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Adirondack Chair & Table #1: Intro and Preparing the Back Slats

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Blog entry by jcontract posted 12-21-2009 12:41 AM 2122 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Adirondack Chair & Table series Part 2: I Love the Smell of Mahogany in the Morning »

I’ve always loved the Adironack Chair. Some of my fondest memories are sitting in one and relaxing with a cold drink, watching the sunset when it’s the perfect temperature, with just a hint of a soft breeze. So when a few years back when my wife and I bought our first house, we needed the perfect Adirondack chair for the backyard. One that was comfortable, but not too low to the ground. One that didn’t feel like you were too reclined.

I looked high and low for the perfect chair. Any time I saw one, no matter where we were, I would always stop to test it out. Until one day I flipped on The New Yankee Workshop. Norm was demonstrating his version of the Adirondack Chair. He explained how he had visited a museum where he borrowed the best features of many styles of Adirondack chairs to arrive at the design of his. It seemed to have all of the features I was interested in.

I bought the plan, and thus began my first woodworking project. I literally had no experience with woodworking at all. Other than hanging pictures in the house, and dabbling in installing base molding, I had no idea what I was doing. When I received the plans for the chair, it looked extremely intimidating. I had no idea where I wood by the lumber for such a project, let alone where to purchase it. However, a good friend of mine lent me his time, and experience (and his shop) and we built that chair! It was everything I’d expected it would be. I built it of Sepele Mahogany for my wife, and it came out just beautifully.

There is only one bad part. I only built one of them. So this blog will be dedicated to the process of building a second matching chair, along with a small side table.

I started the build process already. We purchased the Sepele Mahogany for the chair and table. I’ve rough cut the lumber to approximate size for the chair components, so forgive me if I’m not starting at the absolute beginning.

My shop (if you can call it a shop yet), does not have all of the tools that are required to get the stock down to size and thickness. I am still relying on my friend John T. for that. I don’t own a table saw, jointer, or surface planer. We get together every month for a shop day, and that’s where I get the lumber down to size. Thanks Johnny!

We pick up this story with the chair slats completed. And some of the back seat slats were dimensioned correctly in our last monthly meeting, so I was able to use my bandsaw to cut the shapes of the back slats.

With the first chair, we made templates of the chair components out of hardboard, so you’ll be seeing those throughout.

So here is one of the templates and the seat slat before using a 3/4” templating bit with the Bosch Colt. The Colt is quickly becoming one of my favorite tools. Easy to maneuver, lightweight. It’s the best.

Next, I clamp the template in place and routed the curves of the slats. You can see the bit of the curve left proud of the line on the bandsaw.

The same technique on the center rear seat slat.

Once the slats were trimmed to the exact curve given by the template, I used a 1/4” roundover bit to round over the front side of the seat slate. I used bench cookies when routing the long runs on the seat slats, but I honestly felt I needed a more stable surface than the cookies when rounding over the curves. A couple fo clamps for that.

Here are the slats after rounding over.

Here are all the slats I’ve done so far. One is missing. It still needs to go through the surface planer.

So thus far, I have the back seat slats completed (sans 1) and the seat slats.


I clamped them together to prevent twisting, and also to keep them safe in the garage.


Next time it’s surface planing, jointing, and ripping all parts down to size.



7 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#1 posted 12-21-2009 12:55 AM

Sounds good how about a photo of the chair before you start the table?

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View jcontract's profile

jcontract

84 posts in 2548 days


#2 posted 12-21-2009 02:40 AM

Jim. I’m going to post the progress of the chair and table as I build it. Do you think I should post the 1st chair I made here as well?

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3038 days


#3 posted 12-21-2009 03:38 AM

Hey J
I was not saying it was a must to post photos , just a suggestion. Looks like a great project lots good info so far.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View jtash's profile

jtash

30 posts in 2544 days


#4 posted 12-23-2009 03:19 AM

Hey J,

I see you have the shark steam mop in the back ground. How will that be used for this project ;)

You should post the first chair so every one can see what the end result will be.
Great blog, lloking forward to the next entry.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 3133 days


#5 posted 12-23-2009 03:30 AM

Nice start!

View jcontract's profile

jcontract

84 posts in 2548 days


#6 posted 12-23-2009 04:08 AM

Johnny. I will do that. I will post the first chair as a project and reference it in the next blog. Thanks for reading. Cannot wait to see some of your stuff up there. As for the Shark steam mop, it needs to find a new home….when the garage finally becomes a shop.

View jtash's profile

jtash

30 posts in 2544 days


#7 posted 12-23-2009 05:59 AM

Nice, Ditto for me on the…...when the garage finally becomes a shop, not a dumping ground. I have to get a bigger place.

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