How to use woodworking templates to make an Adirondack chair

How to use Adirondack chair woodworking templates.

In a previous post we saw how to make the woodworking templates from the Adirondack chair plans. Those plans were on paper at 1:1 scale, and I used them to make the plywood templates. In this post we are going to see how to use those woodworking templates to make all the pieces of the solid chestnut wood garden chair.

Read here all the articles on how to make an Adirondack Chair

Cutting the pieces with the jigsaw tool

Chestnut wood planks for making garden chairs

So, to make this Adirondack chair I’m going to use solid chestnut wood, so I bought the necessary planks. And I asked for them to be thickened and planed so that they are 3cm thick. In the plans it says to use 3/4 inch wood, about 2cm thick, but with 3cm thick planks the Adirondack chair will look better. Except for the seat and backrest slats, for which I will use 16mm thick wood that I will prepare myself.

Drawing the structure of the chair on the wooden planks

So, the first thing I have to do is to copy the shape of the plywood templates on the chestnut wood planks. At the moment I only copy the parts of the structure of the Adirondack chair. I will prepare later the seat slats and the backrest slats.

Cutting the wood planks to work easier

And now, in order to work easier, I use the jigsaw tool to cut the planks into smaller pieces. This will make it easier for me to work with them. This will make it easier for me to work with them.

Cutting solid chestnut wood with the jigsaw table

So, to cut the pieces my idea was to use my jigsaw table. But I quickly realized that it was too hard for it to cut this thick solid wood.

Cutting with the hand-held jigsaw

Finally I decided it was best to use the hand-held jigsaw. It was going to be a lot of work, but in the absence of a band saw the jigsaw was the best option.

The problem is that it is still a lot of work for the jigsaw, especially considering the number of cuts that need to be made. That is why in these cases I usually cut little by little. So, I advance the cut a little and then I move the jigsaw back. And so on and so forth until the wood has been cut. This way I let the blade and the machine motor breathe. And I prevent them from overheating.

Cut with the jigsaw at a few millimeters from the line.

Also, cutting right on the cut line would be very difficult, and then I would have to do a lot of sanding afterwards. It is better to cut a few millimeters away from the line. And then I can then use the woodworking templates to route the parts to be perfect. And after routing, the edge of the parts won’t need too much sanding.

As for the cutting blade of the jigsaw, I was testing two or three blades and finally I realized that the one that gave me the best results is the one shown in the pictures.

How to route with woodworking templates

So, after pre-cutting all the pieces of the Adirondack chair structure, now I can use the woodworking templates to route the pieces to make them be perfect.

Then, it’s a matter of sticking several pieces of double-sided tape on the part I want to route. And I stick the corresponding plywood template on it. I have to press the plywood well against the double-sided tape to make sure it is securely fastened. And I also have to make sure that the piece of chestnut wood protrudes slightly all the way around the plywood template.

Use a flush trim router bit with bearing to copy the templates

And now I can use a flush trim router bit to copy the exact shape of the woodworking templates in the solid chestnut pieces.

Then, it is a matter of carefully pushing the plywood workpiece-template set until the plywood makes contact with the bearing of the flush trim router bit. And I’m moving the plywood workpiece-template set while keeping the bearing against the edge of the template. This way, the flush trim router bit routes the workpiece to make it exactly the same as the woodworking template that I using with each workpiece.

Routing small parts can be dangerous

But while the task of copying the shape of the woodworking templates to make the wooden parts of the chair is simple, when it comes to routing the small parts it can be dangerous. I should make some support, or use some pushers to do this task more safely.

And speaking of small parts, in the Adirondack chair plans there are parts that support the front of the armrests. But there are no support parts for the back of these. So, as the typical Adirondack chair armrests are quite wide, and people will probably use them to sit on them, I think it will be better to put a support under the back part as well. I made some supports a little smaller than the ones that go on the front, but they are basically the same shape.

How to make the seat and backrest slats for the seat and backrest of the Adirondack chair

Cutting chestnut slats on the table saw

To make the seat and backrest slats of this classic garden chair I am going to use a 4cm thick wooden plank. And I’m going to cut it, on the table saw, into strips slightly wider than the seat and back slats.

Making slats from chestnut strips

Now, on the same table saw, I cut those chestnut wood strips into two equal slats.

Thickening the slats to make the backrest and the seat of the chair

And with the homemade thicknesser, I thickness the slats to make them 16mm thick.

And finally I can use the woodworking templates of this Adirondack chair, to route all the slats I need for the backrest and the seat. As I did with the parts of the structure, I draw the pieces I need on the slats, I pre-cut them with the jigsaw, and I finish giving them the exact shape on the router table with the help of the templates and the flush trim router bit with bearing.

How to cut and route the Adirondack chair parts

This way I have all the pieces of this classic Adirondack wooden chair.

I certainly didn’t go to all that trouble when I made myself a pallet chair a few months ago.

Retouching the sides of this wooden chair

Typical curved front of the Adirondack chair

One detail I forgot about is that the seat slats do not “seat” well on the front of the sides of this wooden chair. And is that the front of the sides has a pronounced curve, so the slats wobble on top. That’s why I decided to make three flat areas for the slats to sit well.

Mark three flat areas on the Adirondack chair template.

I could go directly to cutting the three flat areas on the sides of the Adirondack chair, but I think it is best to leave the woodworking templates already prepared. So I draw the flat areas I need on the corresponding template. I have to make them slightly wider than the seat slats.

Modifying woodworking template with the disc sander

And now I modify the template on the homemade disc sander.

So, I can finally go back to using double-sided tape to stick the template to the sides of the Adirondack chair. And I reshape the front of both sides. The result will be two exactly identical sides with the three flat areas needed for the seat slats.

And now we just need to see how to assemble all the pieces of this classic Adirondack chair, but we will see that in the next post.

Read here all the articles on how to make an Adirondack Chair

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