I’m good with computers.
I’m good with CAD. And I’m good with Google SketchUp. Still, Robert W. Lang has me beat by a mile.
His new eBook, “Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp,” is so far ahead of anything I’ve read before that it is in a class by itself. It begins by teaching you the basic strokes – even if you’ve never used SketchUp you’ll be in fine fettle. But it takes you so far so fast, you’ll wonder why no one ever conceived of this sort of product before.
The genius of “Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” is that it exploits every iota of its medium to make the process of learning SketchUp – the greatest free gift to woodworkers ever – as easy as possible.
Yes, there is text. And screen shots of the important steps that lead to a proper drawing. But the real killer is the short bursts of video that are embedded in the text. Sometimes when you need to see motion, Lang has created short movies that elegantly show you how to create a moulding or a turned part in SketchUp – something that is hard to explain with a static medium.
For Woodworkers – Really and Truly The other big plus to this eBook – which is available on CD – is that it is totally unlike the tutorials offered by Google. Google’s short video tutorials are designed for people who are building cities or (at the least) houses. Building furniture is easy with SketchUp, just not with Google’s instructions.
“Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” is all about woodworking – building furniture-scale components, mouldings, turnings, cutting lists and the like with no silly trees or pitched roofs and bushes. Want to build a living room floorplan with square corners? The Google directions will do fine. Want to make cabriole legs, cabinets, bookshelves, built-ins and frame-and-panel doors? You need Lang’s new CD.
He shows you stuff that Google doesn’t even think to show you. Make dovetailed drawers, coped-stick doors – then alter those basic components with just a few clicks and drags to suit your needs.
The skeptical among you might be thinking that I’m writing this review because I work with Lang and that he’s paying me off. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He handed me his CD to review it for technical errors, and I became totally sucked into the text and have spent the last three nights studying the text, looking at the drawings and marveling at the short videos.
Heck, my parent company doesn’t even carry this CD – Lang has written and published it on his own – so I have no financial interest in the product. But I do have two $20 bills in my pocket, which I plan to lay on his desk in the morning in exchange for this CD.
You, however, don’t have to pay as much. Until July 1 you can order this CD from Lang’s web site for $29.95 with free shipping in the United States and Canada. It is absolutely the best money you will spend on improving your woodworking all year. For less than the cost of a router bit, you will be able to draw anything your brain imagines and transform it until you can build it in wood, steel and brass.
I rarely say this: Buy this. Cash in your pennies, sell some plasma and just buy it. “Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” is a mind-blowing revelation for anyone who wants to design simple or complex projects using this free design software.
Visit Lang’s Craftsmanplans.com web site to order the CD.
— Christopher Schwarz