Process Improvement, Sawtooth Ideas, SketchUp
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Busy, Busy, Busy

My current SketchUp model.

My current SketchUp model.

I was talking to my sister who asked me if I was busy right now. The answer was “Oh Hell yes.” I recently began doing some side work for Sawtooth Ideas. As they add woodworking plans from sources like Woodcraft magazine, SketchUp models are needed to help run their IdeaRoom software. I have already completed two models and am working on the third now, and the third one, shown above is very complex. It is called a “Deluxe Cross Cut Station” which combines a miter saw stand, storage space and on the back, a lumber rack. It is mobile as well.

This model would not be terribly difficult except for the more than 200 screws which the model will contain. This is required since screw location is important on a project this large and the IdeaRoom software has to be 100% accurate.

These models have been both fun and challenging, with the added benefit of me becoming a better SketchUp modeler.

Woodworking Illustration
I continue to explore work as a woodworking illustrator. I met with a friend this week who acquired an antique workbench. The bench itself is pretty cool, but it would not win any workbench awards. For my friend, the workbench is mostly sentimental, but the bench has two vises and sits at an unusually high 37 3/4 inch height making it interesting.

I’ll use SketchUp as the basis for the illustration, but I also want to use period correct fonts and page design, so I see this as a opportunity to do something different and another item to add to my woodworking related portfolio.

Woodworking Plans
With all this SketchUp work going on, development of new woodworking plans have come to a halt. I have one plan in development and I have begun reaching out to other woodworkers who have created some unique items to see if they would like to collaborate on a woodworking plan. I have had one positive response which is very preliminary, but hopefully it will come to be.

Concerning my future woodworking plans, I am contemplating making all future plans free of charge and be downloadable without me tracking email addresses (I would get some serious criticism from the online marketing gurus for this). Some people have been fortunate to develop a successful online woodworking business, but not me. I sell a woodworking plan from time-to-time, but just like everything else on the internet, the net is already over-run with sites selling woodworking plans. I simply have not had the time to do more to promote them, and time is the one thing that is holding me back from doing more.

One thought concerning online marketing is to remove all barriers to visitors gaining the content they want. You would be amazed how downloads of my plans dramatically stop when I put a price tag on them – even for a plan as inexpensive as $3.00. I also don’t want my blog to be viewed as a vehicle for me to sell stuff, so I am about 99% decided to just make future plans free of charge and if someone wants to check one out, they can download away.

Woodworking Projects
I should finish my miter saw stand this weekend. It will then be time to embark on the largest woodworking project I have tackled in a long, long time. This will be step three in my workshop renovation and will involve a new tool cabinet to reside under the stairs leading to my basement workshop. The tool cabinet will be built into a paneled wall system which will hide the unsightly hot water heater and furnace which often appear in the background of my blog photos.

Other shop upgrades planned will be new lighting with an eye towards better photography and the final step in this process will be a secondary workbench which will help me organize an under utilized portion of my basement.

On a side note, my father-in-law, who has Alzheimer’s Disease has been in the hospital this week which was really scary. But he is doing much better and should be home by tomorrow.

So, that is what is going on with me these days. Needless to say all of this woodworking stuff will take me many months to implement.

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