Using SketchUp for woodworking, tips to efficiently use construction lumber

Hi everyone,

While I love the conceptual drawing abilities of SU my woodworking projects, I’ll get a design going and soon realize it’s out of my lumber budget (especially with prices these days)! Unfortunately, I’m mostly limited to shopping from the nearby big orange box store because I’m doing pretty small-scale projects and can’t afford to really buy in bulk at a lumber-yard (nor to I have the time to get rough lumber S4S).

I also like to use lumber as efficiently as I can and keep scrap wood from going to waste. Does anyone have any tips on using SU to essentially design to material limitations? I’ve done all of this on paper in the past with a calculator as needed (of course always buying extra wood), and I know I’ll always need to do some of that.

My first thought is to essentially lay out the mock lumber in the workspace, including different lumber types, and experiment with some virtual “cutting” so to speak. I’m usually using a mix of boards and plywood, sometimes using veneers, while saving premium hardwood for smaller projects.

Any suggestions on what folks may have found useful would be great.


Have you checked out Open Cut List?


You could do that manually and in SketchUp Go that’s really your only option. Open Cutlist and other Cutlist extensions are available for SketchUp for Desktop but won’t help with SketchUp Go.

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Thanks for the suggestion @nmason! I primarily use SketchUp GO (the enhanced, subscription web version) so I don’t have access to that extension as @DaveR noted. I have experimented with it in the past in an old version of SketchUp Make, but not very much.

I guess I’m more interested in how I might be able to use SU to help me brainstorm/design a project before I get into the material purchasing/pricing-out stage–maybe OCL “in reverse” so-to-speak. Maybe OCL can help with this pre-design work as well? I like to visually see what I have to work with if I can, and maybe a trip trip to the big box. It is great they have so much of the info online on pricing and availability.

The ability to get that extension could be another reason to stop dragging my feet about getting pro and pony up another $230/year (though I thought I remember reading that it’s no longer being updated). Unfortunately, I’m a hobbyist who won’t be using it commercially, but I understand that good software costs money.

What’s not being updated?

Open Cut List, but I may be wrong

I think @boris.beaulant would tell you otherwise!


Bravo, Boris! :slight_smile:

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