Once we have finished making all the pieces of the Adirondack chair, it is time to assemble the chair. And although in plans of this chair Wood puts how to do it, apart from being in English they do not go into much detail. And the truth is that the first time we assemble this garden chair, it can give us a headache. So let's see how to assemble an Adirondack chair step by step.
But if you want to see all the details, don't miss the video.
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How to assemble the structure of this wooden chair
The first thing we are going to do is to assemble the sides of the chair structure. And for this, first we clamp, with woodworking clamps, a very straight strip, to our workbench. I put this strip on a couple of the plywood templates to lift it a little bit.
So, we measure 11,5cm from the front of one of the wooden sides of this chair, and we put it against the strip as we can see in the photo.
We put one of the front legs underneath, so that the side of the leg coincides with the 11,5cm mark that I made on the side.
And I drill four pilot holes and put four screws.
Note that we assemble the side like this, just to be able to drill first in the side and not in the leg. Thus, once the chair is fully assembled, the screw heads will be hidden in the inside of the chair structure.
And now I can assemble the other side of this wooden Adirondack chair. But notice that I assemble it with the pieces facing to the other side. Thus both sides will be symmetrical. Because they must not be the same, but symmetrical.
Next thing is to assemble the support for the bottom part of the backrest of this wooden chair. I just have to fit it into the notches in the sides and I fix it with a couple of screws. So I screw the first screw into each end, I make sure it is at 90 degrees with the sides of the Adirondack chair, and I insert the second screw into each end of this support.
Before inserting the screws, I always drill guide holes.
To make all the screw joints I use stainless steel screws. Specifically, I use 6cm long screws for wood and 5cm long screws for wood. All them are 3mm thick. The 6cm ones are good for the structure, which is made of 3cm thick wood. The 5cm screws are for the seat and backrest tables. Although I think these 5cm are a bit long. About 4cm would surely be enough.
Now it's time to adjust the rear legs of this wooden chair. For this I use clamps to hold a strip to the top of my workbench. I place the front legs of the Adirondack chair against the strip, and I place the rear legs as seen in the image, holding them with clamps to the sides of the Adirondack chair.
Note that the rear legs are also against the strip.
And pay particular attention to the position in which the inclined cut of the upper part of the rear legs is.
So now it's all about centering the upper backrest support and screwing it into place.
And we are going to notice that some wooden corners protrude inside the curve of the upper support of the backrest. So, I mark the shape of the protruding wooden corners, and I can cut them when I unscrew the top bracket. I can unscrew it now, cut the corners and screw it back on. Or I can mount the back legs in place first, then unscrew the top bracket and cut the corners. This cutting those corners of wood is one of those little details that are not included in the plans of this chair Adirondack.
And now I can put the back legs of this wooden chair in place. The trick is to put them so that they are perfectly vertical and with the curved edge of the upper and lower backrest supports perfectly aligned. For this we can help ourselves with one of the backrest slats and a square.
When I they are in place, I measure to make sure that both legs are at the same distance from the lower support of the backrest, I hold them with clamps, I make sure they are perfectly vertical, and I put four screws in each one.
So I already have the front and back legs. And between both, they will hold the large wide armrests that are the main characteristic of these Adirondack garden chairs. But first I have to center the armrest supports in the top of the front legs. And I fix them with a couple of screws.
The next thing to do would be to assemble the armrests. And to screw the front part of the armrests, we can see in the Adirondack chair plans some rectangular pieces that must be screwed on the front legs and on the armrest supports. The armrests would then go on of those pieces, and I would insert some screws from the bottom of the rectangular pieces to the armrests.
Keep in mind that the size of these pieces depends on the thickness of the wood we use. Also, if we use these parts, we have to put one on top of the template of the front legs when we use that template to level the armrests (we'll see 5 images later). And I mean putting one of the pieces of wood, with the thickness corresponding to the wood we use to make them, otherwise the armrests would not be well leveled.
But to screw the armrests, I am going to use a different system than the one indicated in the plans of this Adirondack garden chair.
So what I'm not going to use that rectangular pieces that go under the armrests, and I'm going to insert some pocket hole screws from the top of the front legs and from the armrest supports.
Then, first I drill holes with the same diameter as the screws head. But I drill only half the way. And then I drill smaller diameter guide holes inside the first wider holes.
Once I have finished drilling these pilot holes, I insert the screws in the holes and check that none will protrude more than the thickness of the wood of the armrests. To check, I use that piece of the image because it is not so heavy and I can hold it with my hand.
Although before screwing them in here, first I have to screw the back of the armrests.
So now I'm going to use the plywood template that I used to make the front legs as a stand to level the armrests. I tighten them in place and insert a pair of screws from the inside of each of the back legs. So, it finally begins to look like a real Adirondack garden chair.
And I can already screw the characteristic Adirondack chair armrests to the front. I line up the inner edge with the rear legs, and tighten the pocket hole screws.
In principle, and according to the plans I used, I would have already finished assembling the structure of this wooden Adirondack chair. But as I showed in the previous post, in which we saw how to make all parts of this chair In the garden, I decided to also make some small supports to put on the rear legs under the armrests.
So the first thing I'm going to do is cut these supports lengthwise at 45 degrees. Something simple if I use my woodworking jig to cut at 45 degrees with the table saw. But I have to make sure to cut them symmetrically, and for this I cut the first one by putting the wide part forward in the XNUMX degrees cutting jig, and to cut the other one I put it with the wide part towards the back of the jig. The video shows better how I did it.
And I can already screw them in place, inserting the inclined screws following the direction of these supports. Although before inserting the screws I must make sure that the tip will not protrude from the front of these supports.
Adirondack chair seat and backrest slats
Once I have the structure of the Adirondack chair, now I can assemble the backrest slats and the seat slats. For this I start by screwing one of the outer slats of the backrest. So, I want to align the outer edge of the slat with the end of the curves of the upper and lower backrest supports. And I want the bottom end to be a couple of centimetres below the bottom support. So, when I have the slat where I want, I insert one screw against the upper support of the backrest.
Now I put the slat in the other side of the backrest, which is symmetrical to the first one. So, I have to align it the same as the first one, I measure so that both are at the same height, and I insert one screw against the upper support of the backrest.
Well, and I have to screw the two slats against the bottom back support too.
And here comes one of the most complicated parts when it comes to assembling an Adirondack chair: getting the backrest to look good. But with a couple of simple tricks that we are going to see, this is just a piece of cake:
The tricks to assemble the backrest of this garden chair
The first trick is to nail a thin board under the two slats of the backrest that I have already screwed in place. So now I can put the rest of the backrest slats at the correct height without having to be measuring every time, making marks or strange things (yes, I already assembled some Adirondack chair before, and the first few times it was crazy to get all the backrest slats well aligned with each other).
And now, here it comes the second trick: If I find a thin piece of wood that allows me to put all the slats of the backrest of this wooden chair at the same distance from each other, it is very easy to screw them all in place against the upper support of the backrest. I just have to start in one side of the backrest, and go forward, screwing one by one, until I get to the other side.
I eyeball to separate the bottom part of the slats, and I screw them against the bottom support of the backrest of this Adirondack wooden chair.
And now I can remove the board that I had nailed to hold and level the pieces of the backrest while screwing them on.
And finally I can assemble the slats of the seat of this wooden chair. So we can sit on it in the garden.
Here we are going to see another small modification that does not appear in the plans. And it is that the first board that goes against the backrest stumbles against the outer boards of this and is very advanced. So I decided to use the jigsaw to cut a couple of notches. Even, to leave the cuts slanted at the bottom, I made the cut with the slanted blade. So this piece fits better with the backboards.
So, I put in place, but without screwing them, all the slats of the seat of this garden chair. And I make sure I have room to put them all. I adjust the decorated front slat into place in the front, and I secure it with a couple of screws in each side.
Now I can also screw the slat with the notches in position a few millimetres from the backrest. So, with the first and last slats of the seat of this chair already screwed, I can put back the rest of the slats between them. And I look for some spacers that allow me to leave them at the same distance from each other.
In my case I found that the best spacers were the screws I was using. Except in the area of the curvature in the front of the seat, where I used washers as spacers.
And speaking of the curve, here we see how the slats do not sit well. In the previous post we saw how to make three flat areas so that the slats sit perfectly. Something that does not appear on the plans either. But you can see here! as I did.
Once the seat slats are in the correct position, I can drill a couple of pilot holes into each end and screw them in.
As seen in the image, to work comfortably, it is better to remove the armrests first.
And when I finish screwing I remove the spacers.
Now, to finish assembling an Adirondack wooden chair like this one, we would put the armrests back in place. But we still have to sand all the wood pieces and apply a protective stain.
How to finish the Adirondack chair
The Adirondack chair is a wooden chair that will be a lot of time outdoors, in the garden in the Sun and sometimes in the rain. That is why we must protect it against insects that damage the wood and the mold, and also so that it does not rot or change the color.
So the first thing I have to do is take apart all the pieces of this wooden chair. Luckily, having the screw holes already made, reassembling the Adirondack chair will be easy. But to avoid problems with the back and seat slats I am going to number them with a pen. So, when I reassemble the chair, I will know in which position each piece of wood goes exactly.
So, I number the slats and I disassemble all the parts of this garden chair.
Now, to give it a better finish, first I countersink the screw holes. This will keep the screws head level with the wood surfaces. I have to be careful, since I made many holes and the screws head only go in some of them. So I have to look closely and make sure to countersink only the correct holes.
Also, the wooden chair will look better if I round some of the corners. Specifically, I am going to round the corners of the armrests (except the area that is screwed against the back legs), I round the corners of the armrest supports (also except the areas that are screwed against the legs and against the armrests), and I also round the corners of the outer surface of the seat and backrest slats.
To round the corners I use the milling table. And you have to be very careful especially with small parts. It is recommended to use some type of support or pusher to work more safely.
Now I can sand all parts of the wooden chair with medium grit sandpaper and fine grit sandpaper.
And finally I can apply a couple of coats of wood protector for outdoor wood. When we apply the first layer of a wood protector, it does not usually look very good. But by giving the second coat the color is more homogeneous and the brush marks are not so noticeable.
Gentle sanding between coats of protective lasur is also recommended. This will make the surface of the chair smoother.
When the protective wood protector is dry, I can reassemble the Adirondack chair and start enjoying it.
So, you can see that assembling an Adirondack garden chair like this one can be a bit complicated and laborious. And along with the work involved in making all the pieces of wood, it will take a lot of hours to finish making an Adirondack chair. But if we think about the years that we will enjoy it, if we encourage ourselves to make this woodworking project, it is well worth all the effort that we can put in making it to get a chair that will last years and years.
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