Create a partial cove profile

I’m drawing a Mission Style couch from a plan I found in Fine Woodworking. I can not figure out a way to create the coves that are along the edges of the four legs. What makes it challenging is that they are partial coves; in other words, they do not extend all the way around the base of the legs but rather are limited to a portion of each side. That means that the follow me tool will not work. (At least that’s my assumption). I tried using the solid tools, by first creating pill shaped object (1.5" long cylinder with round ends) and subtracting one quarter of it from the leg. I couldn’t seem to get it to be a solid. There must be an easy way that I have not thought of. Any ideas?
Mission Style Sofa.pdf (1.7 MB)
Mission Style Sofa.skp (708.0 KB)

This is a good place for the Dave Method. As I recall when I modeled Kevin’s settle that’s what I did to create that detail. Instead of using the native Solid Tools, use Eneroth Solid Tools or Bool Tools 2 because they respect the component ness of components.

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Here you go. I made a huge copy of the leg component and used the Difference tool from Bool Tools 2.

It’s toobad you have all four legs as different componenets. That means you’ll have to handle all four of them as you would in the shop. I think it’s better to leave them all as instances of the same component as long as possible and only split them out as separate components if and when they get different details as in joinery. I’d still leave left and right legs as instances of the same component in this piece, though.


And here’s the oldschool way, no Dave method just less segments, no solid tools.
GIF 12-01-2024 10-23-24 AM


I dug up my old model of it. I did this back in SketchUp 7 so a longtime ago. Here you can see the two front legs are the same component.

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Thank you so much for your prompt reply. In the time you were doing this, I was trying a different method using Curviloft. It worked but I like your methed better! The recording of your work is very helpful. The model you provided looks almost identical to mine other than the cushions are present. Was this made from the same Fine Woodworking article?

You’re quite welcome.

Yes. I modeled it from that article. That article was published the year before I started creating the plans they sell so I didn’t get to make plans for this one. Here it is with the materials displayed. This is more than 10 years old but I think I have another one somewhere with leather covered cushions and a nicer wood material.

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Thanks Dave. You are THE person to answer my question!

I actually sent an email to the Taunton store to buy the plans but they never responded. That’s why I decided to use SketchUp to make them myself.

I’m not sure they have any other plans for that piece anymore. I suspect the “full size plans” referred to in the article sold out years ago and were never reprinted. The only plans they list for Kevin Rodel’s projects in the Taunton Store are for a bed and a coffee table. I did the plans for both of those. In both cases they also appear to be sold out of the full sized plans although they did exist at one time.

I figured it was old enough they might not have it. I think Taunton has farmed out their store to a third party company. The service I experience when I called them recently was not up to Fine Woodworking standards! Thanks again for your helpful advice!

Taunton was recently purchased by another publisher. I expect there’s a bit of a stir-up with changes going on right now.

Dave, I’m using your old school method and when I get to the point where I’m using the follow me tool, my 3D object ("The Pill), it’s not making it enclosed as a solid object. Why is this happening?


The endpoints of the edges are so close together at that size that SketchUp considers them to be coincident and deletes one. No edge is created between the endpoints since one doesn’t exist, and thus no face because the edge is required for the face. This is why I suggested using the Dave Method to which I linked in my first post. If you use fewer segments for the curves as Box showed, you reduce the chance of missing faces.

In the case of your use for the model you can surely use Box’s method. When I am creating plans for woodworking projects they are most likely for others to work from so I generally opt for my method to show smoother curves.

A suggestion: Save applying materials until all of the geometry is detailed so you don’t mask reversed faces or potential holes.

I did not click on the link that brought me to the 2017 tutorial of the Dave Method. I was following the screen recording that you created Jan 11th using my couch leg. You did not seem to run into the problem that I ran into using the follow me tool. What did you do differently when you rotated the 2D profile around, using the circle in the follow me tool? Your result was a solid pill-shaped object stuck to the bottom of the leg that you intersected with the rest of the leg. You made it look seemless!

I had already made the copy of the leg component and scaled it up. If you watch at the end you can see the giant copy of the leg when I zoom into your model of the settle.

The pill shape was created at the larger scale.

So the key to avoiding the incomplete pill is just to zoom in while creating it?

No. It’s to make a large scaled up copy of the component and work on it instead of the original one.

Ok. Then after scaling it up and creating the desired coves, just scale it back down to the original size?

No. Just delete the scaled up copy after you are finished with it.