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Forum topic by StumpyNubs posted 08-20-2011 01:30 AM 3012 views 11 times favorited 32 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7674 posts in 2972 days

08-20-2011 01:30 AM

My pencil is a nub and my eraser is smudging the paper. Time to move into the 21st century and learn Google Sketchup.

I’ve used Sketchup a little and know the basics. (and by “basics” I mean I know how to draw a few lines) But I want to learn to use it effectively for designing woodworking projects. So here’s my question… get ready for it… here it comes….

What’s the best resource to learn Sketchup?

Some books have been written, video tutorials have been produced… which one did you use (if any) and was it worth your time and money?

If you help me I will gladly visit your house and mow your lawn…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

32 replies so far

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7674 posts in 2972 days

#1 posted 08-20-2011 01:48 AM

Here’s a couple of options I was considering…

Popular Woodworking offers these as digital download courses:
1. Woodworker’s Guide to Google SketchUp $39.99
2. ShopClass: SketchUp for Woodworkers $49.98 (2 parts @ 24.99 ea)

Anybody use either of these resources?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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7674 posts in 2972 days

#2 posted 08-20-2011 01:50 AM

Or sould I just play with it and hope all the skills just come naturally…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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jim C

1472 posts in 3270 days

#3 posted 08-20-2011 01:53 AM

I’m learning it now.
I was an expert 2D Autocad designer in Tool & Die (25 years ago) and I think it has hurt my learning 3D sketchup.
It requires LOTS of practice. If you use it now and then, it’s very difficult. Like golf.
Go here:

It is the best I have found so far.

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Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2646 days

#4 posted 08-20-2011 02:03 AM

I bought Robert Lang’s SU for Woodworkers, pretty good and makes learning SU not such a drag.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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12380 posts in 3927 days

#5 posted 08-20-2011 02:22 AM

Look at Google Sketchup The Missing Manual ISBN978-0-596-52146-2. You can get it from Amazon. I learned a lot from it. Too bad we don’t have DaveR here any more he was THE MAN at Sketchup!

JimC also has an excellent link.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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160 posts in 3571 days

#6 posted 08-20-2011 02:30 AM

Just want to clarify a couple things. Popular Woodworking has my videos Shop Class: SketchUp for Woodworkers (part 1 and 2) available either as a download or on disc. If you’re frugal, you can also get them from the Popular Woodworking streaming video site:

Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp is a digital book in PDF format with 49 short videos embedded within the 184 pages of text. It’s only available on disc, either from Popular Woodworking, or through my personal website

The digital book and the videos cover the same territory, starting with setting up the program and working through techniques for designing and planning furniture, cabinets and other woodworking projects. Some people pick up things easily from just the video, but others like to have the in depth text explanations that are in the book. The book is also easy to search and find specific topics and videos. This is most helpful if you want to go back and review something

There are lots of free resources available online, including numerous free models and blog posts at the Popular Woodworking website. Lots of people think the book and videos are well worth the money, what you need is in all in one place, you learn the specific things you need, and you don’t waste time with irrelevant stuff or inefficient procedures.

If you buy either the books or videos and don’t think it’s money well spent, let me know and I’ll make sure you get your money back.

Bob Lang

-- Bob Lang,

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60 posts in 2864 days

#7 posted 08-20-2011 02:36 AM

Here are a couple free resources to try out. I have used and enjoyed both. – No relation to the video series Assorted topics for all skill levels.

-- Tim from MA -- "Well done is better than well said." - Benjamin Franlin

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Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3884 days

#8 posted 08-20-2011 03:04 AM

Have you tried the Google resources, I found they were pretty good and they’re coming straight from the horses mouth so to speak LOL!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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7674 posts in 2972 days

#9 posted 08-20-2011 03:21 AM

Bob- A money back gaurentee? Can’t beat that. I admit that I have heard very good things about the 2 part series. My question is, if I was to get only one (the 2 part video course OR the book/video combo) which one should I get?

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View BobLang's profile


160 posts in 3571 days

#10 posted 08-20-2011 03:54 AM

Personally, I think the digital book with embedded video, Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp is a better resource, unless you’re good at picking things up from just watching a video. People say SketchUp is easy to learn and intuitive, but there’s a lot to it and to really get good you need to practice until certain things kick in and become second nature. The videos are good, but it can be painful to go back and find that one trick you’re looking for. In the digital book, the table of contents is linked to the topics, and there is a good search function so you can find anything right away. There’s a video preview and a sample chapter available at my website.

Bob Lang

-- Bob Lang,

View rrdesigns's profile


532 posts in 3357 days

#11 posted 08-20-2011 06:15 AM

I used Google SketchUp for Dummies when I first started and Google SketchUp, The Missing Manual for more guidance. Both are helpful, but you learn the most from diving in there and playing around. It gets easier the more you use it.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3993 days

#12 posted 08-20-2011 02:29 PM

Stumpy, let me add a second on Jim’s recommendation for taking a look at Joe Zeh's Sketchup series. Joe (Chiefwoodworker) does a pretty good job of teaching how to use individual tools in Sketchup and applying them in designing furniture. They are long (45 minute to close to an hour apiece) but are well worth the effort to take a look at.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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1922 posts in 2862 days

#13 posted 08-20-2011 10:08 PM

I agree with Jim and Scott on useing this one , it is very good and got me out of a slump on useing it and he even responded to my dumb questions in less than a day and even less than an hour on one of them. Just start at the first one and work your way thru all of them without skipping any. And there is also this one that is ok but I prefer the 1st one myself

Sorry Bob but I was still stuck on a couple of things after useing yours and picked them up right away with these. Not to say yours are not good but it’s just that he has a different style of teaching that seems to work better for me.

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530 posts in 2826 days

#14 posted 08-21-2011 05:05 AM

Chief Woodworker ( has a series of beginner and intermediate tutorials that are REALLY, REALLY good for woodworkers who want to learn SU. Best of all they are free.

I started with SU with these tutorials and I’d have to say that SU for Dummies did little to enhance my knowledge of the program.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

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7674 posts in 2972 days

#15 posted 08-21-2011 04:53 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! I knew I couldn’t go wrong asking the community for their input!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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