Replicating Old Good Ideas in Woodworking Design Software

This summer I was kidnapped and forced to wander small gift shops in a resort town.  Well being who I am I found myself in an antique store looking at old furniture and found this.

Cabinet with Pull out desk drawer
The desk pulls out as a drawer.

Being that that was an exclusive shop the price was way beyond my budget – but I thought I’d take the idea home anyway.   Can you imagine my phone has a camera!!!   Besides as my daughter said of the piece:  “But it’s so old….”

I revised the idea using my woodworking design software to illustrate several points.  While my designs are never really finished (are yours?) – this is what I have so far.

Image of a pull out desk
Showing unique desk created with woodworking design software.

The idea is that the desk unit is one big drawer.  SketchList 3D doesn’t allow for drawers within drawers – so I designed the larger one as a drawer and the smaller drawer inside was done ‘manually’ by inserting boards.  I did this design in a couple of hours – which included several photo quality 3D renders and some experimenting on new ideas.

The details are the green leather inset on the desk top, pull knobs, and curved supports for the desk top which drops from an upright position.  At the assembly level I made the front values of the main base greater than that of the large drawer showing the effect of having that drawer slide out.    It is easy enough, with the woodworking design software, to ‘push’ the drawer back in place by making the front value of the drawer equal to the front value of the side boards on the main assembly.

One technique used a lot in this design was cloning.  For example I inserted the left side, then cloned it and moved it to the right.  But when I added detail to the left side ( bottom clearance) and wanted to clone it, I cloned the new ‘right side’ before deleting the old right side.  This way I could use the values (right value) of the existing right side board to locate the newly cloned right side board.  That way it ends up exactly where I want it.  Because the old right side still went all the way to bottom = zero, I simply clicking on the board in the image area and when it turned green (meaning it was selected), I hit the delete key on my keyboard.

The other was clone and space – which I used for the drawer supports and the dividers which made the cubby holes.  The drawers are set ten inches apart and the cubby dividers took the overall distance and located a set number of boards across that distance.  With clone and space you can clone any number of boards and space them as you need.

Smart cloning saves much time.

Another example — if you need to insert a board with a different orientation — but want to use the same material as you have been — take a board of any orientation — clone it — make it small enough to fit in the assembly no matter what the orientation (or door or drawer), then click the Choose Orientation and Material button on the board form.  You can then change the orientation and re-size the board as needed.  I find that a time saver.

I’ll put this project in the database that is shipped with SketchList 3D in case you might want to use  it as a take off point.

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