Cedar Adirondack Chairs

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Project by jcontract posted 03-04-2012 04:15 PM 3765 views 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A pair of Cedar Adirondack Chairs that were built for my daughters’ (plural) school raffle.

Everyone seemed to like the chairs. In fact, a few at the raffle asked for my business card? By the end of the night I actually was giving out my number and taking a few orders. I doubt if I’d actually get someone calling me to make them chairs, but great for the old ego for sure. I’m curious what similar chairs would retail for. Please reply if you know, or even if you sell them.

I congratulated the winner, and was glad to hear how excited he was. He even mentioned how he planned on passing them down to his children eventually. Nice!

The chairs are made of clear Cedar, stainless steel fasteners and stainless carriage bolts. Extra strength with Titebond III water-proof glue. I finished them with McCloskey’s Man-O-War Marine Spar Varnish.

This was my first build with Cedar, or a soft wood for that matter. I learned a lot with this project.
1. Cedar dents just looking at it.
2. A little less money than Mahogany, Teak or other like hardwood. But I spent extra time fixing tear outs, blow outs, splintering and other issues.

All in all, they came out pretty good I think. School hopefully made a little more money.

8 comments so far

View KMT's profile


603 posts in 3144 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 05:34 PM

Those are real nice. The cedar looks good with the spar varnish. It seems a lot of LJ’s donate projects for various charities, Good on you!

-- - Martin

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 2778 days

#2 posted 03-04-2012 07:08 PM

Those look like Norm’s chair plan – I built a set of those back in the early 90’s out of cedar and they still are out side holding up, albeit with a couple coats of stain. I’ve had to add some metal cross strapping to the back because the chairs loosened up and moved side to side a bit (you can only tighten down the screws so many times). His plan called for five quarter but I could only get one by. Very comfortable.

A lot of stores sell Adirondack style chairs for thirty or forty bucks, maybe up to a hundred at a nursery center. Unless you could get the wood for free or dirt cheap I don’t know how much money is to be made building them. But you won’t know until you try.

View jtash's profile


30 posts in 3564 days

#3 posted 03-04-2012 09:12 PM

I think the spar varnish makes the ceadar look a lot better. The one nice thing about the ceadar is it’s light.
Norm would be proud of you!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4037 days

#4 posted 03-04-2012 10:12 PM

That is a fine looking set of chairs, nicely finished and they look comfortable too

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View PKFF's profile


48 posts in 2834 days

#5 posted 03-06-2012 01:47 AM

Very Nice looking chairs.

I sell adirondack chairs similiar to these on an as order basis. I advertise on facebook ( ). I have been doing this as a side job for a little over 2 years now.

This particular chair, the Classic Adirondack, is the typical look. dhazelton is correct that home stores and the like sell adirondack chairs for $30 to $50, but those are painted 3/4 pine with zinc fasteners which do not last as long as cedar. When you purchase quality Adirondack chairs that are built by a woodworker or a production Chair Factory, (google search for companies all over who specifically sell Adirondack Chairs and furniture) they can range from $125 to $500!

The Cedar is perfectly accceptable for use in this type of application. It is naturally weather resistant so you do not have to finish it… nature has already done that for you. But it accepts all types of exterior stains very nice, it sands easily for easy maintenance, and if you use a Teak oil on it, it hardens up some and will aid is beading the rain off the surfaces. I use 5/4 decking as it is already planed to 1 1/8” and is reasonably priced. I usually purchase in bulk from my local lumber yard and I get a contractor’s discount, but even if I only need enough for one chair, it still is affordable enough to make a decent profit for your hard work.

You can use Teak. It is a hardwood and I have used it before. The downsides to using Teak is it can drive the cost of production up a tad and it actually isn’t as comfrotable as the cedar after prolonged sitting periods, because it is hardwood.

Redwood, is just expensive here so I’ve never attempted to use it.

All of my Chairs are made with 5/4 Western Red Cedar and assembled with stainless fasteners. If I am taking orders, I will ask if they customer would like it stained a certain color for a reasonable cost (it takes an extra day for production though). If I am making the chairs in order to take to the local flee market or festival market, or yard sale… I will not stain them because they sell better if the look is natural and the buyer has the option to put whatever stain color and finish on it if they want to.

If you plan to start a small business in woodworking, it is all about getting your materials in bulk and at the lowest price per unit, to make the most profit. The problem with that is you have to be able to store it somewhere until you need it. It is possible to turn a good profit, usually atleast 100% to 150%, for making Adirondack Chairs. A good tip is to make hardboard templates and lay them out on the boards so you minimize scrap boards, then remember how you layed them out, and keep it that way everytime.

They are the most desired piece of lawn furniture and if built right can last a long time, if not a lifetime. It seems you are on the right track using the cedar and stainless hardware. The Marine adhesive is a plus too, some don’t do that. The spar varnish looks great, beware though, it may have a tendancy to crack and flack after a few hot summers. I have had some pretty good results with the Teak Oil, on top of the stain colors. It tends to soak into the wood, but still has a shine to it. The Spar looks great though.

Another thing you can do is try your hand at some ottomans. About 1 out of 2 customers ask me for ottomans.

Good Job!

-- "If you put your best effort forward today, you won't have to re-do it tomorrow"

View ohwoodeye's profile


2225 posts in 3635 days

#6 posted 03-06-2012 04:39 PM

About 3 years ago I had success building these out of cedar deck boards which is about 5/4” thick wood. I waited for it to go on sale at the big box store the materials cost me about $37.00. Throw in sand paper and spar urathane to that and I was somewhere in the $55.00 cost area. I had success selling them for $75 (to family members) and $100.00 per chair to a couple of other non related people. I even sold 2 of Norm’s Loveseats for $200.00 each. Still a very low profit margin so unless you are building them for fun it’s not worth it.

-- "Fine Woodworking" is the name given to a project that takes 3 times longer than normal to finish because you used hand tools instead of power tools. ----Mike, Waukesha, WI

View GlenGuarino's profile


166 posts in 3495 days

#7 posted 03-07-2012 03:27 PM

Nice job, these chairs are so comfortable.


View Eric's profile


221 posts in 2992 days

#8 posted 06-22-2012 03:28 AM

Boy that looks familiar to me! :-)

only difference is that I plugged the screw heads. This was very time consuming. While it does look slick, I’m not convinced plugging in this case was worth the effort.

Nice chairs.

-- Eric

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