Making Adirondack Chairs; What Is The Best Wood To Build It?

Adirondack chairs are designed for outdoor leisure. There are usually five to seven vertical wooden boards with varying heights in the backrest, and the tallest board is in the middle.

Seating positions are both leg supports and backrests. Flat and wide panels are usually used for armrests perpendicular to the front legs. An Adirondack chair’s sloped seat makes it ideal for relaxing and napping.

So if you are interested in having an Adirondack chair, you need to know more about different woods to make a durable Adirondack chair.

But what is the best wood for making Adirondack chairs?

What factors should we consider when choosing the wood? Follow up with us to ensure you do not choose the wrong wood for making an Adirondack chair.Adirondack-Chairs

A Brief History of Making Adirondack Chairs

In 1903 Thomas Lee, born in Massachusetts to a wealthy family, decided to make a chair for outdoor lounging. Three years later, he revealed his chair: a low chair with wide armrests, a high back, and a slanted seat.

The design was precisely what we know today as the Adirondack, except for one difference. The backrest was a solid piece of wood (not slatted). We have also to mention that he called it a “Westport chair,” not “Adirondack.”

After revealing his chair, Thomas offered his design to his friend Harry Bunnell. He began making replicas and posting them for sale throughout the community; the Westport chair proved immensely popular.

But what Harry Bunnell did was get the patent for the chair. As we all know, Thomas was already wealthy and didn’t need the money. But Harry stole his design. During this time, Harry worked on the chair.

He manufactured and improved the chair’s design for the rest of his life. With the increasing demand for the chair, the locals started calling it the “Adirondack chair” because of its geographical location.

What Factors Should We Consider When Choosing the Wood?


  • Soft or Hard Woods? Which one is better?

Before identifying the best wood for an Adirondack chair, we explain the different types of wood.

There are two types of wood:

  1. Hardwoods
  2. Softwoods.

Pay attention that the terms’ softwood’ and ‘hardwood’ don’t always mean the wood is physically soft or hard; it describes the tree’s growth.


  • What are Hardwoods?

This type of wood is obtained from broad-leaved trees, usually fertile. Trees grow in temperate and warm regions, such as maple, cherry, oak, walnut, teak, and mahogany (American mahogany).

They’re utilized in high-end items like cabinets and furnishings. Oak and walnut, for example, have open veins.

Hardwoods are known for their beauty, durability, and toughness.

Of course, it is more challenging to work with these woods, but instead, their surface can be polished in various ways.

The important thing is that it is not easily scratched and does not quickly lose its appearance.

Fine and tight graining makes hardwoods an excellent wood for outdoor furniture because they are denser and more durable.

They have incredible strength and resilience against weathering and fires. Consequently, they come with a heftier price than softwoods.


  • What are Softwoods?

Softwoods are from the trees that have coniferous leaves and conical fruits. Pine, cypress, cedar, spruce, sequoia, and yew trees are widely used examples of softwoods used in carpentry, construction, and furniture.

Most softwoods have high strength and are used for various purposes. Timber from trees such as spruce and pine is used in construction.

Many softwoods, especially cypress wood, are resistant to rot and insects. This feature makes woods such as cedar and yew ideal for making Adirondack chairs.

Don’t forget to consider other essential factors as below:

  • Resistance to UV
  • Maintenance
  • Weather
  • Resistance to Insects

7 Best kinds of wood for Making Adirondack Chairs


  • Oak

Oak is robust, heavy, and durable. This wood has beautiful colors and permanent streaks that never fade. Oak is also highly resistant to fungal and microbial attacks.

The lifelong properties of oak make it suitable for long-life applications, even chopping boards.

  • Varnish: Oak also absorbs varnish colors well.
  • Ductility of oak: Due to its adhesive nature, oak can be cut easily in any way without branching.
  • High strength: Oak has a high resistance to moisture and corrosion and is suitable for kitchen cabinets.
  • Non-twisting: Oak doesn’t deform or twist when dried more than other hardwoods. After absorbing the moisture of oak wood, which is done in special furnaces, this wood becomes a rigid material, durable and waterproof.


  • Teak

Teak wood has a natural oil in its texture that gives it unparalleled resistance to pests and termites.

The only problem that damages the tree and teak wood is a moth called Caterpillar, native to Southeast Asia, and feeds on this tree.

Despite the presence of oil on the surface of this wood, it is easy to stick, and the available oil does not prevent gluing.

In addition to this feature, the compactness and hardness of this wood have made it an ideal choice for making outdoor furniture; because it is resistant to various weather conditions, rot and pests.

  • Mahogany

Mahogany is solid and durable wood. Its durability has made it a popular choice for converter furniture.

The wood resists swelling, shrinkage, and twisting over time, making it ideal for areas prone to excessive moisture or sultry. So it is an excellent choice for making Adirondack chairs.

  • Fir

Among the characteristics of this wood, which makes the demand very high in various industries, is its malleability and lightweight.

These two characteristics make poplar wood one of the best choices for carpenters in making various wooden tools.

Poplar wood has the lowest hardness among hardwoods and is a soft and flexible wood.

This wood is easy to paint and can be painted in the form of other woods such as oak. Compared to other woods, fir surpasses others because of easy painting, low price, flexibility, and easy cutting.

So fir can be another excellent choice for making Adirondack chairs too.

  • Pine

Although pine is classified as softwood, pine is one of the strongest softwoods on earth, so many carpenters prefer it to be made rather than softer spruce. Use furniture.

On the other hand, its availability has made pine one of the most affordable building materials.

  • Cedar

Cedar is somewhere between pine and teak. It has a natural oil in its heartwood that protects it from insect infestations and decay.

Cedar Adirondack chairs are an excellent choice for wetter climates because the cedar tree adjusts to moist conditions.

  • Acacia

Acacia wood is widely used in furniture making due to its high strength. This wood is also used in kitchen construction because it is durable and waterproof.

Acacia wood is ideal for making versatile items in frequent contact with liquids. It is claimed that even if acacia wood is not cared for and protected, it can last up to 40 years.

The color of acacia wood is brown. This wood also has natural and attractive textures and veins. Acacia is very durable, meaning it does not scratch easily compared to other hardwoods.

As a result, acacia is a good choice for making Adirondack chairs.

If you want to know how to build an Adirondack chair, see the video below from Jackman Works:


How To | to Build the Ultimate Adirondack Chair

As we explained to you different suitable types of wood to make an Adirondack chair, do not forget to choose the wood based on the place you live (weather, place, etc.)

If you also have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

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