Ipe Adirondack Chairs

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Project by FuzzyDove posted 04-23-2011 01:38 AM 11491 views 31 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I designed and built these with 3 goals in mind: 1) Use only standard decking lumber which is 5.25” Wide x 3/4” thick. 2) Scale down the standard size of Adirondack chairs to fit smaller people. 3) Make them heavy enough that they could not be blown off a dock in even the heaviest winds (like my other chairs have). I used Ipe because I had some left over from a family member’s decking project and it has the weight and durability I was looking for. To be honest I thought this would be a quick and simple project, but it turned out to be a lot of hours in the shop to get them right. I made a lot of “guess” templates (eg – screw ups!) before the first one came together correctly. I should have just gone with an available plan, but they were just all too big and used wood dimensions that would have required board glue ups if using only standard decking wood. In the long run though I’m happy with the outcome and I finally have a nice set of templates should I opt to build more.
The backs are curved which makes them really feel comfortable. Originally I had the area where your knee is curve down which looked really pretty, but was just not comfortable so I re-did them with a straight drop – not as nice looking, but way more comfortable. There are a ton of screws holding it all together but I hid them with ipe carefully grain-aligned plugs that were planed then sanded flush. The legs are bolted with carriage bolts for strength. These chairs are incredibly heavy! The finish is just a couple of coats of spar urethane – the wood is too beautiful for anything else. Guess it is time for my wife and I to have a seat and crack open a couple of cold beers! :)

PS – I built the dock in the picture last year using recycled plastic lumber which I must say is awesome for outdoor durability – it has held up amazingly well despite the abuse from the kids and the sun. As much as I love wood, I highly recommend it for the right outdoor application!

19 comments so far

View ScottnKY's profile


109 posts in 4305 days

#1 posted 04-23-2011 02:09 AM

being very familar with Ipe, I can appreciate the work that went into these chairs. Super Job. Probably the best looking adirondack chairs I have seen.
Any estimate on the weight of these?

View Gary's profile


1508 posts in 5565 days

#2 posted 04-23-2011 02:10 AM

Nicely done.
The only problem I can see is they’ll last forever and when you get old, you won’t be able to lift them without getting a hernia :-)

-- Gary, Florida

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4818 days

#3 posted 04-23-2011 02:50 AM

They look great and I’m sure their heavy, you don’t have to worry being to close to the fire ring because Ipe is fire rated.
good job


View SSMDad's profile


395 posts in 3838 days

#4 posted 04-23-2011 03:02 AM

Great job. Beautiful chairs.

-- Chris ~~Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4402 days

#5 posted 04-23-2011 03:03 AM

Before I had even read any of the text, I knew what I thought of these. These ARE the best Adirondack chairs I’ve ever seen too.

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

View driftwoodhunter's profile


273 posts in 3928 days

#6 posted 04-23-2011 03:13 AM

I agree, they are splendid!

View Mark Blomster's profile

Mark Blomster

107 posts in 4226 days

#7 posted 04-23-2011 03:56 AM

Those will be around for a long, long time!!! They turned out fantastic. Enjoy!

View superstretch's profile


1532 posts in 3934 days

#8 posted 04-23-2011 06:37 AM

Wow those are gorgeous!

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View Napoleon's profile


788 posts in 4050 days

#9 posted 04-23-2011 10:08 AM

Nice work and made in ipe they gonna last forever :D

-- Boatbuilder&blacksmith

View shopdog's profile


582 posts in 4727 days

#10 posted 04-23-2011 12:29 PM

Beautiful chairs, and a nice place to put them.
I work a lot with Ipe (deck builder), and make things with my multitude of scrap pieces, so I know how hard it is to work with, but the end justifies the means.
I made an adirondack chair for my wife a couple of years ago (posted in my projects). Someday, I’ll build another one for me, but I might use cedar :-)

I like your dock also. I need to build a new one this summer. Could you post a blog of how you did it? My situation is a bit different than yours…my lake freezes in the winter, and docks tend to shift. Mine is listing at least 30 degrees.
Thanks for posting.

-- Steve--

View dakremer's profile


2771 posts in 4333 days

#11 posted 04-23-2011 04:54 PM

These look great. These are probably my favorite ones so far I’ve seen on lumberjacks (and there’s been a lot). Thanks for sharing!!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View Ken90712's profile


18067 posts in 4430 days

#12 posted 04-23-2011 05:09 PM

Probably the best-looking Adirondack chairs I have seen on here. I love when someone takes the time to use plugs and hide all the screws! Says they care. I have Lee Valley Plans for folding Adirondack Chairs I have not started yet. Your change to the front is very interesting. It does not look bad, just different. If it’s more comfortable then good for you!

Great post and congrats, what time are we drinking?

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

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1935 posts in 4913 days

#13 posted 04-23-2011 08:51 PM

The color is exquisite!! Great job!! They look great!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4826 days

#14 posted 04-23-2011 09:41 PM

Nice work fuzzy well done maybe I’ll come over for a sit down with you pal.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View cgrooms's profile


44 posts in 4332 days

#15 posted 04-25-2011 06:40 PM

Those look amazing.

I’ve been wanting to build some adirondack chairs out of ipe, but i don’t know where to find ipe here locally in Ohio. I haven’t looked that hard for it yet though. I’ll check out some decking supply stores.

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