Outdoor Furniture #1: First Time Building An Adirondak Chair

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Blog entry by Retsof posted 05-18-2012 09:02 PM 2333 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My old patio set has seen better days. It was a pretty inexpensive set that I picked up when we lived in Phoenix fourteen years ago, so I guess I got my money’s worth out of it. Anything that last fourteen years in the Phoenix and Las Vegas sun is pretty amazing. :) I looked into the cost of replacing the slings on four chairs and a chaise lounge and I’m not sure it’s worth doing. Since I have the time and the tools, this is the perfect opportunity to take a crack at building my own outdoor furniture.

The first piece that I’m going to try is the Adirondack Chair. I’m working from the plans in the Woodsmithshop Outdoor Furniture book (I picked this up on my last visit to Woodworker’s Emporium), but I decided to make a few changes. I spent the morning drawing up the templates and cutting them out of 1/4 poplar boards with my jigsaw.

I love how they came out and I’m excited to see the shapes emerge from the actual project wood. I am building this first chair from Douglas Fir (mainly because Redwood was just too expensive for this first attempt). I was able to pick up some nice straight 1×4s, and 1×6s at Lowes. I was not able to find any 1×8 in Douglas Fir which is what the plan lists as the most important part of the chair: the back legs/seat frame, so that’s the first change I had to make to the plan.

Isn’t that always how it goes when you bring a cut list from a book into a big box store? There is always something you need that they don’t stock or you would have to wait for a special order. I want to build it NOW, so I’m substituting a 2×8. I don’t know if it’s the author of the plans, or the store, but just once, I’d like to see a plan for something that I would like to build where I can get all the parts in one shopping trip.

One benefit going with a 2×8 is that this will make for a beast of an Adirondack Chair. Since I have the extra thickness in the back legs/seat frame, I’m now planning to notch out the areas where the 1×4 front legs will connect, instead of just bolting them to the outside of the frame. With the front legs set into frame, everything will be flush on the outside of the chair. It looks good in my head at least.

I also made some changes to the arms and seat curves as I was drawing up the templates and I made the seat 1” deeper and the arms 2” longer (I can always cut them down later if I don’t like how they fit).

Now to get out in the garage and get all the rough cuts done this evening. The kids are going to be tied up all day tomorrow at a Girl Scout workshop, so I have all day to sand, assemble, and finish my chair.

If all goes well, I’ll be sitting in my chair enjoying a cold one by the pool by Sunday evening.

I’ll post some photos as things come together.

- Regards,


-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

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