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.

    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...


    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...


    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...


    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....

    ellis cabinet

    Proportion Problems Solved With SketchUp

    I’m in the early planning stages for an upcoming project build for Popular Woodworking Magazine. The project will be a reproduction of a wardrobe cabinet from the early 1900s. I was trying to decide between three likely candidates. I thought that I had a decision made, but as I worked on the SketchUp model,...


    Details and Dimensions From a SketchUp Model

    One of the reasons I prefer to plan projects from SketchUp models is how easy it is to extract information from the model. In my earlier days I  prepared shop drawings with pencil and paper, and later on with a 2D CAD program. That type of drawing requires a great deal of care to...