Nelson Zide
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-277-7794 | nelson@nelsonzide.com


Posted by Nelson Zide on 4/8/2020

Image by Susan Lowry Hare from Pixabay

Adirondack chairs are popular on decks and for outdoor living, though they also look great in a rustic living room or cabin!  Rather than being straight-backed and uncomfortable, their design make them a joy to sit in.  However, a finished Adirondack chair can up to $700 dollars, whereas materials will run you between $50 and $150 depending on the wood you choose to use. Check out how to make your very own Adirondack chair by following the instructions below.

Note: you will need a miter saw and a jigsaw to complete this project.

Materials

Lumber

  • One 2" x 2" x 6' footboard
  • Three 2" x 4" x 8' footboards
  • Four 1" x 4" x 8' footboards
  • Hardware

  • 2-inch screws
  • 2-inch deck screws
  • 4-inch deck screws
  • 1 1/2-inch deck screws or exterior screws
  • Other

  • Wood glue
  • Directions

    A) Cutting the planks to size

    1. For the stretcher boards
      Cut two 2 x 4s such that the long end measures 31 7/8".  One end should be cut to 20o off of square at the shortest point; the other end should be cut to 35off square at the longest point. Then, mark off 2" on the 20o square end and cut at a right angle (90o) to your 20o cut. 

      If you aren't sure how to measure a certain number of degrees off of square, check out this quick how-to here
    2. For the legs
      Cut two, 2" x 4" planks to 20 3/4".  Cut both ends parallel, 15o off square.  These will be the back legs.  For the front legs, cut two, 2" x 4" planks to 20" long.
    3. For the seat
      Cut five, 1" x 4" planks to 22 1/2".
    4. For the arms of the chair:
      Cut two, 1" x 4" planks to 27".
    5. For the arm rest support:
      Cut two, 2" x 2" planks to 26 1/2".  Cut one end at 15o off square.
    6. For the back support and front apron:
      Cut two2" x 4" planks to 22 1/2".
    7. For the back slats:
      Cut five1" x 4" planks to 36".
    8. For the top support section:
      Cut one, 1" x 4" board to 19 1/2".
    9. For the base support section:
      Cut one2" x 4" board to 19 1/2".

    B) Building the legs

    1. Using 2 1/2" deck screws, attach both back and front legs to an arm support, keeping the outside and top edges even.  Use clamps and wood glue for additional stability.
    2. Turn the front leg such that the arm support faces downward on your bench, and elevate off the bench using 2x4s.  Measure 13 3/4" from the base of your front leg on the left-hand side, and mark.  On the same leg, measure 1/2" horizontally and mark.   Line up your stretcher such that the 20o off of square side lines up with your two marked measurements.  The 35off square side should now line up to the base on the right.  Fix in place with 2 1/2" deck screws.  Use wood glue for additional stability.
    3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make your second leg.
    4. Using 2 1/2" deck screws and wood glue, attach the front apron such that it lines up with the stretcher board on each side.

    C) Making the seat

    Drill two pilot holes on each side of your seat slats, using a countersink bit to keep the wood intact.  Line up on the top of the stretcher and screw into place using the 2" screws, being sure to put a 1/2" gap between each slat.  Do not use wood glue on the seat slats; they will naturally move more than the rest of the chair.
    Note: it helps to lay out all the slats first, screwing in the outermost slats before the others and adjusting as you go, so that the spacing is right.

    D) Making the back

    1. Turn the chair upright with the back towards you.  You will note that the back support board is wider than width of the legs to which it must be affixed.  Attach the back support to both of the back legs at an angle, such that the distal side is pointed upward and the proximal side is pointed downward until flush with both sides.  Use 2 1/2" deck screws and wood glue to affix.
    2. Attach the back slats as you did the seat slats in Part C: 1/2" apart, using 2" screws at the base but with 1 1/4" exterior screws at the top.  Do not use wood glue on the slats, as they will naturally need a bit more flexibility.  
      Note: it helps to lay out all the slats first, screwing in the outermost slats before the others and adjusting as you go, so that the spacing is right.
    3. Using a bucket, trash bin, or other large, circular item as a guide, draw an arc at the top of your back slats.  Then, using your jigsaw, make the cut.
    4. Slide the finished back into place in your chair.  Secure with 2 1/2" deck screws.  Finally, screw the chair back into the back support with 2" deck screws.

    Finishing touches

    1. Finish the chair by screwing the armrests into the arm supports using 2" deck screws and wood glue, clamping into place.  
    2. After all your glue has cured as per the instructions on your wood glue, sand any jagged edges, particularly the top of the chair back.
    3. Finally, paint or spray with at least two coats of finish: a clear coat if you really like the look of your wood.





    Posted by Nelson Zide on 10/5/2016

    You don’t have to go to a furniture store and spend thousands to find great furniture to fit your home. Secondhand furniture shopping can be a fun and creative hobby that will get you outdoors hunting for the perfect item to fix up for your home. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to help you get the best deals on furniture and how to go about making it your own once you find it.

    Furniture sources

    Many people think the bargain section of their local furniture store is the best they can do when it comes to saving on furniture. However, there are several better places to start your hunt.

    • Craigslist. The “for sale” section of your local Craigslist is bound to be full of furniture that people are clearing out. Oftentimes people put things on Craigslist that are still in good shape that hoping to make a bit of money from. For best results on Craigslist, sort by “most recent” and by posts that have images. This will give you the best items and ones that are most likely still available.
    • Facebook. Aside from being the go-to place for arguing with your relatives about politics, Facebook is also a great way to find cheap used furniture. Search Facebook for local buy/sell pages for your town or city. Post in these groups with what you’re looking for. Also post what you’re searching for on your own wall. There’s a good chance one of your Facebook friends has something like it.
    • Thrift stores. Secondhand stores like Savers, Goodwill, and Salvation Army all sell furniture in their brick & mortar locations. If you’re bored on a rainy day, head out to the thrift stores in your city to see what they have.
    • Yard sales and flea markets. When the weather’s nice, take a Sunday drive out to some yard sales and flea markets. At yard sales especially people are desperate to get rid of everything so you’re likely to get the best deals.

    Making it your own

    Aside from getting a great deal, arguably the best part about secondhand furniture is that you get to add your own personal touch to it. Whether it’s reupholstering a sofa, sanding down a bookshelf, or painting a new kitchen chair, you’ll have the gratification of putting in work on your furniture, making it that much more special to you. Here are some furniture items that make great DIY or restoration projects.

    • Tables. Since the weathered and rustic look in in style, finding used tables has become a competitive market. If you have a small kitchen you can turn a old cafe table into your kitchen table. If you need something larger an old work bench can be crafted into a long dining room table.
    • Chairs. Many people think chairs need to come in sets to be worthwhile. However, having mismatched chairs can be a fun way to personalize your kitchen. Paint all the chair legs the same color or sand them and stain them all the same color to give them a sense of unity.
    • Repurposed wood. Pinterest is filled with ideas on how to repurpose used lumber. A wine rack out of an old pallet? There’s a tutorial for that.
    • Sofas. Oftentimes the only thing an old sofa needs is some reupholstering. Buy a secondhand sofa based on its style, not color. You can focus on fitting it to your color scheme when picking a fabric to reupholster with.







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