The Dough BoxPart 1 of 4 - Popular Woodworking Magazine

A student wrote me and asked how I might go about drawing a Dough Box in SketchUp. He sent me a hyperlink to a miniature which he wanted to scale up and build. I brought the picture into SketchUp and scaled the length and height to the dimensions he wanted. Then I took dimensions of other parts from the scaled picture and created the model at left. The student wanted to build his with dovetails and so I added them. This four part series is about how to model structures with complex angles. I thought this dough box would be a perfect vehicle for that purpose. If you are not familiar with dough boxes and their use, see this excellent description on Home Things Past.

In Part 1 we are going to focus on the legs. In Part 2 we will draw the aprons and mortise & tenon joinery. In Part 3 we will draw the sides and ends and create the dovetail joinery. Finally in Part 4 we will draw the top and discuss the peculiar nature of spayed legs, sides, ends and joinery. Let’s get started by making sure we are set up to model correctly.

One issue you should be aware of when modeling pieces such as this Dough Box: you will encounter a number of odd dimensions due to the complex angles. It is extremely important that you zoom in close to make line connections and be sure the Window/Model Info Units page is set as shown at right. This will ensure the greatest resolution available and enable you to connect precisely to end points. In my shop I measure to 1/64” and so my dimensions are labeled and accurate to the nearest 64th.

Look at the Front view of the Dough Box at left. Notice the height of 35 17/64” and the spread of the legs of 39 1/32”. These dimensions are more a consequence of the complex angle than actual design parameters. You will see this as we go along. An important dimension in the Front view is the dimension 28 5/16”. That is the spacing between the top, front and outside most point of the front legs. Because of the splay of the legs you can’t see where the extension lines terminate.

In the End view at right you will see a similar dimension for leg spacing; 9 3/4”. The actual leg dimensions are also going to be resultant dimensions. But we will start off with the legs being 20” tall, 2” square at top, beginning to taper 7” inches down from the top, and tapering to 1” square at the bottom. The leg splay is 15 degrees from vertical. These dimensions and angle are for drawing the leg profiles before we splay them. Again, when we are done you will see that the actual dimensions and angles are quite different. I believe the best way to demonstrate how to model the legs is with a video. So grab a coke and some popcorn, sit back and click the play button.

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