How to Build a DIY Adirondack Chair for the Outdoors

DIY Adirondack Chair for the outdoors

Are you looking for comfortable outdoor seating for your backyard? One of the most relaxing and most popular outdoor seating is the Adirondack chair. If you have the tools and willingness to build it yourself, you could easily make it for much cheaper than purchasing it at the store. Check out the plans I’ve created of how to build a DIY Adirondack Chair.

The Adirondack chair gets its name from the Adirondack mountain range in upstate New York. An amateur woodworker named Thomas Lee designed this chair while he was on vacation at the Adirondack Mountains in 1903.

Now, these chairs come in so many different designs and styles, like folding Adirondack chairs, rocking Adirondack chairs, loveseat, swing, and so on. They also come in different types of materials suitable for outdoors. 

DIY Adirondack Chair for the outdoors

You also might be interested in DIY Outdoor Sofa with Cushions and DIY Garden Arbor with a Bench.


Time to Complete

5 hours

Total Cost

$60

Skill Level

Intermediate


Download Printable Plans in PDF

DIY Adirondack Chair PDF

$6.00

This PDF download includes Cut Diagrams, a List of Supplies, and 3D illustrations with detailed steps to build the project. Measurements are imperial and not metric. Does NOT include SketchUp/CAD files.

The plans are embedded on the webpage for free, but if you would like to support the website, you can pay a small fee to purchase the printable PDFs.

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DIY Adirondack Chair

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Material List

  • 1x10x6′ (x3)
  • 1x10x4′ (x1)
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • 2″ Brad Nails

Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size.  See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.


Dimensions

DIY Adirondack Chair dimensions

Step 1 – Print Templates and Cut Rear Leg Boards

To make this Adirondack chair exactly as shown in the picture, you will need to use the template provided in the PDF download. Due to the size of the boards, the templates need to be printed on 30×42 paper. If you don’t have a large printer, you could take the PDF file to a local printing shop, and they will print it out for you. 

When printing the template, you need to make sure the print setting for scale is set to “none” or to “100%”. Otherwise, the printer might change the scale and print it much smaller than what you need. 

Once you have the templates printed on paper, use scissors to cut out the shapes. Take the back leg template and place it on a 1×10 board. Then trace it with a pencil. See cut list for best template layout on 1×10 boards. 

Next, take your jig saw and cut out both legs. Try to follow the line with a jig saw as close as you can. Then place both legs side by side to make sure they are exactly the same. Use a random orbital sander to smooth out the curve or the legs and sand any rough edges. 

back legs for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 2 – Drill Pocket Holes on the Rear Legs

There are several different ways to have this Adirondack chair assembled. You could attach the board with wood screws from the top. But that will make all the screws exposed/visible. You could definitely do that, but for this project, we will use pocket holes to hide the screws under the chair. 

If you’re planning to stain the chair, you will need to determine which side of the leg will face the outside and which side will face the inside. Place the template on the backside of the leg and copy the tick marks showing where the seat boards need to go. Now you need to drill two pocket holes between each tick mark, as shown in the picture. These pocket holes will have screws to hold the seat boards. 

You also need two pocket holes to hold the front stretcher of the seat. The pocket holes for the stretcher will overlap the pocket holes for the seat board. Repeat this step to drill pocket holes on the second rear leg. 

back legs for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 3 – Cut Two Armrest Boards

Now take the armrest template and trace it two times on the 1×10 board. Then cut them out using a jig saw. The armrest boards do not need any pocket holes. 

armrest for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 4 – Cut Front Legs and Seat Slats

Since we’re using 1×6 boards on this project, you’ll need to use a miter saw to cut the boards to correct length. Then you will need to use a table saw to rip them to the correct width. 

Cut two front leg boards to 3 1/2″ x 23 1/2″. Then drill two pocket holes on the one end of both legs. The front legs will have an armrest support board connected at the top, so make sure the two pocket holes are spread apart at least 1″ apart. 

Next, cut the front stretcher to 3 1/2″ x 20″. Then cut five seat slats to 2 3/4″ x 20″. The last rear seat slat will need to have a curved shape cut for the backrest. Use a template to trace and cut the rear seat slat with a jig saw. 

Now use a random orbital sander and sand all of the boards you have cut so far. It’s much easier to sand the boards when they are separate than when everything is already assembled. 

cutting boards for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 5 – Attach Seat Slats to the Rear Legs of the Chair

Position the rear legs on your workbench so that pocket holes are facing the inside of the chair. Then hold the stretcher board to the front of the rear legs and attach it with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. 

Next, attach the first seat slat flushed with the front stretcher board. Then continue connecting the seat board to the legs. The seat slats need to be evenly spaced between the tick marks with two pocket hole screws on each end.

attaching seat slats of the DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 6 – Connect the Front Legs to the Adirondack Chair

Take both front legs and measure 11 1/4″ from the bottom. Then hold the leg against the side of the chair, having the 11 1/4″ measurement at the bottom of the stretcher. Make sure the leg is parallel to the front of the chair. Use clamps to hold the legs in place. Then attach the legs with wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws from the inside of the chair. Check to make sure the chair sits straight on a flat surface. You don’t want to have a crooked Adirondack chair. 

attaching front legs of the DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 7 – Cut the Back Slat Boards

Similar to previous steps, take the back slat templates and trace them over on the 1×10 board. You should have two 27 3/4″ pieces, two 30 1/2″ pieces, and two 33 1/4″ pieces. Cut the board with a table saw so they are 2 3/4″ in width. Then cut the top curves with a jig saw. The back slats do not require pocket holes. 

back slats for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 8 – Trace and Cut Upper, Middle, and Lower Back Brace

Again take the back brace templates and trace them on a 1×6 board. Then using a jig saw cut out the back braces. The middle brace will need to have additional wood support blocks to attach to the backrest. These blocks will be attached with brad nails. See picture.

back brace boards for DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 9 – Attach Back Brace to the Back Slats

Take the brace pieces and mark the center of the inside curve. Then place the brace boards on your workbench and lay the slats inside the curve. The lower brace needs to be raised 3/4″ from the bottom of the slats. 

Now spread the slats to have a 1/8″ gap between them on the bottom and a 3/8″ gap on the top. First, nail the bottom brace using 2″ brad nails, and then nail the top. The upper brace needs to be installed 3/4″ below the shortest back slat. Attaching the middle brace will be done in step 11.  

backrest of the DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 10 – Connect the Backrest to the Adirondack Chair

When attaching the backrest assembly to the chair, it needs to be up against the rear seat slat. Also, the lower brace needs to sit on the back legs.

Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws to secure the lower brace to the legs. 

attaching backrest to the DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 11 – Attach the Armrest and the Middle Brace to the Chair

Next, place the armrest on the front leg and attach it with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. The armrest needs to overlap the leg by a 1/4″ on the inside of the chair. But the sides of the armrest will overlap by 3″ for the arm support. Ensure that both armrests are attached parallel to each other with the same height at the backrest.  

Now, place the middle brace under the armrest, behind the backrest. Then attach the brace to the armrest with screws from underneath. Predrill the hole before using the screws. This will prevent the wood from splitting. 

Apply wood glue to the brace blocks and attach them to the middle brace and back slats with brad nails. 

attaching armrest to the DIY Adirondack Chair

Step 12 – Cut and Attach the Arm Support Pieces

Cut two arm support pieces to 6 1/2″ in length, as shown in the picture. Then drill two pocket holes on the wider side.  

Attach the arm support piece under the armrest with wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Then use brad nails to nail the arm support piece to the legs. You are done with the DIY Adirondack Chair.

armrest support boards
attaching arm rest supports for Adirondack chair
DIY Adirondack Chair for the outdoors

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