Timber Frame Design Using SketchUp

Timber Frame Design Using SketchUp by Clark Bremer of DIY Timber Framing. Paper, comb binding, 22 pages, © 2012. Updated for current Rubies version 2.2e.

SketchUp is a 3D drawing program available free from Trimble. It's a great tool for modeling timber frame designs in 3D, and you can create serviceable drawings where timbers are represented as simple rectangular solids. This is often all you need to demonstrate to your clients what their frame will look like. But SketchUp is capable of doing much more. You can actually make a highly detailed model that includes all of your joinery design. You can then create accurate shop drawings for laying out timbers in your shop. In this information-packed manual, Clark Bremer documents the procedures he has demonstrated at recent Timber Framers Guild conferences to customize SketchUp for timber framing. Topics include:

  • Making shop drawings using Ruby scripts
  • Creating libraries of joinery and timbers
  • Generating a timber list and peg count
  • Creating joints from scratch, including pegs

Using the custom Ruby scripts Clark provides, you will be able to create frames, timbers, and joints in 3D that can be rotated, dimensioned, and seen in exploded views. You can save these to libraries for use in future projects. You'll see how, once you create the tenoned member of the frame, the mortise and peg holes automatically appear on the mating piece. While SketchUp cannot provide the full functionality required for architectural contract documents, it is an excellent modeling program and a good introduction to CAD. You must download (free) SketchUp from Trimble before using this manual and the Rubies. All proceeds from the sale of this manual are generously donated to the Timber Framers Guild by Clark Bremer and DIY Timber Framing.


Miles Jenness, Vermont Heavy Timber from Huntington, VT
This is a great book. Simple and easy to understand how to best use SketchUp.

Matt from Santa Rosa, CA
I’ve always been a fan of large timber framed buildings. Now I can easily build what I like and list it out. On the surface it looks like a simple plug-in, and you may not even notice it. Until you begin to add timbers and see the shop drawings. I grew up with huge Pennsylvania barns all around me and they inspired me then as well as today. This plug-in is easy, and effective. Thank you!
Matt Koons

Kevin Pauba from Omaha, NE
The documentation on the Timber Frame Rubies provided a lot of procedures that I would never have discovered on my own. I'm happy I bought it. I would have given it 5 starts but it seems a little pricey. Then again, I'm happy to pay this price to support TFG.

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