A New Beginning: Design & Build from scratch... #1: My Journey Designing & Building from Scratch

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Blog entry by Chris posted 07-27-2008 09:11 PM 11014 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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For quite some time now I have wanted to build a piece of furniture from scratch. This is partly because I could not find any one plan that suited me and because there are SO MANY things I just don’t know. Many folks like to “Prototype” or build mock-up’s / models. I wanted something more and something quicker and less expensive. That is were my Sketchup journey began; I started by working through the tutorials, then asking a whole lot of questions. Several of the most vexing issues where answered right here on Lumberjocks. I.E. how to use that lovely tool called “Follow-Me”. As a side note: It is well worth your time to learn that one…

Last week I started spending a little more time each night trying to learn the basics and working through some of the issues. After the “Follow-Me” questions my biggest issue was pulling the whole piece together; I could not seem to get everything in the same plane no matter how hard I tried. To call it annoying would be a huge understatement! Then I watched a video on the Wood Whisperer's site and it suddenly clicked (Thanks Marc!) . Create the whole thing upside down! then flip it upright.

I was finally able to put down on paper what had been rattling around inside my head for so long. I wanted something with nice clean lines, you know, uncomplicated….

This first view is just the table in general to show the basic lines; this design was heavily influenced by several different pieces I have seen over the years and what lumber I have on hand.

Next, a shot that, I hope, shows off the reveals and shadow lines.

This is a view of the beveled table top; it is 3/4” with a 1/4” edge remaining.

I picked up a 1/4” beading bit on clearance @ Woodcraft and played with it a little; this is my attempt at reproducing that edge detail.

I really want to produce everything for this desk myself. So, I designed the drawer pull and inserted it in the drawer face. What do you think? By the way getting it properly referenced on the face was very tedious.. Anyone have pointers on that front?

After getting the pull in place I thought I was done. Apparently my brain didn’t think so! It just looked plain and incomplete (I literally stared at this drawing for an hour!). That’s when the idea to add the leg beading popped into my head. It is situated to where the bottom of the beading is just at the line where the leg taper stops.

My next installment may be a little while as I now have to actually work with the wood. I don’t own a power planer or jointer so this effort will be 70% Galoot style. Jointer Plane, Jack Plane, Smoother Planes coupled with my bandsaw, tablesaw & lathe. Should be fun!

The results to date just would not have been possible if not for the help all of you folks have provided so willingly. Thanks Everyone!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

10 comments so far

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4324 days

#1 posted 07-27-2008 09:32 PM

Nice work Chris!

Now just because you can design it doesn’t mean it can be built LOL.

Bach was known for writing music that most musicians couldn’t play.

But in all honestly, this looks quite doable. The second part of the fun is figuring out how to execute.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4500 days

#2 posted 07-27-2008 09:35 PM

But it didn’t stop him from trying, did it Scott? :)

Actually I was trying to come up with a design that was doable with the tools I own but would stretch my skills and maybe force me to learn a few new ones.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4225 days

#3 posted 07-27-2008 09:37 PM

C is a beautiful project.

-- jeanmarc manosque france

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4383 days

#4 posted 07-27-2008 10:17 PM

I like it, and I like how you stayed with the SketchUp steep learning curve.

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4755 days

#5 posted 07-27-2008 10:46 PM

Looks like a nice table, good luck Chris. Looking forward to the completed or even the up dates, while you work on it.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4500 days

#6 posted 07-28-2008 03:01 AM

Thanks Guy’s!!!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3393 posts in 4221 days

#7 posted 07-28-2008 07:19 AM


You’ve done an excellent design layout for your table. Nice work!

About your SketchUp question on placing your knob: Try using the tape measure tool (or any method you prefer) to mark a center point on your drawer front. Then measure the radius of your knob handle (small part that will attach to drawer) and mark it on your drawer front below the centered spot. Move your drawer handle by locating the bottom center of the handle and placing it on the spot you’ve marked on your drawer front.

I hope this might help you. If I’ve not communicated this concept clearly, just ask again. I know how you must be struggling because I know what I went through with no one to teach me. I have dial-up internet which is so slow that it would take days to download video to watch, so I’ve had to just teach myself. When I finally get an idea that works, I feel relieved, but I often go to bed dreaming in SketchUp mode and trying to determine other methods to simplify the process. It can lead to nightmares or sleepless nights!

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4500 days

#8 posted 07-30-2008 04:06 AM

Thanks LadyLeftie…... I’ll have to try it out.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View CaptainSkully's profile


1611 posts in 4067 days

#9 posted 09-03-2008 05:11 PM

You’ve probably already thought of this, but when David Marks did a leg bead like that, he dadoed a groove into the leg so that the bead was actually considerably “taller” that it appears. He also did it before he tapered the legs to take advantage of the still square surfaces. This beading method has two benefits, first the bead is secured and registered, and there’s more mitered surface area to hold the joint together. Great design! I’ve mastered AutoCAD, but still can’t figure out SketchUp. Feature that.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Chris 's profile


1880 posts in 4500 days

#10 posted 09-03-2008 10:43 PM

That’s exactly how I planned on doing it…

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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