The moment I saw Sketch-Up about 5 years ago, I knew I had to use it. Trouble is I’m not a very good individual learner. Nevertheless I bought a book from the Missing Manual series and tried to sit down for 30 minutes a day to learn this thing. I’m OK with pencil and paper having absorbed Jim Tolpin’s Measure Twice Cut Once book on planning and drafting, mostly because a pencil is simple to operate. But Sketch-Up with the ease of making changes, printing out slick looking plans and with add-ons to crank cut lists; that suckered me right in to the toughest part of my learning psyche.
By the time I got halfway through the fourth chapter, the book was out of date and there were three new versions of the program.
On the other hand, I’ve been a Bob Lang fan for over a decade, from Popular Woodworking articles to his Measured Drawings books. I have a Craftsman house, I like Craftsman furniture. I owe my QSWO kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity to his books, and laboriously drawn plans on paper. One big, pink eraser was worth about 100 board feet of QSWO. But oh, how I wish the learning curve for Sketch-Up was flatter.
Wouldn’t it be ideal to learn Sketch-Up from a teacher who actually makes the same stuff I like? But its 1200 miles from Denver to Cincinnati, where he lives and teaches…one way. Even though I spent a good part of my working life on airplanes, the flyer miles were long gone, and a road trip would cost more than the class.
Not knowing any better, I contacted Bob through his web site, readwatchdo.com and asked- would he consider doing a class in Denver? Nice guy that he is, his immediate response was find a place to host it and half a dozen people to sign up, a date that works for everyone all around, and he’d come. Next, I got on Nextdoor.com, kind of a bulletin board for neighborhoods, and asked if there were any woodworkers out there who would be interested. Got some pretty positive responses from six people just from my zip code, by the next day. I didn’t think it would take very long to fill the minimum 8 seats and probably double that.
I spent an afternoon driving around and asking wood suppliers, retailers and even the local library if they could provide a space. Got some wary what’s-in-it-for-me looks and even a “What’s a Sketch-Up?” from one supplier. The local Rockler store however, knew right away who and what I was talking about. They have a good size room they let the local guild use for meetings and would be happy to host a class for the PR value. I set about connecting Bob and Rich Johnson, the Rockler manager, suggesting the weekend before the Super Bowl, (since the Broncos will be there of course, and much as I love woodworking…)
So the class is coming to Denver, Jan 30-31. Actually that was the easy part. Will the class actually get me past the frustration of learning a drawing program? It’s so easy to think “I can draw what I need in less time than it takes to learn this thing.” Can I kick the pencil habit? Stay tuned.
-- "Experience is what you get the day after you needed it" Mark Twain