Woodworking Design Software — the Times They are a-Changing…

From time to time I’ll get a call from someone trying out the SketchList 3D furniture design software.  It might sound like one of these.   “Well I may be slow but I don’t get it.” OR “Something’s wrong here.” OR even sometimes it’s   “This #$$$$ just doesn’t work.”  As the developer of SketchList 3D I wish that every one who tried using SketchList 3D got every point each time.  But they don’t – of course.  However the calls are interesting.  They point out several things.

First of all the idea that people are tyring the software points out the growing need for woodworkers to use design software in the business of woodworking.  And the need  for software to be competitive is very real and is growing.  (Our surveys show the top three wants to be #1 photo quality 3D images, #2 shop drawings, #3 material layouts)

The need must strong because – basically – people are changing the way they do things — and we all know people don’t like change.

Getting on the phone with a software vendor to ask questions can be difficult — it’s hard to talk to a stranger and not really know much about the subject.  Many of these calls happen in the evening – why ? Because the daytime is shop time and work needs to be finished.  Busy people making time at night to change the way they do things.  Yes it’s important for sure.

The matter is –  for us older (or say more experienced in life) people — is lack of experience with the computers.  Some thinks it’s the level of technical skills (computer not shop!) but that’s not all of it.  I think it’s an issue of experience.  After all woodworking is a complex technical process.

I can tell that someone on the phone has limited computer exposure by the following.

·         The guy (usually a man – yes) I am talking to is named Bob and his email is something like Mary@gmail.com!

·         He is silent when I ask what operating system is on his computer.  When I ask “Windows 7” he might say “No there’s just one here.”

·         The answer to the question “What’s the password” is “Have to wait until the wife gets back home from work.”

·         Finally “ How did you get SketchList installed?” brings up the subject of grandchildren.

So some people who download trial software can find it frustrating.  There are ways to lessen the frustration of trying new software.

o    Have a modest goal – a rookie woodworker doesn’t cut dovetails before he / she can put a board in a vice.

o    Take advantage of the training – Watch the video –  Look at the manual

o    Contact the vendor – Email – probably best since it lets you leave a message without waiting on hold on the phone.  Use your email to set up a time for a call and really talk to someone.

Keep plugging – it is more than worth it.  The image is one a SketchList 3D shop owner used to land a nice job.  Most everyone can do up an image with not too much time and effort.  If you’d like to try – shoot me an email.  We can talk about our grand kids…

Image of Chair