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SketchUp is often referred to as intuitive and easy to use. Those things are true in a way, but as it is with any software application, there is a learning curve. If you’re on the uphill side of that curve, with rubbery legs and having a hard time catching your breath, here are some things that we’ve found (and created) to help.
The first thing is to work through the tutorials that appear when you first open the program. They are geared toward making models of houses, not the furniture that goes inside but they will show you the basics. There are other tutorials available online that may be useful to you. Those resources are free, but you’ll need to search them out and separate the wheat from the chaff on your own. There is also a Woodworking Forum on SketchUcation.com, and we have a SketchUp Questions and Answers page on our site.
We recommend the book SketchUp for Dummies by Aidan Chopa. It’s an overall view of SketchUp, as an application for architectural scale work.
Robert W. Lang, Popular Woodworking Magazine’s executive editor has created references aimed at using SketchUp for woodworking design and planning. He skips over how to layout landscapes, staircases and roofs in favor of showing you how to make mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joints. Bob has made has two videos for Popular Woodworking:
there is also a digital book with embedded videos in enhanced PDF format:
Woodworker’s Guide to Google SketchUp is a comprehensive guide that includes 49 short video lessons embedded in the 184 pages of illustrated text.
Bob’s earlier book “Drafting & Design for Woodworkers” contains a tutorial on SketchUp especially for woodworkers, along with other strategies for designing and planning your projects and can be purchased here (though it’s often sold out).
Bob also teaches classes in SketchUp, search our blog or send an e-mail to find out when and where.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.