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


Make Moulding with SketchUp

When it comes time to make mouldings with SketchUp, many woodworkers struggle. They get the hang of making each piece a component, and figure out that a moulding is simply an extruded face. Where things go south is when it comes time to turn a corner; how can that be accomplished with as little...


SketchUp Advantage: 3D Cutlists for Woodworking Projects

Traditional approaches in woodworking are generally reliable and efficient. If you know something has worked well for other woodworkers for a few hundreds years, you can likely assume that adopting it will be a good way to accomplish what you want to do. But the traditional approach isn’t always the best method forever, and...


Live SketchUp Classes & Learning Resources

SketchUp, the free 3D modeling software is one of my favorite woodworking tools. It doesn’t cut joints or finish projects, but it helps me make sure the joints I cut are in the right places, and the experience building a project on the computer screen first makes valuable shop time more efficient and error...


Use a Photo to Make a SketchUp Model

With SketchUp, you can use a photo of a piece of furniture to make a model of the piece. From that model you can develop your plans for building a reproduction. Here’s an example using the Shaker Stepback Cupboard made by Glen D. Huey for our April 2010 issue. I swiped the image off...


What Makes a Good SketchUp Model? Components

How productive would you be in the shop if you tried to build furniture from blocks of Silly Putty coated with Crazy Glue? Imagine the mess if one board stuck to another automatically and both parts stretched and distorted if you tried to move one. This is exactly what happens if you try to...


Classes With Bob Lang in 2012

Next year I’ll be teaching two classes on using Google SketchUp for designing woodworking projects, and a new class about making authentic Arts & Crafts period details. In April, I’ll be teaching for the first time at Annapolis Woodworks, in Annapolis, Maryland, with a weekend workshop on SketchUp, April 21-22. In August, I’ll be...


SketchUp Classes at Woodworking in America

The Woodworking in America conference is an opportunity to indulge in sensory overload, and for the third year in a row, I’ll be doing my part to keep your head spinning by teaching two different sessions on using our favorite design and planning tool, Google SketchUp. On Friday morning at 9:30 and Sunday morning...


Nesting Components in SketchUp, It Works Both Ways

One of the secrets of working effectively in SketchUp is keeping control of all the bits and pieces in your model. The more they look (and act) like individual hunks of wood, the closer modeling is to playing around in the shop. My thinking is that every object that would be an individual piece...


SketchUp Class in Atlanta, July 15-17

I will be at the Atlanta Woodcraft store teaching a three-day weekend class on using SketchUp, Friday July 15 through Sunday July 18. There are a couple of seats available if you want to join me in learning how to use the software that we use here at Popular Woodworking Magazine for planning our...