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Thread: Adirondack Chair Design Considerations

  1. #1

    Adirondack Chair Design Considerations

    Morning, all.

    This idea may, or may not, even come to fruition, but I'd enjoy having others' insights.

    I've had a stack of 2x6 and 2x8 pressure treated pine sitting in my garage for a little over year now.... leftover from a deck building project. I was brainstorming ways to get rid of it and thought of Adirondack chairs. Having never built one before, I began researching. It appears there are two major design types, the classic form with the back supported by the arms and a newer style with vertical stretchers triangulating the back, arm, and base.

    Which is strongest?

    My problem is that many of the folks in my extended family are large. Quite large. Adirondack chairs are low to the ground... I can easily imagine one of my 350 lb cousins putting one hand on an arm-rest, bending, rotating, then levering into the chair and flopping down the last foot to get into the low seat. And having the back break free from the arms...

    These chairs would be outdoors 24/7/365 through midwestern winter and summer. -5*F to 105*. Rain, snow, and scorching sun. So I assume fastener joinery will be required rather than stronger mortise & tenon or half-laps and things due to wood movement.

    Any insights, plans, or experiences are appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    i would strongly suggest you get ahold of allen levin here on this forum,, he has made many of those kind of chairs and can tell all about there design.. i have two of his and they have held up well with no signs of weakness at all..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
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    Larry beat me to it, but my wife sat in Larry's chairs from Allen and he is "THE ADIRONDACK KING" to her. She says his chairs are the most comfortable and eye appealing. So I also suggest begging Allen to discuss this project with you!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  4. #4
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    When I started to build Algonquin/Muskoka/Adirondack/Bear chairs, I took the dimensions from a plastic one we had on the deck. I used 2x4 and 2x6 spruce for the legs and sides, and1x4 pine for the slats. Later I switched to 4/4 cedar for the legs and sides, and nominal 1x3 for the slats. Construction is entirely glue and screw, and the chairs I have built are solid and will stand up to weather. A Muskoka chair is supposed to be a bit rustic; using a mortise would be an insult to the fine tradition of cottage country construction.

    Oh, I made one for a friend of ours who weighs easily 350 pounds. It's still going after several years. That one was spruce.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
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    pm sent, shoot me your email, Ill send the plans.

    didn't mention one thing in the pm, if you have 2x6, instead of cutting down to 3/4 inch, for legs, use the 2x's and the chair will be that much stronger, just adjust the length of screws.(youll have to adjust the cuts on things like the front seat slat, but same time and construction either way)
    Human Test Dummy

  6. #6
    Wow, that was fast! Thank you all. Allen, I replied to your pm.

    Yeah, I don't have a bandsaw, so resawing 2x6 or 2x8 into 1x is not an option. I plan to build the arms, legs, frame out of 2x, then splurge on 1x decking for the seat and back surfaces. The BORG has 1x6 decking for $0.50/lineal foot, so it's no big expense.

    Since you guys were so fast and Allen is even SENDING me plans..... I'm gonna have to build one, aren't I?? Ha ha ha.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Agnew View Post
    ... I'm gonna have to build one, aren't I?? Ha ha ha.
    Yes, that's required now. It's in some very, very fine print at the bottom of the Forum Rules.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  8. #8
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    and right below that line is one that says we need to see pictures of them when completed at least if not in process shots
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Agnew View Post
    Wow, that was fast! Thank you all. Allen, I replied to your pm.

    Yeah, I don't have a bandsaw, so resawing 2x6 or 2x8 into 1x is not an option. I plan to build the arms, legs, frame out of 2x, then splurge on 1x decking for the seat and back surfaces. The BORG has 1x6 decking for $0.50/lineal foot, so it's no big expense.

    Since you guys were so fast and Allen is even SENDING me plans..... I'm gonna have to build one, aren't I?? Ha ha ha.
    YOu know you can resaw on a tablesaw, especially dry decking PT pine. with the kerf of the blade though, you will only get one board at 3/4 inch, the other half will be too thin.
    for practice years ago, I took all the scrap 2xs I could get from decking, and recut them on my table saw. then ran them over the jointer and into the planer. Time consuming. but free wood is free wood.

    one more thing.
    the borg sells 6 inch width and 4 inch width. A lot of the parts are 3.5 inch or smaller, so tally up exactly what you need before you go, you might be able to save a few more bucks buying 1x4s and 1x6s for the wider parts.(the plans call for 18-20 bf, in 8 inch width)

    sent you the plans, btw, you need to build 2, not 1
    no fun sitting in the chair if youre not hanging with someone.
    Last edited by allen levine; 04-24-2014 at 08:27 PM.
    Human Test Dummy

  10. #10
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    Allen is definitely the Chairmaster and his will stand the test of time. He's right about building at least two and keep them handy, since you never know when an Ambassador might drop by.

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