Jefferson's stacking book boxes -- my model has unwanted links between layers

I was fairly competent on Sketchup, but it’s been awhile.

I’m using Sketchup Make 2017 on a Windows 10 system to model Jefferson’s stacking book boxes as published in Popular Woodworking’s June 2011 issue. Although the 3D Warehouse has PWW’s staff model, I wanted to do it from scratch for practice.

After completing the first pass on the top box’s model, I arranged the components by layer and scene and went on to model the middle box. As the joinery was similar, I copied the upper box out the X axis, exploded a new instance of each of the copied components in turn and created a new component for the middle box, created layers and assigned each new component to a new layer; I then created new scenes to control what was on the screen. That’s where my problem came up.

If I turned off the layers for the copied over/exploded/new components for the middle box, I got what I expected so long as the upper box’s components were also selected: de-selecting the layer for the middle box turned off the associated components. But de-selecting the layers for the upper box (the original that was copied over) turned off both the component in the upper box and the matching components in the middle box. I verified that each component was in its appropriate layer, and even deleted all the new scenes and recreated them. It still didn’t work.

So I started over. I went through the same steps but this time everything worked properly. Thinking that I was good to go, I then copied the middle box over as the starting point for the bottom box and proceeded using the same steps. (Although the steps were straight forward, I didn’t document them, so I cannot state that my steps were exactly the same.) This time the original problem came back: using the layers to turn off the elements in the bottom box worked properly, but, de-selecting the layers in the middle box also turned off the matching bottom box layers even though they were still selected as “on” in the layers tray.

That 2nd attempt is linked below:

I would sincerely appreciate any suggestion on what the problem might be.

Very respectfully,


Here’s your problem. When you explode the component, the contents take on the component’s layer association (now referred to as tag). So to correct that you need to reset the Layer association to Layer 0. All edges and faces should keep the Layer 0 association. You can open the components for editing and select all of the geometry. In Entity Info change the Layer to Layer 0. This should fix the problem of the wrong stuff disappearing.

Generally you shouldn’t need to explode the components anyway. You could just make the copies unique if they will be really different and then change the Layer association as needed.

I’ve fixed your model. Compare it to yours.
PWW - Jefferson stacking bookshelf – 2nd try.skp (150.3 KB)

By the way, thanks for reminding me of this project. It was a good short project to model from scratch which I did… Those dovetails do take a wee bit to wrap your head around don’t they. These cases will go nicely with his bookstand.


Thank you!

I’d deleted the layers reverting their contents to the default layer and then reassigned them to the new layers, so I thought that I’d had that covered.

Initially, I’d exploded the copy so that I could rename it, which, in larger models, makes it easier to identify them. But that is less of an issue than the layers and scenes, so I guess I’ll just live with copied names. Is there a way to rename a component?

Yes, I do like his book stand, but it’s less practical in a modern sized house than in Monticello.

Thank you for your help on this one and for all you contribute to the forum.

VERY respectfully,

After you make the copies unique you can change their names in Entity Info. Just select one of the instances. I used the same sort of process you started with. I modeled the bottom case first and after adding some of the details like a shallow rabbet at the top and bottom of the sides and the rabbet for the back. I copied the components and modified them to change their dimensions for the other two cases. Once the first components were created I didn’t explode anything.

I haven’t added tags(layers) in the model yet. I usually wait until the model is complete before I even make the tags. But if I had made the tags for the bottom case, it would be a simple matter of reassigning tags to the copies made for the other cases.

Maybe if you have five iPads. :smiley:

You’re quite welcome. And thank you!