3D design references for woodworking

Stephen Lamb is an owner of Crowne and Skull and creates handmade furniture for his clients. He shared his favourite things about Shapr3D: simplicity to learn and use, ability to use the model as a reference point for the projects. Read on to know how Shapr3D is used for woodworking.


Before the formation of Crowne and Skull I was working in the professional theatre industry, mainly doing set builds and installations for northeast-based theater companies. This gave me access to an amazing workshop facility, tools and also the skill set to use them.

In around 2014, a friend asked if I would make a desk for their studio and it worked out quite well. That was the beginning of Crowne and Skull. Since then we have gotten our own workshop and have continued to work with customers to make one-off handmade pieces of furniture.

Shapr3D is my first real experience using CAD from a design perspective. I have played with a couple of other CAD programs, but to be honest, as a bit of technophobe I was always put off by the idea of sitting in front of a screen to model anything, so mainly I produced sketches by hand.

Why Shapr3D?

So back in June 2017, I started looking at getting a basic CAD drawing program that would be fairly easy to use, not desktop-based and had stylus compatibility. Essentially, something that would enable me to accurately layout the dimensions and shapes of components, give me portability and the ability to express ideas accurately to clients. After a little bit of research and reading some good reviews, Shapr3D seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I got my hands on a light pen and iPad Pro, downloaded the app and basically started to play with it.

For me one of the best things about Shapr3D is how easy it is to learn. My experience with CAD drawing was very-very limited, so I was kind of dreading the learning process. However, after downloading the app and watching the first tutorial video, I was able to do a very basic 3D drawing within about fifteen minutes of opening the app.

The tutorial videos are a great feature and really helped me to quickly pick up the basics of how to use all the basic functions of the app. Once you have these locked down, producing a drawing couldn’t be simpler. I’m at the point now, where I can take a drawing to a client and make any adjustments in real time whilst the client is there. Being able to do so has proved to be invaluable in helping to secure work and meet clients' expectations.

Again, the difference it has made to my workflow has been invaluable. Having the ability to create accurate sketches and drawings has pretty much improved how my business works from top to bottom. From the initial client meeting, Shapr3D becomes a constant reference point for the project.

After a final design is agreed upon, I can accurately estimate how much stock I am going to need which helps me cost a project more effectively for a client.

Once a build begins, the drawing becomes a constant reference point, almost a storyboard for how a build will move forward.

Every component can be grouped and broken down into smaller tasks making the build process more efficient and accurate, especially for a one man operation, like myself.

Dressing Table

One of my regular clients has commissioned me to make her a solid American black walnut dressing table to match in with some existing bedroom furniture. This job is a little different in a way that there was already an existing reference in terms of design, so the first thing was to take measurements from the existing furniture. From there I was able to start the initial Shapr3D sketch.

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