adirondack furniture


Adirondack Chair Questions

A school in upstate New York (Canton Central School) is working on an Adirondack Chair project. A couple of the students had some great questions regarding Adirondack chairs. I get questions like this all of the time and have posted their questions, along with my replies, below. I am sure that this can help many people who are building, or designing, their own Adirondack Chairs.

The Adirondack Source

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, May 02, 2006 11:16 AM
Subject: High School Student's Questions

To whom this may concern,

Today I am representing a few students from a high school class in Northern New York State. Our class, that we have been participating in for the past year is DDP (Digital Design of Production) and our current project is to research and eventually design our own Adirondack chairs within small groups of 2-3 students. So if you wouldn't mind taking a few moments out of a busy day to answer a couple of questions for us, it would be highly appreciated.

1)From my experience, Adirondack chairs can be made out of a wide variety of materials and wood types – but I have also noticed that cedar seems to be the most popular material of choice; why is that?

- Naturally resistant to weather, insects, and rot (
- Less expensive than comparable material such as redwood and mahogany.

2) Is wood the best material to make Adirondack chairs out of or are alternate materials (i.e. plastic, o? Why is that?
- This one is a matter of preference. Some people will like the low maintenance that is provided with plastic or some of the new composite materials. For my money, natural wood can't be beat. However, it all depends on what you are after for appearance and maintenance. You might want a new color on your Adirondack chairs each year. You probably won't get a good result painting anything other than wood.

3) Adirondack chairs have been constructed out of all variations of materials, but which materials sell the best?
- This depends on the use. If they will be kept in a screened porch year round you could use virtually any type of material. If they will be exposed to a harsh climate then you will need to choose your material accordingly. If I was in upstate NY, I would use cedar or redwood. If I am exposed to an ocean breeze, I would consider mahogany or teak.

4) How in proportion to an average adult sized Adirondack chair, are children's chairs in size?
- Depends on the age of the child, but the chair could be anywhere from 40% to 60% of the size of an adult chair.

5) Do customized or more "creative" chairs (i.e. painted designs, inscribed designs, etc.) appeal to customers purchasing chairs?
- It is more of a niche market, BUT, you can ask a premium price!

6) What seasons to Adirondack chairs sell best in, or do they sell (for the most part) year round?
Adirondack chairs sell well leading up to virtually any gift giving holiday. Sales are best in the spring and summer months.

Thank you for your time! It has been appreciated.


Sent: Apr 28, 2006 9:54 AM
Subject: Adirondack Chairs

We were thinking about a fish design with a tail-fin foot rest. But what would you suggest be the best wood to use to build but also be financially decent price. We were thinking of rough cut pin we have built a couple like that they look parity decent.

from T.A. & J.P

Sent: Apr 28, 2006 4:49 PM
Subject: Adirondack Chairs

TJ and Joey,

The material you use should be determined based upon where your project will sit. If it is not exposed to the elements or in a mild climate, pine is probably OK. However, if your chairs will be placed in a yard and will face snow, rain, etc. the pine should be painted.

If the chairs are going to be exposed, a good material to use would be cedar, redwood, mahogany, etc. Obviously cost is an issue. I recommend that people check with a local lumber yard for advice. Find a material that is sold in great quantity. When you are able to use common materials, your cost will probably be lower. For example: 8 foot x 5/4 x 6" cedar radius edge decking costs $7.85 in my area. The same cedar board (not radius edge decking) would be about twice that from a lumber yard.

If you are using 1" material (rather than 5/4 - a true 1"), you might want to talk with a supplier about fencing material. I don't recommend pressure treated material due to the chemicals, but a 1"x6"x7' fencing board is $1.80. A 1"x6"x8' piece of pressure treated (not fencing) is about $3.40.

I hope that this helps a little. Bottom line... Pine is OK if the chair is in a screened porch or hardly ever exposed to the elements. A wood that is made for the outdoors would be best.

If this is a school project, see if you have a local deck, fence, or furniture company that ends up with 'shorts' that are sufficient for your project. This was the case when I was in high school and we had more red oak than we knew what to do with.

Good luck with your Adirondack Chair Project!




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