Saturday, November 24, 2007

Adirondack Chair

Shortly after I got my first job out of college I picked up a few power tools, namely a cordless drill, cheap table saw, cheap band saw, and a router. With those basic tools, I made a practically -proof Adirondack chair from plans on the web. The designer's intentions were to create a chair with:
  • Level arms reinforced to withstand the weight of a child "perching" on them;
  • Arms that extend forward to assist in rising from the chair; that permit placing a beverage without bending the wrist;
  • Contoured seat and curved back that is "just right" for use either with or without a cushion;
  • A deep well at the base of the back to eliminate the "lump" from the bend of a cushion and to prevent its movement;
  • Arms that are at "reading height" for holding a book;
  • Good stability. . . and above all - comfort!
  • The ability to STACK two or even three chairs, to save floor space when storing them for the winter.
Those points all sounded good to me, so I built one out of pine acquired from my local home center. I brushed on one coat of white primer and one coat of white exterior latex paint. (You could still see the brush marks years later.) It was a good chair for many years, and held up to much abuse and weather. But when I moved from Dayton, I gave it to my next door neighbors who were very generous to my family while we were there. Now I have no chair.

Last year, I made a template from some 1/4" hardboard I had left over from a previous project. I picked up some rough cedar boards from my local home center, planed the one rough side,
and roughly cut out the parts. I intended to do the finish "cutting" with my router and a flush-trim bit; however, I ended up breaking several pieces because the bit caught the grain. Grr.

I was frustrated and tired, and left the chair partially done after that, until now.

This weekend, I changed from finishing the parts with a router to using a belt sander--I paid careful attention to which way the grain was going and made sure to keep it with the direction of the sander. I cut out pieces I hadn't yet cut out. I bought new wood to remake the pieces that were broken. And this time, I didn't screw up...I screwed in! (Into predrilled holes, no less!)

I'm not sure when I'll have time to finish, but I've got it well under way!

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