Adirondack Chair

250,686

881

42

About: The official instructable for Popular Mechanics magazine, reporting on the DIY world since 1902.

Intro: Adirondack Chair

PopularMechanics.com
For more on Adirondack Chairs, see our original story.

Our version of the Adirondack chair has come a long way from the early types that had flat backs and seats-and, we've added a matching table. Don't be intimidated by the curved slats and number of pieces in this project. Although there are a few angles and curves to cut, there's actually no fancy joinery --everything's held together with deck screws. We used cedar for these pieces because it stands up well to the elements, and it's available in the required 3/4- and 1-in. thicknesses. You could substitute pine if you plan to keep the chairs out of the weather.

Step 1: Plans and Materials

QTY. SIZE DESCRIPTION
A. 2 1 x 5 1/4 x 33 3/4" cedar side rail
B. 1 1 x 4 1/4 x 23 1/4" cedar top back rail
C. 1 1 x 3 1/2 x 23 1/4" cedar bottom back rail
D. 9 3/4 x 2 1/4 x 23 1/4" cedar seat slat
E. 7 3/4 x 3 1/4 x 35 1/2" cedar back slat
F. 2 1 x 4 1/4 x 20 1/2 cedar front leg
G. 2 1 x 2 1/2 x 29" cedar back leg
H. 2 1 x 2 3/4 x 6 1/2" cedar arm bracket
I. 2 1 x 5 1/4 x 28" cedar arm
J. 2 1 x 5 1/4 x 16" cedar foot
K. 2 1 x 1 1/2 x 19 1/4" cedar cleat
L. 2 1 x 5 x 16 1/2" cedar leg
M. 2 3/4 x 5 x 17 1/2" cedar stretcher
N. 5 1 x 3 3/4 x 24" cedar slat
O. as required 1 5/8" No. 8 fh deck screw
P. as required 2" No. 8 fh deck screw

Step 2: Making the Seat

Lay out the side-rail shape on your stock, cut to the lines with a jigsaw and sand the edges smooth. Then, cut the back rails to size, and saw the curves that give the chair back its concave shape. Note that the cut on the top rail is square, while the bottom rail has a 7-degree bevel.

Cut the seat slats to size and round the upper edges of each with a 1/4-in. quarter-round bit in a router table. Then, round the exposed edges-those that won't abut other parts-of the side and back rails. Keep the router table set up for this job so you can round the edges of the other parts as they're made.

Because of the shape of the seat, most of the slats require bevels on one or both edges. Use a table saw or hand plane to cut the bevels.

Step 3: Assemble the Seat

Start seat assembly by screwing the lower back rail to the seat sides with one screw at each end of the rail. Then, add slat No. 4 as indicated in the drawing, again using only one screw at each end. Measure opposite diagonals of the subassembly and adjust it until it's square. When you're satisfied, add a second screw to each end of the two slats to lock the pieces in position.

Step 4: Arrange Slats

Use a 1-in.-thick block as a spacer to position the rear seat slat. Then install the remaining slats. Because the seat is curved and many of the slat edges are angled, don't try to measure these spaces. Instead, simply arrange the slats by eye so that they appear uniform.

Step 5: Attach Legs

Cut the front legs to size and round the long edges on the router table. Mark a line on the inside face of each leg that indicates the bottom edge of the side rail. Then, attach the legs to the seat assembly with screws driven from the inside of the side rails.

Step 6: Add the Back

The back slats are tapered to create a fan shape when installed. Cut each 35 1/2-in.-long slat blank so one end is 3 1/4 in. wide and the other is 2 1/4 in. wide. We did this on a band saw, but a jigsaw will work, too. Smooth the sawn surfaces, cut the curved top ends and round the edges.

Cut the rear legs to size, angling the top ends at 64 degrees. Clamp each rear leg to a side rail, bore and countersink screw pilot holes, and secure the legs with screws.

Step 7: Attach Back Rail

Screw the top back rail to the top ends of the back legs, and lay the chair on its back to install the back slats.

Step 8: Align Slats

Place a 4-in. block under the upper back rail to provide clearance for the long back slats. Mark the centers of the top and bottom back rails, align the center back slat with these marks and screw it in place. (Note: no laser beams were used in this assembly --the original picture is damaged.)

Step 9: Secure Slats

Install the outer two slats. Secure the remaining slats so the top curved ends are aligned and the spaces are uniform. Since the back slats are the focal point of the chair, any gap too large or too small, will immediately draw your eye, so uniformity here is very important.

Step 10: Install the Arms

Cut out the arms and arm supports, and round the edges. Temporarily clamp the supports in place and secure them with screws.

Step 11: Attach Arms

Attach the arms to the front and rear legs with screws.

Step 12: Make the Table

The table is built the same way as the chair-all exposed edges are rounded on the router table and the parts are simply screwed together. Lay out the feet on 1-in. stock and cut to the lines with a jigsaw, then cut the remaining rectangular pieces to size. Attach each foot with three screws.

Step 13: Attach Stretchers

Bore pilot holes and screw the two stretchers to the legs.

Step 14: Space Slats

To assemble the top, it's easiest to first clamp the pieces together with 3/8-in.-thick spacers placed between the top slats. Then, attach the cleats-use the base sub-assembly to make sure they're spaced properly.

Step 15: Attach Cleats to Base, Finish

Finally, screw the base to the top cleats.

Lightly sand the chair and table with 120-grit paper. Keep in mind, though, that cedar is a soft, oily wood that doesn't sand as well as pine or hardwood. You won't achieve the silky smooth surface that you'd expect on indoor furniture.

We finished our pieces with Sikkens Cetol 1, 077 Cedar. First, wipe all the sanding dust from the wood, then apply a coat of finish with a natural-bristle brush. Allow each coat to dry for 24 hours before applying the next. Three coats should provide adequate protection from the elements.

6 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Furniture Contest 2018

    Furniture Contest 2018
  • Fix It! Contest

    Fix It! Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest

42 Discussions

0
None
Luiz Matta

Question 3 months ago on Step 15

I'm talking about Brazil and to sign up as premium I would like to know if the measurements of the adirondeck chair have in millimeters or only in inches

1
None
AdiG12

1 year ago

Well... I kind of made one as well. It IS my 1st ever so it did not come out as good as I aimed it to be, but I do grade it "acceptable" anyway. It is, after all, only 2 inches tall.

20170604_203333.jpg
0
None
Ndrwfix

1 year ago

Great weekend project

temp_-684631484.jpgtemp_1779943108.jpg
0
None
T0BY

1 year ago

Amazing!

0
None
mbrumley

2 years ago

Sorry to be such a noob. In the plans, when the thickness is 1" does that mean really 1" or the finished .875" I find at big box stores. The same is true for the 3/4" boards. Do I use the 3/4" boards which are actually .625" finished? It seems like I would have to plane boards to end up with the literal 1" and 3/4" thicknesses. Any advice?

2 replies
0
None
JimTheSoundmanmbrumley

Reply 2 years ago

Yes, the sizes are the nominal sizes, what we nowadays would refer to as "rough lumber." Long ago the lumber mills offered finished lumber as an option and most people ended up buying it that way, but to avoid confusion, the lumbermills kept the same "rough cut" name.
So almost all lumber nowadays is sold S4S, which means "surfaced four sides" which is why a 2 x 4 is only 1.5 x 3.5.

1
None
monkeyknuckle

2 years ago

Here's a link to the plans in PDF format. http://pop.h-cdn.co/assets/cm/15/06/54d112e5a5fd4_-_PMX0706Adiron.pdf

2 replies
0
None
tinkertoes201

2 years ago

has anyone tried this with polywood? If so, what thickness did you use?

0
None
glennonrp

2 years ago

I googled for the PDF of the plans with measurements it's still on the web

0
None
russaw

3 years ago on Introduction

Nice and easy project, just looking for garden chair ideas.

0
None
Tabla666

3 years ago

Can anyone provide with a link to the plans in .pdf format suitable for printing and template use? Really want to make these chairs!! Thanks!

1 reply
0
None
hans62Tabla666

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Hi Tabla. I just took measurements from the PDF in the internet. For me (home use) it was enough precise.

0
None
hans62

3 years ago on Introduction

Made another one with spruce wood. And replaced the chair back of the first one.

20150510_103000_resized.jpg20150510_103125_resized.jpg
0
None
SeanGilmour

3 years ago on Introduction

hi, I bought extra wood as I am building multiple sets. A rough guess for 2 chairs and a table 150-200 cdn. I used higher end screws and had a lot of waste cutting the back slates, due to poor sized and available lumber. I definitely could build them cheaper with better lumber supplier. When I first looked at the project I used Home Depot online to get a rough price and think it was about $60 per chair

0
None
sgilmour1

3 years ago

My first build, great instructions I'm very happy with the project.