No modern-day woodworker truly has a full skill set without knowing the ins and outs of SketchUp for woodworking. This essential tool allows you to experiment freely, to go where your mind takes no matter how fantastical. It lets you virtually execute a woodworking project before you ever cut a piece of wood – vital for minimizing mistakes and getting the most out of your materials. To get you going with this valuable tool, we’ve assembled the best SketchUp tutorials for beginning woodworkers and veterans alike, as well as a library of SketchUp woodworking plans for you to tool with, destroy and learn from.
What is SketchUp?
SketchUp is a free three-dimensional modeling software application available from Google by clicking here. It enables you to plan and visualize projects on your computer, not as static drawings, but as models you can take apart, put back together, and view from any angle. SketchUp will make you a better woodworker because you can build a project onscreen before you head to the shop.
Here is a photo of one of our projects, and here is the same project as it appears in SketchUp.
SketchUp is an intuitive program with a short learning curve, once you understand the basics of 3D modeling. The tutorials with the program are helpful, and there are more resources online. Robert W. Lang, Popular Woodworking Magazine’s executive editor, has created references aimed at using SketchUp for woodworking design and planning. He skips over how to layout landscapes, staircases and roofs in favor of showing you how to make mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joints.
Popular Woodworking Magazine SketchUp Community
Our new format allows our readers to comment on posts we make, and that’s a great way for you to interact with us. We have a SketchUp Q and A post where we will answer questions from our readers. Leave your question as a comment, or send an e-mail and browse through the responses to find a quick answer or pick up a useful tip. We also post tips for using SketchUp on our editor’s blog and you can leave comments on our models.
Browse this and following pages to view posts about using SketchUp.
Sign up for the RSS feed and be the first to know when we add new content.
When you download and install SketchUp on your computer you will be able to view any of the more than 200 models available in our online collection. We add models of projects with each new issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Check back often, or sign up for the RSS feed and you’ll be first to know when new projects are added.
You will need to be a registered member of the site to view our Sketchup Models.