Intro to Sketchup

Brian Benham

3D modeling is becoming a crucial part of the vocabulary of the modern woodworker. SketchUp is a modeling program that has been around for years and it's the software we use to design all of our projects here in the Guild. SketchUp is intuitive and fairly easy to work with, especially when guided by a knowledgeable instructor like Brian Benham. Best of all, this Intro to SketchUp course focuses on the 100% FREE web-based version of SketchUp. Whether you're looking to model projects for yourself or you simply want to modify the files we provide you with here in the Guild, this course will get you started on the right path.

Learn the basics of SketchUp from the guy who makes all of our Guild project files. Brian Benham will use the FREE web version of SketchUp to teach you how the primary modeling tools work as well as how to establish an efficient workflow.

  • 8 lessons
  • 143 min
  • $49.00

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Introduction

    A quick look at what Sketchup can do and why we use it.

  2. Tool Overview

    An overview of the basic tools you’ll need to for sketching your own models.

  3. Table Design

    The basic design of a simple Shaker table is sketched in.

  4. Table Joinery

    How to incorporate mortise and tenon joints into your model.

  5. Dovetails & Drawers

    How to make drawer boxes as well as a method for creating dovetails.

  6. Drawer Pulls

    How to make a Krenov style drawer pull.

  7. Making Changes to Your Model

    How to make general modifications to your models.

  8. Exploring Guild Projects

    How to get the most out of a Guild project file.

What will I receive?

  • Six detailed instructional videos  totaling over 2 hours.
  • Short-cut Key Cheat Sheets for Mac & PC.
  • Access to instructor for questions and clarifications.
  • All videos are digital and will be available for download upon purchase.

What will I learn?

  • How to use the primary modeling tools in Sketchup.
  • Best practices for 3d modeling in SketchUp.
  • A workflow that keeps your project editable for future design changes.
  • We will draw a full project together including tapered legs, aprons, mortise and tenon joinery, drawers, dovetails, pocket holes, and profiles.
  • Design tips and tricks that are applicable to just about any SketchUp project including layout strategies and scenes.

What will I need?

  • A PC or Mac with a 3-button mouse. Trackpads are not ideal.
  • An internet connection.
  • A Trimble or Gmail account.
  • The FREE web-based version of SketchUp.


Excellent orientation into Sketchup. I’ve watched a few videos online, and nothing compares to the presentation, and lessons provided in this Guild project.

Nathan Eskey
Guild Member

I have watched Sketchup courses on LinkedIn Learning (aka, YouTube, and the Trimble help files. Those are good, but it’s hard to find anything that applies directly to woodworking and the kind of design we do. This course is made by a woodworker, for woodworkers. Brian gets it. He walks you through a whole project design (actually a couple of designs – a Shaker side table, then modified to a Shaker nightstand). In the process he teaches you all kinds of design techniques and tips, all using the free version of Sketchup (with some reference to pro versions where needed).
Here’s my recommendation: Watch the whole project first, just like you do with a regular build project, so you have a high-level idea of what the project is. Then watch again, this time with Sketchup open and following along. Brian goes fast (someone else commented on that), but here’s the secret: You have a pause button. Watch what he does, stop the video, and do it yourself. If you didn’t get it, go back and watch again. The info is there, you just need to control your own pace so you get it all.
Bottom line: This project is absolutely worth it, and recommended for woodworkers of all levels. I wish the system would let me give it the five stars it deserves! I’m being oppressed!

Ken Koyle
Guild Member

Coming into this as a novice, I learned a lot. I had been trying to self teach for awhile and this course got me actually being able to maneuver successfully within the design space.

Vic Hubbard
Guild Member
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About Your Instructor:

Brian began his career in the trades when he was 13; he took an entry-level position working in a steel fabrication shop for a bridge construction company.  Being the kid in the shop, the old grizzled welders took pride in teaching him how to weld, set up his work area to be safe and productive, build jigs for production, and how to properly lay out a workpiece from shop drawings.

In his mid 20’s, he worked as a project manager for a design remodel company designing and remodeling spaces for commercial and residential clients. The company had an in-house cabinet shop so they could design and build from the ground up anything they needed for a project. When Brian wasn’t on a job site, you could find him in the cabinet shop, working alongside a shop master, creating custom cabinets and built-ins.

All these years of designing and building things honed his skills to give him the confidence he needed to start his own business.  In 2010 Brian started his design-build firm, Benham Design Concepts, specializing in designing and building custom furniture. His drive to learn new things has helped his portfolio grow and attract clients who are looking for the unusual.

Brian has been making plans for the Wood Whisperer and the Wood Whisperer Guild for several years now and often provides consultation on TWW and Guild designs.

His Instagram and Youtube handle is @benham_design