best wood & plans for outdoor furniture

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Forum topic by NewfieDan posted 04-16-2011 01:56 PM 14050 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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50 posts in 4145 days

04-16-2011 01:56 PM

I have a couple of questions on outdoor furniture.
My wife would like me to build some Adirondack chairs for new patio. She like the style that has a curved back for more comfort. I already have a few plans for straight backed chairs. Does anyone have any plans, or know where I can find some plans for a curved Adirondack chair?

The second question is what type of would is best suited to outdoors? I mean besides Cedar. I like the colour but it requires yearly refinishing. I was thinking of either maple or Douglas fir, especially since cedar is a special order item.

The chairs will most likely be put away for the winter each year. I live on the eastern tip of Canada so we get a lot of rain.

19 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


18140 posts in 4503 days

#1 posted 04-16-2011 02:11 PM


You could try cypress, i has most of the same characteristics of cedar. Im not terribly sure about the availability in your area but its a fairly easy wood to work with.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4571 days

#2 posted 04-16-2011 03:49 PM

IMO – the best wood for outdoor furniture is ipe. It is VERY hard and durable. I think it as teak at half the price. Finishing it is optional. Without a finish it will turn gray which some people like. With or without finish it will last forever.

I built a 400 square foot deck with it and then built all of my outdoor furniture with it. It’s 10 years old with no signs of any deterioration.

B.t.w – it’s hard on tools, especially drill bits.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 4347 days

#3 posted 04-16-2011 04:13 PM

If you can get away with not painting the chairs, that’s a plus. They are very difficult to paint and repaint.

If you must, try painting as you go.

If you can do with a clear finish, make sure it is spar varnish.

The curved back is a great idea. The big honkin’ wide center splat in the traditional Adirondack puts pain in every vertebra. Dumb idea. They’re also very hard to get in and out of when you crest the Speed Limit Age.

Sorry I can’t source the curved back plan for you, but I know they’re out there; I built the loveseat years ago from a plan. Sold it. The seat, not the plan. Not comfortable.

In any event, when you find the plan, I suggest you slam together Proto #1 out of cheap stuff and then plot your modifications from there. It will be cheap tuition for lotsa learnin’.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Barry Heller's profile

Barry Heller

14 posts in 4149 days

#4 posted 04-16-2011 05:41 PM

Try this link:
Or this one:

It should lead you to Woodcraft plans. This is a neat type of Adirondack called a Jake’s chair and is much more comfortable than a standard Adirondack. It has a neat history. The plans are free and the only stipulation is that you call it a Jake’s chair and share the story of how it came to be. He doesn’t even care if you build them to sell. He just wants the history known.

-- I grow ever more accomplished at turning a perfectly good piece of wood into sawdust.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51524 posts in 4977 days

#5 posted 04-16-2011 09:13 PM

I think a great wood for outdoor use is teak.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View kalisha's profile


2 posts in 4003 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 06:10 AM

Well It isn’t teak but wicker is a decent option. Yes, I know, it isn’t wood in the traditional sense. But it is less expensive. And I have learned that sometimes you have to go with something in the ballpark that is less expensive. Also another option would be to get the teak furniture “nude”(unfinished) and finish it yourself with stain and protectant. It is amazing how much you can save with a little bit of do it yourself know how and of course having the time to actually do it.buttler accents

View rance's profile


4282 posts in 4657 days

#7 posted 07-16-2011 06:43 AM

And then there is always Polywood. Any color you want and no painting.

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

View MickeyGomes's profile


2 posts in 3601 days

#8 posted 08-21-2012 10:07 AM

The best suited wood for outdoor furniture is ipe.

View AandCstyle's profile


3306 posts in 3754 days

#9 posted 08-21-2012 11:45 PM

I would suggest white oak. It is not as hard on your tools as ipe and it very rot resistant. Check to locate it in your vicinity. HTH

P.S. Completed pix are required! :)

-- Art

View MJCD's profile


628 posts in 3868 days

#10 posted 08-22-2012 11:45 PM

I’m currently making an Outdoor Bench, based on the Fine Woodworking plans (Nov. 2008, I believe). This article recommends Teak, White Oak, or Jatoba. I’m using Jatoba, and have milled approximately 50 bf into approximately 30 pieces – it machines clean and square. The wood is very dense; has a 2,300 lb (vs. Teak of about 1,000) strength on the Janka Hardness Scale – it’s very good wood to work. It will chew HSS blades, though – I’ll need to replace my bandsaw, jointer, and planer knives when I’m finished. Jatoba does not require a finish, when used indoor or outdoor; though, everyone recommends sealing the ground-contact feet.
The cost, in Baltimore, is $8/bf; Teak about $20; and White Oak at $5.

View MJCD's profile


628 posts in 3868 days

#11 posted 08-22-2012 11:48 PM

By the way, FW has several Outdoor Furniture plans. Most are marked “Intermediate” level.

View addywilson's profile


2 posts in 3601 days

#12 posted 08-27-2012 12:35 PM

It is a good wood furniture for outdoor. This is solid wood furniture and coloring becomes a bit tedious on such kind of furniture.

View joseph000's profile


346 posts in 3523 days

#13 posted 11-07-2012 11:07 AM

hi dear,
One thing that you can do to get your hands on good plans for outdoor furniture is to browse through every single online option that is available to you. You can get ideas for wood projects off these online sources. To ensure that you can complete the project of your choice, make sure that you avoid taking on projects that are too difficult for your skill level.

View bondogaposis's profile


6195 posts in 3848 days

#14 posted 11-07-2012 01:45 PM

Here is a link to a great set of plans for a curved back Adirondack chair.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Woodbum's profile


958 posts in 4562 days

#15 posted 11-07-2012 09:32 PM

Ipe if you have loads of dough. Cypress for splinters, and white oak finished with Epifanes for durability. Redwood is in the pricey range too, but it will last a long long time, but it is fairly soft. Epifanes ia great outdoor finish, made in Holland for yachts. They have a spar varnish and a clear marine finish among others. A little pricey, but top quality reviews and excellent protection.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

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