Woodworking Right of Passage - First Rough Lumber Attempt

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Project by USCJeff posted 08-12-2008 04:01 AM 1975 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Woodworking Right of Passage - First Rough Lumber Attempt
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While there will be no “oohs or aahs” with an Adirondack project, I really enjoyed this one. I consider this one of those right of passage projects. Along with a workbench, toolbox, hand plane, etc. . it’s one of those projects that everyone seems to do once in their career. The lumber, templates, and Lee Valley plan were gifted to me this last Christmas. My Brother-in-Law showed up my Holiday cutting boards by making almost 20 of these chairs for different family members. Wow, to say the least. He asked me if I wanted him to make it or give me the materials. I opted for the latter. He gave me a ton of rough cedar in random dimensions. I’ve always have had at least S2S lumber in the past. It was a different feeling, going from rough to finish. Fairly rewarding in my opinion. Took much longer obviously.

Anyways, the wood is cedar and wasn’t the clearest samples. I was able to get a decent face side for almost everything. I have not applied any finish at this point. I am going to let the sun even out the color a bit before treating it. You’ll notice my kids have already colored the arms with chalk somewhat. Thought about erasing it before the shot, but I’d be lying about how it really appears day in, day out! :)

Lessons learned: Cedar is easy to split. Had to take a lot of care to get the pilots and tapers just right. My shop smells great though, despite everything having a bit of a reddish hue to it.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

10 comments so far

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3598 days

#1 posted 08-12-2008 04:06 AM

Nice looking Adirondack chairs. It sure is nice watching ruff lumber turn into something isn’t it. Nice job.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4012 days

#2 posted 08-12-2008 04:13 AM

these are great!!!! I hear you on the sanding from rougher wood…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1219 posts in 3934 days

#3 posted 08-12-2008 04:50 AM


Nice job, good looking chairs, I like the high backs.

-- Bob A in NJ

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 3573 days

#4 posted 08-12-2008 05:06 AM


I’m tickled that you decided to leave the chalk marks. My little helper has crayon or marker ever ready to help decorate where needed. If the finished project doesn’t need that special touch, my mallet, sawhorse or other support work needs freshened up.

Good looking chairs too. It already looks like the family enjoys them.

-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3702 days

#5 posted 08-12-2008 05:16 AM

Great chairs. Thanks for sharing Jeff.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3638 days

#6 posted 08-12-2008 11:25 AM

Great job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3831 days

#7 posted 08-12-2008 11:30 AM

Everyone has to make at least one Adirondack chair. It’s a must.

These look great. They make for great sitting and you appreciate them so much more knowing what it took to make them.

Hopefully you saved some of your cedar shavings for little closet pouches. Put some in an old sock, tie the end in a knot and just put in on a shelf. Every whip stitch roll it between your hands to refresh it and the closet will be smelling good.

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

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3874 days

#8 posted 08-12-2008 11:35 AM

The chairs are good. And I must agree that there is a certain feeling of accomplishment taking something from rough lumber to a piece of furniture. Good work.

-- Working at Woodworking

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 3633 days

#9 posted 08-12-2008 01:51 PM

Great chairs. I have made 3 sets myself. i used pine though. I was given a bunch of rough cedar which I am currently making a cedar chest. It’s a lot of work without a planer. You will probably make more chairs in the future.

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4003 days

#10 posted 07-20-2011 01:59 PM

UPDATE: Ok, so I think I used the worlds most unstable cedar for this one. My brother-in-law bought the cedar cheap from a demolished structure of some type. It splits with the fasteners fairly easily. I used the appropriate tapered drill bit and still wasted a lot of splits. I ended up painting them so I could repair the joints.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

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