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How to use woodworking templates to make the Adirondack chair

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How to use woodworking templates to make the Adirondack chair
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In a previous post we could see how to make the Adirondack chair templates out of the plans. Those Adirondack chair plans where 1:1 paper plans, and I used them to make plywood templates. In this post we’ll see how to use this plywood woodworking templates to make all the pieces of this wooden chair from chestnut.

Using a jigsaw to cut all the pieces

The chestnut lumber I'll use to make the wooden chairThen, to make this Adirondack chair I will use solid chestnut. So I bought all the planks I need. And I had the chestnut planks planed to be 3cm thick. The Adirondack chair plans says we should use 3/4″ wood, about 2cm thick, but it will look nicer if we use 3cm thick wood. But to make the back and the seat slats I will use 16mm thick slats. And I will cut them out of a 4cm plank.


Draw the shape of the woodworking templates on the planksSo, to make this wooden chair, first I copy the shape of the woodworking templates on the chestnut planks. But so far I only copy the parts of the Adirondack structure (the 3cm thick parts). We’ll see later how to make the back slats and the seat slats.


Pre-cut the planks so they are easier to handleNow I use the jigsaw to cut the planks in smaller pieces. This way I can handle them with ease.


Trying to cut chestnut lumber in the jigsaw tableNow my idea was to use my jigsaw table to cut the pieces. But soon I realised that it is not easy to cut this thick hardwood with the jigsaw table.


Use a handheld jigsaw to cut all the piecesSo finally I decided to use the handheld jigsaw. It would be a lot of effort, but because I don’t have a band saw it was my best option.

The problem is that it will be a lot off effort for the jigsaw. Mainly because I have to make a lot of cuts in this 3cm thick hardwood. That’s why I will cut “little step by little step”. I mean, I cut just some centimetres and I move the jigsaw back. I cut some centimetres more and I move the jigsaw back once again. And I keep like this until I finish cutting each piece. This way the jigsaw motor and the cutting blade can “breathe”, so they won’t overheat.


Use a jigsaw to cut at some millimetres from the linesFurthermore, it would be very difficult to make a precise cut following the lines. That is why I cut at some millimetres from the lines. Like this, later I can use the woodworking templates to route perfect pieces. And the best part is that after routing I won’t need to sand the edges too much.


Regarding to the jigsaw cutting blade, I’ve been trying different ones, but that in the picture is the blade that gives better results.

Jigsaw cutting blade
The jigsaw blade I have used to cut the chestnut pieces

How to use the woodworking templates

Now that I have already “pre-cut” all the pieces of this Adirondack chair, I can use the woodworking templates to route them. Like this I’ll get perfect pieces.

Then, I have to put some pieces of double sided tape on the workpiece I want to route. And I stick the corresponding plywood template on the workpiece. Just to make sure the woodworking template sticks well, I have to press it against the workpiece. I must also make sure that the chestnut workpiece protrudes all around the plywood template.

Use double sided tape to stick the woodworking templates
Stick the woodworking templates on the workpieces

Use a flush trim router bit to copy the shapeAnd now I can use a flush trim router bit to route the exact shape of the woodworking templates in the workpieces.

Then, I have to push both, the template and the workpiece, against the flush trim router bit, until the template touches the bearing. And now I move both, the template and the workpiece, making sure the bearing follows the plywood template. That way the router bit will copy the shape of the template in the workpiece.


Small pieces can be dangerous to routeBut despite it is quite easy to follow the plywood templates to make a perfect copy in the chestnut workpieces, it can be some dangerous to route the small pieces. I should make some kind of support, or I should use some kind of pusher, so I can route more safely.


And also regarding to the smaller pieces, there is a piece called arm support in the Adirondack chair plans. These go in the front leg and under the armrest. But in the plans there is nothing I can put in the back legs under the armrest. And because the Adirondack chair armrests are very wide, people will probably seat on them. That is why I think it will be better to reinforce them with a back support. So I made something similar to the arm support we can find in the plans, but some smaller.

This pieces will support the armrest in the back legs
Copy the small armrest support

How to make the back slats and the seat slats

Rip the 4 cm thick chestnut planks to make some stripsTo make the wooden chair back slats and seat slats, I will use a 4cm thick chestnut plank. So, first I use my homemade table saw to cut that plank in several strips. Those strips are some wider than the chair back and seat slats.


Rip the strips to make the slatsNow, also with the table saw, I rip each strip to make two identical slats.


Plane the slats to the final thicknessAnd I use the homemade thickness planer to get identical 16mm thick slats.


Finally I can use the corresponding woodworking templates to route all the back slats and all the seat slats of this wooden chair. So, I will follow the same procedure we could see before: I draw the templates shape on the slats; I use the jigsaw to pre-cut the slats; and I use the plywood templates and a flush trim router bit to copy the templates shape in the workpieces.

Route the back slats of the wooden chair
Route the seat slats of the wooden chair

How to cut and route all the pieces of the Adirondack chairThis way I get all the chestnut pieces I need to make the Adirondack chair.

OK, it didn’t took me so much effort to make a pallet chair (YouTube video) some months ago.

How to improve the front of this wooden chair

The curved front in the side supports of the chairBut there is one thing I forgot: the seat slats don’t “seat” well in the curvature in the front of the side supports. That’s why I decided to make there three flat surfaces so the last three slats “seat” nicely.


Drawing the flat surfaces in the plywood templateI could cut de three flat surfaces directly in the side supports, but it will be better if I modify the woodworking templates. So I draw the three flat surfaces in the curvature in the corresponding template. I draw them just slightly wider than the seat slats.


Using the disc sander to modify the woodworking templateAnd now I use the homemade disc sander to modify the template.


Like this, once again, I can use double sided tape to stick this template to the side supports. And I route them once again. The result is two identical side supports with three flats surfaces in each one. So now the seat slats will “seat” perfectly.

Using the template to modify the side supports
Use a flush trim router bit to copy the shape of the templates

And now I can already put together all the pieces of this Adirondack chair. But we’ll see how to assemble this wooden chair in another post.

Remember that you can watch how to make the woodworking templates here. And there you will also find a link to the plans.

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Comments (2)

Hello Sergio,

How did you print out the plans to a normal A4/A3 printer???

Reply

Hi Jan

Not sure. Maybe the pdf reader has some option to put marks so you can print the Adirondack plans in lots of A4.
Actually I went to a copy centre to print in actual size

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