The Precut Porch
A detailed SketchUp model and cutlist allow much of this portico’s prep work to be done in the shop.
Synopsis: Remodeler Michael Patterson explains how he saves time by using SketchUp to create a detailed computer model and cutlist for a project and then cutting as much of the lumber as possible in the shop rather than on the job site. He illustrates his process in this article with a portico. He was able to truck the components to the site in one trip and then assemble them quickly.
Make it look like the pretty picture. That’s our job as carpenters — to bring someone’s ideas to life in three dimensions. Sometimes, though, the carpenter and the customer have different visions, and details get lost in the translation. Avoiding that issue is one reason we have drawings.
There’s another reason as well. Good drawings help me to complete the work quickly. A recent project where I built a portico on top of an existing concrete-and-brick stoop provides a…