Adirondack Chair Class #10: Arms rests

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 02-11-2012 07:05 PM 3612 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 9: Back rest assembly Part 10 of Adirondack Chair Class series Part 11: Arm rests part two »

This is part one of the arm assembly – it’s picture heavy – so fair warning.

This is the pattern for the arm (part K).

You’ll notice I have already drilled pilot holes for where the arms will be screwed to the front leg (part I) and arm support (part J).

At this point you need to remember that you have both a right and a left arm. You are using one pattern for both arms, therefore you have to flip the pattern over to make the second arm.

Here’s a bad idea and a bad habit.

Don’t get in the habit of using your saw’s fence as a tool tray. It’s a bad idea because when have the saw going and you reach for your push stick – you could accidently flip one of those little things into your blade and it will come right back at you. Not a good idea. There’s the safety lesson for today. 

Use your saw’s fence and blade to set your distance to cut the width of your arm.

If you are still at the stage of cutting your pattern use your pattern’s edge to determine where to set your fence.

Let’s pretend I do not have my pattern cut out yet. What I would do (providing you used one factory edge as a beginning point) would be to put my pattern up to the blade and use a straight scrap to line up your mark.

Cautionary Note: Be sure to line up with the inside tooth of the blade.

Now that you’ve set your saw for width, you can cut your boards to length at the chop saw. Be sure to use a support at one end of your board.

Also before cutting to length use your pattern to determine the best part of the board to use, you want to avoid having a knot at either end of your arm piece.

Avoid this.

You can use your pattern to determine the best place to cut – you can see that I’m avoiding knots both at the top and bottom of my pattern.

Cautionary Note – Beware of this – I have a hidden knot under my pattern.

If the knot is a tight knot – no problem, but if this knot is not tight so I would not use this section of the board for my arm.

Here’s a knot I can live with.

Be sure to use a backer board at the chop saw and cut the two pieces you will need for your arms to exactly 28” long.

Now with both pieces side by side place your pattern on top and trace the first arm.

REMEBMER you have a right and left arm. Once you trace the first pattern – flip it over to trace the second.

Now you have your pattern laid out so as to avoid knots you can go ahead and cut to the boards to width.

Cautionary Note
– the first board is easy – the second board you have to flip over (right to left – not top to bottom), you want to make sure you cut off the right edge.

Now that you have your arms cut to length and width you can drill your pilot holes

Be sure you have the sides together. The cutout curve goes to the outside of the chair.

Now you can drill the screw holes using a Forstner bit.

Next up cut the middle support – Part F, to length and width. (3-1/4×25”)


Now we need to talk about lap joints. The arm has a 3/8” lap joint cut into the bottom and part F – the middle support has a 3/8” lap joint on the top. The two lap joints when together will equal ¾”.

This is where I’ll end this lesson. I’ll start making the lap joints this weekend.

As always – if you have any questions or comments please let me know.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

2 comments so far

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3781 days

#1 posted 02-11-2012 10:09 PM

Great set of photos, Betsy!

Guilty as charged for using the rip fence to store steel rules, pencils and the occasional push stick- although I have glued ceramic magnets on most of my push sticks so they stay in place on the saw table.

Like the way you label your parts, it sure does help in making the correct cuts and layouts.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3922 days

#2 posted 02-13-2012 12:50 AM

Thanks Lew. I like your idea of earth magnets on the push stick.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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