Building An Adirondack Chair: Result

by Josh on April 10, 2009 · 11 comments

in Projects

Some cold weather last weekend kept me from staining the adirondack chair as quickly as I had hoped.  But the temperatures warmed up a bit this week, allowing me to finish the last bit of staining yesterday afternoon.  This morning, the chair moved to my front yard.

Finished Adirondack Chair

This was my first furniture-making project and it included a few deviations from the stock plans.  Overall, I am very happy with how the chair turned out, though I learned a few things along the way that might save you some hassle if you undertake a project like this.

Lessons Learned:

  • If planning to stain or paint the chair, leave adequate space between the slats in the seat and back to accomodate the paint brush– or finish with a sprayer.
  • Although cedar costs more than treated pine, it will look great without the time and expense of painting or staining.  
  • Have plenty of sandpaper on hand– particularly if you are not using a router to roundover the edges or a band saw to cut your curves.  I used a lot of sandpaper softening edges and smoothing out imperfect jigsaw curves.
  • Work in volume.  This was an intentional prototype, but now that I’ve decided to keep the chair, I wish I had built two (or more) instead of one.  It will be more work to repeat all my steps for the second chair instead of building in bulk the first time.

UPDATE:  Cost Estimate:

Thanks to 1916Home for reminding me to post a cost estimate for the project.  This is a bit tricky because in some cases I had the materials already and in other cases I only needed a portion of the unit I bought.  These were my expenses as best I can recall them:

  • Lumber: $30-40  –  All ACQ-treated pine 1×2, 1×4, 1×6, 1×8 and 1x10s
  • Hardware: $10  –  Used only a portion of the coated screws I bought
  • Wood filler and sandpaper: $4  –  Medium grit quarter sheets + a portion of my WoodEpox kit.
  • Stain: $30  –  This project barely dented the gallon I bought.
  • Other incidentals like saw blades (I used up a jigsaw blade) not included.

Estimated chair materials cost: $45

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one } April 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Looks great! Do you know the rough cost for the materials? I might just have to build my own now.


Josh April 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Thanks for the idea, 1916home. I updated the post with a rough cost estimate. Good luck with your project– keep us informed if you take it on!


Derek April 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I’ve found that a rasp work better than sandpaper for shaping curves from the jigsaw. Nice job. Did you have to bleach the pressure treated before staining?


Josh April 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Thanks for the tip about the rasp, Derek. I’ll give that a try on the next one. And no, I didn’t bleach the lumber before staining.


Sandy April 11, 2009 at 7:12 pm

The chair looks great!


alan herell - the head lemur April 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Nice Chair. I would invest in a 1/4 sheet palm sander for doing your curved work. On the chair slats, I would pre finish them so that all you have is touch up after cutting and assembly.


Stacy April 11, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I love it! I like how it’s not exactly like every other chair with it’s wide boards in the back etc. It fits nicely in your front yard.


Will April 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Hey wow! that looks Great! The two larger planks look very craftsman. It’s a nice twist on a classic.


Dulcie April 15, 2009 at 8:36 pm

That chair looks great! My very important question: how comfortable is it? 🙂


Josh April 15, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for all the compliments, everyone!

@Alan: I have a palm sander already and it was very helpful for the project. At the end of the project I also bought a little rotary sanding accessory for my drill that was useful for sanding the curves.

@Dulcie: I think the chair is very comfortable. The recline angle is nice and the arms are just the right height.


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