When I published a post about the second design for my daughter’s new bookcase, I got an interesting comment from Dennis. Among other things, Dennis suggested I add a subtle curve to the top of the crest rail to soften the look of the bookcase. I liked this idea and started the process of adding another curve to my SketchUp model.
But making this modification to my model was a lot more difficult than I had planned. While I know the process needed to remove three curved planes from a square SketchUp component, after repeated attempts, I had a crest rail with multiple errors. Since I want to know how to correctly accomplish this process, I called on Dave Richards, a SketchUp master who writes at Fine Woodworking.com and has published an exceptional instructional DVD on SketchUp. I emailed Dave my model and naturally, he had a different and simplified way to create the crest rail. Below is what Dave taught me along with some steps of mine to break the crest rail into three separate components. Click the images to enlarge.
Note above, the arcs highlighted in blue. I went ahead and added the mahogany wood texture. The crest rail is not yet a component.
I make the crest rail a component at this point.
Note the curved blue line in the image above. I copy this curved line and use it in the step below.
There is a lot going on here. I explode the crest rail – it is no longer a component. This enables me to combine the shapes of the crest rail along with the new curved plane which is used to cut the crest rail into two parts; executed using the intersect command. Then, the unwanted geometry is deleted creating a curved vertical face on the rail.
Next, I need to intersect the legs with the completed crest rail so I can get three individual parts. To do this, I click once on the crest rail and from the Edit menu, I click Intersect Faces and then click With Model. This imprints the leg locations on the crest rail. I then hide the legs which gives me a better view.
In the image above I am beginning the process of deleting everything I don’t want. I want the left side crest rail and the middle.
I made a copy of the left side crest rail, flipped it and positioned it on the right side.
If that was not enough of a brain workout, I next had to do a similar, but not as complex process of trimming the legs to match the curve of the crest rail. After that was completed, I have a finished design to show my daughter.
Note the flat crest rail in the before illustration and the subtle curve in the after. I think this new design provides a more polished look. What do you think? Not only did this new design test my SketchUp skills, I think the design will further test me when it comes time to build the bookcase.
By the way – there is a video at Design. Click. Build. by Tim Killen showing the process he took on a chair rail (see it here). His design is a little different leading to a different way to achieve the desired look. There are some very good tips here concerning intersecting different shapes to achieve one component. At some point in the future, I am going to add the ability to do video tutorials like Tim does, but at present, I don’t think my mind can tolerate learning more software. 🙂