Composite Adirondack Furniture Set

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Project by tate posted 06-30-2010 02:32 AM 16123 views 15 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first project so any feedback, advice, criticism or good ole gripes are greatly appreciated. I wanted to make an adirondack set but, like most people, don’t like maintaining outdoor furniture. So I found some composite decking material on sale and decided to give it a go. I like the fact that it is no warping, cracking, splintering, staining, sealing…you get the point. Did I mention I hate maintaining outdoor items (notice my deck that needs waterproofed this year). I know this is a woodworking website and the material used is wood-like, so does anyone think this was a good, bad, or dumb idea. I believe the idea is good but I don’t know how the decking material will hold up as furniture. My main concern is that the frame of the chairs that support all the weight will sag or crack over time. I guess time will tell. Any advice? I know there are details on these chairs that could have been done differently but I learn best by trial and error.

I built this set with the bare essentials and have sense ordered a delta thickness planer (should be here any day). Next is a good jointer and band saw. I am slowly enlarging my wood shop. I would like to buy everything now but don’t want to have to sell one of my children to be able to do it. It will be a slow process but eventually I will get there.

I hope to post many more projects in the future so any advice is greatly appreciated



22 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118161 posts in 4652 days

#1 posted 06-30-2010 02:34 AM

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5293 days

#2 posted 06-30-2010 03:07 AM

I never heard of doing this before, but it seems like a fantastic idea and they look great!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ND2ELK's profile


13494 posts in 4849 days

#3 posted 06-30-2010 04:39 AM

They look great! I like your design. They look like they would be more comfortable than a lot of them I have seen. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Skylark53's profile


2862 posts in 4135 days

#4 posted 06-30-2010 05:21 AM

Off to a good start. The chairs look real comfortable and will be functional for a long, long time.

-- Rick, Tennessee, John 3:16

View vidkid26's profile


74 posts in 4391 days

#5 posted 06-30-2010 06:12 AM

First off, welcome to LJ.
One thing that I have found in woodworking, and I’ve only been doing it a short time, is that there is plenty of room to bend and even break the rules. Safety aside, anything is fair game. All you have to do is look at the projects on this site.
You can ALWAYS learn something new or a way of doing things that you never thought of before.

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4079 days

#6 posted 06-30-2010 06:15 AM

Very creative us of alternative materials. Nice job

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4117 days

#7 posted 06-30-2010 07:41 AM

Welcome to LJ. They look great and I think the composite was a great idea.

View Ken90712's profile


17994 posts in 4264 days

#8 posted 06-30-2010 10:40 AM

Welcome. I can’t see whay this would not work! Great work, they look comfy.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View rance's profile


4278 posts in 4235 days

#9 posted 06-30-2010 12:22 PM

I think if I ever make outside furniture, I’d go with the composite too. Nice looking chairs and table there.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26186 posts in 4180 days

#10 posted 06-30-2010 02:08 PM

Nice chairs. I think that is a great idea. Refinishing every year is a pain. I was wondering what kind of material it is, though. I had used some decking material for a picnic table. When I got it all cut and fitted to the steel frame, I read that tiny label affixed to the end and it said it was not for use over a span of more than 24”. SO, I had to reinforce it all with aluminum extrusions under all the pieces.The thing about it was that it held up very well for strength and rot resistance but it darkened and discolored being outside all the time in Illinois.
I did see some other plastic furniture in the Amish country of Ohio that was supposed to keep its color over time as well as being resistant to weathering. Do you know what type of decking that you used on this project? Thanks, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Sinister's profile


60 posts in 4545 days

#11 posted 06-30-2010 02:43 PM

I am seriously considering doing the same thing this summer. Are all of the “boards” in your chairs the same thickness? Can you surface plane and face glue them? I imagine a polyurethane glue would do the trick. I just rebuilt my deck with composite material and have a lot of cut offs that I can use.

-- Patrick, Iowa City

View skeeter's profile


233 posts in 4416 days

#12 posted 06-30-2010 03:13 PM

those are some nice chairs. Hey, IMHO composite is very smart. Ever see an antique piece of outdoor furniture? Me niether. I thought your chairs were cypress if I didn’t know by the title. Great job. The only place I would worry about the composite is the foot stool. I think you need a piece reinforcing the legs. I can’t imagine the plastic wood is stiffer than actual wood.

-- My philosophy: Somewhere between Norm and Roy

View unklegwar's profile


115 posts in 4289 days

#13 posted 06-30-2010 03:57 PM

Nice! I’ve been wanting to build some outdoor furniture from composite. I’ll be darned if I can find a supplier for non deck-oriented sizes, though. Where’d you get your material? What brand? Any tips you discovered for working with “plastic wood”?

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View tate's profile


10 posts in 3963 days

#14 posted 06-30-2010 04:33 PM

First off thank you everyone for the quick responses!!!

Jim Jakosh…thank you for the info on spans longer than 24”. I have two different spans longer than 24” and they are the arm rests (35”) and the bottom support rails (39”). I hope that the bottom rails, even though longer than 24”, will not sag due to being turned vertical. The chair is solid as a rock! I had my wife sit on my lap and we both rocked back and forth( I swear thats all we did…haha) and it didn’t sway at all. I sat in some cheaper chairs sold by department stores and they should be called rocking chairs with as much play as they had. I’m not to worried about the color because all info i have seen on these types of decking state that the color will fade in about 30 days. What part of Illinois do you live in? I live in Southern Illinois. I’m not for sure of the manufacturer but I could barely read the label and the color is teak. The store I bought them from only had 13 boards left and I paid $1.25 a foot, which seemed reasonable.

Sinister…Yes all the boards are 1” thick. Most chairs are made of 3/4” boards, so this seems to make it sturdier. Down side is this stuff is HEAVY!!! Two people can move them with ease but I don’t plan on moving them too many times. I can move them by myself but nearly blow out my a-hole! haha I don’t know if you can plane them (my planer was suppose to be here yesterday!!!! argh) I did glue some of the joints and other support areas just to give added support. I really didn’t know what type of glue to use so I bought Liquid Nails exterior adhesive. Seems like it is holding but I haven’t tried to take the boards apart. I have roughly 11 – 12 foot boards in the set. The surface of the board is somewhat shiny and once sanded leaves a dull, lighter color (at least in the boards that I have). I don’t know if the manufacturer puts some sort of protectant on the surface, just guessing. I don’t know if you could plane and glue up to make larger stock. I might try to glue up some table legs for an outdoor dining table sometime.

Skeeter…I thought about reinforcing the foot stool but was trying to use as little material as possible. I’m a cheap skate. This stuff is rock solid!!! I figured I could get away with it as is due to the foot stool doesn’t hold much weight, just props my legs up. If I notice any sort of movement I will add supports. Thank you for the advice. I haven’t seen any furniture made from this product so this is an experiment also. I want to see what this stuff can handle. I have family members and friends who want me to make them some but I don’t want to if the material doesn’t hold steady.

View tate's profile


10 posts in 3963 days

#15 posted 06-30-2010 04:47 PM

unklegwar…I bought mine from a local lumberyard that was discontinuing this brand and ordering another so I got mine at $1.25 a foot. I don’t know the manufacturer. Menard’s carries a composite pvc material of some sort that comes in larger widths. I was seriously looking at those until I saw the price tag and I just remember them being expensive compared to what I paid for deck boards. This material is easy to work with. cuts, sands and screws well. It does get hot if placed in the sun (like mine are). It cools down once you sit on it. Who wants to sit in the direct sun anyway? Except for my wife that enjoys sweating and 3rd degree sun burns!!!

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