When I started my undergraduate degree in Architecture at University of Kentucky, I gained access (along with every architecture student) to the fantastic industrial woodworking shop in the basement of Pence Hall. In order to make use of the equipment, we were required to take a semester’s safety course which also served the secondary purpose of a furniture building class. This was my first foray into woodworking and furniture building, and it REALLY captivated me – to the point that by my second year I was hired as the workshop attendant and then evening supervisor. Twenty years after graduating, and having finally moved out of apartments and condos and into a townhouse with a garage, I finally resumed building stuff again.

As for my approach and workflow, I pretty much always build models of my projects in Sketchup as I evolve my ideas and intent for them. I have been using Sketchup since around 2002 by which point I had been doing some pretty complex modeling in 3D for architecture in AutoCAD which was a real hassle. So I’m kind of a power user and it really helps the furniture building process.

Once a project has been laid out in Sketchup, I can then pretty accurately estimate material requirements and plan my overall cuts. Sometimes I’ll print templates out but more often than not I just have the Sketchup model open on a laptop in the workshop while I’m penciling out the cuts.

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