Sketchup Master Class (5): Pergola Post Carving

September 16, 2015
Read time: 2 mins


Not satisfied with a simple pergola post, The Timber Tailor adds lamb's tongue chamfers to each corner


If you want to see how to cut a lamb's tongue chamfer on a beam with a router, watch Matt's video.

Begin the process with a story stick. In this video, it is a 1x1 that is three and a half feet long. The story stick will be carved into a 3-dimensional model of the chamfer detail.

Rotated 45 degrees, and superimposed on the corners, it becomes like a digital template to guide a bearing-mounted router bit. Using the story stick as a guide, Matt cuts away the excess wood without any sawdust landing in his coffee.


The step by step details:
  • Make a stick: Draw a 1 in. x 1 in. square, and stretch it some random amount (40 inches in this case).
  • Sketch the curves: Draw a couple of random arcs to form a lamb's tongue. 
  • Make a mirror: Copy and invert the curves, slide up a random amount.
  • Define the bevel between the curves: Connect the curves with the line tool and delete the excess stock.
  • Clamp the story stick to the post: Copy the template, move, and rotate 45 degrees (Ctrl + Rotate copies and rotates).
  • Define the cut: Explode the template component. Right-click and choose 'Intersect Faces'—this will allow you to delete the separate faces individually.
  • Cut: Select and delete.
  • Sand the edges: Smooth the curves using Control + Eraser.
  • Get the Chamfer Stretcher: Adjust the height of the chamfer.
  • Set up a work station: Copy a post and paste it outside the model, a few feet away—to make it easier to work on.
  • Cut the rest of the chamfers on remaining posts: Select the corner detail, Control+Rotate will copy the corner and rotate it 90 degrees, specifying '3x' in the dialogue box adds three more for the other corners. Because this working post is still within the post component, the new bevel is already cut on all of the posts in the pergola. So now you can ... 
  • Delete the extra post: you're done.


—Matt Jackson is a master carpenter, remodeler, SketchUp Wiz, YouTuber, and contributing editor to ProTradeCraft. He lives and works in Rapid City, South Dakota.