Adirondack Chair #3: Mock Up Done

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Blog entry by Scott R. Turner posted 12-07-2013 05:05 AM 1955 reads 2 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Buying Wood Part 3 of Adirondack Chair series Part 4: Progress; Compass Rose Started »

It’s been a busy week, but I managed to find the time to bend the chair arms for the mock-up chair and see about attaching them. I also trimmed the back slats to a gentle arc. Here are a couple of views:


As you can see from the line of holes up near the top of the back, I had the top back brace too high and had to move it down. While I had the brace off, I also shaped it to the curve of the back. I did this with a drawknife and spokeshave. The drawknife is certainly a lot of fun, and you make such quick progress. The only real drawback is that the shavings are thick and long and tend to clog up my shop vacuum!

I’m generally very happy with how the mock-up turned out. The slats are a little irregular as I fine-tuned the bending process, and of course I took various short-cuts like screwing the slats on. But overall I have no complaints, and in fact will probably clean it up, paint it, and use it on our porch. It’s very comfortable and surprisingly light—I’m used to Adirondack chairs that weigh a ton.

I also got a chance last weekend to spend an afternoon at the community woodshop, making use of their machines to prepare the mahogany for the real chair. I actually flattened and jointed one board by hand, but although I enjoy that work, it was just too much to do all the lumber. It was also my first attempt at resawing on the bandsaw. That went okay, but on one particularly long and tall board I ran into some problems and the bottom of the cut wandered all over. I’m going to try to make use of the slats nonetheless, but a couple of them are pretty thin in spots.

I also didn’t pay enough attention to the layout of the cuts. The grain looked pretty regular and unassuming while I was working the boards but end up being more figured when it was cut into slats. The next time I do this, I’ll layout the slats more intentionally, but here’s what I ended up with:

with the color and contrast punched up a bit to give a sense of how it will look after being dyed and finished. The seat slats are to the left and the back slats to the right, and they’re oriented how they will go onto the chair. There’s a decent overall pattern and I’m hopeful it will look nice in the finished product.

Next step is to start bending the slats. I can only do one seat slat and one back slat an evening, so it will take a while to get through that. I’m (probably) going to be dyeing these with a water-based dye, so that has to wait until the steaming and bending is complete. I can also work on cutting out the seat/leg stock, the upright stock and the stretchers.

3 comments so far

View Vince's profile


1306 posts in 4760 days

#1 posted 12-07-2013 06:58 AM

Wow that’s a good looking chair nice work.

-- Vince

View Ampeater's profile


442 posts in 5078 days

#2 posted 12-08-2013 04:51 PM

That looks like it would be very comfortable.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Scott R. Turner's profile

Scott R. Turner

276 posts in 4519 days

#3 posted 12-08-2013 06:22 PM

It actually is very comfortable. I don’t always love rocking chairs with this sort of back because they’re usually spindles or narrow slats and they cut into my back. But the wide slats are very nice, and have enough flex in them to really conform.

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