SketchUp Tutorials

SketchUp is a free 3D-modeling program, and Robert W. Lang, executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, is an expert at using the program and at teaching it. This 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.

Below are our most-recent articles about SketchUp. Here are some quick links to our key SketchUp Pages.
Resources for Learning SketchUp|
What is Google SketchUp?|
SketchUp Q&A|
SketchUp Models

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...

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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 ShopWoodworking.com soon, and will also be available in Joe’s December SketchUp online course. SketchUp Make 2015 Changes On November 3, 2014 Trimble Navigation LTD...

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...

Completed Core Box Cuts

Modeling the Core Box Router Bit in SketchUp

A student emailed me and asked: “How do I model the cut a core box router bit makes in SketchUp?” At first glance you might think the answer is the usual – model the shape of the bit and use the “Follow-me” tool. After further consideration it becomes clear that the answer is much...

A Kitchen Modeled In SketchUp

SketchUp Help – 10 FAQs

I have been teaching SketchUp for over seven years, both live and online. Students new to SketchUp struggle with a set of problems that are very similar in nature and can be characterized by one of the following questions. Over the years I have developed some tools to help students through these problems. In...

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SketchUp for Woodworkers – Here’s Why

This topic has appeared once or twice on woodworking blogs. So why list the benefits of SketchUp for woodworkers again? Here’s why: There are still too many woodworkers out there who have never heard of SketchUp and we need to get the word out. Woodworkers have short memories when it comes to tools that...

I select the stile I want to copy and distribute.

Create a Linear Array in SketchUp

I’m currently working on a variation on L & J. G. Stickley’s No. 220 prairie settle. The settle’s three sides consist of frame and panels. Because I’m building a shorter version, I need to shorten the rails and resize the panels. Before SketchUp, I would have subtracted the combined width of the stiles from...

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Dovetails in SketchUp – Easier Than You Think

When I teach woodworkers about SketchUp we always reach a point where I say, “the level of detail to include in your model is up to you”. Then I explain the level that I usually work to and conclude with “but if you know what you’re doing it doesn’t take that long.” Dovetails are...

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Use SketchUp to Preview Proportions

Of all the variables of design, context is the easiest to miss. That is one of the powerful things about using SketchUp, you can easily compare one piece to another, add a human figure to the model or place the piece in a room setting. Seeing is believing and knowing is better than guessing....