Building an Adirondack Chair is a fun, creative project that many woodworking beginners can tackle in a weekend. Below, we have put together our own Adirondack chair plans. Learn how to build an Adirondack Chair by following the instructions below. Download the drawings and a printable version of these instructions below.
Before you start, familiarize yourself with your tools. Read and understand your owner's manual, and follow the manufacturer's safety rules.
Begin the project by selecting the material you want to build with. Cedar and redwood are both common softwoods available at most lumberyards. Hardwoods good for exterior projects are white oak, mahogany, and cypress. Ipe is the best choice for long term durability, but is costly and more difficult to find then other choices. We choose Cedar for this project.
Once you have decided on material, choose boards that are as straight as possible. Look for clear boards that are free of cracks and splits, and that have as few knots as possible.
When selecting hardware, look for screws that will hold up to outdoor exposure. Choose stainless steel, hot dip galvanized, or coated screws that are rated for use outdoors. Don’t use nails, you’re building a chair, not a fence.
A: Begin by ripping your lumber to width on the table saw and sketching out each part.
B: Mark the outline as well as all screw holes. Sketch in the overlap lines of the legs and stretchers for easier alignment later.
C: Cut out the arms and front legs on the bandsaw.
D: Remove the blade from the tablesaw and replace with a sanding disk. Sand out any saw marks left by the bandsaw.
E: Lightly sand the surface of each piece to even out any scratches.
F: For the arm stretcher, set the table of the bandsaw to a 30° angle and cut the bevel. Set the table for an 8° angle and cut the seat stretcher bevel.
G: Using a countersink bit sized appropriately for the screws you have chosen, drill the holes in each arm piece paying special attention to make sure you have the counterbore on the top of each arm. Pre-drill all screws to avoid splits in your work.
H: Round all exposed edges with a ¼" radius roundover bit in the router table.
Begin assembly by attaching the front legs to the rear legs. Align with the overlap marks you laid out to begin with. Your pre-drilled screw holes should confirm your alignment.
With woodworking clamps, clamp the rear stretcher and one of the front seat slats to the legs. Measure to confirm proper location and drill through your screw holes into the legs for ONE screw in each end of these two boards.
Mark the location in pencil and remove each piece. Apply glue and re-clamp. Install ONE screw in each end of these two pieces. Measure the diagonals to check for square. If the diagonal measurements differ, tweak the structure until the measurements match and the chair is square.
Drill and screw the remaining holes. Screw the arms to the arm stretcher, and set aside.
For the tapered back pieces, begin by ripping a piece of lumber to 5-1/16" wide by 3' long. Layout the taper of the back pieces and mark with a chalkline.
Clamp the piece in a taper jig and cut the taper on the tablesaw.
Repeat this three more times to create a total of 8 tapered strips for the back.
Pick your favorite 7 and lay out on the floor. Cut strips of 3/8" plywood to use as spacers. Clamp together.
Lay out the arc along the top using trammel points on a yard stick.
Trim tops on band saw, sand, and rout edges.
Attach the arm and stretcher assembly to the leg assembly. Mark the center of each stretcher and the centerline of the center back strip. Loosely screw the bottom of the center back strip to the center of the bottom stretcher.
Double check center and square, and screw the center of the back to the arm stretcher. Use the 3/8" plywood strips for spacers and install the rest of the back.
Use a strip of ¼" plywood for a spacer, and install the rest of the seat.
Cut out the corbels on the bandsaw and sand smooth. Round over exposed edges and intall underneath the arms.
Using a plug cutter bit in the drill press, cut plugs to the correct size to plug the holes in the arms.
Glue the plugs into the countersunk screw holes on the arms, and allow to dry overnight.
Once dry, trim with a small hand saw and sand flush.
Install the back stretcher to complete the assembly.
Sand any remaining rough edges with 120 grit sandpaper.
Apply the finish of your choice to your completed chair. The sample project used a natural color deck stain. Whatever you choose, be sure to select a finish that will hold up well in the weather. Apply a generous coat of stain, being sure to saturate any exposed end grain.