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 SketchUpWhat is Google SketchUp?SketchUp Q&ASketchUp Models

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....

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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,...

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Details and Dimensions From a SketchUp Model

One of the reasons I prefer to plan projects with SketchUp 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 ensure...

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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...