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How To Build An Adirondack Chair? Top Full Guide 2022

Do you want to make an Adirondack chair by yourself? then this article is for you.

In this post, Focal Upright will tell you details about how to build an Adirondack chair and some painting tips.

Preparing For DIY Adirondack Chair Designs

Selecting The Right Wood

You’ll love the traditional comfort of these solid wood chairs. It doesn’t take a skilled craftsman to make it. You can easily cut all the pieces of this sturdy, elegant Adirondack chair with a circular saw or jigsaw. Then, use a drill, clamps, glue, and a drill to assemble it. You can follow our step-by-step instructions and plan drawing, even if you are a beginner. You will also find a Shopping List as well as a Cutting List. This will allow you to spend more time building and less time scratching.

Our chair was made from yellow poplar. Poplar is light, strong, affordable, and easy to work with. It also takes paint well. You can find it almost anywhere. Alder, maple, white oak, maple, and aspen are all good hardwood options. Cedar, cedar, pine, cypress, and fir are great softwood options. While hardwood is more durable than softwood, it’s still strong enough to be used for this project. If the chair will be outside most of the year, you can coat it with a paintable preservative.

The traditional Adirondack chairs are painted. However, you can also choose to have your outdoor deck finished in clear if that’s what you prefer.

Tip: Set up an assembly line if you are building more than one chair. This will cut down on the time it takes to build each chair by 40%.

DIY Adirondack Chair Plans

Follow these plans to build a classic Adirondack chair.

a classic Adirondack chair.

Shopping list

  • 6-inch pressure-treated decking To make the back slats/arm rests, seat supports, front crosspiece, and seat slats, you’ll need seven 6-footers.
  • 4-inch pressure-treated decking Get two 6-footers to build the back legs, front legs and blocking for the armrests.
  • 1-inch pressure-treated baluster To support the back braces, you’ll need 44 inches of material.
  • 100-grit Sand Paper
  • 2-inch deck screws

a classic Adirondack chair.

How To Build An Adirondack Chair

Step 1. Make The Legs

Make The Legs

The Adirondack style is known for its wide back legs, which support the seat slats. They also stretch to the ground on an almost horizontal plane. Begin by cutting the legs to the desired length. Mark a 2″ mark at one edge of the board to cut the tapers. Mark another 6″ at the edge adjacent to the first. Connect the points using a straightedge. Mark a point at 2 1/4 inches from the edge.

Next, mark a point 10 inches from the end at that edge. These points can be connected to create a cutting line for your other taper. With a circular saw, cut the taper. The tapered leg can be used as a template for marking and cutting identical tapers on each leg.

Step 2. Build The Seat

The legs support the seat slats by forming the sides of the box chair frame. Drill holes 1/8″ deep using a counterbore bit where the text requires deck screw counterbores. The apron, seat support, and piping should be cut to the right size. Use glue and 3″ deck screws to attach the apron at the ends of the legs.

Place the seat support so that the inside face of the apron is 16 1/2 inches from the edge. Attach the seat support between your legs. Make sure that the tops of the parts are flush. The seat slats should be cut to the desired length and the ends should be sanded smooth. Place the slats on the top of the box. Use wood scraps to create 5/8″ space between the slats. The slats should extend 3/4″ beyond the front of your seat box.

Step 3. Fastens The Seat Slats

Fastens The Seat Slats

Drill counterbored pilot holes to attach the seat slats and then drive 2″ deck screws through these holes into the tops and sides of the seat support and apron. Make sure the counterbores are aligned so that the cedar plugs used for filling the counterbores form straight lines across both the front and the back of the remaining seat slat. After the slats have been installed, smoothen the edges and end with a router (or power sander).

Step 4. Make The Back Slats

Back slats can be made from one of three sizes: 1×2, 1×4, or 1×6. The back support should be cut to the correct length. Trim the corners of the largest (1 x 6 slat). Mark the points 1″ inwards from the top corners. Next, mark points 1 inch down from the corners at the outside edges. Connect the points, and use a saw to trim along the lines. The 1 x 4-slats should be marked 2 inches from the top corner in each direction. Trace the lines in the same direction and cut them. These are the outer slats at the back leg.

Step 5. Attach The Back Slats

The low back brace should be cut and the high back brace placed on a flat surface. Place 3/4″-thick spacers underneath the high brace to ensure the braces’ tops are level.

Next, place the back slats over the braces. The bottom edge of your low back brace should have the untrimmed ends of the lumber matched with the top edge of your slats. The low brace’s top should be 26 inches above the bottom of the high-back brace. The braces should be perpendicular to the slats. Make pilot holes in the low brace. Counterbore the holes. Attach the slats with 2″ deck screws to the low brace. Then, attach the slats to the high brace using 11/4 inch deck screws.

Step 6. Make The Arms

Make The Arms

The chair’s broad arms are made from 1×6 material. They are supported by posts in the front and an arm cleat attached at the back. The arm supports should be cut to the correct length. Mark points 1″ at each corner on both sides of the arm to create decorative angles. These points can be used to draw two 1 1/2″ lines along with each arm support. Use a circular saw or a jigsaw to cut along these lines.

Mark points to make a tapered cut at the back of each arm’s inside edge (see Diagram). Mark points at 3 1/4 inches from the inside edges of each arm. Next, mark the outside edges 10 inches from the back. Connect the points, then use a circular saw to cut along the line. Smoothen the edges.

Step 7. Assemble The Arms, Cleats, And Posts

Assemble The Arms, Cleats, And Posts

Make a mark at 2 1/2″ from each end of your arm cleat. Place the cleat edge-side down on your work surface. Place the arm supports so that the backs of the arms are flush with your surface working. The untapered edges of each arm support should be aligned with the 21/2 inch mark. Attach the arms to the clamps using glue. Drill pilot holes through the arms. Counterbore the holes. Drill 3″ deck screws into the holes and into the cleat.

The posts should be cut to size. Use a compass and mark a 1 3/4-inch radius round over at each corner of the bottom post. This improves stability. Place the arms on top of the square ends. The posts should be 1 1/2″ away from the arms’ front ends and 1 inch from the inside of the arm. Glue the arms to the posts. Screw holes through the arms, then counterbore them. Next, drive 3-inch deck screws through the arms to the posts.

Make tapered arm braces out of wood scraps. Be sure to follow the lengthwise grain. Place an arm brace on each post/arm joint, with the posts centered. Each brace should be attached with glue. Drill pilot holes with counterbored counterbore in the top of the post’s inner face. Drive deck screws into the brace through the holes. Put a 2″ deck screw through each arm, and into the brace’s top.

Step 8. Assemble The Adirondack Chair

Assemble The Adirondack Chair

Join the back, arm/post, and seat/leg assemblies to complete the construction. As you attach the pieces, grab scrap wood to brace them. Place the seat/leg assembly on a work surface. Attach a piece of scrap wood to the front of the apron. This will raise the assembly until the front legs are level with the surface. A similar technique is used to brace the arm/post assemblies so that the back cleat bottom is at least 20 inches above the work surface.

Place the posts around the front of your seat/leg assembly. Make sure the bottom edges of your apron are flush with the top edges of the posts. For each 1/4 inch, drill a pilot hole. Drill a pilot hole in the front leg from the inside and into the post. Pass a 3/8×2 1/2″ lag screw and washer through the holes. Do not tighten.

Take out the braces. Place the brace between your front legs so that the low back brace rests against the front of the arm clamp. Use a clamp to attach the back to the seat support. Make sure that the brace top edge is in line with the top of the front legs. The lag screws should be tightened at the joint between the front leg and post.

Next, place a second lag screw at each joint. Three pilot holes should be drilled near the arm cleat’s top edge. Drive 1 1/2 inch deck screws through these holes and into the back slats. Drive 3″ deck screws into the front legs and the ends of the low back brace.

Step 9. Apply To Finish Touches

Apply To Finish Touches

Buy 1/4″ thick, 3/8” diameter cedar wood plugs, or cut them yourself. Cedarwood plugs can be glued into visible counterbores. After the glue has dried, sand the plugs to match the surrounding surface. All exposed surfaces should be sanded with 120-grit sandpaper. We simply gave the chair a coat with a clear wood sealer.

Painting Tips

An exterior, oil-based primer was used and an enamel topcoat was applied. However, you can use water-based products.

Paint tools Three paint brushes are required: a 2-in. A 1-in. wide, natural-bristle brush for sash; and a 2-in. sash brush with a 1-in. width and a 1/2 in. Broad hobby paintbrush

A 3-in. You will also need a 3-in. wide paint roller, two disposable rolling heads, and one disposable tray.

Use the primer Place the chair upside-down on the workbench. The 1-in. Use a wide paintbrush to apply primer to the edges of the seat. The topside of the edges should be done later. Use the roller to apply primer to flat surfaces. The 2-in. Use a wide brush to spread the paint.

Priming the back of your seat, the front, and then the top of your arms and seat is the next step. Once the chair is straightened, you can apply primer to large flat surfaces below the slats with a small hobby brush. Allow the primer to dry overnight.

Applying topcoat Use the paint scraper to remove any stray paint, and then lightly sand down the primer with 120-grit paper. Use the same process as with the primer to apply the topcoat in a shaded location.

Be aware that paint can stick quickly. Use very little paint in the paint tray.

Before you use the chair, let the paint dry for at least three days.


Above are steps to help you build a DIY Adirondack chair. We hope that you find helpful from our blog. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.