Building Adirondack Chairs




7th graders have been using these plans for five years to build Adirondack chairs. These plans are reliable and after as little as three hours of work, you can have an unstained/painted chair! The plans that we are following today can be found through Shaw Creek General Store.

Step 1: Collect Your Supplies

This supply list can be modified, depending upon what you already have access to. The list includes:

1 box 2" deck screws

1 box 1 1/4 deck screws

10" Mitre Saw


Palm Sander with #220 and #100 paper

Corded and cordless drills with variety of drill bits

Safety goggles

Level, 'L' and tape measure

Step 2: The Wood

You need to purchase three sizes of lumber (preferably pine with very little knots):




Try to purchase lumber that is free of too many knots and is semi-sanded. This lumber is available at any local lumber yard, and should run you about $45-50 total.

Step 3: Designing Your Chair

Your chair can be unique in many ways, the easiest being the back. But the leg height and angle of the arms can be specifically set to whatever level you would like. Take a few minutes before you begin working to develop a plan for personalization. Doing so will save you time and headaches later on!

Step 4: Measuring Lumber

Measuring your lumber: DOUBLE check all measurements!

Cut your lumber into the following measurements:

The 1x4 lumber needs to be cut into the following measurements:

5 44" back slats

5 23" seat slats

2 24" legs

2 10" arm supports

1 26 3/4" middle back brace

1 20 3/4 top back brace

The 1x6 needs to be cut into 2 32" arms

The 1x8 needs to have 3 35" stringers, 1 23" front brace and 1 20 3/4" bottom back brace come out of it.

Step 5: Cutting Lumber on Mitre Saw

Use dominant hand to hold lumber steady, and a friend to help keep longer pieces from moving. Don't forget to use safety glasses when cutting! This can be a powerful and dangerous tool, so if possible, have another set of hands available to hold lumber down while you are cutting it. This will help to avoid rough cuts or accidents.

It's also suggested that a mitre saw with a laser measurement be used.

Step 6: Assembling Your Chair Back

Assemble the back slats (44" 1x4 pieces) first. Then, use the jigsaw to cut the back in the pattern your designed earlier. Use scrap wood as spacers to even out your back of the chair. Use the 1 1/4 screws. Connect the middle back brace (26 1/4" 1x4) to the slats first, followed by the bottom back brace (20 3/4" 1x8). You should then connect the top back brace (20 3/4" 1x4) towards the top end of your back.

Very important: Remember that before actually screwing lumber, you pre-drill with your bits. Otherwise, you can easily crack the wood, thus costing more money to replace your lumber!

Step 7: Assembling Your Chair Base

Connect your two legs (24" 1x4 each) to the stringers (35" 1x8, each). Before (or after) you do this, you should round one end of the stringers using a large cylinder (like an old coffee can) to make a rounded edge. On the other end, cut an angle so the front brace (23" 1x8) and stringers are even and straight. Once you've attached the stringers to the front brace, evenly measure how high you want the front brace to be on your chair. Usually, 6-8" from bottom of the legs to the bottom of the brace is where most chairs are set up. Make sure to use your level to get the angle correct!

If your legs wobble because one is slightly longer, you can jigsaw them down to get an even feel to them!

Step 8: Putting Two Sections Together

With a partner, connect your back section to the base at the stringers. You will want to decide on the angle of the back and how far back you want to sit in your chair. The best way to do this is to measure a spot from the rounded edge of the stringer, mark it with a pencil, and replicate this process on the other end. Then, it is strongly recommended that you use 2" screws to connect to the back through the stringers. To reinforce the back, take leftover scraps, cut them to the same size and placed them on the inside of the section to reinforce the chair. Then run additional screws into this section from the stringers in, preferably 2".

Afterwards, assemble your sleet slats (five 1x4" cut pieces to 23") and attach them to the stringers using 1 1/4" screws, two per side of each slat. Be careful that you leave a gap between your last seat slat and the back, so water can flow to the ground. The slats should taper, so you may need to cut overhanging lumber with a jigsaw afterwards.

Step 9: Adding Arms and Supports

The arm supports can be cut in any design you prefer. Use two pieces of 1x4 cut to them to 10", then jigsaw these edges for a neat pattern. Next, screw the supports from the inside of the chair, so the screws go through the leg and into each support. It's suggested to use at least two 1 1/4" screws for this task. It is suggested to draw lines where you plan on attaching these supports before you actually do this. That way the supports are straight!

Your arms should be cut at 32" from the 1x6x6. Then, create a design for the front end of the arm. Once this has been done, cut the front of the arms to shape using the jigsaw. The arms are attached on the middle back brace overhang. You may want to use a belt sander (optional) or your jigsaw, to trip a flat groove for the arm to rest upon. Attach the arms to this piece and the leg and arm support. It is suggested that at least 1 2" screw is used to connect the arm in the front. To guarantee the arms are level, use one!

Step 10: Sanding and Finishing

Use a palm sander, when possible, to sand down the rough edges. Pine should be pretty smooth, so this won't be a difficult process. Don't bother sanding all surfaces, as you will only be touching one side. I suggest sanding once everything has been constructed, but you can sand seat slats and back slats before assembly if you know which sides are facing out/up.

Don't over sand, and ALWAYS sand with the grain.



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    14 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I would like to see the plans or a working link to some. A longer video with the steps shown would be nice too.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Your really do not need plans as these chairs are simple. I built 2 without plans and they were much more complicated than this design. They had curved backs and seats with some of my design ideas came from pictures I saw. They were easy to adjust during building. I know this because I had to change the second after my folding idea did not work. I gave the second one away as a present and it was much nicer looking then my first effort. A fair bit of wood I used was wood recovered from my house when I did a reno. My secret was that I viewed the wood as having no cost which allowed me the freedom to experiment and to make mistakes and design changes.

    Bill RoseWild-Bill

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Idid the same thing using free 'scrap' wood left over from a building project. I built several proto-chairs until I found a comfortable design. Then from that working proto-chair I made better quality chairs which I now sell to other people. I craft the chair to my customers size and leg length so they get their own 'perfect' chair. (Just like goldilocks and the three bears, Daddy, Mommy and baby chairs.)

    Bill Rose

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I use a smaller circular saw with a fine cut blade. Its much easier to use and produces an excellent finished cut. Perhaps you could find a sponsor to buy a smaller saw. Mine is a 'Skill Saw' with a 8 inch blade.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing. Looks good and simple. The plans link took me to a spammy site.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    In Canada we call that a Muskoka chair - the Muskoka area of Ontario, north of Toronto, was/is a huge vacation spot - now rather high end.

    Bill Rose

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Here are couple of photos of my chairs.. The blue one is my own design and the red one is based on a classic 20th century chair by Gerrit Rietveld.

    Bill Rose

    4 years ago on Introduction

    I actually make wooden chairs and the idea of getting young people to make something like a chair is a great idea. Keep this going please..


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I went to Shaw Creek General Store and had trouble finding the plans. Is there any help you could give or directions I missed? I must admit; I have trouble finding the mustard if it is behind something else in the refrigerator.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very interesting, concise and inspirational 'ible.

    However, the video at the top is only 11 seconds of you standing outside of Home Depot telling us what you are about to do. Is that the video you intended to put up?

    And the link to Shaw Creek General Store isn't really there anymore either. Just one of those old websites repurchased by someone else and used as a redirect to advertisements.

    Do you have a direct link to the plans?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Looks like nice quality work - the kids should be proud. How much do the materials cost per chair?

    1 reply