Houston, TX, US

I'm a Construction Manager and GC in single family residential construction. A love of woodworking from a young age got me into the design, fabrication and installation of the kitchens in the majority of homes we build. I've used various CAD programs for many years before trying SketchUp about six years ago. After a few fits and starts, I came to fully appreciate the elegant simplicity with which the program adapts the manipulation of "edges and surfaces" to woodworking projects. I've also become a fan of the ease with which it allows my clients to become part of the design process ... no third party viewers necessary, and, by using screen capture software and taking advantage of technology like youtube, most of them can be involved in that process instantly from smart phones and other devices.

Recent comments

Re: 3D Basecamp Recap and a Lesson Reinforced

Thanks for the recap. I briefly considered signing up for the trip, but life and making a living got in the way once again. Nice to be able to get a review from a woodworker's perspective.

No kidding about the old models.Plenty from the early days, including quite a few on 3d Warehouse, I sure was proud of when I did them, but are bordering on embarrassing today.

Then again, it is absolutely amazing how much the acceptance of Sketchup has increased, particularly among architects and builders.

Keep up the good work!

Re: Pictures to Replicate a Piece of Furniture

Excellent. Just needed to do this for a client and found the video most helpful. Perfect timing. ;) Thanks!

Re: Futures in the Shop - Real and Imagined

Tradeoffs in most endeavors. Simply 'hardened' both my iPhone( Otterbox Defender Case) and iPad (Survivor Military-Duty Case) for use on construction sites and shop. While it's hard to beat paper for many tasks, the idea is to cut back on its proliferation ... what you lose on the bananas, you make on the grapes.

Re: Growth of the Shop Drawing Package

Feel your pain. ;) Just the last three or four years in my operation, SketchUp shop drawings, and CutList Plus parts lists and layouts, for client projects are now taking up an entire drawer in a four drawer filing cabinet

For the past year or so I've taken to using a pdf print program to print most of a project drawings and documentation output to DropBox, then view same on my phone or tablet while in the shop, as needed.

Not always as convenient as paper, but a lot easier to organize on a project basis in folders on DropBox, and paper output can easily be printed from there when necessary.

CutList Plus also has a nice app for the iPad and iPhone (don't know about Android, but I wouldn't be surprised if Todd has that covered also) that allows you view, and make changes to your CLP output on the device itself. That in itself has reduced my project paper output considerably

I still make hardcopies of some things, but using the "cloud" in this manner has cut back considerably on my paper requirements. In addition, the ability to selectively give a client access to some of the documentation is a convenience to them, and a selling point in some cases.

Re: Behold, the Speed Tenon

Nothing new here, this technique has been around for years ... even Norm used it to clean up non-through cuts on NYW. It is also within the purview of the time honored technique of making cove cuts on a table saw.

Having said that, and having been a paid subscriber since the beginning, I can't help but observe what seems to be an increasing tendency for FWW to serve warmed over content, and this appears to be more of the same. Leading viewers to believe that you will be using their 'opinion' as to the use of what amounts to a liability issue for you is suspect at best ... here's hoping neither party is that naive.

You asked for opinions. Mine: ask your legal department, that's what you pay them for.

And speaking of paying. I don't mind paying for a subscription fee, but having paid you what you asked to view your content, you need to reconsider forcing a paid subscriber to sit through even 15 seconds of commercials before a video begins.

If you insist on aligning your business model with the cable TV industry, as with both the above issues , there will be no further renewal from this subscriber when my current subscription expires.

Re: SawStop inventor Steve Gass defends the latest tablesaw verdicts

I've said it before, but I believe it is worth a repeat:

With all the money government wastes on idiotic things, this is one where I, as a taxpayer, wouldn't mind the government making the inventor an offer he couldn't refuse, then open sourcing/putting the patent in the public domain.

Re: SawStop inventor Steve Gass defends the latest tablesaw verdicts

I've always thought the last sentence in this old article was worth the initial bookmarking:

"The general public had better start thinking long and hard about whether they want to live in a society that shares risks, or a society that attempts to eliminate all risks through the elimination of personal freedoms and individual discretion."

Source: http://www.motorists.org/seat-belt-laws/social-cost

My take: when the hypocrisy of using "social cost" as justification for seatbelts, but then not mandating seatbelts on all school buses is addressed, call me back and we'll talk about attempting to eliminate, by mandate, all risks of table saw use.

Re: SawStop inventor Steve Gass defends the latest tablesaw verdicts

With regard to the Osario case, lawyers routinely abuse the judicial system as a part of their business model.

Re: Kitchen Cabinets - The Engineer's Way

@wef111: Due to requests on other forums I put the working SketchUp files that I actually use to build kitchens, and the base and wall cabinet components, in the 3D Warehouse a year or so ago.


The files pertinent to the topic in this collection are the two face frame files (wall and base cabinet), and the two casework files (wall and base cabinet). The others models were posted by request and are just examples of how the individual models were used for both design and fabrication.

With Tim's joinery, and the dynamic nature of the above (you can size them using the Scale tool), you should be well on your way to both figuring out the cabinet dimensions for your space, but also how to build them.

(since I've built dozens of kitchens and hundreds of cabinets, and these were for my own use, I did not go into the fabrication detail that Tim does, but the cabinet parts in these basic wall and base cabinet models are the actual parts needed to build each cabinet ... and I indeed use them, after scaling, to build cutlists for both bidding and fabrication ... the joinery can be left to you).

Caveat: Since doing these models for both design and fabrication a few years ago, when "dynamic components" first became a part of SU PRO, there have been a world of dynamic tools for "designing" for the SU that put my "roll your own" efforts to shame. These guys are absolutely phenomenal in the design department:


Re: CPSC Drafting New Tablesaw Regulations

Once upon a time in human evolution you had to be smart, agile and cautious to survive, a process that arguably strengthened the gene pool and benefited the entire species. Along comes government intervention, protecting the left half of the bell curve from themselves, polluting the gene pool in the process, and, if little else, benefiting corporate interests, lawyers and politicians. Jump on any urban freeway in the country and experience the results up close and personal ... but please be extra smart, agile and cautious.

Re: At Last... FW Videos on the iPad

I use an iPad (and Android device) in my business on a daily basis, both home building/remodeling and cabinetmaking, and anything that furthers mobile access to information is much appreciated. Thanks!

Re: Knitting Chest

Gorgeous work, John! Love the traditional dovetails; and the shellacked walnut and white oak give the entire project a warm glow. All in all, a spectacular piece.

Re: Special Announcement - My Book on SketchUp

I've been using SketchUp heavily in both my residential construction and cabinet business for about four years now. Like Tim, and thanks to SketchUp, I rarely start a project, or walk into the shop, without a clear understanding of what each step of the fabrication process is going to entail, all gained through the use of SketchUp as a woodworking design and shop drawing tool.

I recently purchased this ebook and believe it will be of invaluable benefit to both the neophyte and accomplished SketchUp user. AAMOF, along with SU on my laptop, the pdf file is now loaded on my smartphone for instant reference in the field and shop.

No financial interest, or otherwise, in this book ... simply an unsolicited kudos for a job well done!

Thanks, Tim ...

Re: New SketchUp Version 8

The ability to save/restore your tool bar layout is one of the most welcome new features.

Re: Trying on a Different Look

On that note, Joe Zeh at Swamp Road Wood Works reworked a handy layers.rb with added functionality and tool bar icons that makes adding visible and hidden layers much easier to use without risking having to update all project scenes. If you use layers as I do, you'll appreciate this added functionality. You should find it for download in his Sketchup section under his "my favorite ruby scripts" at srww.com.

Re: Trying on a Different Look

One of the advantages of using SketchUp "Layers" for the way I work (kitchen/furniture design and build) is that when pasting components from one file to another, the "Layer" information is transferred and remains intact in it's new location. This allows me to effect modifications on large individual components in separate SU files instead of in the project master file. I can then paste any modifications to the component back into the master file without the need to change/update scenes with regard to the visibility of the component or its sub-components.

For example, in a large kitchen project I routinely set up a SU "project template", complete with layers for individual components like the island. Since I rarely work on this type of complex component in the master kitchen file itself, any modifications done in the separate island file, opened using the project template with the same assigned "Layer" schema as the master kitchen file, can be easily "pasted in place" back into the master with layer information intact, with no scene updating necessary, and with no "Hide" and "Unhide" in the editing process.

Very importantly, and while the same ultimate effect may be possible using the "Hide" function, those vital elements of "organization", key to managing any large project, seem to be much easier to maintain using "Layers".

YMMV ...

Re: Man Wins Big Money in Tablesaw Lawsuit

Another nail in the coffin of the concept of bearing personal responsibility for your actions ...

Re: A Fern Stand: Demonstrating My Drawing Process

FWIW, I've personally found it easier to use the "pan" tool to get inside some components. Just zoom up close, then "pan" in toward the model. Might want to try this as an alternative if "orbit" is giving you trouble.

YMMV ...

Re: A Fern Stand: Demonstrating My Drawing Process

If you don't mind me asking, what video screen capture software are you using for these tutorials? They are excellent quality. Thanks ...

Re: A Fern Stand: Demonstrating My Drawing Process

A must view!

Woodworkers using SketchUp for designing and planning projects, regardless of skill level, will learn something from this one.

Well done!

Re: What are the Special Strengths of SketchUp?

As a long time Sketchup user and builder/cabinetmaker, and one who has embraced the application as an integral part of his business, I watch your blog closely.

Sadly, on a few woodworking forums the program is still considered a toy and denigrated by many CAD jockey's who simply can't seem to grasp the programs elegant suitability for woodworking.

Tim, your "List of Ten" special strengths is spot on!

Keep up the good work ... both you and Dave are performing a valuable service to the community with this kind of refreshing, clear, and concise emphasis on the programs benefits to the woodworker, both hobbyist and professional.

Thank you!

Re: Creating a Project Plan in SketchUp

>rlafferty writes: I've been using SketchUP for a while now, and I find it indispensible to my business/efforts. I've often wondered what the $500 Sketch UP Pro version would give me? Any thoughts on this?<

I recently went to SU Pro7 due to a combination of the below mentioned features that I found necessary after using SU in my business for the past year. The printing of construction documents, and design presentation, were simply not satisfactory with the free version.

What are your needs with regard to the following areas:

"Printing", "Documentation & Presentation", "Exporting and Importing", and the ability to create "Dynamic Components", the latter new in Pro7?

IME, if you have no great need for any of the above features, you will notice no functional differences in free versus Pro.

Karl ...

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