Concept to Workshop: Why SketchUp Pro is essential for Hawkins Joinery.

Concept to Workshop: Why SketchUp Pro is essential for Hawkins Joinery.

For joiners, woodworkers, and furniture designers, the creation process is a dance between creativity and practicality. SketchUp Pro steps onto the dance floor as your perfect partner, helping translate those brilliant ideas into stunning, buildable pieces. We spoke to Stuart Hawkins about his bespoke joinery and home renovations projects and why SketchUp Pro should be in every woodworking professional's toolkit.

What inspires your furniture designs? Is it the beauty of the wood itself, historical styles, or something else entirely?

When it comes to designing a wardrobe, bookcase or someone's perfect space, I like to maximise every millimetre. The challenge inspires me: Often working in older properties with unlevelled rooms, timber beams and other obstructions to overcome. Aiding the customer to help create exactly what they need. 

Image of SketchUp model featuring bespoke design wardrobe
Photograph showing fitted furniture designed and installed by Hawkins Joinery

Do you sketch ideas first or jump straight into the SketchUp?

On a wardrobe or fitted furniture job, I'll start with taking detailed measurements, checking with a laser level, then I'll jump into the program. If there's something I'm unsure of, I may head to SketchUp first to figure out if and how something more fiddly can be achieved. It allows you to input the ideas, realise what works and what doesn't, so that it can be adjusted, saving you from making a potential mistake further down the line.

What made you decide to use SketchUp for furniture design? 

As time goes on, I'm realising SketchUp's versatility is huge. It initially interested me, as you can choose to create designs from very simple 2D line drawings, all the way to very complex 3D drawings, taking it as far as you want to. 

Image showing fitted furniture designed in SketchUp by Hawkins Joinery

Where SketchUp leads after that can really take things to the next level, with the use of Layout & rendering software such as Enscape for those super photorealistic finishing touches.

Was there a learning curve when you started using SketchUp? If so, how did you overcome it?

Like anything else you're trying to learn, it takes countless hours of practice, learning the ins and outs of each tool and feature etc.... That and many hours of YouTube tutorials certainly helps. Having said that, I got to grips with SketchUp really quickly. Each time I thought, am I doing that the most efficient way, or is there something that can speed it up for me, there generally was. So I'd take that on board moving forward, becoming more efficient along the way. 

SketchUp offers a wide range of features. Which ones do you find most valuable for your furniture making? 

It's hard to pick... Components are definitely up there being one of the greatest: Being able to adjust multiple items at once, editing information or even animating them. I also love the 'Follow Me' tool: Creating cornice that can wrap around the top of a wardrobe or media unit. Skirtings & architrave profiles easily copied from on site measurements, so drawing a room is as accurate as it could ever be.


How do these features help you streamline your design and workflow? For example, does the ability to create detailed joinery in SketchUp save you time in the workshop?

It certainly does. My customers are often torn with what they'd like from their space, so the ability to make a copy and tweak the internal design so they can see different options whilst I'm sat with them is a huge plus; this capability really helps put them at ease.

More recently, a larger proportion of my time is spent on designing. Once the drawing is complete, I'll use all the panel measurements as my cutlist, then I know everything will be just as it should, even down to the drawer runner positions and hinge spacings for the doors.

Would you recommend SketchUp? How has using SketchUp impacted your furniture making process? Has it increased efficiency, improved communication with clients, or allowed for more complex designs? 

I'd certainly recommend it, it's increased efficiency across the board. If I didn't have SketchUp there would be a huge pile of paper scraps on my desk with different details, measurements on each, becoming too cluttered and confusing. Or I'd try to make do with another basic program, but that wouldn't give me the features that I love from SketchUp. My customers love seeing the designs, it really helps them visualise the space.

SketchUp is an investment that pays off

It’s clear from Stu that SketchUp Pro is an investment that pays off throughout the entire woodworking process. From streamlining his design and material management to fostering seamless client communication, it empowers Stu to focus on what he does best – creating beautiful and functional pieces of art and design. 

If you’re considering Sketchup as you read this case study, imagine this: you've envisioned a stunning piece of furniture, but the thought of translating that vision into precise measurements and material needs is daunting. SketchUp Pro eliminates that worry. As you build your 3D model, the software generates a detailed cutlist automatically. No more painstaking calculations or wasted materials – SketchUp Pro takes care of it all, ensuring your project stays on track and within budget. Don’t take our word for it, let’s ask Stu one more time…..

“I used to steam right into a project, with all the measurements in my head, but as complexities started arising - angled ceilings where built in furniture has to be spot on, it makes it so much easier to input everything, edit, send for approval and use it for my cutlist from there.”

So, ditch the guesswork and embrace the precision and efficiency that SketchUp Pro brings to your workshop. Make us your first stop for your SketchUp needs and reap the benefits of having SketchUp in your toolkit.

View the SketchUp Collection 

As your leading Authorised Gold SketchUp UK Reseller, we provide full technical support to all our professional customers, free onboarding to help you get set up or to address a specific query relating to your subscription, plus you'll get a loyalty discount upon renewal of your annual subscription. And like this customer feature on Hawkins Joinery, you too can contribute to our Customer Case Study programme and share your experiences of SketchUp with other users.

Learn more about Stuart Hawkins

Hawkins Joinery: Bespoke joinery & home renovations. Fitted wardrobes, bookcases, alcove & media units. Kitchens, garden rooms & custom made gates.

Instagram - @HawkinsJoinery


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