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et cetera 03.09.14

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I have gotten pretty good with SketchUp. Over the past few years I have reviewed several SketchUp teaching aids and have learned a lot from them. But I am far from being an expert with this powerful design software; mainly because it is so powerful.

The design capabilities of SketchUp are vast – you can do many different things with it. And amazingly, SketchUp Make, is free. This makes SketchUp Make a potentially important design tool for the modern woodworker.

Often with vast capability comes increased learning difficulty. Today, I saw yet another tutorial video about SketchUp and took some time to view it and see if it’s any good. And it is.

The good? Ron Paulk includes the little things in his instruction; the little things that make using SketchUp easier. Take for example at 4:23 into the video below, Ron draws the basic rectangle; but he includes a handy tip for making the rectangle the exact size needed. The video below is sort of lengthy; about 30 minutes in duration, but if you want to learn SketchUp, grab a cup of coffee and give it a look.

Other recent things of interest from around the web…

A Case for the Sliding Leg Vise – From the Benchcrafted blog; photos of a small, but finely crafted workbench with a sliding and removable leg vise. Take note of the excellent joinery used to construct this small bench. There is a link in this blog post to a short video which is equally interesting. See it here.

Stickley #369 Morris Chair #4: Ladder Back – Of the bazillion woodworkers at Lumberjocks, projects by “Pintodeluxe” always stand out. He usually builds in the Arts and Crafts style and has an amazing source for quarter-sawn white oak. In this post, he is building the back of a Morris chair. Note the sawdust in the photos. Yikes! This much dust would send me to the doctor with a sinus infection. See it here.

Robs – The Completed Bench – I have seen some fancy workbenches; I once saw one made 100% of mahogany and finished to the same level as fine furniture. Rob Cosman’s new workbench is almost as fancy. Made of mahogany and maple with a lot of birdseye maple veneer, the workbench even includes some highly polished hardware. I hope the woodworker Rob built it for never spills any stain on it. If you want to see high quality craftsmanship, click here.

Photographing Furniture and Work at the Bench – Chris Schwarz provides tips for getting great photos with low-cost photo equipment. This is something I have been working on lately. Recently, I had some back and forth with a guitar builder (don’t know his name yet) who is getting amazing photos from his iPhone. Photos from my iPhone are terrible. As recently as yesterday, I was in my workshop honing my iPhone camera skills, but my photos still look bad. But, back to Chris Schwarz – in addition to his woodworking and writing skills, he is also a skilled photographer. So any tips he has to offer, I’ll listen. See more here.

Current Work

I am in the process of making a full-size mock-up of my daughter’s new bookcase in hopes of finalizing the design. I have never made a full-size mock-up before and I think I am spending too much time making the mock-up. But, I think it will pay off. I’ll have an update on it soon.

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During the week, I sell flooring products for The Dixie Group. Weekends, you'll find me in my basement workshop making furniture.


  1. Great post! I will find time today to watch this video, because I really want to get better with SketchUp also. All of the links here are great, thanks.

  2. I have never been successful with SketchUp. I usually get frustrated. I have used punch software for my floor plans. (I also have people that do my work like that for me.)

    I admire what you do with that ( SketchUp) I could never figure it out so I kinda gave up.

    interesting post as usual looking forward to the mockup.( first time ever with text to speech commenting. also frustrating)

    • Bruce, SketchUp was a very frustrating program to learn, but I knew I had to learn it. And I still have to ask for help with it. There are a lot of good teaching resources on the internet. See some of my favorite ones by clicking here.

      • Jeff, I will have to take a look at the link, thanks…I will have to learn it as well, One of my Project Mangers is a genius on it, he uses it to do take offs for materials as well.

  3. Thanks for your blog/post – I enjoy reading your column, learn lots. I have a terrible time with 3D drawing and have stumbled around Sketchup several times with little success. I downloaded it again but I couldn’lt find the video you were referring to in your post. Did I miss it? The only video showing at the bottom is the one on Rob’s Bench.

    Miriam Kearney

    *”Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.”- Jennifer Yane.*

    • I know that in the email version of this post the video did not appear, and that can happen with RSS feeds. If you click through to the blog post, the video is there. Also, at the top of my blog there is a new link to my SketchUp Tips page which has links to a variety of free videos.

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