“Lonesome Cove”, “Twisted Key” and Google SketchUp

 

Let’s talk about software first. Google’s “SketchUp” ( http://sketchup.google.com/) is an unlimited use, free 3D modeling program. There is a pay version for around $495.00, but most people will never need the additional features. Google developed SketchUp for use in modeling structures in Google Earth. Then they figured out it was commercially viable and put it on the market. It is without a doubt the easiest to use 3D CAD program in the whole wide world.

There is a learning curve associated with any design program of course, but Google has managed to simplify things to the Nth degree.That URL contains links to a lot of on-line training videos and all of the help you will ever need to become proficient in the use of this lovely little program.

But wait, there’s more!

I’m not designing buildings. I spent a lot of my life as a furniture maker/restorer/designer. Check the Photo Gallery on my web site (http://garyshowalter.com/PhotoGallery.aspx) for samples. I don’t have photos of every piece I’ve ever built or designed, but there is enough there to prove that I have spent many hours over a drawing board. In the 1980’s I worked with AutoDesk’s AutoCAD in a few architectural firms and even owned one of the early versions of AutoCAD LT.

Google SketchUp is a perfect tool for woodworkers who do their own design work. Fine Woodworking magazine (http://www.finewoodworking.com/) sells a downloadable (in *.PDF format) eBook titled “Google SketchUp Guide for Woodworkers” by Timothy S. Killen through their on-line Store (http://store.finewoodworking.com/sketchup-guide-for-woodworkers-tim-killen-ebook-077846.html). It costs $12.99 and is well worth the price.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I am going to be building myself a proper desk for my home office. It will be based on the Wooton Patent Office Desk, and I include a photo here so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:

 

WootenInterior_Preferred

I have no intention of building anything as fancy as that desk. There won’t be any fretwork on the top and I will cut the pigeon holes above the writing surface to a minimum; I need that space for a computer monitor, for a start, and below the drop-down writing surface I need space on the left for the computer case and on the right I need space for a trash can. In between I need space for my knobby knees. Most of the storage space inside the doors will be for file folders, spare pens, cell phones, specialty paper and so on. My version of the desk will be about 48” across the front and about 60” high.

I much prefer Shaker-style furniture; simple clean lines where form follows function so the desk will have clean lines with a minimum amount of molding. I am not a fan of dark woods, especially in small rooms (dark wood just sucks all of the light out of a room). Since I don’t have a large (or even a small) workshop nowadays (or even a workbench, much less a place to put one), I will be working in veneered plywood for the case and using ‘Real’ wood to trim it out along all of the exposed edges. And a router to cut dadoes and mortises and trimming edges and so on.

But don’t think SketchUp is limited to designing buildings for GoogleEarth or designing furniture. Approachable, useable 3D CAD software can be adapted for use in just about any craft. At these prices, what have you got to lose?

“Lonesome Cove” is close to 180 pages now, and is fast approaching a few critical scenes. I’ve backed of writing for a few days while the scenes sort themselves out in the depths of my lizard brain. Actually, I just got tired of writing and took a few days off to see what the rest of the world is up to. I’ll be back to work on it today.

I have a radio interview at 10:00 in Ocala on Tuesday morning at WOCA AM to discuss “Hog Valley” and and announce the book signing at A Novel idea bookstore on Silver Springs Blvd on Saturday. I hope to pick up the cover art for “Twisted Key” from the artist after the interview and then I can get the package off to the publisher near the end of this month.

Wednesday morning I’ll be in Fernandina Beach to meet with some very nice people who have expressed an interest in carrying my books.

And of course on Saturday I will be at A Novel Idea on Silver Springs Blvd from noon to 2 PM. Stop by and say hello!

Have a good week.

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About Gary Showalter

Gary Showalter was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He lived in Aruba, Florida and the Panama Canal Zone before joining the U.S. Army during the 1960s. Following his discharge from the Army, Mr. Showalter picked cotton in East Texas, baled hay in Ardmore Oklahoma, sold light bulbs in Los Angeles, California, and built cattle pens in Fallon, Nevada (during a blizzard, of course). After settling in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. Showalter worked as a professional gardener before turning his hand to furniture making. In 1981, he moved to Israel, married, and raised four children while working as a furniture maker, silversmith, goldsmith, and ornamental wood turner. He served in the Israel Defense Forces Reserves for sixteen years, and when not on active duty he worked in government and private security. He has also served in senior management positions in two software development companies in Israel. During his time in Israel, Mr. Showalter published articles dealing with international terror and the Israel-Arab conflict in the Jerusalem Post, Israel national News and several political science web sites. Mr. Showalter returned to the United States in the fall of 2003, to care for an elderly parent. He published his first novel, “The Big Bend”, in the fall of 2008. His second novel, “Hog Valley”, is now in print. Mr. Showalter's third novel, “Twisted Key”, was published in the fall of 2011, and his fourth novel, "Lonesome Cove" is now available in Kindle format and should be published in paper near the end of 2012. He currently lives in Deland, Fl, where he is co-authoring "A Silent Star" with Tony Attanasio. "A Silent Star" is the true tale (though novelized, with names changed for security reasons) about the 4-person covert action team sent into Yemen to capture Osama Bin laden immediately after the bombing of the USS Cole in the Aden harbor in Yemen in October of 2000.
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