SketchUp Tutorials

SketchUp is a free 3D-modeling program, formerly owned by Google and now owned by Trimble. This SketchUp for woodworking blog will help you learn how to use SketchUp to create models of your woodworking plans. It’s a great way to “build” a project and work out the design, details and joinery before you take tools to wood – that way, you can head to the workshop with a solid plan and the information you need to build any project with confidence.

Here are some quick links to our key SketchUp Pages.

  • Joe Zeh’s SketchUp for Woodworkers Blog
  • SketchUp Woodworking Models

  • Check out SketchUp Comprehensive with Joe Zeh and Popular Woodworking University…

    Need help navigating the models? Watch our free SketchUp models video tutorial. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll understand how to make SketchUp models work for you.

    Below are our most-recent articles about SketchUp, including Joe Zeh’s blog posts but also others from our staff of experts.


    How to Create an Irregular Mortise & Tenon in SketchUp

    A student wrote and asked me this paraphrased question: “Can you give me some suggestions for drawing these irregular tenons into the legs? If the mortises were rectangular I would simply use the Rectangle tool to trace one onto the face of the leg and Push/Pull it to depth.” I exaggerated his tenon in...

    This low-resolution image was created in SketchUp using a free version of Maxwell Render.

    Creating Realistic Images with SketchUp Plugins

    Whenever I take on a new cabinet or built-in project, I like to model it in SketchUp. I sometimes have trouble visualizing how things are going to fit together, and an accurate 3D model helps me think through a project thoroughly before I start. Often, I like to go even further with a model, using it...


    More Cutlist Making Tips in SketchUp for Woodworkers

    In my previous post about cutlist making tips in SketchUp for woodworkers, I discussed my CutList Bridge 3 extension and strategies to help you organize your models. That post went into detail about furniture projects. Now I would like to apply those strategies to custom cabinet projects. Component and part naming of custom cabinet parts should follow...


    Cutlist-Making Tips in SketchUp for Woodworkers

    Cut lists are dull subjects and always seem to be an afterthought; they shouldn’t be. The time to consider cut lists and material lists is before you begin to model a project. Doing so will dramatically shorten the time you spend creating them, and make your cut list and material list much more useful....

    Here are two tips about SketchUp for woodworkers who use CAD

    SketchUp for Woodworkers Who Use CAD

    Layers in SketchUp Aren’t Like Layers in CAD If you’re used to drawing in AutoCAD or a similar program, you’ll have to adjust to the way layers work in SketchUp. When drawing in CAD, it’s common to create separate layers for different types of objects. In a kitchen layout, base cabinets might be drawn on...

    SketchUp for Woodworkers

    SketchUp for Woodworkers: Creating Compound Miter Joints

    If you are like me – compound miter joints always make me a little nervous – your blood pressure rises a little when you have to draw or cut a compound miter joint. So I am always thankful for SketchUp, where I can build a prototype and make angle measurements to assist in setting...

    Designing kitchen cabinets in SketchUp

    Designing Kitchen Cabinets with SketchUp

    SketchUp is an excellent tool for designing kitchen cabinets. The free version has plenty of powerful features, and even professionals with access to $30,000 cabinet design software frequently use it. Before you start drawing, think about what you’re really trying to accomplish. If you intend to draw every end panel, top, bottom, shelf, back...


    An Intro to New Features of SketchUp 2015 for Woodworkers

    This video contains several excerpts from a 1-hour, detailed video about the new features of SketchUp Make 2015 being created by Joe Zeh. That video will be for sale at soon, and will also be available in Joe’s SketchUp online course. SketchUp Make 2015 Changes On November 3, 2014 Trimble Navigation LTD released...

    SketchUp Class With Bob Lang

    SketchUp Class With Bob Lang, Sept. 8-12

    I will be teaching a week-long SketchUp class  September 8-12, 2014 at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine. If you want to get a better understanding of the 3D modeling program we use here at Popular Woodworking Magazine, this is your opportunity. As in all my SketchUp classes, we start with a...