Adirondack Chair - Barrel Staves - design changes

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Project by winecountrywhimsy posted 05-12-2009 04:04 AM 9482 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It may be difficult to see the difference, but this chair is built from a barrel that is about 4 in. shorter than my other chairs I previously posted. This makes the chair narrower and shorter. It does not have much affect on the depth as the arms and main legs have ample length. The shorter back seems to have a better proportion, but it does not support my head when I sit in it. It may be better for a shorter person, I am 6’ tall.

I also figured out the best way to attach the chair back to the rear of the seat. I traced the arch of the main back support onto the rear seat piece and cut it out with my band saw. I then cut a 15 in. long notch, 1 in. deep with a matching arch. This notch is where the chair back staves are attached with screws at the bottom of the chair back. The chair back screws are also attached to the main back support with screws. I covered up all these screws (deck screws) with pieces of the barrel hoop that I cut to length. I attached the barrel hoop to the chair back support and to the bottom of the chair back with pan head screws that resemble rivets, somewhat. By attaching the hoop to the bottom of the back staves and to the rear of the seat, it gives the back much more strength. I added one more barrel hoop cross piece near the top of the chair, which is not shown in all the photos.

I changed my method of finish on this one also. I switched from outdoor polyurethane to a marine varnish. I hope it stands up well to the weather.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

-- Todd @ winecountrywhimsy Sonoma County, CA

15 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3777 days

#1 posted 05-12-2009 04:10 AM

Hey Todd
very creative well done. I’m in another wine country Oregon

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3504 days

#2 posted 05-12-2009 04:20 AM

Wow, looks great!

(Still chuckling here) that chair is to cool!

The wife says, “That chair is really neat”.

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View jim1953's profile


2736 posts in 4042 days

#3 posted 05-12-2009 04:22 AM

Very Nice

-- Jim, Kentucky

View Cov's profile


51 posts in 3747 days

#4 posted 05-12-2009 04:56 AM


Nice looking chair. I’ve been playing with the barrels too, but got side tracked building a 900 sqft deck around the pool… What I have done so far is try to find a good method of attaching two staves without being able to pull them a part with a good tug… I think what I like the best is glued oak dowels…

Thanks for the post – good work.


-- Cov, Loomis, CA,

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 3522 days

#5 posted 05-12-2009 05:20 AM

Very creative! And you could put this on the end of the dock while you’re fishing and put your fishing pole in the hole between your legs. As long as you don’t rock a lot.


-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Vicki's profile


1106 posts in 3544 days

#6 posted 05-12-2009 05:54 AM

Hi Todd,
What a cool chair! I’ve never seen anything like it. Do you get the recycled barrels for a low price or something?

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Cov's profile


51 posts in 3747 days

#7 posted 05-12-2009 06:03 AM


Also wondering did you build a jig to get such a nice looking rip down the stave?

-- Cov, Loomis, CA,

View winecountrywhimsy's profile


99 posts in 3548 days

#8 posted 05-12-2009 09:49 AM

Thanks for all the great feedback. I really like the new chair from the shorter barrel. You would not believe how comfortable these chairs are with the curved back, slanted seat, and elevated arms. You really don’t want to get out, lol.

I just wish the staves were wider and flatter so that I could set my wine glass or beer on the arm without the worry that it might topple off. It sits OK, but I have to watch it. I actually make wine glass holders that can be stuck in the ground next to your chair. I copied one I saw in a magazine. It is made from metal rod that is a few feet long. You bend a loop in one end that looks similar to a question mark (?) only a little more closed on the circular portion. Then bend it at 90 degrees so the circular part is at a 90 degree angle to the ground. The stem of the wine glasses slips into the open part of the circle. I would post it as a project, but it is not wood working.

Anyhow, sorry I got sidetracked there…....

I get the barrels cheap, some for free from a few sources or I can always get them for $10 or less. It is nice to work out a new project and not worry about expensive materials. If I make a mistake, I cut it up and use it in the BBQ grill. The wine soaked oak gives a great flavor.

I don’t get too involved on the joinery. I actually use deck screws for most of the fasteners and no glue. There are no tight fitting joints where glue would do much good due to the curves in the staves, end to end and side to side. Where the main front piece joins the two front legs (joining wide surface to wide surface), I use carriage bolts. Other screws that show are typically #12 screws, unless I countersink them and cover with wood putty. I have been thinking about doing a countersink with wood plugs, but I have not got that fancy yet. I try to hide as many screw heads as possible, attaching the seat pieces and main leg brace from below. I find the deck screws work best; they are strong and easier to work with. Other wood screws need more precise pre-drilling and tent to strip out or snap off, such a pain.

I don’t have to rip any of the staves in this project. The staves in a barrel vary in width and I have been able to adapt the design to use the staves provided. I wish I had a good jig to rip staves, I could use it when making the trivet and cork board frames. The curves of the barrel stave make it very difficult to cut them to a uniform width. Not only do the staves curve from end to end and side to side, the sides have a beveled cut to them.

I have been toying with the idea of a rocking chair. A barrel stave should make an ideal rocker. Maybe, as soon as I finish the other 5 or 6 chairs my wife wants me to make, lol.

Thanks for all the interest and great feedback.

-- Todd @ winecountrywhimsy Sonoma County, CA

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 3596 days

#9 posted 05-12-2009 02:23 PM

Great idea making these chairs from barrels! The chair looks good, who puts down their beer?

-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View stefang's profile


16131 posts in 3534 days

#10 posted 05-12-2009 09:17 PM

Todd, I think your chair is great (and whimsical), but I have to say that I think it is a little unfair that you are getting these bent pieces of wood almost free while others are hard at work doing their own bending. I also presume you are getting free wine tasting while your out buying those barrels. Dang, some people have all the luck! Hope I didn’t spoil your day. Keep em coming.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View winecountrywhimsy's profile


99 posts in 3548 days

#11 posted 05-12-2009 09:23 PM

I guess you could say the wood and I both get bent.

-- Todd @ winecountrywhimsy Sonoma County, CA

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4277 days

#12 posted 05-13-2009 03:28 AM

looks great todd!!

Why not build the wine holder right into the arm rest…a small notch that the stem of a wine glass could slide into>???

of course a cool matching side table would go great…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Tank's profile


8 posts in 3502 days

#13 posted 05-13-2009 04:52 PM

That chair is great, love the idea.


-- -Ryan

View FrankLad's profile


273 posts in 3509 days

#14 posted 06-05-2009 05:51 PM

Fantastic chair! Very creative!

-- Frank, Mississippi, Original Bentwood Rings -

View JoeC61's profile


34 posts in 3783 days

#15 posted 07-03-2009 11:29 PM

Thanks for the comment on my water ski chair. Your chair is AWESOME! I love the coloring on the wood. Man…very nice!! I love the combination of form and function! Nice job.

-- Joe-Carver, MN

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