11 – Using SketchUp to Design an Arts & Crafts Table (Part 1 of 4)

11 – Using SketchUp to Design an Arts & Crafts Table  (Part 1 of 4)

(upbeat music) Marc: Welcome to Episode 11 of The Woodworking Whisperer podcast. I’m your host, Marc Spagnuolo, and today we’re gonna do something just a little bit different. We’re gonna actually start in the office. I’ve got a new project coming along that’s a table/desk for a customer. It’s relatively simple in design. Sort of reminiscent of the arts and crafts mission style period, but I figured it would be a great project for you guys to take a look at. Now I’m really under a time crunch here, so part of this video may not be as good as it normally would be, but I thought it was more important for you guys to get an opportunity to get the cut list, see how some of these things were done because at this point there’s no reason why
if you followed through the previous videos why you can’t do a project like this. We did milling in one
of the earlier episodes. We showed in the Cutting Board episode how to do some basic
lamination’s and glue-ups and we also even covered
more in episode 10, which is the primary joint of this entire project. So, sit back and relax
and we’ll take a look at the process on how I get started from the minute I get the
request from the customer. Now the customer has already sent us a jpeg image of a table
that looks very similar to the one that they want, so we’re actually gonna
use that as our model. Now we don’t know what the dimensions are of this particular desk,
but what we do know is that the customer wants theirs to be about 36″ deep and 72″ long. So we essentially have to reverse engineer this project. I need to look at the dimensions, the proportions, and the
average size of things in this picture and then bring those into what we’re actually doing. And I think ours is
gonna be a little wider and a little longer than this particular unit here, so we’ll adjust those numbers as we go. But let’s get started and
see how this works out. So the first order of business is to make a list of the dimensions that we’re absolutely sure of. Now we know that we want the table to be 36″ deep and 72″ long. We also know that we want it to be about 30″ in height and that’s an average desk height. Meaning with a 3/4″
top, our legs should be 29 1/4″ long. The legs themselves, I’m gonna go with a 3″ x 3″ square leg. That’ll be nice and
sturdy for a 6′ long table and the next thing for us to look at are the aprons. We’ve got a nice long
apron in the front and back and then shorter aprons on the sides and we need to determine
what the optimal length would be for those. The easiest way that I know to do this is to draw it out. I like to envision flipping the table upside-down and looking
at an overhead view where you could see the leg, the apron, the tables dimensions. You could lay everything out that way and it becomes very clear once you do. So either get a ruler and a piece of paper and start drawing it out or you could use a program like I use called SketchUp. It’s a free program available from Google. You could get it for PC or Mac and if you have a computer with an internet connection you should be able to run this program with no problem. Now it is a very, very deep program. You could really get into some really cool stuff with it. For me personally, I use it as a tool to quickly organize, get my dimensions all straightened out, and make sure my proportions look good. I also use it as a sales tool sometimes to give that to my customers when they want to see a 3D rendering of what their project will look like. In this case we’re not gonna get into any of that. We’re gonna keep it very simple. We’re just gonna draw out the basics to we can determine what
our final numbers are. So let’s go ahead and take a look at that. Let’s start by drawing the table top. I use the rectangle tool to do this. Just click to a point where you want the rectangle to start, type in the length and width separated by
a comma and hit enter. The rectangle should be exactly 36″ x 72″. Next I select the push-pull tool. Select my rectangle. Start pulling it in a
direction I want it to go and then type in 3/4″. The next thing I’d like
to do is add a leg. In order to do that I want to make sure that the table overhangs the legs by 1″ on each side so I need to draw that square in 1″ from one side and 1″ from the other side, so I use the measuring tool to just put layout marks on a table top. 1″ in each direction and then I use the rectangle tool the same way we did with the table top and just type in 3″, 3″ enter and it should give me a nice 3×3 square. Next I use the push-pull tool to extend the leg up to 29 1/4″. Now I know there’s a
smarter way to do this, in Sketchup. You could create models and objects that could be reproduced and just copy and paste it in the drawing, but I’m not too familiar with it so I’m just gonna quickly re-draw another 3×3 square and use the push-pull to bring it up to 29 1/4″. Finally, I add a third leg just like the other two. We only need three legs to get the answers to our questions here, so I’m not gonna bother with the fourth. So at this point it’s relatively easy to determine what the length of our aprons is going to be. We’ve got a side apron here, our long apron for the front and back is over here and we could simply just strike line and measure it, but right now we want to take it one step further and I’d actually like to draw the entire thing in there. So what we need to do is look at our picture again, the original jpeg image. To me, what I see here, it looks like our aprons are probably a little bit wider than
the width of the leg. So if the legs are 3″, I’m thinking it’s pretty fair to call those aprons 3 1/2″. So let’s go ahead and draw those in and see where it takes us. I want the aprons to be about 1/2″ in from the outside edge of the leg so I use a marking tool to place a reference
mark on the leg itself. Using the rectangle tool I draw a 3 1/2″ x 3/4″ rectangle on the inside face of the leg and using the push-pull tool, I pull the rectangle to the inside face of the other leg. I then repeat the process
for the front apron. Now the next thing we have to do is determine the location of these bottom curved rails. Again, using the picture and elements in the picture, you could determine where the location of that piece will be. For me, I’m looking at this distance. How far is it from the bottom of the leg and in relative terms,
looking at other things in the picture, looks
to me like it’s about twice the thickness of one of these legs. So if the legs are 3″, I would say this is about 6″ from
the bottom of the leg and that’s where we are going to start drawing it into SketchUp. Using all the same methods as before, I add the bottom rail 6″ up from the bottom of the leg. Now let’s take a look at the vertical slat pieces here on the side. This particular picture shows three and to me they look like they should be about 3″ wide and given
the numbers that we have, when I place 3″ wide slats in there it just doesn’t seem to look right. There’s just too much
space on either side. So I’m actually gonna
add a fourth in there so there will be four 3″ slats across this distance and
we have to figure out how we want those spaced. That was just trial and error. I know I want a larger space in the front and the back and a smaller space in between. And what works out really well for me is 5″ til the first slat, then a 3″ slat itself, and then 2″ in between each and that gives us the
exact distance across here. I did draw that to
confirm it in my picture, so let’s take a look to
see how that turns out. Using the marking tool,
I place reference marks from left to right at 5″, then 3″ for the slat, then a 2″ space, then 3″ for another slat and so on. Next I use the rectangle tool to draw each of the slats. (upbeat music) Then using the push-pull tool, I extend each slat to the bottom rail. Now the one last detail, which I’m not gonna bother putting into the SketchUp drawing. It’s just too much work. Is the fact that these slats will actually give a bit of a reveal where they meet the cross rails and the top side apron, so these are going to be about 1/2″ thick and then the aprons themselves are going to be 3/4″ thick and that’ll give a little 1/8″ reveal on either side of these slats and just give it a little bit more visual interest and appeal. So you can clearly see that I’m not a professional SketchUp user. I’m certainly not an advance user by any means. I do what I need to do to get the job done and I know there are much better ways to do some of these things and I’m trying to learn those and as soon as I learn them I’ll definitely show you guys, but I don’t really need to know that much to get this far and it
didn’t take very long for me to do this. Basically what we have here tells us that our proportions are right. Tells us we’re getting
exactly what we want. Let’s us know whether those four slats look right and to me they do, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t, at this point, on paper, write down our cut list and head out to the shop and start cutting some wood. And here’s the final cut list. Keep in mind that these final dimensions do not include the extra length required for tenons. I plan on using a loose tenon construction method for all of my joinery. Now, if you decide to use traditional integral tenons, add 3″ to the length of all of your apron pieces and 2″ to the side slats. This allows you to make a 1 1/2″ tenon on the aprons and 1″
tenons on the side slats. (soft banjo music)

Comments (7)

  1. I did in fact miss these! Thanks for the uploads Marc.

  2. Dude i usually love your videos but for some reason the quality has gone down.
    ex: even in full screen the vid. will not go to full screen. Not just this video but some other recent aswell. The rest is great though. Im realy learning alot.Sorry for the spelling errors im from Quebec.

  3. lol read the description please. This video was made in 2007 and is being posted to YouTube for the first time.

  4. Thanks for telling me about sketch up I will try and use this for my garage lay out for table sizes and storage size.

  5. Thanks for telling me about sketch up I will try and use this for my garage lay out for table sizes and storage size.

  6. love the sketchup tutorial. currently trying to use sketchup before all my projects, this helps soooo much. thanks!!

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