Layout or SketchUp? NEWbie question

Am busy for rest of the evening here, but will look tomorrow.

You’ll be pleased to know the pieces all fit now. (But as you said, your ends as drawn are NOT right. I’ve re-drawn them to fit on the sheet layout, which you had correctly dimensioned, but not redrawn.

Here’s the final(?) version, assembled.

Doghouse55-3d.skp (175.6 KB)

And here’s what it looks like, assembled:

You can choose how far down over the base framing you put the sides (I think I put it half way), and how big you want the opening.

Sadly, like Dorothy (in the Wizard of Oz) I’m not in Kansas any more, and the Queen hasn’t asked me to join her. And I’m unlikely to be there in the foreseeable future. So you and your two helpers will have to do the best you can from here without me.

Happy construction.


PS. Sorry, forgot your question about colour of panels. You should be able to use the Paint Bucket tool (Window/Materials, shortcut B) to apply different shades of grey to the two ply sheets. Find Colors - named in the materials list. Greys are near the bottom.

April 20, 2016


I just realized you are among the people I should ask about how best to work out a feature I want to add to the doghouse, which will indeed be sited outdoors, on a concrete patio. This has nothing to do with SketchUp, so if you don’t care to even think about, that’s perfectly OK.

Here in Kansas it’s not uncommon for the outdoor temp to go as high as 100 F (38 C) in the summer and as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 C) in the winter. For the hot days I want to provide cross-ventilation by cutting an opening – a vent, if you will – in the Back panel. But for the cold days I want to be able to seal up that opening to reduce cross-ventilation. I pictured removing a rectangle that’s maybe 6 by 6 from the the Back panel.

My big question is how to make it easy to open and close that vent, obviously from the outside unless I can train PheyeG’hdeaux to do it from the inside. I thought of a new piece of wood that’s maybe 7 by 7 that rests on the outside of the Back panel somehow, perhaps on a piano hinge. In the summer I’d open it and it would somehow remain open until I closed it in the winter, at which point it would remain closed and seal the opening.

I have uploaded Doghouse78.skp, which shows at the top the layout of the 5/8 T111 and below that the 3/4 ply. Does it look to you like the dimensions shown will make the seven panels of the doghouse? I have tried to duplicate what you last showed.

Below those two sheets and then a line and then three elevations views from front to back, with the plan view of the foundation and its legs in the lower left. The floor will rest not only on the foundation but also on a 2 by 4 leg at each corner, to keep it up off the concrete. These legs will be 5 1/2 tall unless you recommend a different height.

Also shown in the lower right are the studs and rafters, made of 2 by 2 cedar balusters (1 1/2 by 1 1/2 actual). I can buy them with a 45-degreee miter already cut into them. In each corner will sit a stud resting square on the floor, rising 18 3/8 to the sharp point and 16 7/8 to the dull point. (I’ve never heard the term “sharp point,” although it makes perfect sense. Am I using the term “dull point” correctly or am I being obtuse?)

I think a ridge beam running front to back is called for but I do not show it on the plans. It would be a nailer (a screwer?) for both roof panels, so I don’t have to screw into the edge grain of Roof R. It would be a 2 by 2 rotated to a diamond orientation. Is this how you would do it?

Just generally, can you plow through the dimensions and the mismatched colors and see whether these plans will make a doghouse?

–Johnny (Laugh Think)
Doghouse78.skp (237.1 KB)

What you describe for the ventilation opening sounds fine to me. Hold it up with a hook and eye fastener, or a wooden toggle (a short, thin piece of wood pivoting on a single screw). Or you can buy brass or steel equivalents.

I like your idea of having the feet to keep the floor a little up in the air. So long as it isn’t too high for your dog to get up onto the floor, I don’t see any problem with the length you suggest.

Given how cold it can get in the winter, would your dog not like some insulation inside, as well as summer ventilation? You could use plastic foam sheeting (polystyrene in UK, stuck onto the insides of sides, ends and roof, and under the floor.
And perhaps add a door to cover the opening in winter - perhaps with a magnetic catch the dog could open from inside just by pushing it? Maybe even make the door of transparent plastic to let some light in?

Your ridge ‘diamond’ of 2x2 sounds just fine to me. And as you say, avoids having to screw into the ply edge.

The ‘dull point’ is only 90 degrees, so I don’t think you are being ‘obtuse’ here. But measure a bit off, and go to 91 degrees? Then maybe…

If the dimensions of your panels haven’t changed from what I last drew, yes, they should fit. And I would measure the lengths of the ridge, studs and rafters after you have done a trial assembly of the panels and cut to fit, rather than pre-cut them.

But if one of your goals is to learn Sketchup, and not just to build this doghouse, why don’t you learn to rotate and move copies of the pieces to assemble the doghouse yourself?

I’m willing to do it for you, if you really don’t want to do that. But is seems a pity not to develop your skills for future use, if you can.

Best wishes

John McC

Hingeing the flap isn’t quite as easy as you thought, and as I first thought too.

You can’t easily use a piano hinge - the hinge pivot line needs to be at the outside of the flap - so you need offset hinges, as in the attached drawing and images below:
Offset hinges



And the SKP file for the end and flap
Doghouse end and flap.skp (130.5 KB)

May 11, 2016


Your question whether I should go ahead and learn how to push and pull and rotate and place 2D pieces to make a 3D model is one I have thought about several times. I have decided I do want to do that but only after I’m satisfied that the 2D plans and the step-by-step instructions for assembling the doghouse and thorough and accurate. I want to get started and continue with and finish this thing.

As to that, I have a few questions for you (surprise!), although the you who’s good at carpentry as opposed to the you who’s good at SketchUp. I have tried to upload a Microsoft Word 2010 docx file turned into a PDF, which I hope you can open somehow. If you can’t and want to, let me know and I’ll send it in a different format, maybe ASCII or something. The file is named HowToBuildDoghouse05.pdf.

  1. I have been convinced by the people in the paint department at a nearby Lowe’s that I must prime and paint all the surfaces of all the wood, especially the edge and end grain surfaces, but not the treated 2 by 4s. Does this sound right, especially since I don’t plan to shingle the roof? You’ll see my list of instructions calls for priming and painting everything first, but I now think I should do the layout and sawing first.

HowToBuildDoghouse05.pdf (197.1 KB)2. Just generally, have I got the right steps in the right order? If you were here with me and my two chums and if you were in charge, which you would be, what would you do differently? I’m afraid I missed something important that will make me look incompetent in front of my friends, not to mention mess up the doghouse.

  1. Would you bother to pre-drill for all or any of the screw holes?

  2. At what point would you cut the diagonals on Front and Back to form the gables?

  3. Would you caulk anything?

  4. Will the ice rink still fit on the second storey?

Any thoughts you have willl be welcomed with open arms and a glad heart.

Hi folks.

I see that these dog houses seem to use only plywood without any other wood piece.

Personally, for ease of assembly, solidity and durability, if it is to be dismantled and reassembled many times, I would use 2 x 2 pieces of lumber (1.5 in x 1.5 in actually) to strengthen all the joints between boards. You can saw a 2 x 4 (3,5 in x 1,5 in) in two pieces of 1,5 in x 1.75 in approximatively. In fact, the 1.75 inch will probably be more like 1.7 if I consider a saw blade width of 1/8 inch.

See attached SU file for ideas.

Best regards.


Dog house.skp (58.7 KB)

That will certainly make it stronger, @jean_lemire_1, but a bit heavier.

I wonder if it is to be dismantled with any regularity whether furniture knock-down fittings might be an alternative? They come in several varieties in UK and Europe - don’t know the situation well in USA.

Will look tomorrow or Friday at your questions, @JohnEGee - sorry, I don’t have time tonight to consider carefully, or respond at any length.

Search for ‘knockdown furniture connector’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I’ve now read your proposed assembly instructions. I think you can simplify it a bit, and have suggested how in the attached document, amended from your PDF and converted to a Rich Text Format document (then zipped - can’t upload RTF file directly), which you can open in any number of word processors including Word, which I think you said you have.

Building the (6.1 KB)

My comments or amendments are in red, and I’ve used strikethrough to indicate steps you may no longer need.

If you don’t use knockdown connectors, I think you can simplify the construction by using bevelled 4 x 2 eaves reinforcements as suggested above by @jean_lemire_1, which run all along the sides to the ends. Then your four corner studs can have square tops, and you can measure them accurately enough to cut and install once, in their final position.

Go for it!

And here’s what your crosscut jig could look like - make out of two strips of thin ply or hardwood, screwed and glued together at right angles. Make the arms too long, then when the glue has set, cut to the exact size using your circular saw.

May 19, 2106

First, to jean_lemire_1, thanks again for your help. I decided, especially since John McClenehan agrees with you, to alter my 2D plans and my step-by-step instructions to use your idea of what in the U.S. would be called top plates. And thanks for taking the time to create a SKP model, without which I would have been lost.

John McC (and jean), I have uploaded Doghouse82.skp for your consideration. The parts to the left of the double vertical lines are as before except I’ve incorporated Top Plate L and Top Plate R, each of which rests on two Studs. The parts to the right of the double vertical lines are intended to make it as easy as possible for you to turn these various 2D pieces into a 3D model. If you don’t want to bother again, John, that’s OK, because I know it must take a lot of time. If you do, I can’t wait to orbit around, and maybe I’ll figure out Scenes. Also, this would help my two pals see just how the doghouse is built.

There are probably more pieces in the lower right than you need, since you can copy and rotate. Also, note that there is something weird about Rafter R. Maybe delete it and copy Rafter L and do the magic to rotate it 180 degrees about its long axis? If there’s any work I can do to make this easier for you, please let me know what and I’ll happily do it.

I have also uploaded, which I hope you can open in Word, which I hope you have or an equivalent thereof. Sending a Word docx file last time as a PDF wasn’t probably the best choice. Anyway, in this Word file I have accounted for the red italics comments in your RTF version, and I still have left a few questions for you, shown in blue text. But more generally, do these instructions build a proper doghouse accurately and efficiently? Is the order of the steps impossible? Is there some gaping hole, some contradiction?

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

Doghouse82.skp (253.9 KB) (23.6 KB)

See what you think of my suggestions added into your Word dcocument, and the 3D assembly stages in the attached SKP file. (24.2 KB)
Doghouse82-3D.skp (219.2 KB)

May 24, 2016

John McC,

Your further help in writing the instructions for building the doghouse is appreciated. I have uploaded in case you care to see the latest version.

But as thankful as I am for all your help with the instructions, your most recent SKP file is astonishing. It is well beyond anything I expected, as close to perfect as one could hope for. I suspect, even as I hope not, that it took you a lot of time.

Your understanding and care and expertise show. I installed Sketch Up on my laptop yesterday just so my carpenterial helpers can Orbit around as they like, and so I can too, to see how the structure goes together. I have used the various views to print eight pages of plans, but they don’t supplant your five assembly-view 3D models.

In those five well-thought-out views alone, John, you show, from any angle, how to make this doghouse. Did you realize that? I checked many dimensions, and every one was perfect. I can’t find even one little thing to complain about. Again, I hope this didn’t take you too long, but it was certainly worth it to me.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

P.S. I’ll let you know if I go ahead with making this doghouse plan public. If I can monetize it, which is extremely unlikely even though it’s the best doghouse plans ever, will you agree to accept at least 50% of the profits? (23.8 KB)

Glad you like the 3D drawings. I wasn’t timing the work, but it was almost certainly in the range 2 - 3 hours.

I just picked up the pieces you had drawn, did a couple of PushPulls for the top plates etc. where you had only a 2D view, and put them together with a series of Move/Copy and Rotate commands, and the occasional use of TIG’s Mirror plugin.

Then ‘exploded’ the views by moving pieces apart at the different stages of assembly, and made a Scene for each stage.

I’m not looking for financial return, but if you DO monetize it, 50% share is far too much. Some much lower percentage, or none, is fine with me.

How goes the doghouse construction, if started yet?

June 15, 2016


I and one helper will get started next week, following his return from a vacation. The other helper pussed out just yesterday, which is why I’ve taken so long to respond. If I get around to taking photos I’ll send them to you. No matter what, I have not forgotten about you, and I doubt I’ll be able to look at the doghouse for years without being reminded of you.

–Johnny (Laugh Think)

Sounds good. Please keep me posted.

Two people should be enough.


What progress on the doghouse construction?


July 19, 2016

Hello, John McC,

As of four days ago the dog house is finished and in place. Painting – which I’ve now quite thoroughly re-confirmed is soul-destroying – took longer than construction, or at least it certainly seemed to. Along the way I took several photos, and included are three. The first one (01) shows the doghouse before the roof panels are installed. The second one (02) shows the same doghouse after a dog is installed. The third one (03) shows my helper and the doghouse after painting.

Well, that wasn’t clear. I mean the doghouse after painting, not my helper. The reason I didn’t crop him out of the photo is that behind him, in the upper left at the top of the frame, you’ll see the bottom of the fence that delineates my dog’s back yard, and the reason I mention that is that it might set a record for the greatest number of fence types in so short a distance. In just under 60 feet there are parts of a snow fence, a plastic construction fence, a chain link fence, a barbed-wire fence, and a pig-wire fence.

Anyway, I still might add this whole doghouse plan to my website, including your SKP file, and I just have to ask whether the four legs appear hollow when viewed from below. It’s nothing even morons couldn’t overlook, but if they are imperfectly rendered and easily fixed it would help give credence to my claim that these plans can be trusted to be right. DO NOT fix it now, just tell me whether I’m seeing it wrong.

Speaking of which, below are the three paragraphs about you. Please let me know what you’d like changed; it’s all editable anytime.

"I am pleased now to mention the help given me by JWMcC, a SketchUp modeler and woodworker from England, who for no good reason took mercy on me. He heard my plea back in March of 2016 for help using SketchUp to most parsimoniously lay out a doghouse and he jumped in with both feet, deep. He is responsible for all of the mental effort required to turn my 2-dimensional pieces into a 3-dimensional model of a doghouse, which he had to do several times because of mistakes I made. Any newbie to SketchUp can create 2-D pieces with a little experience. You need a lot more experience and smarts to copy and extrude and rotate and connect and otherwise manipulate those simple 2-D pieces into a 3-D model, and Mr. McC has them. He was also patient with me, so very kind never to refer to my ever more obvious moronhood.

"Not to mention that, as we chatted back and forth over many weeks in the SketchUp forum, Mr. McC volunteered other useful suggestions on such subjects as when to paint what, how to make certain saw cuts, and the pros and cons of adding a top plate (the pros won). He even reviewed my list of instructions below and suggested many improvements that have now been incorporated into them. He easily deserves as much credit for the doghouse below as I do.

“You can read the discussion, in case you should ever want to, here. But do know that any mistakes below are mine alone, not Mr. McC’s or anyone else’s.”

–Johnny (Laugh Think) (120.2 KB)

1 Like