SketchUp, Woodworking Plans in Progress
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Apartment Dining Table Plan: Orthographic Views

Firstly, the pic below shows my progress on the window seat bookcase. In my last post, I had the aprons formed. This week, I have been working on drilling holes in the lower aprons and mating holes in the legs.

A goal of mine - to remove that water heater from the background of my photos.

A goal of mine – to remove that water heater from the background of my photos.

Yesterday, I started on the upper aprons. So, the good news: I am making steady progress on this project. I’ll save the details and more photos for my next blog post. In this upcoming post, I hope to have all the aprons in place.

* * *

At the same time, I am making progress on my next woodworking plan, tentatively titled, “You Can Build an Apartment Dining Table”. Right now, I have the first page completed and I am working on the orthographic views for the second page. My plans usually go like this:

  • Page 1: A brief introduction to the plan including the reason the project came to be.
  • Page 2: Orthographic views with basic dimensions.
  • Page 3: The cut list.

Then the construction process is explained usually showing multiple illustrations. I thought it would be interesting to show the process for creating the orthographic views. But first, here is what page one looks like now (click to enlarge)…

Page 1

I have become a fan of grouping images together like you see above. The landscape page layout gives me plenty of room for large images which I hope look visually interesting.

What in the world is an orthographic view?
That is what I asked myself when I first saw this term. Maybe it is what an orthodontist sees when a patient opens their mouth. Nope, Google helped me: the definition is best understood by searching for “orthographic projection” and Wikipedia defines it in a way most woodworkers can grasp: “Orthographic projection (or orthogonal projection) is a means of representing a three-dimensional object in two dimensions.” To the folks at, y’all were no help.

So, orthographic views are straight on views of an object. To insert them into woodworking plans, I follow a process outlined by Tim Killen in his book SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers (see it here). First, I’m going to show you the completed image…

The orthographic view with basic dimensions.

The orthographic view with basic dimensions.

This is output from SketchUp with the camera view set to parallel projection. Here is the camera view set to perspective…

Perspective view and I have rotated the camera to the upper right of the models.

Perspective view and I have rotated the camera to the upper right of the models.

When Tim Killen explained this process in his book, I thought, “so that is how its done.” I would have never thought to create an orthographic view this way. But it is easy to do by selecting the whole model and using the rotate tool. Holding down the control key while you set the rotation angle rotates a copy – a very useful tip when doing an operation like this.

I never know how many dimensions to include in an orthographic view. My goal is to keep the image simple and stay away from cluttering up the page with too many dimensions. Anything that is not shown will be communicated later in the plan. This is what page two currently looks like; I’m using MS Publisher to create the document…

I may add some additional dimensions to this view.

I may add some additional dimensions to this view.

I don’t like all the whitespace in the lower right corner of the page, so I’ll most likely adjust the spacing of the tables to better fill in this space.

* * *

More Work With SketchUp
Also, I was messing around with SketchUp last night and updated the SketchUp model of what I call my “Becksvoort Tall Sawhorses”. These adjustable height sawhorses were designed by Christian Becksvoort and have been handy to have in my workshop. I like creating a SketchUp model even when I have a plan to work from because it helps me better understand the construction process.

Becksvoort Tall Sawhorses 090614c

Becksvoort Tall Sawhorses 090614b

Becksvoort Tall Sawhorses 090614a

I have a super good red oak wood texture I use now and then. The screws shown fit into a countersunk holes in the top rail; very detailed. See my updated SketchUp model page here.


  1. Nice layout on the apt. table! The window seat/storage unit is looking very nice.

    Jeff consider an “ON DEMAND WATER HEATER”. They take very little space and are very efficient.

      • another advantage to “on demand” is, you cant hardly run them out of hot water since they only heat when you need it, not when you aren’t using the hot water.

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