Lesson 1: Simple furniture design using the basic Polyboard commands

Using Furniture design software

This is an over view of how to start using the basic Polyboard commands to build a simple cabinet.

Traditionally, cabinet making  has always started by drawing the project. Drawings use geometrical objects, lines, arc, etc. to represent the final cabinet. The objectives of the drawing being to provide the design and all the manufacturing information to make the furniture.

This process requires a whole series of operations :

  • Initial rough sketches to fix the overall design
  • Perspective views to present the project
  • Scaled drawings to get the overall sizes
  • Scaled drawings of each part that will be assembled to make the furniture
  • Calculation of the dimensions of each part
  • Writing the list of parts with their respective dimensions (cutting list)
  • Calculating the cost of the materials
  • Calculating the time and price of the labor .

I call this the design process.

To make thing even more complicated it is often necessary to change and modify a  project along the way and a minor change in the overall sizes requires that all the associated documents be updated. A real nightmare for complex projects.

The result is that the design process  is complex, time consuming and error prone.

For some years now CAD programs have largely replaced manual drawing boards.  Using CAD brings 2 major benefits to the design process, easy drawing updating and automatic dimensions. However as the cabinet or furniture is still designer using geometry,  the time needed to coherence between the different parts and operations remains difficult to maintain.

Polyboard opens up a new approach to cabinet and furniture design.

Polyboard is a parametric driven furniture and cabinet design program.

This means that the basic elements are no longer geometrical lines and arc, but objects and materials that have properties.

These properties include their geometry (dimensions) but go much further and include also their relationship to other objects around them.

To design a piece of  furniture with Polyboard one must define the characteristics of the different objects and their relationships to the adjacent parts.

This new way of seeing furniture design not only makes the process  faster, easier and far less error prone, but is much closer to the way a cabinet maker thinks.

Using Polyboard we will be using panels that are defined as sides, tops,bottoms,shelves, uprights, etc. and telling the program how these elements interact with one another.

Once these elements and their interactions defined this information can be stocked in a library and the elements can simply pulled out of the library to build your cabinets and furniture. Polyboard will then assemble the different parts automatically and produce all the design and manufacturing documents perfectly, with no errors.

This video covers:

  • The basic interface
  • Properties Menus
  • Working with volumes
  • Adding Vertical separations
  • Adding Shelves
  • Adding Doors
  • Adding Draws
  • Assembly Details



If you would like more vidoes on specific topic please leave a comment to tell me the subjects would like covered.

Happy wood working to all ,



  • Tafheem Farooqi

    Reply Reply April 21, 2013

    Dear Ness,

    ive downloaded the cabinet soft ware and found it amazing.
    i would like to congragulate you fro developing the software.
    we are a small budding business and would like to know, how this software could be helpful to us.
    i would appreciate if u could provide me the prices of the software.


    • ness

      Reply Reply May 11, 2013

      Hello Tafheem,

      Sorry that this reply is so late but I have been very tied up lately and it seems that you comment got lost in the meanders of our new site that is still being tweaked.
      You’ll find all the prices on the Polyboard software page of this site in the Products menu.

      Please email me at ness.tillson@wooddesigner.org if you have any other questions.

      All the best

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