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Adirondack Patio Set

Adirondack Patio Set

Featured in the May 2011 edition of The Gardener.

Imagine sitting on your comfortable Adirondack chair looking out over the mountains and contemplating nature – that’s just what Thomas Lee had in mind when he designed and built the Adirondack chair way back in 1903, only his view was of the Adirondack Mountains in New York State. The chairs have become popular because you can place a drink, or even a small plate of snacks, on the wide armrests. Now it’s time to get out the power tools and construct two of these chairs, plus a small table to go with them.

We used SA pine, cut to these specifications:

For 2 Chairs:
4 @ 850 x 130 x 22 mm (bottom base)
18 @ 585 x 55 x 22 mm (seat slats)
4 @ 565 x 144 x 22 mm (legs)
2 @ 780 x 144 x 22 mm (backrest)
8 @ 780 x 85 x 22 mm (backrest)
2 @ 725 x 55 x 22 mm (top backrest support cleat)
2 @ 585 x 55 x 22 mm (bottom backrest support cleat)
4 @ 710 x 144 x 22 mm (armrest)
4 @ 130 x 90 x 22 mm (armrest support brackets)
Masonite or plywood for templates

5 @ 500 x 95 x 22 mm (table top slats)
2 @ 495 x 30 x 22 mm (cleats)
2 @ 415 x 94 x 22 mm (side supports)
2 @ 560 x 144 x 22 mm (legs)
2 @ 400 x 144 x 22 mm (feet)
Wood glue
40 mm full thread cut screws
Wood filler
2 litres wood primer
2 litres paint (we used Dulux Sea Urchin 3 matt acrylic)
Decorator’s varnish

Jig saw, electric planer, belt sander, orbital sander, carpenter’s square, cordless drill and bits, paintbrush
Some products may not be available at Builders Trade Depot.
Chair base, including legs

Step 1: Using a piece of masonite (850 x 130 mm), cut out a template for the base as per Diagram A. Use the template to trace the shape onto the two bottom bases (850 x 130 x 22 mm) and cut out, using a jigsaw.

Step 2: Bevel the top edges of 9 seat slats (585 x 55 x 22 mm) and attach them to the base, between points a and b, leaving a gap of exactly 5 mm between each, and making sure that the two bases stay parallel.

Step 3: The two legs (565 x 144 x 22 mm) require tapering to make the bottom ends 20 mm narrower than the tops. With each, measure 20 mm in from the bottom edge and draw a line from that mark to the edge of the top. Saw along the line to create the taper. Position the base so that the ‘feet’ are flush with the ground and attach the tapered legs to either side of the base, with the side that is tapered facing the back of the chair.


Step 4: Lay one 780 x 144 x 22 mm plank down with two 780 x 85 x 22 mm planks on either side (5 planks in total). From the centre point, use a piece of string and a pencil to mark a curve across the top of the planks, then cut them to shape. Lay the planks down again, but with a 25 mm gap between each. Use two cleats to secure them as follows: screw the slats to the narrow edge of the bottom cleat (585 x 55 x 22 mm), making sure they remain parallel. Next, screw the top cleat (725 x 55 x 22 mm) to the slats, 330 mm up from the bottom cleat.

Step 5: Screw the backrest to the base, just behind the last slat.


Step 6: Using masonite, draw and cut out a template for the armrests as per Diagram B. Use the template as a pattern to mark the planks (710 x 144 x 22 mm) for the armrests and cut to shape. Bevel and sand all the edges then attach the armrests to the tops of the legs first, and then to cleats protruding from either side of the backrest. (Be sure to fasten each armrest to the top of the leg first, as the back cleat will be at an angle.)


Step 7: Each armrest requires an armrest support bracket (130 x 90 x 22 mm). Cut a curved shape into the corner of the bracket and secure the bracket to the underside of the armrest and the side of the leg. (Do one for either side.)


Step 1: Lay out the 5 tabletop slats (500 x 95 x 22 mm) with a 5 mm gap between each, making sure they are all parallel. Smooth or round off the ends of the cleats (495 x 30 x 22 mm) and attach them to the underside of the slats 20.5 mm from either end. (The distance between the two cleats must be 415 mm.)

Step 2: Attach the leg side supports (415 x 94 x 22 mm) to the legs (560 x 144 x 22 mm), 90 mm from the bottom.

Step 3: Draw and cut out a template for the feet as per Diagram C and trace the shape onto the feet (400 x 144 x 22 mm). Shape the feet and attach to either end of the legs, on the outside of the legs and just under the supports.

Step 4: Complete the table by laying the top face down, placing the legs in the centre and attaching them to the cleats. Put the finishing touches to the table as instructed for the chairs.

Finishing Touches

Bevel any remaining sharp edges, fill screw holes with wood filler and sand all exposed wood. Paint with wood primer, then up to three coats of good quality PVA and finish with a coat of decorator’s varnish.

Suppliers: www.builders.co.za or phone the customer care line:
0860 BUILDERS/284533.

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