Adirondack chairs are relatively easy to build if you have the proper Adirondack chair plans.
The original Adirondack chair was made in the early 1900's by Harry C. Bunnell from New York. The first chair was made of only eleven pieces of wood cut from a single board and assembled in a pleasing, relaxing way. Since then, Adirondack chairs have been a staple of American culture.
From the slanted back to the extra-wide arms, the Adirondack chair is both familiar and versatile. In fact, the original patent includes a design modification specifically for the comfort of "invalids." Fortunately, the Adirondack chair is fairly easy to make on your own, especially with the many Adirondack chair plans available online.
While these vary widely from chair to chair, the measurements in most Adirondack chair plans usually follow a similar pattern.
- You will need two rear legs. The specifications for the rear legs are generally 1-1/16 x 5 x 33-7/8 inches.
- Adirondack chairs also require one stretcher and two front legs at 1-1/16 x 4-1/4 x 20-7/16 inches.
- The rail for the front of the chair measures at 1-1/16 x 5-3/8 x 23-5/8 inches.
- Two brackets, each measuring 1-1/16 x 2-1/2 x 6 inches must be cut.
- Both arms measure in at 1-1/16 x 5-1/2 x 28-1/2 inches.
- A single back stretcher will measure 1-1/16 x 2-1/2 x 27 inches.
- Five slats (1-1/16 x 4 x 32-1/2 inches) and five hinge blocks (1-1/16 x 3-3/8 x 23-5/8 inches) should be cut.
- Finally, the chair's support will measure 1-1/16 x 3-3/8 x 23-5/8 inches.
These 22 pieces, in addition to wood glue and 2-inch galvanized deck screws, are usually all that is required.
In general, cedar, of either the white or red variety, is used for Adirondack chairs due to its natural ability to resist damage from bugs and the elements. However, any variety of woods will do, as varnish or paint--should you choose to use them--will ensure the longevity of your chair.
Galvanized deck screws may be used for joining the wood, although carriage bolts are sometimes used as well. In order to reinforce the joints, wood glue is recommended in addition to the screws.
Start out by cutting the chair sides. Any type of pattern on these side pieces will add the flair of creativity to your chair. It is important to remember, however, that these pieces also serve as the back legs of the chair, so they should be sturdy.
A table saw or circular saw is best for cutting out the pattern you design. The angled cuts on the back bottom edge of these pieces will impart the angle to your chair, so cut these precisely. Next, cut the front rail. Using a drill, bore pilot holes into the front rail. These will help you to fasten the rail to the sides.
Positioning the Legs and Slats
After applying glue to the sides and the front rail, screw them together. Cut the front legs to size, bore the appropriate pilot holes, and repeat the process. Use a saber saw to trim your arm brackets to size, and attach them to the front legs with screws.
Next, draw a pattern for the arms of the chair. Again, you can be as creative or utilitarian as you wish with these. Just make sure that the arms are sanded and free of roughness before proceeding.
Trim out the arm stretcher and, making certain that the arms are straight, attach them to the stretcher on the underside. If you bore pilot holes, the arms may be attached to the front legs.
Position the pieces for the back slats together, then clamp them with a 3/8 inch spacer between each one. Cut your preferred design, which is usually a rounded top, and trim the bottom to the length you want. Holding the first slat tight to the stretcher, screw it into the top stretcher, and continue screwing each successive slat into each stretcher. Screw in the back support.
Screw in the seat slats to the chair sides with a 3/8 inch spacer between each. Complete the job by varnishing or painting your chair. You can even top with some cheap patio cushions, although the chairs can be quite comfortable and beautiful without this addition. After letting it dry, you'll be ready to sit down and enjoy!