SketchUp, SketchUp Illustration, Woodworking Plans in Progress
Comments 6

A New Woodworking Plan is Underway

When I was in high school, I worked at Riverchase Country Club in Hoover, Alabama. Caddy Shack was a popular movie then and I have to admit that I, along with some of my buddies from high school who also worked there, lived some moments which were similar to those seen in Caddy Shack.

Slowly, over time, I was asked to do some minor graphic design work there. Some of the doodling I had done when work was slow caught the attention of the Club Manager. Eventually, I began making posters which promoted the monthly theme party the country club hosted. And thus, my interest in graphic design took hold. And, it is this interest that compels me to make the woodworking plans available here at my website.

Presently, I am knee-deep in the process for making my 13th woodworking plan titled You Can Make The Jackson Dresser. At times I have trouble describing the furniture in my plans. For example, this dresser started out as a double dresser, but I added more drawers which made it more than a double dresser. So I decided on a name which would pay homage to my father, Jack Branch, as well as my father-in-law, John Jackson Heaps. The Jackson name also fits the traditional nature of this dresser, so Jackson quickly became a keeper.

I actually had a request from a reader for this plan. The reader had built not one, but two bedside tables based on one of my woodworking plans and wanted a double dresser to match. They inquired if one was available; I have never made such a plan, but had been thinking about a new plan of some sort. So I decided to make one for the reader and his wife.

As is typical, I am using a combination of SketchUp Make along with Microsoft Publisher to make this new ww plan. I also use small amounts of Photoshop and even MS Paint (for simple tasks). I use SketchUp to create illustrations which means the SketchUp model has to be super detailed. How detailed is super detailed? There are correctly positioned pocket screws (at present there are 32 screws in this model). The drawer pulls are based on some found at Horton and I have made them a close representation of those. The plywood components have a new plywood material I am trying out. Pretty accurate.

Note the pocket screw at the rear of the dresser.

Note the pocket screw at the rear of the dresser.

For the design of this dresser, I simply took the sides of the bedside table along with the bracket feet; made minor alterations and then simplified the construction process used with my bedside table. The SketchUp model has undergone three updates: 1) to add the small center drawer in the middle row, 2) a slight reduction in-depth, 3) and later a slight reduction in height to make the plywood components fit on a 4 x 8′ sheet of plywood in an optimal way. Hopefully no more changes; but as I work my way through the construction process, there is always the chance I’ll realize an easier or better construction method.

Page 3; orthographic views.

Page 3; orthographic views.

Page 5; the exploded view.

Page 5; the exploded view.

Page layout for this new plan follows the same look I used with The Versatile Media Cabinet but for illustrations, this time I am using a more basic approach. No pen strokes added to the edges of images and I am using fewer wood grain images opting for the more simple and more communicative grey coloring.

Page 7; case side components.

Page 7; case side components.

Page 12; forming the face frame stiles and drawer dividers.

Page 12; forming the face frame stiles and drawer dividers.

I am working on page 14 and still have to go through drawer construction and building the bracket feet, so there is still much to do. But this is the first of what I hope will be as many as four new woodworking plans for my blog in 2017.

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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. Looking at your highly detailed plans revived my memory of going to San Francisco State in the early 70’s while getting my Industrial Arts teaching degree. Many of the advanced woods students had the dubious honor of doing the illustrations for Dr. John Kassay’s book on Shaker Furniture. Those were all drafted by hand, I watched several of those guys in the drafting lab. Whew — illustration has come a long, long way!! Me, I still draw my plans with a left handed Vemco machine, they look nothing like yours which are great!

    • Thank you John. I have given thought about one day coloring my plans by hand. I am not an illustrator, so that is why I rely on SketchUp so much.

  2. Jack Branch says

    Good, Jeff! Quite a compliment from a professor with a degree in IA! And you learned by scratch! Good. Dad

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