Build an Adirondack Chair: the Ultimate Outdoor Furniture

You can make your own outdoor patio furniture — or just a comfortable chair for the front porch when you build an adirondack chair from these step-by-step instructions.


| June/July 1997



162-070-01tab

Diagram: Chair cutting list.


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Spend blissful days in an easy-to-build chair when you build an adirondack chair from these easy-to-follow instructions. (See the chair diagrams in the image gallery.)

Even if you haven't spent some of the most blissfully restful hours of your life in an Adirondack-style lawn chair, you've certainly seen them in ads, movies, or magazine articles about the elegant Lake Champlain estates where they evolved in the Gay '90s, (1890s, that is). Adirondacks are those great wide, wood-plank chairs with old-time charm and spreading arms that beckon you in . . . but with a seat that is so wickedly comfortable and deep that you just may ". . . need a #@$*& spring in your seat to get out . . . ," as my woodworking grandfather used to grouse when hauling free of a lawn chair (that he'd made two generations earlier) . . . himself being well into his 80s then.

Their great, broad arms are perfectly horizontal so they can hold a cold drink, a small library of summer reading, and a big lunch all at once . . . but this makes their arms so deviously high above the depths of the seat that your elbows are forced up . . . so you don't have the leverage to do anything more strenuous than a crossword puzzle. Add in the warmth of the summer sun, lap of waves or crash of surf, maybe another of those cold drinks . . . and an Adirondack chair can do marvelously destructive things to your ambition.

You can purchase pale copies of the true Adirondack chair, power-stapled together from cheap 1 inch (actually ¾ inches-thick) pine shelving in mall stores and unfinished furniture outlets for $35, or $150+ chairs constructed from domestic hardwoods, or $200+ chairs of redwood or plantation teak from mail-order catalogs.

For the most part though, commercial designs are "downsized" from the expansive original to be lightweight enough to ship by UPS. They lack the strength to stand up to decades of serious use or to the weather-beating that any outdoor furniture must endure.

Here's how to build your own ample-sized, rock-solid Adirondack chair, plus a foot rest that makes the chair a lounger or can be made as a side table. Or you can build a double chair that can serve as a settee or be hung on chains as a porch swing. The design and construction is classic when you build an adirondack chair and will last for generations if you drag it onto the porch or put the legs on blocks and cover it with an old tarp during winter.

julie parizek
5/18/2012 4:10:03 PM

The article refers to the "pattern" but none was provided??!!






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