Comments 2

Goofing Off with SketchUp

Low Bookcase Shelf and Back

I hate to say it, but I have done ZERO woodworking since last weekend. Sometimes you need a break and I did need to recover just a little. After drilling all those holes in end grain which required jack-hammer like force to accomplish, both of my elbows hurt a little. Almost like tennis elbow, so I guess it is possible for a woodworker to get cordless drill elbow? You heard it here first.

Today, I am off to source some plywood. For my window seat bookcase, I am thinking about making the back and lower shelf (highlighted in blue above) from cherry plywood. Plywood will make the bookcase more rigid and I don’t have to worry about cross-grain wood movement if I decide to glue the plywood in place. Forming these parts from plywood will also be faster than creating a frame and panel back and shelf out of multiple parts. So plywood is on my mind today.

What I have been doing… SketchUp. I continue to explore using SketchUp Pro for my next woodworking plan. SketchUp Pro is the professional version of SketchUp and it comes with a program called LayOut. LayOut enables the creation of some pretty slick documentation like a woodworking plan.

I am in the early stages of learning LayOut. It is good to have a mentor of sorts; for SketchUp, mine is Dave Richards. Any time I run into a particularly tough problem with SketchUp, I’ll email Dave about it. His reply often includes a mini-tutorial complete with screenshots of the correct process I need to take. He is very much a SketchUp expert and he has always been willing to help me. See him at Fine here.

The video below shows probably the coolest feature in LayOut which is altering SketchUp images directly from LayOut…

Last week, while deep into a problem with Apple’s iOS8 operating system on my iPhone, I channeled my frustration into a new SketchUp project. Speaking of Dave Richards, he often will take something seen in Fine Woodworking and make a SketchUp model of it. It dawned on me to do the same. I chose a hutch by woodworker Ronald Layport, from Fine Woodworking, issue 89, July/August 1991. This large hutch is stunning; full of curly maple – when I got this issue more than two decades ago, I immediately fell in love with this hutch…

An "open hutch" by woodworker Ronald Layport

An “open hutch” by woodworker Ronald Layport

The magazine article includes a cut list along with several photos and illustrations. Even with all this documentation, making the SketchUp model has meant some head scratching. Here is what I have now…

The base cabinet about 75% completed.

The base cabinet about 75% completed.

Note the unusual moldings at the base of the cabinet.

Note the unusual moldings at the base of the cabinet.

I found a GREAT curly maple wood texture.

I found a GREAT curly maple wood texture.

Making such a complex SketchUp model, which includes joinery and accurate wood texture, is something that keeps my skills with this program crisp. I have a lot of work to do before the model is finished, but when it is, it will definitely be an accomplishment.

Now, I need to go shop for some cherry plywood. đŸ™‚


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