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Adirondack ski chair plans

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I want to build a pair of Adirondack chairs for my deck, but there are two caveats before I start cutting stuff. 

  1. I want them to be comfy. I've sat in some really comfy ones and some crappy ones.  I'd like these to last forever and be something I want to use on my deck
  2. I want to make them out of skis.

Some of you have probably see the ski chair style at ski resorts or at your annoying ski friend's house (that's me). Here's a picture for example.

3a12a62194076347e6ad01a702c93b67.jpg

I was planning on buying some plans and modifying them as needed. I have the skis and they are generally about 3 inches wide so they should translate fairly well to most plans.  Some have the seat running parallel to the back, some are perpendicular. Parallel might look better, but not sure about comfort.  I know Rockler and Woodcraft both have a set for sale around $15, any personal experience with these?  A review on comfort as well as constructability would be great. Any other recommendations for plans?  

Some other related questions: 

The frame will still be wood, any tips? The pic above looks like 1" cedar, is that the general recommendation?  Any finish needed?

Skis have a steel edge that might get ripped out with a miter saw. Is that likely to be a problem, or can a regular blade handle it in small quantities?  Maybe pre-cut the steel with a hacksaw to avoid tearing it out?

Thanks. 

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The cedar will last a long time but not forever. Use ipe. It will go longer than cedar. But if you are real old the cedar may be forever.                                                       

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Depending on your location redwood or cypress would also be good options for the frame.

I think your seat slats would be better perpendicular to the back slats.  My experience when they are parallel is if there is any left to right movement in the chair, and this is a strong possibility down the road, this movement can pinch the posterior. :blink:

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57 minutes ago, curlyoak said:

The cedar will last a long time but not forever. Use ipe. It will go longer than cedar. But if you are real old the cedar may be forever.                                                       

"Forever" may have been a bit strong, but point taken. I've seen some how-to videos using 2x4s, either painted or pressure treated. I'm planning something nicer than that, but I am reasonable new to this so I don't want to get too carried away. 

Ipe is pretty hard and expensive, isn't it? I'll investigate that and Chet's suggestions a little more once I know what I actually need to buy (vs what will be skis).  

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Black locust is another domestic species with good weather /rot / insect resistance.  Also, I realize all the pretty parts of the ski are on the top face, but don't those tips facing forward pose a threat of cranial impalement?  :o

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They'll probably stay on the deck year round, the snow shouldn't hurt the seat portion at least.  :rolleyes:  But it looks like that have a matching fixed version.  Any experience with it? It certainly looks nice. 

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10 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

Black locust is another domestic species with good weather /rot / insect resistance.  Also, I realize all the pretty parts of the ski are on the top face, but don't those tips facing forward pose a threat of cranial impalement?  :o

You can put them either way, but they are generally pretty tall. It should only be a problem if you are 7' or something. I'll keep that in mind though. 

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Bodark is another forever wood. Hard to find. I remember it when I lived in the Ozark Mountains. Can go 100 years. I think the Indians  that lived near this tree made bows from this wood.

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Don't forget white oak, other woods mentioned are also good, but white oak is pretty accessible everywhere and strong. 

Whatever wood you use remember that a wood's sapwood portion is much less resistant to decay than it's heartwood in all the woods mentioned.

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Like you, I've set in some ill fitting Adirondack chairs before. Therefore, when building mine, I ended up making 3 mock ups  before finding the position I liked. All were made from treated lumber and wood screws. After being satisfied with the third chair, I made a note of the critical angles and then I disassembled it and used the legs as a pattern for the real deal(s). 

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12 hours ago, Bmac said:

Don't forget white oak, other woods mentioned are also good, but white oak is pretty accessible everywhere and strong. 

White Oak outside in Florida is bad. I made a door that mildew would get under the finish. I removed the finish and treated the wood as prescribed. Failed. Did it again. Failed. The cell structure of the wood which is different from other oaks is the problem. And Florida. It took 6 months to see it and 2 years  it got so bad you had to do something. I remade the door using sapele. I call it African mahogany. No failure after 3 years.

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15 minutes ago, curlyoak said:

White Oak outside in Florida is bad. I made a door that mildew would get under the finish. I removed the finish and treated the wood as prescribed. Failed. Did it again. Failed. The cell structure of the wood which is different from other oaks is the problem. And Florida. It took 6 months to see it and 2 years  it got so bad you had to do something. I remade the door using sapele. I call it African mahogany. No failure after 3 years.

Sounds like you had some wet white oak. True the cell structure, having tyloses that fills the pores of the wood, is different than other oaks and other woods. But it's this cell structure, or these tyloses, that have made it the wood to use for ship builders and whiskey barrels. Since the pores are filled it doesn't absorb water. This characteristic, along with other naturally occurring rot resistance characteristics, that makes this wood suitable for outdoor use. 

Now, these same characteristics make the wood very difficult to dry. Drying white oak requires patience and experience. I'm sure @Spanky can attest to this. 

A quick overview of the wood in the wood data base lists the wood as very durable in regards to rot resistance. https://www.wood-database.com/white-oak/

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I always had a hard time getting out of one, even in my younger years.

FWIW, I was in Lancaster, PA, last year. The Amish are now making Adirondack chairs out of synthetic material which also comes in colors. Lasts forever, no rot or painting.

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I thought like you did. That is why I used it. And I know it works outside. But not in Florida. The mildew capital of the world. Maybe higher amount of rain and warmer temperatures is the reason. Not sure. I know when northerners move to Florida the mildew thing is new to them. The wood was FAS kiln dried. I used the same oak inside. Not a problem. The sapele is on its third year and very good. Wood rots here faster. It is a Florida thing.

 

PS. Normal outdoor maintenance around here is chasing mildew on sidewalks and pool decks among other places, with chlorine spray and/or high pressure spray. It is about mildew. Most people here do not do this maintenance. The white oak door never had a chance.

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