Reader Email, SketchUp
Comments 5

Reader Email: SketchUp Guide for a Non-Woodworker

I get some pretty interesting email and thought I would share this one from Gloria…

“Hi Jeff — I just came across your site/blog, and hope that you will be able to point me in a good direction re: Sketchup for non woodworkers? More specifically, for those (me) related to woodworkers (my husband).

Your review of the Tim Killen guide looks awesome, but since I’m not the one doing the woodworking, I don’t know if it would be my best choice…

Sometimes I get an extremely cool design idea, but to describe it to my (very patient) husband in words is almost impossible for me, and not much better when I try to sketch it out.

Is there anything out there for people who only want to create/print their design in the form of a detailed illustration (so that somebody else can build it)?

I’ve got Sketchup 8.0 for mac and have taken a one-night class, which was definitely not long enough to make me feel anything other than overwhelmed by the complexity of the program.

Thanks for all/any help!”

So just think on this – a husband and wife team where the wife is a super creative designer who has a hard time putting her thoughts down on paper, and the husband who is tasked with making her designs a reality. To me, a combination which is interesting and challenging all at the same time.

Dave Richards developing shop drawings.

Dave Richards developing shop drawings.

I recommended Gloria purchase Dave Richard’s DVD, Google SketchUp Guide For Woodworkers – The Basics. Just like the title says, this DVD goes through the basic steps needed to unlock SketchUp’s design capabilities along with the process to transform a furniture design into shop drawings. Dave’s DVD teaches exactly what Gloria wants – SketchUp as a design tool. Dave then takes the rough design and refines it with the addition of joinery, and finally, he shows the steps necessary for creating printable pages showing construction features to include dimensions. The instant download is currently priced at $7.77.

In my opinion, video instruction is the best way to understand the basics of SketchUp.

A SketchUp exercise from Tim Killen's SketchUp e-book.

A SketchUp exercise from Tim Killen’s SketchUp e-book (click to enlarge).

Later, for more advanced instruction, there is Tim Killen’s SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers. Tim’s publication is print only – no video, but does teach advanced steps for dealing with curves and complex shapes. Current price $6.50.

Lastly, there is a wealth of video instruction at Fine Woodworking.com. Dave and Tim publish content which often answers specific user questions and frustration with SketchUp; typically complex modeling steps which are not covered in a basic teaching book or video.

What I like about these teaching tools? They are always available for me to re-visit should I need to hone my SketchUp skills. A live class like Gloria took is priceless instruction, but absent that, Dave and Tim’s products and their blog are excellent reference documents and are very inexpensive. Note: I make no income from recommending these products.

* * * * *

Have a question or comment? Leave me a comment below; but I also like email. Use my contact form to send me an email (click here).

5 Comments

    • The DVD is just too good of a deal. I’ll spend more on pizza tonight than what Dave’s DVD costs. And Tim’s e-book is even less. Good luck!

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