Lawn chairs

This article also available in Spanish and Russian

These lawn chairs are based on a design of chair that my dad came up with for lawn chairs at Amogla camp. My dad's design was a slightly more angular and quicker to build. But when I built a pair of lawn chairs of my own, I added some curves to t he seat and back.

The downside of the typical Adirondack chair design is that the seat rail also forms the back legs. By necessity, this always puts the seat at a very substantial recline. As such, one really can only recline in an Adirondack chair. This is fine for sitting on the dock and looking out at the lake, but less ideal for sitting at the fire, eating, or socializing.

I built these before digital cameras were practical, so I didn't take any photos of the chair's construction, so some CAD illustrations will have to do.

I built these chairs mostly from recycled cedar from an old fence that I took down. These photos are of the chairs shortly after I built them back in 1998. I stained them the year after that.

Here's the chairs in use. Behind the table is the napping bench I had just built for a friend. It also makes for good patio furniture.

Unlike the typical Adirondack chair, the rail that supports the seat does not form the back legs on these chairs. The chair has a frame on either side, shown here. These are nailed and glued together and give the chair it's rigidity. Even a heavy person can sit or stand on the armrests without the risk of braking or tipping the chair.

It's best to draw the shape out on a piece of plywood to get it right for assembling. If you make several of these chairs, it may be worthwhile to also make some blocks (shown in white) and screw them down to act as a jig when assembling the frames.

All the joints are glued with waterproof glue, and nailed with galvanized steel nails. I figured having the joints full of glue should seal them up, so that they won't start to rot in those places.

Once the side frames are built, it's just a matter of making the back, and nailing it all together. A 1:1 printable PDF is included in my lawn chair plans for sale

I built a small table to go with the lawn chairs. It's a low table, a little bit higher than the armrests of the lawn chair. It's great for having a meal while sitting on the lawn chairs.

I had already taken the chairs out of the shed one year when we got a late March snowfall. Hence this picture. I really like the mood of it.

I didn't have a summer job in high school, but I often built lawn chairs for sale. I took this after having finished a batch of eight, plus a bench and a table. in my dad's shop. I always made the legs and the frames out of cedar, but for the seating surface, which doesn't touch the ground, I used white pine.

In 2016 (29 years later), my friend Roland posted this picture of the wide lawnchair, still intact. They kept it outside year round, but on some rocks, and covered with a heavy tarp when not in use.

And two random shots of the many lawn chairs at Amogla camp. One winter, we just put them upside down under the trees. I really liked how this jumble of chair legs sticking up looked, so I took a photo. More recently, we always moved the chairs inside the cottages for the off-season.

Kyle Cooper sent me a picture of a lawn chair he made based on mine, using my plans

It turned out pretty nice.

Al Knight also sent me some pictures of a lawnchair he built.
Al writes:

Just a quick email to say that I built some lawn chairs from your plans today, I had some left over, prepared Sapele, from some patio doors, and needed somewhere to sit in the garden, (it's a 3 week heat wave here in the UK) it took me 4 hours to do one, next time I'll do 2 I think!!
All the timber was just cut on the panel saw, i had a fine enough blade that left only small amounts of burning, no kerf marks, so no thicknessing!! Then planed and sanded the edges. The plan is to paint them, so actual final wood smoothness doesn't really matter.

I'm a self employed woodworker specialising in kitchens, but seem to be doin more joinery type projects like windows and doors, which is great.

And another one, by Jeff Blye. Jeff writes:

Hello and greetings from the wonderful state of New Hampshire. The pictures of the lawn chair inspired me to build one for my wife for her birthday. 100% cedar because I didn't want to paint it ever.

Thanks again!

Pam Green writes:

Thank you for the excellent chair plans! I made these from Western Red Cedar and Cypress. I really appreciated that you included the information about using an assembly jig.

David writes:

I built two lawn chairs from your plans and just just wanted to say thanks. They were easy to follow and easy to build. I had to spend a little time converting measurements to imperial because I didn't have a metric tape measure.

The wood I used was some weathered cedar from some fence

Matthias comments:
I now also have a version in inches with the enhanced lawnchair plans that I sell, but the free ones are still Metric only.

Jacques Morise, from the south of France, writes:

I want to send you a photo of my workshop just before Chrismas.
I have built six lawnchairs with your plans. all my family was happy to receive chose presents. I also send you a photo of my sawmill.


These two by Jeff Gingerich

See also:

enhanced Lawn chair
(to buy, $7)
Lawn chair plans
(basic free version)
Patio bench
(for napping)

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