Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adirondack Chair

I decided to make my husband an Adirondack Chair for Christmas.  I had a purchased plan, plus 3 or 4 others from magazines and the internet.  From my online research, many people said the "typical" Adirondack chair, or Muskoka chair, as it's known as around here, was hard to get out of.  They do sit quite low to the ground with a steep back slant to the seat.  Since I wanted my husband to be able to get back out of the chair (for obvious reasons), I decided on the "improved design" Norm Abram Adirondack Chair in Popular Woodworking Magazine, and also at their website.

The article, with parts list and step-by step directions used to be available free online, but it is now available as a download:  Popular Woodworking: Norm Abrams Adirondack Chair

 I used rough pine for the chair, which meant I needed to pick out pieces without loose knots, and with areas that looked clear as possible for the parts I had to make, and then joint and plane them to size. The thickness of all the parts is 3/4", the legs, front crosspiece and seat slats are rectangular, with no need to make fancy cuts on.  The tops of the back slats, the arms, arm brackets, side members and rear crosspieces need to be cut to shape.  I used my jigsaw but a bandsaw would be easier (I don't have one yet).

Jigsaw cutting the side member:

All the pieces laid out:

Closer photo of just the back slats:

The chair is put together with screws as well as some carriage bolts.  For the screws I plug them afterward, so each place a screw goes needs a hole for the screw as well as a larger hole for the plug.
**This "how-to" will be a blog post in the near future**

These next two photos show the arm with it's three large holes and the front crosspiece, lower rear crosspiece and leg with two large holes (on each side), waiting for the plugs to go in:


Now you can see the upper rear crosspiece is bolted on and the holes are all plugged in the arms, legs and front crosspiece:

Side view:

While the chair was at this stage I painted it with 3 coats of exterior house paint.  After making similar child size chairs ( here ) I realized it would be much easier to paint the slats before they were attached to the chair. It's hard to get the paint in between the slats, so the chair base was painted and just the backs and sides of the back slats and seat slats.  I couldn't paint the fronts yet because the screws still had to be attached and plugged.

All the base painted and back slats (with just their backs and sides painted) attached:

Two views of the chair all painted:

Since my husband is a Montreal Canadiens fan, I decided to put the team logo on the chair.  I found it online and printed it on my printer to the size I needed.  Then I cut it out and traced around the parts to transfer it to the chair. I used acrylic craft paints for the white and blue, and some painters tape to keep the lines straight.

Here it is:


This is a very comfortable chair and he was happy to get it as his present!

Update:  Here's the post on finally finishing my chair!


  1. That is so cool!! I love your Adirondack chair! I love how you personalized it for your husband with the logo of his favorite team. How cute. :)
    Have a great day! Beth.

  2. That looks so great! My sister and brother in law would love ones with the Seahawks logo on them...

  3. Very cool! We are big hockey fans here too. 90% of my hubby's t-shirts are with hockey teams.
    Great idea to paint the sides of the back slats. I have painted four Muskoka chairs (the first two from Canadian Tire fell apart after a year). The sides of the back pieces are truly the hardest part to paint. I will keep this in mind for future projects.

  4. Julie, you did a terrific job on the chair. I like the way you have the parts laid out, before assembley. That sure is one hot(red)seat. I'm sure Eric loved it. Well done.

  5. I love your work! Well done. I have often wanted to take woodworking but have sworn off any new courses...

  6. You go girl, You are way out of my talent zone. I love the chair, and have been longing for some in the front yard maybe hubby will help me. THANKS FOR SHARING AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

  7. and there was me, thinking that you never did photo shoots Julie, a first class job, you show up us guys!

  8. You make these look so simple! What a great project. You are so talented and I'm glad you're willing to share it with all of us.

  9. What a cool chair,you did a great job making it and painting it!!!

  10. I just found you from Funky Junk. I am in awe of you... you get to follow my dream... I can't quit my day job so mine has to remain a hobby... Thanks so much for sharing... you did an amazing job.

    Hugs Deb (also from(Caledonia),Ontario,Canada)

  11. Fab!! To make it from scratch, holey moley. It's honestly awesome!

    Thanks for linking up to SNS!

    FJ Donna

  12. Wow, very nice. It must be really cool to be married to you at Christmas time, LOL! I would LOVE to make a set of these for my backyard some day! What great motivation!

  13. First, I want to say that you did an excellent job on your chair. I love the style of this one. That's why I made several of them almost 20 years ago! My first one I made out of rough cedar but planed it down until it was smooth. Several friends wanted to make one too so we had a "building bee", both men and women. These chairs (I made 2) were made from pine. The cedar chair looks as good today as it did then. I'm sorry to say the pine ones bit the dust years ago, even though I kept them painted. I used Norm's plan also. After seeing it on his show those many years ago, I sent for the plans. I called my sister and was telling her about it and she had already sent for the same plans!! I hope you get as many enjoyable years with your chair. BTW it is the most comfortable adirondack I have set in.

  14. What a fantastic chair! It seems to have turned out wonderfully. The Habs logo also does make it from a "pretty cool woodworking project" to a "amazing woodworking project" :) haha

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  16. These are so cool. Legally could you sell these even though they are Norm Abrams plans?

    1. Hi Pete. I'm quite sure I could sell them but not with any logo on them. All team logos are owned by the teams and their leagues. Did you see my Toronto Maple Leaf chair?


I appreciate all your comments, they keep me blogging! I like to personally reply to each comment I receive but many of you are "no-reply commenters" which means your email address is not connected to your comment. If that is the case I cannot directly reply, sorry.