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Fine Woodworking Google Sketchup Guide for Woodworkers(2010)BBS.pdf


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ch a pter one

Introduction

F

or years I’ve wanted to draw
my furniture plans in full-size
three-dimensional (3D) models. I
dreamed of “building” the furniture on the computer as if I were in the
shop, shaping each spindle, board, and
panel and assembling them into a finished product. Existing two-dimensional
(2D) computer-aided design (CAD) systems were okay, but they didn’t let me
view the project from any angle or check
its integrity as it developed. I wanted a
design program that gave me exploded
views of assemblies, perspective color
images, and the ability to ensure that
complex joints fit together properly.
Finally, I found what I wanted—Google
SketchUp. I’ve been using this program
since 2005 and will never go back to 2D
CAD, nor will I enter the shop without
first creating a piece in SketchUp.
SketchUp opens up drawing capabilities once available only to professional
designers and illustrators using esoteric,
expensive CAD systems. Now you can
create virtual furniture, using SketchUp
to create each piece of wood and hardware, complete with every joint detail.
You can view and check every aspect
of the furniture with SketchUp’s array
of viewing options, including easily created exploded and X-Ray views. With
SketchUp, you can design furniture full
of complex shapes and angles, such as a
Windsor chair or a Chippendale lowboy
with cabriole legs. Once you have all the

1

FIN E WO O DWOR K I N G

components detailed in the model, you
can use SketchUp to generate full-size
templates for the shop. That makes construction much simpler, faster, and more
accurate, with less reworking and fewer
delays to sort out discrepancies. You also
gain a better understanding of construction details, which pays off when you
tackle the real project in the shop.
SketchUp’s price is right—free. The
no-cost download has all the features
you need to produce the most complex
woodworking projects and comprehensive shop drawings. A Pro version,
priced at $495, includes capabilities and
features for importing and exporting files
to and from various CAD formats, adding information to models, and producing documents exported in the Adobe
PDF format.
Most of the books and tutorials I’ve
seen are designed to help architects,
landscape designers, and builders master
SketchUp. They aren’t always well suited
to woodworkers, who use SketchUp in
unique ways. That’s why I’ve created
this book for professional and hobbyist cabinetmakers, furniture-builders,
and designers as well as woodworking
teachers. My book will show you how
to do the following:
• Develop a complete piece of furniture from scratch or from photos or
images imported into SketchUp.
• Create shop drawings, documents,
and full-size templates.

Figure 1. An assembled view of a Philadelphia fan-back armchair. With SketchUp, even
complex pieces like the turned chair legs can be easily created, copied, rotated, and joined
to other components.
SK ETCH UP G UI D E F OR WOODWOR K ER S