I've written about Sketchup in the past (see my May posting) but I figured its nice enough to mention again. Fine Woodworking, a magazine I subscribe to, had a review of it recently as well.

Why is is good? I think its pretty intuitive to use, but has tons of features. It has the ability to make a parts list too! You can to use the model statistics as a complete and accurate parts list.



I'm in the process of making a chest, like the one above, that can be used as a window seat as well. The use of SketchUp will help let me visualize the design (and tweak it) before I start. In addition, I can play around with the parts list to ensure my lumber purchases are the most economical ones, minimizing waste.