Many of you are familiar with our SketchUp extension called CabWriter. If not, you might want to visit our CabWriter website. CabWriter is a parameter driven CAD tool for drawing kitchen cabinets, entertainment centers, vanities, tool cabinet etc.. It also produces the cut lists, drawings and DXF files necessary to build the cabinets either by table saw, panel saw or CNC machine. CabWriter 2.0, which will be released in mid-July, supports a wide variety of joinery including mortise & tenons, dadoes, rabbets, pockets and cut outs. But you probably haven’t thought of using CabWriter for furniture design. Well, CabWriter turns out to be a great tool for furniture projects that are essentially storage.
I originally designed this hutch for my sister-in-law in 2007. At the time I was using TurboCAD to design my furniture and hadn’t yet discovered SketchUp, let alone developed CabWriter. I designed the hutch for hardwood construction; no sheet goods. When you do that there are a lot of seasonal expansion/contraction issues you have to design around and the construction is quite complex. See http://www.srww.com/six-pane-oak-hutch.htm for construction technique and my Gallery page for pictures of the finished product; scroll down to the Six Pane Oak Hutch.
I decided to re-design the hutch using CabWriter and sheet good box construction. The result is the images you see above. The trick is to view any storage as simply a cabinet box. Storage usually has doors, drawers, shelves and most often, end panels and trim. Their depth, height and width can be almost any dimension, but fortunately CabWriter is parametricly driven and hence we can supply these dimensions for each box. In this design the upper hutch box is shallow like an upper cabinet, and the base box is deeper like a base cabinet. However, both boxes are above the floor, and in CabWriter terms both are upper boxes. I used a Standard Upper box with two doors for the hutch box and a Divided Upper box for the base box, Notice in the pictures above left that the base box has three drawers, not something that is normally done in CabWriter. But I used native SketchUp tools to include two sets of drawer supports.
When I add the Upper Face Frame, end Panels, Drawer Fronts and Doors layers you can see a little more clearly how the piece takes shape. In the picture above right you can see the very wide top rails in the hutch box. The stiles of both the upper hutch and the base box are wider than normal. CabWriter has over 350 parameters that can be specified by the user, so there is virtually no part size that can’t be matched. Notice that I used SketchUp’s native Push/Pull and Bezier Curves tools to extend the face frame and end panels on the upper hutch, and to add an s-curve. I also used CabWriter ‘s Insert a Drawer tool to create three drawers in the base box.
Finally, in the picture at left you see the custom parts that I created using mostly native SketchUp tools. The back of the upper hutch was drawn as sheet good, but I liked the look of tongue & grove slats. The Mullions and Muntins of the upper box door’s divided lights were actually created both by CabWriter and SketchUp’s native Solids Tools. I may make a video demonstrating that technique in the future; and perhaps in CabWriter 3.0 I will include divided light doors. Stay tuned.
You can download the CabWriter Six Pane Divided Light Hutch by clicking on this link.