Outdoor Adirondack Rocking Chair - Solid Wood Painted

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About: Designer, Licensed Landscape Architect, State Extension Specialist of Landscape Architecture, Professor of Landscape Architecture. Instagram: @QLanaLuo

A comfortable chair will increase people's outdoor time drastically. Sitting in your chair, you can enjoy a book, a grill out, a fire pit, or a movie night with the family. Spending more time at outdoor will relax you and unwind your mind.

Step 1: Cut Wood Boards Per the Template Drawings I Provided.

Print out the templates on paper:
The templates were created on 36 in x 24 in sheets. You can print them out on 36 x 24 inch sheet if you can access to a large format plotter, such as FedEx Office. Or you can google "tiling print" and print them out on small (11 x 8.5 or 11 x 17) size cut sheets, and then you will just need to piece them together using tape. Use scissors or knife to cut them out carefully along the borders of each geometry. The template PDF file is attached.

Place the cutout templates on the wood boards:

I used three 1 x 10 x 8' boards, one 1 x 10 x 6' pine board, one 2 x 10 x 6' treated board, and one 2 x 6 x 4' treated board. You can use your favorite 3/4" thick wood boards. Just obtain adequate quantity.

If you use same boards as I did, you can place the cutout templates on the boards exactly as I did per "Board Cutting Diagrams" shows. Use a pencil to trace the geometry onto the wood surface. The image of Board Cutting Diagram is attached.

Note: When you see circles on the templates, that means they are holes for bolts. When you see ovals, those are pocket hole locations. Mark all them up on wood boards.

Cut:

Following along the borders of each geometry, use circular saw to cut straight lines, and jigsaw to cut curved lines. If you have a table saw, the cutting process for seat slats can be a little quicker. See images.

Round over edges and sand the wood boards:

Use a 1/8" or 1/4" diameter router bit to round over all the edges of each board. Use 80, 120, and 220 grits sandpaper to sand all boards to smooth.

Step 2: Assemble the Seat.

Seat support:
Place the two Ds (seat supports, pink) vertically. I made two T-shape jigs to support them (see photo).

Seat slats:

Place B (rear seat slat, dark blue) at the "notches" of two seat supports and screw the two ends into the top of Ds with two #8 wood screws (2 inch). Then place CF (front seat slat, dark green) at the front end of D, make sure the bottom surfaces flush, and screw the face onto D with two screws. (see SketchUp design image).

Note: a) All screws are #8 x 2 in wood screws when not stating otherwise sizes. b) Make sure to check squares between seat supports and seat slats. c) Pre-drill a hole for all screws in this project to prevent wood splitting!

Now you have two seat slats installed. Place a C (seat slat, light blue) next to the CF that you just installed with an approximately 1/4" to 1/2" gap. (see image. I placed a metal sqaure in between as a spacer.) Screw it with one wood screw on each end onto Ds. Then Place A (seat slat, orange) on top of the Ds with 1-1/8" +/- distance next to B. Now place the rest six Cs (seat slats, light blue) in between with even spacing. Screw all onto Ds. (see image. I used wooden sticks as spacers).

Step 3: Install Front Legs.

Now you have seat assemly finished, it is time to move on to front leg installation.

Pre-drill holes for bolts at two front legs & two side supports:

I lined up and stacked two Es (front legs, light gray) together and drilled two holes where the template marks up with circles. (See image). Drill all the way through the stacked legs to ensure same locations. On the two Ds (side supports, light pink), pre-drill two holes on each side. See image for carriage bolt assembly. Bolt size is 5/16" x 2-1/2".

Insert bolts:

Insert the bolt from outside of E (front leg, light gray), through the D (side support, light pink), as the image shown. Place wash, lock washer, and nut on. Then use a wrench to tighten the nut. Do the same on the opposite side of the seat. Total 4 sets of bolt assembly used here.

Tips:

1. It is easier to access the working are if you place the seat upside down for this step. see image.

2. You can use a little wood glue to glue seat slats in place before putting in crews.

Step 4: Install Arms Supports, Back Legs, and Arms.

Arm support:
Drill two pocket holes on each F (arm support, green). On the outside of each front leg, place and glue F (arm support, green) in the middle. Make sure the top is flush with the top of the front leg. Use a clamp to keep it in place until dry. See image.

Back legs:

Use the same method to install Gs (back legs, dark grey). Use one carriage bolt set on each side. See image. Put H (back support, purple) on top of Gs, and put in screws to secure it to back legs. see image.

Arms:

Place the J (arms, beige) on top of the E (front leg, light grey) and F (arm support, medium green). Make sure the "notch" (marked on the cutting template of J) is "hugging" the back leg. Make sure the arm surface is horizontal by using a level. The arm should overhang about 1/8" to 1/4" on the inside of Ds(front leg, light grey). Check square for the back legs. Then clamp and glue the arm at the notch to keep it stay in place. (see image). Wait until the glue is dry, screw in two screws from inside of back leg into the arm. Do the same for the other arm. See images.

Step 5: Install Back Slats.

Place center seat slat.

Place S0 (center back slat, yellow) at the center of chair. Make sure the bottom of S0 flush with the bottom of B (rear seat slat). Fasten the position with glue, clamps, or tapes. I used tapes here. Then screw it to H (back support, purple) and B (rear seat slat). Fan out the rest three back slats (S1, S2, and S3) on each side with equal distances, and fasten them with screws as you just did for S0 (center back slats). Note that the spacing on top is wider than the bottom. See images.

Step 6: Install the Rockers.

Prepare the rockers:

Clams the two cut out rockers together and sand to smooth. The two rockers should be identical.

Install rockers to chair legs:

Place the four chair legs on the chair body on top of both rockers. Adjust the position until the length of rocker revealed before front legs is about 5" to 5.5". Use a pencil to trace out the locations of all four legs. Pre-drill three holes at each leg position. See image.

Put chair body on top of rockers again and double check position. At this point, you might need to sand down the bottom of each leg so that they will fit better with the curve of the rockers. See image.

Flip the chair to upside down position. Put rockers on top of the legs. Align with the legs with the pencil marks you just drew. Screw in three 3" #8 wood screws from the bottom of rocker into the leg. Do the same for the other three legs.

Tip: I wanted the between rocker spacing tapers from front to the back so that the design looks slicker. Another word, the space between rockers at the front is wider than the back.

Flip the chair back. Sand everything with 220 grit sandpaper. By now, the woodworking part is done! See image.

Step 7: Painting and Completion.

Priming & painting:

I used a high quality exterior primer to prime the entire chair first. Then I used the same brand exterior paint to paint three coats on top of the primer.

Others.

I sat in the chair and checked the balance of the chair. The chair tented to tilt towards the front than the back. So I added some weight at the back on the rockers with a stretcher (2x2 board that I cut out from leftover wood). It balanced perfectly now, and it added more structure strength too. If you chair balance well, you don't need to do this step. If you do need this, you should measure the distance between two rockers at the rear to determine your stretcher's length.

See the final pictures.

Congratulations on your new adirondack chair!

Tips: In the building process, cutting and sanding each board take a lot of time. Give it a little patience on that.

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    9 Discussions

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    aebe

    17 days ago

    That's a mighty nice chair. Makers can save some effort by doing as much sanding as possible before cutting.

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    sings2high

    Question 17 days ago on Step 7

    Does the chair fit you well? How tall are you? That would help in sizing the chair up or (in my case) down.

    1 answer
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    QLanaLuosings2high

    Answer 17 days ago

    I am medium size. It fits me slightly big. It can fit up to 6'2" people with a fit body I guess.

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    thedud

    18 days ago

    Superbe réalisation.
    Merci pour le pdf et le tuto complet.

    1 reply
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    rayp1511

    21 days ago

    Beautifully done, I liked the tips on printing. Thank you for the PDF too!

    1 reply
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    audreyobscura

    21 days ago

    This chair looks awesome! Out of curiosity, what program did you design the chair in?

    1 reply
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    QLanaLuoaudreyobscura

    Reply 21 days ago

    Thanks!
    The 3D drawings were done by Sketchup. The plans were done by AutoCAD. Cheers!