Adirondack chairs represent all
that’s best about American
design: they’re practical, with no unnecessary
parts; they’re accessible, because just
about anyone who can cut wood can make
one; and they’re perfectly suited to their setting,
the great outdoors.
An Adirondack’s low seat and broad arms
invite you to slow down and take it easy. Most
Adirondacks are single chairs, of course. A
two-seater is something special. Sharing the
Adirondack experience with a friend makes
it all the better.
Materials and tools
This project is built from western red
cedar construction lumber, which is commonly
available at home centers and lumberyards.
You’ll need two 2x6 boards, 8 ft.
long, and nine pieces of 5/4 lumber–1 in.
thick, 5-1/2 in. wide and 12 ft. long. Dust
from cutting western red cedar can be irritating,
so wear an appropriate dust mask and
work in a well-ventilated shop or outdoors.
Use rust-resistant deck screws to assemble
the project. You’ll need about 100 1-1/2-in.
screws and 50 1-1/4-in. screws. You’ll also
need two inside-corner braces and 100
screw-hole plugs (see Sources, below).
You’ll use a tablesaw, bandsaw (or jigsaw),
router table, 3/8-in. roundover bit, 30-
degree chamfer bit, cordless drill and a file
for the project. A miter saw is also handy.
Make the legs and seat
1. The love seat sits on three back legs:
two on the sides (A1, Fig. A, below) and
one in the center (A2). They’re virtually
identical, except for one important detail: the notch for the lower back rail (A5) is
positioned farther back on the center leg
than on the outer legs (Fig. H). To ensure
that all the legs come out the same, make
one paper pattern based on the measurements
given for the outer back leg (A1).
Trace around the pattern on three leg
blanks cut to the same length, omitting the
notches. Then draw the notches directly on
the legs. In addition, set your miter saw to
18 degrees and cut a miter on a scrap piece
of 1x6. Use this piece to draw the angled
lines that indicate the location of the front
legs. Draw these lines on both sides of each
2. Saw the legs (Photo 1). Smooth the
saw cuts with a file or 80-grit sandpaperwrapped
around a block.
3. Make the seat slats (A3). Discard
pieces with large knots—they’ll weaken the
slats. Drill holes for screws and plugs in the
ends and middle of all the slats using a 3/8-
in.-dia. combination countersink/counterbore
bit (Photo 2). Make the plug holes
about 1/4-in. deep. Round the top edges of
the slats, and all other exposed edges as you
build the project, using a 3/8-in. roundover
bit mounted in a router table.
4. Line up the front edges of all three
legs. Temporarily fasten a slat to the middle
of each leg. Glue and screw the first four
slats (Photo 3).
5. Make the two pieces that comprise each
front leg (B1 and B2) from one long board.
Rip the board to remove its rounded edges.
This makes a better-looking joint when you glue the pieces together. Cut one end of the
blank at 18 degrees, then cut the inner leg to
exact length (Fig. E). Cut the outer leg to
length, then glue and screw together the leg
pieces (Photo 4). Note that the two front legs
are mirror images of each other.
6. Apply glue to the front legs and clamp
them to the back legs. Use the lines you
drew in Step 1 to position the front legs.
Drill holes in the front legs for screws and
plugs, then run in the screws (Photo 5).
7. Make the back seat slat (A4, Fig. F) and
lower back rail (A5, Fig. G). Note that the
inside curve on each end of the lower back
rail consists of three flat sections, to receive
three back slats. The straighter these sections
are, the stronger your joints will be.
After sawing, use a file to straighten these
cuts, if necessary. Use a file to flatten the
rail’s center straight section, too. Drill holes
for screws and plugs in the back seat slat and
lower back rail, then round over the edges
of both parts with a 3/8-in. router bit. Don’t
round over the inner edge of the lower back
rail, where the back slats (D1, D2) go.
8. Remove the seat slat you temporarily
screwed to the back legs. Glue and screw the
lower back rail in position. Screw the back
seat slat next to it, but don’t glue it. Add the
rest of the seat slats. Space them about 1/4-
in. apart. Temporarily clamping some slats
in position makes it easier to space them.
9. Remove the back seat slat.
Add the arm assembly
10. Rip two 5/4 pieces for each arm (C1)
and glue them together (Photo 6). Cut each
blank to length, then saw out the curves
(Fig. J). Sand the glue joint, then round over
both sides of the arm with a 1/4-in.
roundover bit. Don’t round the curved section
where the arm overlays the back rail.
11. Make the upper back rail (C2). This
piece has three straight sections on either
side (Fig. M), like the lower back rail. Trace
the curves of the arm pieces on the ends of
the rail. Cut out the rail using a bandsaw,
with the table set at 90 degrees, and straighten
the flat sections with a file. Rout a 30-
degree bevel on the inside edge of the rail
(Photo 7). Leave a 1/8-in.-thick blunt edge
to guide the bit’s bearing.
12. Glue and screw the arms to the upper
back rail. Note that the inside edge of each
arm is square to the back rail (Fig. C), and
that the screws go from underneath the back
rail and into the arms (Fig. A).
13. Cut two temporary support
pieces (C3) to hold and level the arm
assembly. Prop the assembly on these
pieces and the front legs (Photo 8).
Once the assembly is correctly positioned
front-to-back and side-to-side
(Fig. D), clamp it to the front legs, so
it can’t shift.
Fit the back slats
14. Make a set of back slats (D1
and D2). You can rough-cut two slats
from one 5-1/2-in. wide 5/4 board
using a bandsaw. Build a tapering jig
and cut each slat using the tablesaw
(Photo 9 and Fig. K). The exact
angles on the slat’s ends are not
15. Drill screw-and-plug holes in
the lower ends of the outer slats
(D1). Mark the positions of these
slats on the lower back rail (Fig. B). Clamp the slats in position (the top ends
of the centermost slats touch each other)
and mark locations for the screws that will
go into the upper back rail. Remove the
slats, drill the screw-and-plug holes, then
attach–but don’t glue–the slats in place
16. Install one of the inner back slats
(D2) midway between the outer back
slats. It should be vertical. Fit the remaining
slats (Photo 11). Make the gap
between them about 1/4-in. After these
slats are fitted, mark their screw-and-plug
holes and cut off any excess length at the
bottom. Then install the slats with screws,
but don’t use glue. Repeat this process on
the other side of the back.
17. Make a trammel and find the center
point of each half of the back (Fig. L).
Turn the trammel around and draw each
curve (Photo 12).
18. Mark the position of all slats and
remove them. Bandsaw their top ends
and round over all their edges. Glue and
screw the slats back in place. Cut a piece
of paper to fit the gap between the two
back sections. Fold the paper in half and
use it as a pattern to make two pieces
(D3) to fill the gap. Install these pieces.
Support the arms
19. Connect the arms and legs with
inside corner braces (Fig. A). Use #10 or
#12 pan head screws to install them.
20. Cut two corbel blanks (B3). Rout
stopped grooves on the inside edge of
each blank to accommodate the corner
brace and screw heads (Photo 13). Saw
the corbel’s shape (Fig. N) and round
over its outside edges. Make sure each
corbel’s top fits tight under the arm. Drill
screw-and-plug holes through the front
legs and screw and glue the corbels to the
front legs (Photo 14).
21. Install the back seat slat. Glue plugs
in all the screw holes. Cut and sand them
22. Apply two coats of exterior oil finish.
It’s best to do this outside, for good
ventilation. Sit and enjoy!
Fig. A: Exploded View
Fig. B: Slat Location
Fig. C: Arm and Back Rail Assembly
Fig. D: Cross Section
Fig. E: Front Leg
Fig. F: Back Seat Slat
Fig. G: Lower Back Rail
Fig. H: Back Legs
Fig. J: Arm
Fig. K: Back Slats and Tapering Sled
Fig. L: Drawing the Back's Curve
Fig. M: Upper Back Rail
Fig. N: Corbel
Click any image to view a larger version.
1. Begin building
seat by sawing
out the back
legs from a
You’ll get the
cuts by using a
you could use
2. Joinery is
screws and glue.
every screw hole
with a plug later
on. As you build
the love seat,
drill holes for the
plugs and screws
with a combination
3. Assemble the
seat. Fasten the
first four seat slats,
which are made
from 5/4 cedar
boards. Check for
square as you go.
Temporarily add a
slat to space the
legs the correct
4. Screw and
the front legs. Use
glue to assemble
all the parts of the
5. Glue and
front legs to the
Then add the rest
of the seat slats
and the lower
back rail, which
sits in the notches
on the back legs.
much easier if
you work on a
large, flat surface,
such as a door.
6. Glue the arms
two pieces of 5/4
material. To make a
joint, first remove
the rounded edges
of this construction
lumber by ripping
the boards on the
7. Rout a 30-
on the upper
back rail using a
router table. The
love seat’s back
piece; with an
bevel, you’ll get
8. Add the arm
back rail assembly.
Stand it on
two supports and
adjust its position
bevel you routed
is in line with the
lower back rail.
Check this with a
9. Taper the
using a jig for
clamps on the
jig to keep your
from the blade.
four slats that
define the two
halves of the
11. Fasten the
slats next. Then
install two slats
slats up or
down to make
12. Draw a
across the back
using a shopmade
That’s just a
stick with a nail
at one end and
a pencil stuck
in a hole on
the other end.
slats and cut
the curve on
on the ends
edges of the
corbels to the
you to safely
lift the love
seat by its
part is in place,
glue plugs in
hole. Cut the
excess with a