Cut List and Layout Diagram Resources #1: Sketchup, OpenCutList, and - Three Tools that Ace the Optimization Process

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Blog entry by Jerry posted 01-29-2020 09:30 PM 1616 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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If you’re like me, it’s always a challenge to get the most out of your wood, to find the perfect layout to only use what’s necessary to make your project.

CutList for Sketchup has been around for a long time, but it’s never been ideal from my perspective.

There is another extension for Sketchup called OpenCutList. It takes a little effort to learn how to use it and to configure it, but once you do, it’s like hitting that big red easy button. It generates a perfect cut list that you can print out ( I tend to print mine to a PDF file ).

Once you print it out, go on over to Workshop Buddy where they have a FREE optimization and layout tool that is every bit as good as the commercial ones out there. To quote their website:

There are quite a few cut list generators on the web – Cutlist Plus and MaxCut are two popular examples, but they are fairly expensive paid software aimed at the professional workshop. Workshop Buddy aims to bring you a sophisticated cut optimization tool for free, with no software to download and usable on both desktop and mobile devices.

You can even SAVE your current job ( at this time limited to one job ).

Once you generate the project layout, you get a simple concise layout that will help you use as little wood as possible.

Here is a layout I generated today for a couple of plant stands I recently made ( soon to be posted here as a project ).

If I had known about this before I built them, I could have saved one entire board!

I hope this is useful to the LJ community.

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

7 comments so far

View Andre's profile


4509 posts in 2884 days

#1 posted 01-29-2020 09:51 PM

Looked at Sketchup before but I’m becoming computer illiterate in my old age:) Got a new chrome book for Christmas and still in a learning curve. LOL, heck I rarely write down measurement! Besides with the way woods is going up in price in these parts I may have to take up firewood spoon carving:)
P.S. but I do have a lot of story sticks in the shop.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Rich's profile


6814 posts in 1667 days

#2 posted 01-29-2020 09:53 PM

I’ve been a Workshop Buddy fan for a while. It’s a great tool. I hadn’t heard of OpenCutList though. I always used CutList, but OpenCutList looks like it’s far more advanced. Thanks for posting. I’m always looking for new and better ways to work.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View pottz's profile


16779 posts in 2062 days

#3 posted 01-29-2020 10:37 PM

yeah i have it saved on my computor but havn’t had the chance to use it yet,looks like a great aid in eliminating waste.thanks jer.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View doubleDD's profile


10352 posts in 3121 days

#4 posted 01-30-2020 01:29 AM

Jerry, I had briefly looked at this information before and think it’s a good way to save on lumber. I never ended up following through with it since a lot of projects I try to follow grain pattern and direction and end up with extra lumber. I still think this is great for projects where you need not worry about that. Maybe something that I will use in the future. Thanks for sharing the inspiration.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View PPK's profile


1858 posts in 1887 days

#5 posted 01-30-2020 01:19 PM


-- Pete

View Steve's profile


104 posts in 4052 days

#6 posted 01-30-2020 02:53 PM

Nice methodical approach. Beats the cut & hope or buy way too much methods, hands down.


View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1256 posts in 2370 days

#7 posted 01-31-2020 05:34 PM

Great information Jerry. We can all use tools like these. I’m going to try it on my next project.
Thanks for sharing.

-- James E McIntyre

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