Classic Workbench – Component ‘Import’

Here’s a very sturdy workbench I made for myself a few summers ago.  Actually I made two and attached them in an ‘L’ configuration.

Heavy Duty Work Bench

Heavy Duty Work Bench

The top rails are reinforced against two layers of 2x4s held in place with carriage bolts.  Even light paneling along the outside stiffens everything up very well, enjoy.

Work Bench Import (Right click ‘Save link As…’)

Happy Building,

5 New Tricks


Hi Gang – 3D Build Planner is nearing its second week of launch and the downloads have been going strong.  To celebrate and offer something back,  here’s a quick list of 5 tips that should help everyone just getting started.  Here we go:

(1) Always make use of  ‘component select’ whenever you can.  What’s the component select you say?  Whenever you have a group of connected pieces, such as a fence segment or a picnic table top, just double click with the left mouse button on any of the pieces and the whole group will be selected.

(2) Sometimes its easier to add pieces manually than with the Layout Wizard.  Let’s say we’re laying out 4 deck posts 4 feet apart, horizontally.  We can do that easily enough with the Layout Wizard, but if we know we want pieces laid out “center to center”, just add the first piece, then select it, and then add another 4 feet in the Lumber Placement section, and press ‘Add’, keep going two more times.

(3) Add Fasteners at the end with lumber selection options.  By default, pieces come without Fasteners configured.  You can add default Fasteners under the Materials Manager or just add them at the end of the Project.  Use a right click to display the application menu to select pieces “by Type” or “by Type and Size” and then open the Fastener Manager to apply Fasteners to just those pieces. 

(4) Need to notch a few pieces together such as stairs or spindles drilled into a railing?  One easy way to do this is to turn off  ‘Check for Colliding Lumber’ under the Preferences Manager.  Once you do this, you can move pieces into one another.  Once you’re done moving notched pieces together, turn the collision detection back on and you’re done.

(5) Learn how to run the Joint Wizard.  If you’re connecting two pieces, this is invaluable and its not hard to figure out either.  Check out this video to see the Joitn Wizard in action - Video #2.

Happy Building,

Do you have a step-by-step type of guide?

If you’ve ever watched the video sections located here (  and then said, “Well that’s great, but how do I start a new deck or how do I start a play structure or how do I…” then we have a solution.

When the 3D Build Planner application starts, either click on the ‘Quick Start’ option under the popup tip window, or go to the main 3D Build Planner help section.  Once in the help section, select the ‘Project Tips Guide’ and you’ll see step by step instructions for building fences, decks, play structures, and picnic tables.

These pages will take you, step by step through the process of building these projects, offer some helpful tips along the way and show you how to make use of a few of the powerful tools in the application.

Happy Building,

What is a Kerf?

What is a Kerf?

That’s a good question, and even if you haven’t come across the term before,  I bet you’ve come across it when
building your own projects.  The Kerf is often defined to be the width of the saw blade.  While that’s almost
correct, the Kerf really refers to the amount of wood consumed by the saw as the saw cuts through a piece of lumber.
In many cases, the actual blades of a saw are slightly wider than the saw itself.  This helps to ease the saw through the wood.

The Kerf is then made by the width of the saw blades cutting through the lumber.  But depending on how fast the blade is moving and what type of lumber you’re cutting, the blade may be under different ‘loads’ and this can also alter the Kerf amount. The Kerf is different for every saw and lumber combination.  Luckily, you can make a test cut and measure it for yourself.

Is the Kerf bad?

So what’s the big deal, a little bit of lumber is consumed with each cut, it’s no big deal right? Well, not really. When you’re making multiple cuts with a single piece of lumber, the Kerf amount in each cut can really add up, even to the point where you no longer have enough lumber for your pieces.  Let me give you an example.

The example – Fence Topper

Let’s say we’re cutting 1 foot sections from 1×1 cedar to frame a lattice topper for a fence, you want 6 of them.
We have a nice 6 foot piece of cedar.  Actually its 6 feet and one half inch as purchased at our local store.
Now it turns out that our Kerf is about 1/8 of an inch on our Mitre saw.  To get 6 sections from our 1×1 cedar,
we’ll need to make 5 cuts.  Each time we cut, we’re losing 1/8 of an inch due to our Kerf.  So after 5 cuts, we’ve
lost 5/8 of an inch, which is more than the half inch or 4/8 we had to spare.  Now one of our rails is short by 1/8
of an inch.  The more cuts you make from a piece, the more impact the Kerf will have.

So now what?

First, make a test cut with your saw on a rough piece to get an idea of the amount of Kerf you have, round up if you need to. Second, make sure you know how long the pieces are that you’re buying at the store.  Third, plan you projects
with the Kerf in mind.  When cutting, always make sure to position the blade on the outer side of your cut line,
and include your Kerf amount in your measurements when planning your cuts.

In 3D Build Planner, you can set the Kerf amount under the Preferences Manager.  3D Build Planner will include any Kerf amounts in the plans that it produces, ensuring you’re buying the right amount of lumber, and not heading back to the store for more supplies.

If you want to experiment a bit with the Kerf to see the impact, download the Trial version of 3D Build Planner at It’s good for up to 10 pieces and can show you an effective layout with different lengths of boards and different Kerf amounts.

Happy Building,