I absolutely agree on the details of the DT joints and mortise and tenons,
although some times doing one of the mortise and tennon joints can be
helpful if you are using that joint on a side and back of a narrow leg that
you may be attaching a long apron to. I built a walnut desk last summer and
seeing the inside of the joint using the x-ray view let me see if the
tennons were going to come in contact with each other. I was able to offset
the aprons a bit more so that this did not happen.
Agreed, as mentioned above.
I've done models where I only put in three legs and two
Agreed, and again especially if it is a comcept that you have done time and
again. I don't really draw drawer details for a kitchen redo any more
although I will draw the drawer so that I know howmany of which pieces to
plan for. I use Cutlist Plus all the time tell me how much wood to buy.
Nothing really bad about doing the detail solving in the shop, that is the
way that I started doing it in the late 70's and early 80's. I drew a
concept and worked it out in the shop/garage. I'll admit that I built some
pretty nice stuff that I still use today but geez it took a long time to
complete a project. I built a dresser that way and I think it took me 3
months of working on weekends. I also would have to make 2 or 3 trips back
to my wood supplier to get the materials that I needed. I tended to be a
develop the piece as I go type builder back then. Now days it is easier to
sell a piece to the customer being able to show him the details of what he
is going to spend a few thousand dollars on.
I find that I can think just as easily at the computer and see if my idea
works and or looks decent immediately. I very seldom have to buy more wood
after the initial purchase any more because I have all the details of what
I need, knock on wood. I typically don't have any wasted cuts because I
know from the drawing exactly how long to cut 98% of the pieces. Basically
I can make changes on the computer and present different ideas to the
customer and go with the one that he prefers. After doing this for 30
years, I want to build when I am out in the shop not solve problems, I have
done that before and that way is not efficient for me.
Ditto ... as a builder I hate having to "field engineer" and don't' relish
it in the shop. It's also an enjoyable past time for me to plan a project
"in detail", particularly when it's my own design ... second in enjoyment,
perhaps, to actually seeing the results of a well executed plan.
I also agree with Kevin, you don't have to draw in every tubafour in the
framing plan of a house ... I don't usually have the need to draw the
dovetails on a drawer, or the drawers in a cabinet run for that matter,
unless it's to get a detail into the clients head, or give them a choice.
For some of us that aren't as gifted as yourself, it helps us
think the plans through from start to finish. I haven't
reached the stage where I can build from pictures in my head.
I like to see what I'm building *before* I start. Helps me
avoid mistakes, and I'm full of them. Not sure who to credit
it to but can you say "precision cut firewood"? Yep, I've got
some of that...
Precisely because we do make mistakes do I prefer to work as much as
possible with what is in front of me, already made. What happens when
we screw something up, but it's still quite workable as long as we
adjust as we go along, but then we forget what changed and go back to
working from our drawing and create parts that perfectly match the
drawing but don't work with what we already screwed up? I mean who
hasn't made a beautiful mortise, perfect in every respect, except for
being in the wrong place.
I can't visualize a complete project in my head, if I could I wouldn't
need sketchup at all. But once I get the outside of it squared away
then I can just sort of chip away at everything I don't know until I
have enough to get started. That may mean drawing out certain areas
that I don't understand. I can always go back to the drawing and add
more, but if I took the approach of having to model every last detail
before I got to go in the shop, that would just suck all the fun out
It's a hobby in itself to some, and maybe even an end in itself to some
others. I don't recall anyone here suggesting doing that, though. I tend to
draw in the tenons. Having already thought it through, it doesn't make sense
to NOT make the notation. Doing so might even help keep me from cutting that
perfect fitting mortise someplace I didn't want one. Really, it's not a big
deal; just offset the end profile and pull and push it to the right shape.
Adding a haunch is even easier.
If I didn't draw them in, I'd stand at the bench and sketch them in with a
pencil. If I didn't like pencils even, maybe I'd just go straight for the
saw. That's valid, too. Just cut it over length, mark the shoulders, and
have at it. But you still have to think it through at some point.
My personal limit for drudge work is finger joints. I don't have the
patience to grind them out on the tablesaw or router table. So, I never have
to worry about drawing them in SU. Not that I think it would be difficult.
Something like that is even more important to get right, to make sure the
fingers and spaces don't offer surprises somewhere else.
Or to simply share with others so they don't have to reinvent
the wheel. If all of the hobbyists shared their drawings it
would be a huge timesaver. To a certain extent that's what the
SketchUp warehouse is all about, though I've not found any
"complete" drawings yet.
Methinks the "average woodworker" is likely to be a nailbender. Somehow
I don't think that anyone in this forum aspires to be an average
woodworker, so I'm not sure I understand where you're wanting to go with
...and I doubt that different parts made by /one/ truly average
woodworker have a very high probability of fitting together precisely.
I can understand how that might be true for work that is primarily
decorative. On the other hand, if you decide to build a clock with
wooden works or something requiring precisely interacting parts, you'll
find that your results will be more satisfying if you exercise your
creativity /before/ you start building.
All I was really going for was that using that approach in Sketchup
isn't the only way to effectively use it. It just depends on what you
want to get out of it.
True, but then you might very well want to model things like gears in
a program that already has built in functions where you plug in the
diameter and number of teeth and spits out a drawing of the gear
(maybe such a thing exists for sketchup, don't know). And so maybe
you don't need to go to the trouble of importing that into sketchup,
maybe just a circle will do. Maybe you're buying plans for that whole
mechanism, so you don't bother with anything but a simple object that
has the key reference points that interface with the rest.
I think most of us aren't doing stuff like this guy:
Kevin, your work is stunning. It's not the kind of thing that I think
I'd ever attempt, but it's wonderful to look at.
Morris said in response that the "average woodworker" is likely a
nailbender and is not represented here in the Wreck. I'm not so sure
about that. I think I'm more of a nailbender than a craftsman, and
therefore I can speak from that level.
For two reasons I need to see the thing I'm building and need to know in
advance what I think is going to happen when I go into the shop. First,
I'm not particularly high in the visualization of a new project. Things
don't work out so well just inside my head, and having a plan, even 2-D,
helps me immeasurably. 3-D takes me into that shop with some amount of
confidence that I know where I'm going. That's a bit of an illusion, and
I'll get to that later, but still I've got a roadmap.
Second, I'm dealing with a low level of skill and experience. There are
guys in here who have 40-50 years behind them and can draw from that,
putting pieces together for the 100th time that I have never done
before. That's not me. Often, in either design, build or assembly, I'm
tackling things that I've merely heard of before. That can be an immense
challenge, and plans can make that challenge manageable.
Having said that, the best laid plans...etc. Regardless of how many
times I've laid something out on paper, the real world rears its ugly
head in the shop and I have to adjust on the fly as you allude to. It's
the nature of the business, because if you spent all your time planning
for every contingency, you'd never open the door to the shop. And that's
cool too, cause that's when learning truly takes place.
This is probably not a fair answer from me but Swingman and I have often in
the past built kitchens together, He would build the face frames in his shop
and I would cut up all the plywood panels. A few years ago I took 27 pieces
of oak veneer plywood back to my shop to cut up. When he was done with the
face frames and i was done with the 100+ panels we would get together at his
shop and spend 3 or 4 days assembling all the components for a kitchen or
two. Typically a few weeks later we would install the cabinets.
That can also be done on the computer, but you can be creative in several
different versions. That way you end up with your favorite version and so
to speak not be taking "pot luck" with what you end up with.
Not to mention, IIRC you were always wondering "what if" concerning the
legs/feet on your table in the kitchen area. With Sketchup you were able to
determine that you had make the right choice concerning the size. Had it
been available and you had used Sketchup you could have saved years of
wondering, "what if". LOL
I agree it is most often unnecessary to model the drawers in a project,
however, SU will generate a list of parts which can then be used to generate
both a material list and a cutlist, so doing so that extra modeling can
often come in handy on large projects, particularly with groups of multiple
drawers of the same size.
Oddly, it seems to take exactly that to understand and finally appreciate
SU. Both myself and Swingman pretty much started with the program the same
I do have quite a bit of CAD experience and have never been instructed on
CAD. I did have a couple of years of formal training in mechanical and
architectural drafting however. Having that back ground certainly helps in
learning how to make the programs perform efficiently.
Stick with it, with 20 years CAD experience and having bought and used the
more expensive versions I am leaving AutoCAD LT behind after working with it
for 12 years and going through 5 upgrades. Prior to that I used IMSI
Designer, TurboCAD, and 3 versions of AutoSketch.
So now I am happier than ever with Sketchup. I have no problem admitting
that I have invested a few thousand in CAD programs in the last 20 years and
have moved up to a free program. It is different than a CAD program but it
certainly holds it's own in this medium.
I think many people looked to CAD (if only the basics of it) because there
were few really capable graphics programs around and if you learned enough
you could design most anything with it. Now with faster and more affordable
computers around and the plethora of available, cheaper (and free) graphics
programs that abound, we can pick and choose what will do the job with the
least amount of effort. That's not CAD anymore for most people.
Robatoy will chafe (as will many of us) at all the "experts" who suddenly
appear in the design arena solely because of the cheapness and capabilities
of new software. People will have to put in a fraction of the time necessary
to learn more advanced programs than what was originally necessary for any
CAD program. It's exactly that same as the $700 I spent some years ago on my
first 80 meg hard drive. Now all I can do is reminisce about it because hard
drive space is thousands of times cheaper. Life's a bitch sometimes.
Software in Boulder (currently v.6 Pro). SU has been
particularly useful to render project drawings that allow clients to
envision the finished look of a project. AAMOF I have a drawing to do today
for an associate's client, another who "just can't picture what it will look
like! (the WHAT IF MY GIRLFRIENDS WON'T LIKE IT!!! syndrome :o) )"
Coincidently, the "staff" architect for a timberframe builder my SYB and
I employed for a piece of dirt we have in southern Colorado is the voice of
the early SU tutorials. At the time (2006?) SU had just been bought by
Google and Mark had left the company to strike out on his own. I was
excited enough to plop down another $95 on our return to Houston for the v.6
upgrade. I doubt those plans/drawings will be the final project site plans
especially for the trades.
But, when I need to dimension cabinetry or built-ins or permit plans I
still revert to TurboCad (though City of Houston has accepted SU drawings).
Dave in Houston
That SU will slowly be accepted by other departments and cities is
inevitable. It is the information that is within the document that
counts, not what software created it.
In a nearby county there was a engineering manager who only accepted
MicroStation documents or printed blueprints. MicroStation?? Ya
kidding me? Sure it was a nice CAD program for the Mac, but nobody
used it. AutoCAD was, and still is, king around here. The engineering
guys want assurance that when they're opening a drawing, that what
they see is what it is meant to be. In due time SU will achieve that
level of confidence, I'm sure. Then there is the image problem: "I
will present you with some SketchUp drawings, madam." (I'm not sure
which of the 57 flavours/ingredients yet,,but) And then there is that
mischievous component, knowing that those Bob-The-Builder and LegoWare
remarks just irk the shit out of some of the thin-skinned class-mates.
Onto my pogo-stick I climbeth and off to make some
countertops.....oops, almost dropped my yo-yo.
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