Bob Lang

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Bob Lang last won the day on May 6 2018

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About Bob Lang

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    Former executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, Author of "Woodworker's Guide to SketchUp", "Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture" and other books. One of the founding partners of 360 WoodWorking, currently writing, teaching and building independently.

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  1. Bob Lang

    Sketchup vs. ??

    For me the best thing about SketchUp is its versatility. I can quickly explore a concept, see it from any angle and show what the concept will look like to someone who doesn't understand technical drawings. I think of this as a cleaner version of a "napkin sketch". That doesn't take long and unlike a hand drawn sketch, the model can be changed, copied and modified so that I (or my client) can compare different versions side by side, again from any point of view. I can then take that concept sketch and use parts of it to generate an accurate, detailed model without much fuss. From a completed model I can generate any type of 2 dimensional output in the form of measured drawings or artistic renderings. The model contains complete information about each and every part, and I can retrieve that information to generate an accurate cutlist with a few clicks of the mouse. There are methods and other software programs that do some of these things, but SketchUp is the most complete solution to design/engineering/problem-solving/presentation/project management.
  2. Bob Lang

    Attaching to Melamine

    There are a couple of melamine specific glues available, one made by titebond and one called roo glue. They work very well to stick melamine to solid wood or melamine to melamine. Not really good for anything else.
  3. Bob Lang

    Sketchup 2018

    Late to the party here. There are currently four versions of SketchUp available, two of them are "free for personal use". SketchUp Make, the previous "free" version is no longer being updated annually with SketchUp Pro. But the last iteration "SketchUp Make 2017" is still available for download, and according to the folks at SketchUp it will continue to be available in the future. The link is a little hard to find, but it is here: The new web-based version is "SketchUp Free". I'm not a big fan of web-based software, but "Free" works pretty well, and is improving on a regular basis. SketchUp Pro has all the bells and whistles; solid tools that let you make one part of a joint from an existing part with a couple of clicks, and an additional program called "LayOut" that makes printing easier in general and gives the ability to create professional looking prints. You can also import and export vector graphics files from SketchUp Pro. To get SketchUp Pro you pay an initial license fee (currently $695). There is an annual fee (currently about $120) that keeps you up to date and access to support. A couple of weeks ago, "SketchUp Shop" was announced. It is the web-based software with several of the Pro features included. It costs $120/year for a subscription.
  4. Bob Lang

    Starting to understand

    Cabinetmaking and Millwork is one of the best woodworking books ever. It was a standard text for high school and college shop classes and it is very comprehensive. A great reference for situations where you aren't sure of the best way to do something -- it's probably in there. When I worked at Popular Woodworking I used to joke that every technique article, jig or trick published in woodworking magazines in the last 40 years can be traced back to this book. I wasn't kidding.
  5. You can also get "The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker" directly from me:
  6. This one: Is a great comprehensive reference and used copies can be found for a few bucks. It's a school text book but it goes through almost every process, machine and tool in woodworking. The photos are dated, but the information is solid.
  7. Bob Lang

    Cabinet construction book

    It's just that simple. Thanks!
  8. Bob Lang

    Cabinet construction book

    All the print books I sell are signed by me. Also put in the envelope and carried down to the post office by me. I can't compete with Amazon on price, so I do my best. As an author, it's a big plus to sell books directly. When it comes to getting paid, the author is last in line and gets the smallest slice of the pie.
  9. Bob Lang

    Cabinet construction book

    You can also get the "Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker" directly from the author. (that's me)
  10. Bob Lang

    wedge-shape mortice within stretcher

    The geometry in SketchUp is connected, sticky and stretchy. Most of the time we don't want that, so we make pieces into components. To make the wedge shaped mortise the stickiness and stretchiness becomes an asset. Make a rectangle on one face, sized to the larger dimensions of the mortise and use Push/Pull to create a rectangular hole. Then move individual lines to make the narrow end of the mortise. Connected lines and faces will change in size to stay connected to the lines you move.
  11. Bob Lang

    French curve

    After you install a plugin from the extension warehouse, there is "My Extensions" available from the box in the upper right corner, if you're signed in. You can disable and uninstall extensions from the list that appears. If you have access to a scanner, you can create an image file from your hand-drawn sketch, and import that image into SketchUp. Then you can scale the image to its real-life size and trace over it to create SketchUp geometry. Thanks for the kind words about my book.
  12. Bob Lang

    French curve

    If you're using a newish version of SketchUp, go to the Window menu and select "Extension Warehouse". There is a search box at the top of the window where you can enter "Curves" or "Bezier Curves". Each Plug In has its own page where you can get more information about what it does, how it does it and how well other users like it. Installation is a simple as clicking the "Install" button on the extension's page. I use the "Bezier Curve Tool" from the SketchUp team. It's OK, but I don't need to use it very often. Some of the others available look worth exploring.
  13. Bob Lang

    Caution with Purchased Furniture Plans

    Just curious, do you have any gap at the top or in between the two drawers? In any case, double-checking published plans is always a good idea before you build. It's really easy to make an error when dimensioning a drawing, especially if you're trying to include gaps between finished parts. I always lay out the dimensions full size on a piece of wood before cutting, even if I'm working from my own drawing. Bob Lang
  14. Bob Lang

    laminating white oak onto mdf

    Best practice would be to balance the panels with the same material on both sides of the mdf, or to use thinner stuff for the show faces for the panels that go on the wall. If it were me I would use 1/8"-3/16" pieces. Whether or not the back is needed, (or would help) depends on how the panels are attached to the wall. You question makes it sound like the finished product will appear to be 3" wide planks, not panels in a frame. If that's the goal however, why make the panels with the mdf substrate? 3" wide, 7/8" thick pieces with a tongue on one long edge and a groove on the other sounds easier to me.
  15. Bob Lang

    Sizing tolerances

    Whatever variation you have in your milled stock will show up in your finished work. It's nice to think that errors will cancel each other out, but the opposite is true. They will gather together in the most visible place. The closer tolerances you can work to, the easier things will be in following steps. This is just a guess, but it sounds like your jointer is producing tapered cuts.