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.


    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...


    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...