Springtime in the AdirondacksComments (1)
Spring is finally here! It’s time to get out on your patio or deck and enjoy the season. If you are thinking about new outdoor furniture this year, give some consideration to building Adirondack chairs. This classic chair gets its name from the New York mountain camps that snapped up hundreds of them after it was invented in the early 1900s. I built two for my deck and have been enjoying them for years.
Once you slide onto the low-slung seat of an Adirondack chair and settle into the curve of the fanned seat back you won’t want to move. Plus, their wide, flat armrests can hold a cold beverage, reading material, a big lunch and still have room for your arms!
Building an Adirondack chair may seem intimidating but it’s actually a fairly easy project. With a good set of plans and a few basic power tools you can build one in less than a day. Here are some considerations before you start:
Plans are readily available in woodworking books and magazines or at Woodcraft. Be sure the plans come with step-by-step instructions and good patterns for the chair parts. There are endless variations on the basic design. Choose a pattern that fits your style but be aware that some designs may require additional tools or greater woodworking skills.
You don’t need a full workshop to build an Adirondack chair. Hand tools will work but some basic power tools will definitely speed up the process; a table saw or power miter box to cut pieces to size, a jigsaw or bandsaw to cut curves and drill/driver at a minimum. Plus basic tools like safety glasses (safety comes first), tape measure, square, and clamps. A palm sander is also handy although hand sanding works.
Assuming your chair will be exposed to the elements, you will want to use wood that is weather-resistant. Cedar, Teak or pressure treated wood are all good choices but will yield very different looks at very different prices. Woods like Iroko or White Oak will also hold up well.
Follow your instructions carefully. Lay out all of the parts to get the best yield from your wood and cut and sand the pieces before assembly. Some of the angle cuts are critical to the strength of the chair so pay close attention to details. If you are building more than one chair consider making a cardboard template of each piece to make layout easier.
Finish your assembled chair to suit your taste with paint, stain, tung oil or varnish. Or just leave it unfinished to weather naturally. If you use a softer wood like pine you will definitely need to seal and finish it to avoid having a ‘one season’ chair.
The Adirondack chair design is genius; clean functional lines with practical comfort. It is something you can make with your own hands and enjoy for years to come.
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