Photoshop, SketchUp, Woodworking Plans in Progress
Comments 13

Update: Media Cabinet Woodworking Plan

Just like my window seat bookcase project, I am making slooowwww progress with my next woodworking plan. With You Can Build The Versatile Media Cabinet, I am taking the time needed to make it as close to magazine quality as possible.

The Photoshop process for creating custom sketchy edges is being used for every image and I continue to refine and get faster with the method of selectively adding pen flourishes to images output from SketchUp (see the process here).

The cover page shows why I call this media cabinet versatile. The modular shape of the cabinet enables the builder to add or take away drawers as they like. Click the image to enlarge…

Page 1 020615

One thing under consideration: re-working this page to show just one version of the media cabinet. The cover shows four different configurations. My concern is these options will create inquiries requesting help with these other versions. In the plan, I walk the reader step-by-step throught the construction process for the three drawer version only. What do you think? Should I focus on just one layout for the plan or show how the cabinet can be changed to fit other needs? Let me know in the comments.

Here are some screen shots of select pages…

I think I re-worked this page 10 times.

I think I re-worked this page 10 times.

The workbench seen here is a Moravian style bench.

The workbench seen here is a Moravian style bench.

This page shows pocket screws used for the lower dividers.

This page shows pocket screws used for the lower dividers.

With page 11 the case is created.

With page 11 the case is created.

Page 12: Creating the front face frame.

Page 12: Creating the front face frame.

The resolution of these screen shots are not as crisp as need be. Here is a clickable view of illustration 8b…

Note the pen strokes at the corners. This is something the professionals do.

Note the pen strokes at the corners. This is something the professionals do.

Again, the process I use in Photoshop not only enables me to add sketchy edges only where I want them, I have added lines in certain areas to enhance what is provided by SketchUp. I can then cause these lines to fade which is a more realistic pen drawn look.

My longest woodworking plan is 27 pages. This one is looking like it will be in the neighborhood of 20 pages. At the rate I am going, finishing this plan is at least a month away.

* * * * *

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


  1. I would focus on the one version. Unless you are fully prepared to draw up plans for all of them. The requests will be relentless.

    The illustrations look fantastic. One thought though. Have you tried a version with the workbench faded out? Say 50% saturation. This would make the work pieces stand out and draw focus to them. The workbench rendering is very nice, but can be slightly distracting. IMHO


    • Greg, I have considered doing that, especially in the page 12 example – making the cabinet fade so the face frame stands out more. I think your idea is a good one and will work on it. Thanks.

  2. This is real high quality stuff, Jeff. You might end up with magazine editors knocking on your door. I have to agree with Gregg about the bench, it draws my attention away from the project.

    • Thanks for the input. I have already experimented with adding a 40% white fill to the background of the page 12 image and it looks good. Doing this to the workbench should not be hard.

  3. I agree with the other two. I like what you are doing. I think you should go full time with this craft and add it with your woodworking skills. You have the design ability and the heart to carry this thur to the end.

    • Thanks. 🙂 I am sure that I am like many others who write about their woodworking: I’d like to be able to do this full time. I told my wife the other day that I am just going to have fun with it and keep pushing my day job in sales. So, I appreciate you suggesting I do this full time, but I am not there yet.

  4. The plans look great. I would suggest making formal plans for only the design you are most interested in and putting images of the modified versions in an addendum with a very clear rider that you will NOT be supplying plans for the mods. If folks can’t extrapolate from your very clear plans, then they should either choose the design you’ve provided them or move on. Since you are doing this part-time (and gratis) I would do everything in my power not to get into the quagmire of trying to meet everyone’s needs. Now, for what it’s worth, this opinion comes from someone who has never followed a plan without modifying it to his needs/tastes.

    On the matter of pleasing the crowd, I speak from some experience. In a former life, I created many tech-related Youtube tutorials and find it quite remarkable how cranky some people can get when the instruction one has provided for free doesn’t work for them.

    If folks stumble upon a detailed plan like yours, for free, they should consider themselves lucky. Good work.

    • Cal, you truly have some good insights on publishing stuff to the web and the follow-up requests. I have thought about creating the plan showing the various options and adding pages to my blog where readers can get an exploded view and a cut list. This would be a significant project, the cut list alone is usually a bear. I like the idea of showing the various options for this design. I am thinking about building this for my own home and the eight drawer option looks particularly good.

      Anyway, thank you for your comments and support. 🙂

  5. Are you making this magazine material because we might see it in a magazine? 🙂 Great stuff Jeff. I’m having a hard time deciding if you are a better woodworker or illustrator….

    • Hey David, I enjoy both the woodworking and online publishing. Sometimes I wonder if online work is my hobby and woodworking is just the subject. Thank you for the compliment. 🙂

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