Adirondack Chair Week 1

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I’m building two green and green styled adirondack chairs along with the Wood Whisperer Guild.   If you recall, I had a bit of buyer’s remorse over the ribbon stripe mahogany I’d picked out locally and decided to buy a rough lumber kit from Bell Forest for the second chair.  There are lots of differences between the two: honduran vs. fiji mahogany, S2S vs. rough sawn, hand picked vs. mail order.  I’m looking forward to comparing the process of building and the end result of these two chairs created with two very different batches of wood.  I’m also interested to see how time affects the color of each chair.  More science!

Rough Layout

Rough layout on the locally sourced mahogany was fairly simple and straight forward since I had so much of it.  The only major snag was that the boards I’d picked out varied from light to dark a bit more than I’d have liked.  From choosing pattern to tone, I’ve definitely learned a lot about what to look for when choosing lumber for my next project.


The mail order lumber was much the opposite as the locally sourced.  All but one board was pretty even in color but I was constrained on layout because all the pieces were cut to 4 foot lengths.  Since many of the pieces in the plan are over 24″ ate up more than half a board each.  If these boards were 8 feet long, I would have had many more options.  That being said, my only real issue with layout was fitting a side leg and front apron onto a single 4 foot piece of 8/4 stock. With the two end to end I was left with only 1/4″ between the them.  This made me a bit nervous because after a saw kerf I’d be left with ~1/16″ wiggle room on each piece.

Bell Forest must have had their mind reading machine well tuned because yesterday they sent me an email asking about the dimensions of my 8/4 boards.  They’d realized that, while they sent out an appropriate board footage, the boards weren’t well sized for layout.  They’re sending me an additional piece of 8/4 on Monday to fix the situation.  Kudos to them for realizing their mistake and being so proactive about fixing it!


I am lucky enough to have access to a laser cutter at work with which I made a template for my template.  Because the laser cutter can only handle 18″ x 24″ material, i cut the template in two pieces then traced the rough outline onto a piece of MDF.  Some quick work with the bandsaw removed most of the waste and the template was taped back onto the MDF.  Over at the router table, I trimmed the rest off with a flush trim bit.  I finished the template using the oscillating spindle sander to fair the curves.

All in all it was a really quick and easy way to make the template.  Definitely going to use this technique again in the future.

Leave a Reply