This week I have been submerged in Sketch-up. Whenever I start a new project the first thing I do is scour the internet looking for inspiration. Once I find several pieces that I want to use elements from I then proceed to Sketch-up to build a 3D rendering of what is in my head. This in when I realize that what I have been envisioning is either a) I am making it overly complicated or b) the elements or design do not work together. It is very rare that I build the final 3D model the first time I sit down at the computer. Just like the other night, I drafted up a design went to bed only to wake up and realize it would not work. I needed to change it up slightly in order to get the joinery and hardware to work the way I wanted it too. Then I just ended up redesigning the piece anyway.
It is just like this article. It started out being a tutorial on how to use sketch-up and has ended up being about how I a get draft of what I want the final outcome of the project to be. I realized when I started writing the tutorial that there are already tons of tutorials out there. So instead of me wasting your time and recreating content from places that I learned Sketch-up from, I will just give you a few resources on where you can learn all your little heart desires.
First off there is Google Sketch-up's Channel on youtube. They cover the basics in a very slow step by step process. They walk you through the most important tools, how to use them, and why you would need to use it. Here is the link to their channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC50lv4EYY1N1_-B495meX8w
Another great resource aimed at woodworkers is a book by Bob Lang: Woodworkers Guide to Sketchup. If you like to go old school and read instead of watch then this book is for you. In fact, if you are a woodworker and use sketch-up then you need this book. You can click here for the PDF Version: http://craftsmanplans.com/sketchup.htm
Finally, a resource aimed at woodworkers for the newer generation that like to watch how to do things. Jay Bates, owner of Jay's Custom Creations, also runs a website on Sketch-up tutorials: Woodworking with Sketchup. Here you can find just about anything you need. He has written tutorials as well as video tutorials.
I highly recommend all three resources to learn sketch-up. If you still have questions after visiting those resources then I can try to help you out.