I took my technology and dog background and I did the merely thing I could do 1 decided to. The most significant woodworking tool that has been introduced in my lifetime doesn’t cut wood and it costs nothing. Before SketchUp (the BS era), I used a variety of CAD programs to create construction drawings. But I muddled through and paid the man because CAD is an incredible woodworking tool when it comes to designing furniture from scratch.
Plus, there is Google’s 3D Warehouse, a treasure trove of objects and designs you can use in your CAD drawings. In fact, SketchUp was the inspiration for our Woodworking in America conference next month on Furniture Construction & Design. If you are on the fence about attending this conference, consider the following: When we proposed a conference on design, it was difficult to sell the idea to our superiors. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. I also really struggle with the fact that SketchUp is not parametric like the software I use frequently at work.
Tablesaws and CAD are great tools for woodworking, but I enjoy the craft much more by ignoring the existence of both when I am at my bench. Can you give us a rough sense of how many eight-hour days it took you to make the model pictured at the top of this post? Because from what I’ve seen of SketchUp, it would be easier and quicker write the code to render that workbench in C# than try to do it in SketchUp.
Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but I tried to use SketchUp several years ago, right before Google bought it. I also go visit the workshop quite often to see whether the artisans understand what I drew and are building the parts correctly. When I’m planning the next woodwork project, I put together a model and some drawings in half of my lunch hour (illegally using company equipment for private use, but hey). Interesting… the use of the word design and CAD interchangeably can be a serious problem.


I realize your design seminar will be more than a CAD tutorial, but to quote Einstein "Not everything that counts can be measured. I few months ago I put together a site just for teaching Sketchup to woodworkers named, appropriately enough, Sketchup for Woodworkers!
Learning new software sucks, and learning 3D software REALLY sucks, so I put together some tutorials specifically for woodworking. Now I work at understanding the elements of good design, force my hand and eye to work together by practice drawing and study the history and aesthetic characteristics of the pieces I build.
Wish I could go to Chicago, but I just can’t swing it financially (my problem, not yours). Dang, I wish I didn’t already have all of my time off scheduled this year or otherwise I’d be THERE! The learning curve has always frustrated my efforts which always leads me back to Illustrator. What’s rather funny, or odd, really, is that the SketchUp class is taught by the same fellow that runs the advanced hand tool classes in the woodworking program. What caused me a challenge was that the free software cost me a monitor upgrade, and another 2GB of ram. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years.
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It is Google’s SketchUp program, a 3D computer-aided design program that runs on virtually any computer.
Because I use only Macintosh computers, the CAD programs available to me were expensive, clunky or just laughable.
SketchUp allows me to easily design things in three dimensions so I can really get a feel for what the piece will look like.


The core of the conference will be Lang’s presentations on the computer program and a laboratory that will be staffed by SketchUp experts. So this might be your best shot for finally mastering SketchUp and getting a boot-camp style education on furniture design from a group of A-list speakers.
I have been a CAD jockey for some years and after designing many projects with CAD I have greatly improved my designs by … not using CAD.
I worked wood for a long, long time making pieces that functioned ok and fit where we put them but didn’t give me any sense of satisfaction. It allows me to quickly try out dozens of different designs before I narrow the field to the point where I want to mock something up.
Because I want to attend it, laptop in lap, and become a better designer, both in my hands and in my heart. But we pushed hard anyway because we think that design is an undiscovered country for most woodworkers.
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