My First SketchUp Model

2009 February 12
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by daikubob

For 2009, I set a goal to learn Google’s SketchUp. I didn’t have much success in learning it for the past 3 years even though it’s supposedly the most user friendly of the 3D modeling software. The challenge had been to find a dedicated block of time to learn SketchUp. This time around I was determined to set aside an hour each day for a focused study until I become proficient at it. To track my progress, I created a SketchUp GoalTracker (more on that in a future blog installment) and monitored it daily. For study aids, I referred to:

Those were pretty much all the resources I used. After learning the basic SketchUp tools (1 hour minimum each day for 2 weeks), I set out to create a model of my toolbox as a first ambitious project. It was an opportunity to try out a wide range of tools. I was quite happy with the result. I can claim that I now know SketchUp – the year’s goal accomplished.

My SketchUp toolbox model can be found at the Google 3D Warehouse. I had made several toolboxes in the past 2 years and this one is by far my favorite (more on that in a future blog installment). Since I decided to donate it to Daiku Dojo, I captured the dimensions and details just in case I want to build a replica in the future. The SketchUp skill came just in time!

Past Inspiring Images (2009)

2009 January 31
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by daikubob

2009/02/15 Carving by Makoto Imai. Photo came from http://www.makotoimai.com/ which has been decommissioned.

2009/01/31 Daiku Bob’s toolboxes. The medium-sized toolbox at the bottom was donated to Daiku Dojo.

Daiku Bob's 2009 Goals

2009 January 5
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by daikubob

According to the Chinese calendar, 2009 is the year of the Ox. The Ox is the symbol of “prosperity through fortitude and hard work.” Wikipedia goes on to say “The Ox is not extravagant, and the thought of living off credit cards or being in debt makes them nervous.” Huh? Who made this stuff up? That doesn’t read like Chinese astrology to me. In any case, given the current global economic woes, we’re all going to need a bit of fortitude and hard work in the coming year(s).

I like to set goals to start off the new year. Last year I set about 12 goals and met 3. Having too many goals can be a distraction so this year I’m shrinking the list down to only a handful of goals. To help make the goals a reality, I plan to use the S.M.A.R.T. Goals method and to track them very closely.

My goals:

  1. Learn SketchUp. I’ve been wanting to do this for the past 3 years. It’s now or never.
  2. Take a summer course at College of the Redwoods. Registration begins in March and space is limited.
  3. Build more stuff out of wood. 2008 was a productive year for me. This year I want to focus on curvilinear designs and to experiment with wood bending and lamination.
  4. Develop this blog.
  5. Work out regularly. A healthy woodworker should also train like an athlete. Okay, I made that up. But it’s important to stay healthy and be strong regardless of your line of work or hobby. Oftentimes the amateur woodworker is working alone, carrying heavy lumber or plywood. Having a little bit of strength is a definite plus. My strength goals:
    • Chin-ups – 20 reps. My max is 16 reps and I’ve been stuck there for some time.
    • 1RM Deadlift 350 lbs. Max is 280 lbs but that was 2 years ago.
    • 1RM Back squat 250 lbs. Max is 210 lbs.
    • 1RM Bench press 200 lbs. Max is 180 lbs.
  6. Maintain consistency and stay organized through ritual, patterns, and repetition (I forget where I read that). Avoid procrastination, my biggest vice.

See also:

Yoga Tool Box

2009 January 4
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by daikubob

Build date: 2008/07/05
Dimension: 27×13.5×8″
Materials: Southern Yellow Pine, old growth red cedar (top, bottom), cocobolo (knobs), brushed steel handles (From Home Depot, Wife’s idea)

I had wanted a large traveling tool box for storing the hand tools to bring to my weekend woodworking class. On that premise, I created this box. Unfortunately it’s too bulky and as such is quite unwieldy. I tried various portability tests like carrying the box from my garage shop to the family room, back and forth, and I kept bumping it against things. I made a quick mock-up prior to the actual build and the size seemed right at the time. Sometimes the issues don’t become obvious until the actual application. Fortunately, my wife likes the box a lot, so I gave it to her to store her yoga stuff. She wanted pull knobs for the lid so I carved them out of cocobolo. She also picked out the brushed steel handles from Home Depot.

The box has quite a bit of joinery, mostly mortise and tenon, which took me several weekends to complete. The design was inspired by Nishiyama-san, a member of the Kezurou-Kai group. I saw his toolbox at the 2007 Timber Framers Guild Western Conference. See photos here:

See also:

2008 Christmas Woodworking Project – Double-End Grain Boxes

2009 January 4
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by daikubob

Jewelry Box, Dimension: 7x7x3.25"

Fuku Masu, Dimension: 5x5.75x4"

Build date: 2008/12/25
Materials: Cherry, old growth red cedar, Brusso hinges

Around 1998, I came across George Nakashima’s excellent book, The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworkers Reflections, and became intrigued by the drawing on page 124 of a box with double-end grains at each of the four corners. I was inspired and made it a goal to one day build such a box. At the time I didn’t have any woodworking skill and it looked really complicated. So I put it off until now, ten years later.

The first box I made was the jewelry box. Besides using machine tools for dimensioning the boards, I resorted to using only hand tools. The challenge was to lay out accurately and then to cut the mitered half lap joints for a tight fit. Nakashima described it as “Difficult box joinery… since forcing can snap the end grain off.” That certainly was true as I broke off three of the four corners on this first attempt. Fortunately, after I glued them back, the glue lines virtually disappeared. I completed the box on Christmas Eve and gave it to my wife for Christmas.

For the second box, the fuku masu (“happiness box”), I wanted to see whether I can build it using mostly power tools – in other word, whether I can mass produce it. The process was actually quite straightforward once I had the various jigs set up for my table saw. I completed the joinery for the box and had it assembled in about an hour.

For more about fuku masu, see here.

Daiku Bob's Profile Updated On Daiku Dojo

2008 December 22
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by daikubob


I just updated my user profile on Daiku Dojo. Added to the page are links to some of the projects I’ve built in the last 3 years. I’m still learning.

Past Inspiring Images (2008)

2008 December 22
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by daikubob

2008/12/21 Awaji no Yunagi (“Evening Calm on Awaji Island”) by Chiyozuru Sadahide I. This is by far the most famous plane in the West due to Toshio Odate’s Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit, and Use.

Chiyozuru Sadahide's Awaji Yunagi (Evening Calm)

My Life As a Blog

2008 November 19
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by daikubob

In these days of the Internet and Web 2.0 hooplas, it seems  everyone is blogging. I have had the urge to create my own blog for some time but never made the time to do something about it, until now. I decided to spend the time to learn WordPress, the premier blogging application, and to put my writing to work.

I remember hearing about a hypothetical case of how a hundred thousand typing monkeys can produce a work comparable to that of Shakespeare, given some amount of time. Apparently, it’s a variation of the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Wow… They even have a proof for it! Well, this monkey is about to join the rest of the monkeys on the Blogosphere to give the theorem a shot. Wish me luck!