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A surprise, fast moving snow storm couldn’t put a damper this last weekend, January 9-11, in Massachusetts when the Woodworking Shows visited the Big E in West Springfield. Though the opening bell on Friday was a bit subdued because of that weather, attendees ultimately filled the show throughout the day and continued that enthusiasm on Saturday and Sunday. Read more

TV stand progress

Construction of the TV stand has finally begun. (BTW, I had a friend give me some grief about my glacial rate of progress on this project. My response was that what I lack in speed, I make up for in procrastination.)

TV stand model

TV stand model

I’ve milled all the pieces for the frame and panel sides, I’ve dyed the frame pieces, and have two of the three coats of varnish on the frames and panels. I brought them into the house for a dry assembly in the family room to give my wife an idea of the completed size. She likes the look, thank goodness, because I’d hate to start over. Then she said, “You know this is just the start, right? I’m going to want tables to go with that when it’s done.” No, I didn’t know that. But yes, I guess I should have expected it.

One more coat of varnish, then I can glue up the end panels. I’ll post some photos as they come together.


Sketchup makes you sleepy

I found time to sit at the computer Saturday and watch some of the excellent on-line video tutorials for Sketchup.  By 1:30p, I’d been at it a couple of hours, and I was getting a little bleary. My wife and daughter were gone, so I lay down on the couch for a 20-minute “power nap“… and woke up two hours later! Very unusual for me, as I seldom even nap. Anyway, I’m much better versed in Sketchup now (and better rested), so time allowing, I’ll begin designing my TV stand this week.


Ego & Impatience

There’s plenty of hyperbole about how “easy” Sketchup is to use. Just ask these guys.

They do amazing things with the software, but I should recognize that these guys have graphics backgrounds, art degrees, etc. and that I don’t. I should also recognize that learning any new software requires some learning time, no matter how often words like “intuitive” and “easy to use” get tossed about. So why did I expect to plunge right in, start clicking and dragging, and have my TV stand designed with scaled drawings in just a couple of evenings? The answer lies in the title of this post.

Despite some initial frustrations working with the software, I’ve managed to create a basic look for the stand that the wife and I like…

TV Stand model

TV Stand model

…but I’ll have to go back to square one and start drawing it correctly, with parts that fit as they should, so I can then output dimensioned plans.

I should make it clear, I’m not dissing Sketchup, just my ignorance in jumping in without first doing a little training. So in the days ahead, I’ll backpedal and put in my study time so that I can move ahead. Lesson learned (again): Take the time up front to save time and frustration later.


Virtual Shop

So, I was exploring Sketchup’s 3D warehouse — a library of models that you can download for your personal use — and found a nice little collection of woodworking tools posted there.

Though none of the models represented the exact tools I have, they are close enough that I can do a rough layout of my garage/shop. (A recent move leaves me with a blank slate for a shop. I’ve yet to get organized, but I’ve made a little progress since this entry.)

The nice thing about doing a shop layout in Sketchup is that it is much easier to visualize the results than it was with the little gridded paper and the xeroxed tool icons.

Sketchup Shop 1 Read more

Dresser Design VI: Dovetails

Modeling half-blind dovetails in a curved-front drawer is hard. Which makes it a bit daunting to do in real life. But I think that I’ve got a plan mapped out for that.

Dresser Drawer 1 Read more

Dresser Design V: Variation on a theme

Since I am intentionally challenging myself with this project in an attempt to pick up as many skills as possible, I decided that I could also use the pre-construction phase to learn a bit about design styles and periods — something I know little about. My thinking is that I could use the research to influence the details of the piece. Remember, I modeled and altered this design from photos, so without a knowledge of style, I don’t know the direction the original designers were starting from or heading towards. Read more

Dresser Design IV: Details

Just a few details added.

I made the dresser 2″ deeper, which I think helped the proportions. This is going to be a big piece of furniture, though. I also figured out how to hide the extraneous geometry that showed up when I was extruding those curved pieces like the drawer fronts and curved trim pieces (select the line, right-click and select “Entity Info.” In the Entity Info palette, select either “hide” or “soft”).

Dresser IV 1 Read more

Dresser Design III: Drawers

And here are the drawer faces. The full drawers aren’t modeled yet. I’m not quite sure how to do the joint from the curved drawer face to the drawer sides. So, I just added faces to see what the final piece might look like.

Probably not the final hardware I’ll go with, but it was easy to model, and I wanted something fast. I might still fiddle with the proportions of the dresser, a bit as well—maybe make it deeper.

Let me know what you think.

Dresser III

Dresser Design II: Sketchup and Splinter

OK. So, I’ve had a few days to get back up to speed on Sketchup. Had to pick up a few new tricks to get the curves done, but I think I’ve got it on the run, now.

I set aside the project for a trip to visit with Joe Harmon. He and his team are pulling out all the stops to build a supercar made nearly entirely out of wood. The Splinter is simply an amazing project, and the things these young folks are doing with laminated wood, ingenuity, scavenged parts, and a generous amount of pizza nearly boggles the mind. I’ll tell you this, I’m inspired. This dresser with its trifling double curve doesn’t seem nearly as daunting after seeing the graceful compound-curved lines of the Splinter. Click here for links to Splinter. And keep an eye out for more coverage later this summer.

So after a few more hours this weekend, here is where I stand:

Dresser II
Read more

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