Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, CHJ, Noel, Charley

 Reply
User avatar
By AndyT
#513510
I've decided to make an Adirondack style chair for the garden. We already have one chair, bought ready made from a garden centre, which has a matching footstool and is really comfy, but sometimes it's nice for two people to sit out together:

Image

When I phoned them up, they said that they don't sell any wooden chairs any more! Well, that sounds like a reason to get on with it and make a second one myself, so (as previously posted) I went to one of the monthly wood sales at Westonbirt Arboretum to get some nice oak boards:

Image

Here they are at home in my somewhat untidy basement workshop:

Image

I found the job of sorting out how to convert the boards to make all the bits on my cutting list a bit worrying - had I bought enough wood?

I sketched it out on squared paper, and then roughly chalked it out on the boards, avoiding splits and knots.

Image

Image

A few cuts by hand were needed - this air-dried oak works really nicely:

Image

Although I like using hand tools, I do also want to finish this project before the summer is over, so I moved over to the tablesaw to convert the rest of the stack. Here it all is, checked and ticked off twice:

Image

There's nothing complicated in this - I could have made a copy by buying standard sized PAR timber - bit I fancy making something sizable from 'real wood'.

Plenty more to do!
Last edited by AndyT on 01 Aug 2017, 13:29, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Evergreen
#513511
Looks very promising, Andy.

I'll be keeping an eye on this thread because Adirondack chairs are far more comfortable than they look and I've always fancied making one myself.
By gardenshed
#513948
I made a folding version, very comfy

Image
User avatar
By AndyT
#514333
Ok, a bit more progress to report.

I forgot to mention that this design is a folding one, but not in quite the same way as Gardenshed's.

Without going off into the whole debate about design rights, I'm using the chair we bought as a 3D plan and copying it. (I'm sure that whoever it was that made it could not prove ownership of the design - it's traditional.)

That does mean I don't have to think too hard about sizes and shapes. For the curvy bits, I used some lining paper and rubbed around the outline with a crayon:

Image


Then I cut out the paper shape and drew round it on the wood:

Image

This whole project is full of compromises between power tools and hand tools. For the initial planing I used an electric plane - something not mentioned very often on here - as I don't have a planer/thicknesser. I find it quite ok when hooked up to a vacuum cleaner. I did finish each piece by hand as well though.

In the same sort of way, I could have used a bowsaw to cut the curves, and I did start off that way, but my little Burgess 3-wheel bandsaw did a quicker and better job.

However, when it comes to finishing the curves, the spokeshave is the tool to use:

Image

It's almost disappointingly quick! I find the old wooden pattern really pleasant to use, and they cope with oak much better than the Stanley pattern.


So far I have managed to get all the bits cut to size, and started to assemble the footstool. Each piece has to have the corners rounded off - a job I could have done with an electric router, but I chose to use a lovely old chamfer plane followed by two passes with a number 2 round:

Image

That made a relaxing hour, listening to the radio and watching the bits pile up.

Here is the footstool, taking shape on the table saw (you can see I don't have a lot of space to spare).

Image

To space the intermediate slats, I used some handy battens of just the right thickness:

Image

Fixing is simply with stainless steel screws.
I've been enjoying this so far - and there's plenty more to do before I get to the 'relaxing in the garden' stage.
Last edited by AndyT on 01 Aug 2017, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By squib
#514548
Looking great, i love these chairs,love the chamfer plane too :D
User avatar
By AndyT
#514560
squib wrote:Looking great, i love these chairs,love the chamfer plane too :D


Sweet isn't it? It's really effective for this sort of thing where you don't need to take much off, but want to do it consistently.

It cost me 99p on eBay!
User avatar
By AndyT
#515252
A quick update before we go away for a week.

This is making the back. To keep it all square, I've clamped some battens to the bench, the right distance apart and square to the front edge. I can then space the back slats evenly between them, and screw through from the cross-pieces which hold it together. The ends have dowel screws in them which will go through the legs and be held by nuts.

Image

I haven't trimmed these to shape at the top yet. For this bit I don't want to copy the old chair, but do one nice even curve. You can see here how I've bent a thin strip of wood round and can draw round it for the curve:

Image

The old chair back is resting on top, to check the size and to hold the strip. I then need to unscrew the bits, bandsaw the curves and chamfer all the edges with plane and spokeshave.

I've also started putting the legs together, with a simple housing joint. This then has some holes drilled through for the dowel screws, and a pair of wooden pegs. This is drilling the hole for the pegs, the old, slow, careful way:

Image

I'd have done these with the two sides together, but I hit a snag when I managed to snap the heads off two of the stainless steel screws, so this bit is now staying assembled!

More in a couple of weeks, aiming to finish it before the summer goes entirely.
Last edited by AndyT on 01 Aug 2017, 13:30, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By AndyT
#518123
I'm back, and have been busy.

This shows what is nearly a complete kit of parts:

Image

On the workmate at the front is what will be the footstool.
Leaning against the bench is the seat, with the long sloping legs.
On the bench are the bits of the back, with the uprights for the two parts.

By the time I took this picture I had decided to put some Danish oil on the new chair, to keep the nice colour for a while before it goes grey. I also decided to completely dismantle the old chair (Canadian white cedar) and clean it back to bare wood - there are some bits of it on the bench.

Here are the components of the back - you can see that the horizontal battens have dowel screws in. These pivot on the arms and the lower legs, so that the chair can fold up a bit, making it easier to carry or store. In use, two turned pegs keep it rigid.

Image

Assembly is like a flat pack - just screws, nuts and washers to fiddle with.

And here are the two chairs, finished, side by side in the recently extended paved, shady area at the bottom of the garden.

Image

My wife and I can now retire to the shade of the apple tree in comfort, without having to take turns!
Last edited by AndyT on 01 Aug 2017, 13:31, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By OPJ
#518180
Fantastic, Andy. =D>

I do think you'll have to make another one in oak now though, to replace the softwood chair and complete the pair... :wink: :)
User avatar
By studders
#518182
Very nice.
I too think you should make another in Oak..... and send me the old one. I've been meaning to make a pair for ages but never seem to get around to it. How many hours do you estimate it takes to make one?
User avatar
By AndyT
#518198
Nice suggestions - they don't look like a matched pair - but the cedar one is actually holding up very well, and is not going to be replaced any time soon!

As for the time taken, I didn't keep a tally, but it was far longer doing it the nice slow way. There was a lot of hand planing, and just rounding off all the edges was several hours.

If you used a planer / thicknesser and a router to make all the stock, the design would be really quick to build. The pieces are all 3" x 1" or 3 x 4", and the joints are just screws. I guess that's why they can be made cheaply in factories.
User avatar
By studders
#518227
OK thanks for that.

Actually I think they sit well together, no pun intended.
User avatar
By Blister
#518233
Nice project

And a good end result

All you need now is a small oblong table to go between the 2 chairs for the little extras in life , like

TEA . coffee and Booze 8) 8) 8)
User avatar
By Ironballs
#518263
Good work, your oak chair looks a lot better resolved than the pine chair. Plenty of handwork in there too so a real labour of love. Well done
User avatar
By AndyT
#518274
Blister wrote:Nice project


All you need now is a small oblong table to go between the 2 chairs for the little extras in life , like

TEA . coffee and Booze 8) 8) 8)


No need - the wide arms hold it all - job done!