CAD Considerations for 2021

Rob Johnstone photoI took a drafting course in eighth grade. I have to say, it is remarkable how much of what I learned from that class has stuck with me. My occupation has reinforced those lessons as I’ve needed to read and execute drawings, both excellent and “sketchy,” for 40 years. I enjoy the design process that starts with a concept drawing followed by a refined or technical drawing and finally completed project. (Usually there is a mock-up built in there, too.)

As with drafting, I took up the new technology of personal computers early on. I had a Hayes Modem and could log into UNIX-based computers across the country in the 1980s. I’ve essentially made a living out of combining communication technology and woodworking for the last 20 years. But I have never combined my enjoyment of drafting/drawing with my techno urges. I have yet to really embrace a drawing program — be it SketchUp, SolidWorks or whatever. I’ve dabbled, but I was just so much more effective and faster with pencil and paper that I never learned CAD.

I hope to change that this winter, and I am looking for your feedback to encourage my efforts. What programs should I consider? What roadblocks should I expect? And why will I be happy to succeed? That should about do it!

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

How to Make a Live-Edge and Epoxy Table

A unique looking but fragile piece of spalted maple is turned into a dramatic looking coffee table using Timber Cast epoxy resin. The Timber Cast product comes with a powered colorant and is formulated for deep pouring applications. It took this piece of maple from useless to useful. Some trendy new legs from Rockler attached to the bottom completes the project.

Gift Project: 21st Century Desk Caddy

With a space to hold and charge your phone, a spot that will fit a Google Home Mini (or hold paper clips), pen storage, glasses cavity and a covered money “vault,” this project will make your desk cleaner and your day more organized.

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Ok, you’ve cut a blank into a spindle by turning it on the lathe, now what? Keep it chucked in the lathe, grab some abrasive strips, and let the lathe help you sand it smooth! Watch the video for some valuable pointers to make the process as safe and smooth as possible.

Spindle sanding on the lathe

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