted 2012-03-31T06:00:32+0000  by kullervo

Well done! Quite the display of talent. Deserves a nailed it.

Posted 2012-04-01T02:44:13+0000  by Paul
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question