Google Sketchup 6

I have used a number of Computer Aided Design and CAD packages. Today, I used Google Sketchup for the first time.

It has some differences, and could be an excellent program, but it just does lots of things (IMHO) wrong.

For instance, it allows you to place a dimension on a line, and then change it. But it doesn’t actually change the length of the line. If it did this one thing, giving it parametrically controllable dimensions, then it would do most of what I want. Instead, I need to create a line or box, (change tools to) place a dimension, (change tools again to) resize it until it is close enough to the size I want.

To make it a bit better to use coming from Inventor, I set up ‘D’ as a shortcut key for Dimension, and F5/6 for Previous View/Iso View. Much better for my muscle memory!

It uses a different paradigm than Inventor, rather than using a series of parts, it really is just a sketch. Having said that, here is an accurate representation of my house. Accurate in some ways, not all.

And the best thing over Inventor? It runs native on OS X.

Unpacking stuff

Well, after living in our new house for more than two years, we have finally unpacked all of the crockery and glassware into the kitchen. I mean, there was a rationale: we were renovating. Initially, we had thought it would take us a couple of months to get the house to a liveable state. We were at least an order of magnitude wrong. We have put enough of the kitchen in (including the microwave and dishwasher, but not the benchtops, stove and sink) to allow us to use it effectively. In particular, the dishwasher was the main reason we were able to even consider moving more than just two each of plates, cups, spoons, etc. Actually, living with just two of everything was very liberating. Granted, you have to wash everything before you cook every meal (or after, I suppose, but that’s not really my style). But never having more than a couple of dishes means that washing up isn’t such a chore. Entertaining wasn’t really an option. Other than that big party we had for our 30th birthdays, but that didn’t really require much crockery. So now, we have stuff again. We got rid of a heap of stuff we aren’t going to use. I’m still hanging on to some of the stubby holders and Star Trek mugs from my younger days, but we have really consolidated what we have. After all, if we didn’t use stuff for the last two or so years, we can’t need it too badly, can we?

DesperadoEaglesEagles Live


People often bag Ikea, and, especially in terms of their kitchens, think the build quality is poor, and the kitchens somehow substandard. I think it has to do with the cost, as well as a somewhat elitist attitude, but people who think themselves above the mass-market appeal that Ikea offers. I’ve actually always quite liked Ikea. Most of their stuff is well designed, and in some cases, well made. The first stuff we bought (before Ikea opened in Adelaide) was some crappy CD racks, and wasn’t that good, but it was only a few dollars a rack. Most of the things we have bought, especially recently, has been very good. So, having set the scene, we have bought about $7500 worth of cabinetry and doors for our kitchen. I’ve put together a few of the cabinets, and the rest of them are in the queue. One of the best things about going the Ikea route was that I haven’t had to deal with anyone, other than the person we gave the list of parts to, and the one who bought out the full trolleys. Because we had meticulously planned the kitchen, and it has some quite tricky stuff going on, it was much easier for us to come up with the design, and do all of the ordering. And from the conversations with the clerks in the store, it is a little unusual. There is a wide range of bits that Ikea do, carcasses of 300mm through to 900mm, as well as a couple of unusual sizes. If we had bought, or planned the kitchen before cutting the hole in the wall, then I wouldn’t have had to cut any carcasses to size, but because the space is a little less than desirable, I have to cut one of the units, and re-drill some of the holes. I need to remove 75mm, which is a bit annoying. Otherwise, it’s all easy, except for the fact that Ikea seem to have decided that side panels (made from the same finish as the doors/drawer fronts) do not extend to the floor, but are in fact just the same height as the cabinets, and we have decided the opposite. So, I have had to buy oversized panels and cut them down. At $90-$120 a pop, you don’t want to fuck up the cut! If you are playing at home, we have gone for the Abstrakt White finish, which apparently is the most expensive, and the new handles, which are called Annars. The benchtop, which we aren’t getting from Ikea, will be custom made a bit later. I really like the soft drawer closers, which allow you to push the drawer shut, and the last 10mm is a soft close, meaning no thump. I kinda think that the drawer runners have been designed to ‘heavy close’, just so you have to buy the soft close extenders. Maybe that’s just Cynical Matt poking his head out again. I’ve probably gone a bit overboard with the wall attachments. I’ve used big (ø12) dynabolts for the large larder, and ø6.5 ones elsewhere. The feet can apparently hold up to 125kg each, and I’ve used four on each base cabinet, but I don’t want to take any chances. All of the wall-fixed cabinets (and there are only three that aren’t, which go under the main table, and are only shallow wall cabinets I’ve modified to sit on the floor) are double dynabolted, and where possible I’ve also put a supporting piece (with dynabolts) underneath, above the skirting. Although this is probably a little overkill. We’d be able to do the whole kitchen, except we need gas connected for the stove, and are also having the gas pipe run through the roof to the heater in the lounge. We have all of the appliances, but we will do the other side of the kitchen first, until we have found a plumber for the gas. Know anyone?

Grey GardensRufus WainwrightPoses ★★

House Progress

I’m in school holidays at the moment, and I’ve been rather busy doings some more of my house renovations. The floors are all oiled, and just awaiting the oil to harden before it’s possible to put furniture on them. They look great, Jaq did a really good job doing the oiling. I also bought a heap of timber for the architraves and skirting boards - 90x12 meranti. This is thinner than normal skirting boards, which tend to be 19mm. Before I started putting them in, I had a bit of wiring to drop. Because we are having an island computer and work bench, all of the cables need to come up through a trapdoor in the floor. There was already a power point installed there, but I needed to pull some ethernet, phone and USB cables through a conduit. These then needed to be terminated at either end with sockets, which has all been done. With the cabling done, including dropping cable from the ceiling for the telephone connections, I was able to start on the skirtings and architraves. I began by cutting some skirtings for the front corner of the lounge, where there were some fiddly bits that needed to be cut, before I discovered that I am much better off doing all of the architraves first, and then measuring the skirtings to fit. Thus, the major part of today was spend cutting, sanding and priming the upright portions of the architraves for almost all of the doorways in the house. Excluding internal doorways on rooms that haven’t been sanded, or finished yet. I’ve been using an airless spray-gun, and have had fantastic results. Tomorrow I plan to finish painting these, and put them up. Measuring and cutting the top sections of these will be much easier with the uprights in position. Then it will be skirting time again!

Anybody’s WarIcehouseMan of Colours ★★½

Renovations Update

I know that a couple of people read this who are a bit interested in how my house renovations are coming along. Jaq and I have spent the last couple of months preparing the main living area: Kitchen, Dining, Lounge and Study. We knocked out about 3m of a wall which will have a table inserted into it, and replaced the floorboards, ceilings and fixed the walls. We have spent the last weekends doing some final prep for painting, and now painting the kitchen/study area. The edges of the wall where we had cut a big hole look great: we’ve use a Rondo Shadowline product to get lovely 10mm shadow lines around the framing, and now it’s all painted, you can’t see where the original plaster ends, and the cornice cement and top-cote start. It does look really nice. Similarly, where the old Air Conditioner was is almost invisible from the inside now. We’ll build the kitchen ourselves - Ikea have some good kitchen cabinets, and we’ll just get the doors made up. The kitchen will flow through into the study, although it will have a seperator that does distinguish between the two. We also got some new furniture in the past couple of days: a Hans Wegner Daybed and some nice Danish beds. Furniture Auctions are the best place to find great bargains.

What a Weekend!

It started on Friday night with Touch training. I coached rather than training, as I was carrying a bit of a hamstring injury, and I wanted to give it a bit more rest. Still, it meant I didn’t get home until around 8. I’m just glad I chose not to ride my bike! Saturday was the annual Colley Reserve 5-a-side Touch Carnival. Normally Touch is played with 6 on the field, but for a more exciting game, and because the fields are a bit smaller, this carnival plays with 5. It’s mixed, so 3 boys and 2 girls are the order of the day. I played in the UniSA team, knowing only two of the players beforehand. The guys, and most of the girls were pretty nice people, and we wound up making the final in the Pool B division. Which we lost, to a team that pretty much plays together all of the time. When I got home, at around 6pm or so, I started doing some editing on my post I’m writing over on OmniNerd. I actually spent a fair bit of time on this, and although I disagreed with the editor’s comments on a couple of things (like placing an embedded clause in commas, something I do) I feel that the feedback made my article better. It’s still not ready to publish, but it’s probably 75% of the way there. The most interesting thing for me is that it’s a different style of writing than a blog post. A blog post, by it’s nature, is very free-flowing, and can at times lack structure. I very rarely edit my posts on this blog, although I sometimes correct errors. If I make them. (Reminds me of the joke: I was wrong once. I thought I was wrong, but I was actually right.) By the time Jaq got home from little Shae’s birthday party (9:30pm), freaking out because there was a big spider on the car, which I had to squish for her, I was about ready for bed, so I dozed almost right off. Jaq had to head into Uni this morning at 11, so I got up just as she left, and started finalizing my Tax documents. I put all of my stuff into a spreadsheet, and it didn’t really take as long as I thought it might. Then, I caught up on all of my RSS feeds, and by the time Jaq got home this time, I had to head off to State League. I played in the Mixed, where we won 8-2 (I only scored one of these, but set up a couple of others, including a great boomer with Karina McL), and then coached the Mens from the box (there is another playing coach, but sometimes it’s handy to have extra eyes off the field).

Hot Weather and Renovations

The last few days has seen extreme weather in Adelaide. 42°C for 4 days in a row. And this at the time we decided to:

  • Chop down the 13 Cypress Pines along the side fence.
  • Remove the old air-conditioner and brick up the cavity.
  • Knock down the old greenhouse.

Mum and Dad were up from Naracoorte to help us - Dad manned the chainsaw and they brought with them a 14” × 6” trailer, which we loaded up with Cypress offcuts. We kept the trunks, as they are pretty straight, and we’ll use them for garden beds. Anyway, we got all of that done - and a lot of it in shorter time than anticipated. The cutting down of the trees only took about 4 hours, which is lucky, as we may not have completed it otherwise. It was so damn hot. I took a heap of pictures. One day I’ll get around to posting some more.


We were just about to head off to Robe - literally, we were just packing bags ready to go, when Jaq came across some termites in the linen press. It’s a little too hard to tell how widespread the infestation is: the house had been damaged in the past, some time ago (long before we bought it), but we weren’t expecting to find any more. So, this has put the holiday on hold for a couple of days - we are having a guy come out for a quote tomorrow at lunchtime, and hopefully will be able to head off shortly after he has been here.

Floor Finished!

Simon breated me for not posting any house pictures lately, so here you go. We finished replacing all of the floorboards yesterday. Looks pretty good too. There were a couple of issues where the edging was - particularly the part where the lounge meets the dining room (but we’ll be using it as a study).

Wall Gone

Well, today was a busy day. Beginning at 8:45, we removed 2.5m of the wall between the kitchen and the lounge. The cavity doesn’t go right up to the ceiling, but is at about normal door height. Apologies to everyone, but this is avery photo-heavy post. To start with, we drilled three holes in the wall, well above where the cavity was going to be. Then we inserted Ø40 steel bars through the wall, and supported them with upright adjustable stands. We used a large piece of timber to keep everything stable. Imgp0483 Imgp0488 Imgp0493 Then we cut out the section where the C-Channel Lintel was going, and inserted that in. Imgp0524 Imgp0526 Imgp0529 Finally, we removed the section of wall that was no longer required. Imgp0547 Imgp0549 Imgp0561 There’s still a lot to do: for instance, we are actually going to insert some vertical supports, just because we are chicken and don’t believe the engineer! (Well, Jaq is anyway). As you can see from this last set of photos, there were quite a few bessa blocks removed! Oh, and we got the smaller wall between the lounge and dining rooms ready to knock out as well. Imgp0562 Imgp0554 Imgp0569 Oh, and the last image is me just showing off the macro function in the camera I borrowed from work.