Looking to make your very own Adirondack chair? These chairs are some of my favorites and they’ve become a staple outdoor furniture piece for many homes.
But what’s the best wood for Adirondack chairs?
In this post, I’ll discuss some of the best wood options for Adirondack chairs, what you should consider when choosing the wood type whether you are making your own or purchasing a premade chair, and a few questions related to Adirondack chairs. Let’s dig in!
- The best wood for Adirondack chairs include: cedar, pine, oak, teak, cypress, mahogany, maple, and more.
- The type of wood you should use will depend on what look you’re going for and how much protection you want in your chair.
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Best Wood Options For Adirondack Chairs
You can make Adirondack chairs from several different wood types. Here are some of the top choices for an Adirondack chair.
Cedar wood is one of the best wood types to use for outdoor furniture of any kind, including an Adirondack chair. The reasons being are it is naturally weather-resistant and, maybe even more importantly, pest resistant. The natural oils in cedar repel pesty bugs and insects, making it an excellent choice for all types of climates.
You can stain or paint cedar to fit your home’s aesthetics, or if you like the natural reddish brown of the cedar wood, you can simply seal it with polyurethane or another sealant. Woodworkers and DIYers like myself love using cedar for various outdoor furniture projects because it’s so sturdy and easy to work with and it’s a perfect wood for staining.
Cedar is a fantastic softwood that is perfect for Adirondack chairs and other projects like desks and garage doors. Whether you choose to make them yourself or purchase premade, if they’re made from cedar, they’re sure to last years.
Another reason why pine is so popular is that it is a cost-effective wood and easy to find at pretty much any lumberyard.
The only downside to using pine for adirondack chairs is it does take a bit more maintenance compared to other woods. Pine isn’t as weather and insect resistant as cedar or oak, for example, but if you use pressure-treated pine, the weather elements won’t be a problem.
I would still recommend pine as a budget-friendly option for adirondack chairs. Just keep an eye on the chairs and ensure they are well taken care of in the off-season.
Another sturdy wood choice is oak. Oak is a hardwood that is dense and heavy, which makes it a great choice for windy areas. It has excellent climate, rot, and insect-resistant qualities.
It comes in a few different variations including red oak (pictured above) or white oak – but of which are perfect for building a classic Adirondack chair.
Oak is a light-colored wood, and as it ages, the color subtly changes giving the wood an almost vintage look. If you want a low-maintenance wood for adirondack chairs, oak might be your best bet. All you need to do to maintain its beauty and structure is to apply oil or another finish to protect the surface of the wood once a year.
Oak is more expensive wood than other choices on my list, but it makes an excellent, sturdy Adirondack chair and is worth the investment if you can afford it.
If you are looking for wood with gorgeous natural hues and striking woodgrain, teak is the wood for you!
Not only is teak beautiful, but it also is weather resistant. Bugs and insects shouldn’t be a problem either for this exotic wood.
This dark wood is quite expensive and may be more difficult to find, but it is worth its hefty price tag. As the wood ages, it will turn a lovely greyish silver. To maintain the rich colors, you will need to oil the teak wood every so often, but it’s not too difficult.
Another benefit of teak wood is that it’s super easy to clean, so you don’t have to spend all day cleaning your furniture.
Since teak is such a hard wood, it can be a little more difficult to work with than other softer woods but this means it’s much more durable so it can last for decades.
Adirondack chairs are meant to sit out in the elements and be enjoyed outdoors, and teak is a fantastic choice.
Cypress is another great choice for adirondack chairs since it is technically hardwood, but it is easy to work with and durable like some softwoods.
It has a light, pale yellow shade, and many times it will have beautiful knots that add character to the wood.
Cypress is naturally resistant to insects, bugs, rot, and weather damage. It is also less likely to warp over time which can save you money (and hassle) in the long run.
If you want to maintain the wood’s natural pale yellow hue, you will need to apply a UV blocker, especially if the adirondack chairs sit in direct sunlight. Cypress is sometimes hard to find, but it makes beautiful adirondack chairs so that the hunt will be worth it.
Mahogany is a gorgeous hardwood that will make sturdy, long-lasting adirondack chairs. This hardwood is weather and insect resistant, making it an obvious choice for an adirondack chair.
It is important to note that mahogany can be more expensive than other wood options, but if you have the budget, mahogany is an excellent wood for adirondack chairs.
The mahogany color is a delicious, rich brown shade that only deepens with age. And for durability, this wood will last for years making it a solid choice.
You will need to perform routine maintenance on mahogany adirondack chairs, but it’s a simple reapplication of oil or sealant to protect the surface of the wood.
7. Douglas Fir
A more budget-friendly wood for adirondack chairs is Douglas fir.
Douglas Fir is a fantastic lightweight wood that can be used for all kinds of woodworking projects including shelves and other furniture pieces. Not only is it inexpensive, but it is easy to work with and holds stain and paint well.
Douglas fir is more susceptible to rot and insect damage and requires maintenance by resealing the surface to fight off any damage from the elements. However, since it is lightweight, you can quickly move the chairs into a shed or garage when they are not in use. This will prolong the life cycle of the chairs (plus give you a mini workout every time you use them!)
This is an excellent choice if you want to make child-sized adirondack chairs for your kiddos that are easier to move around.
Here are a few of the benefits of using Douglas Fir.
If you are searching for a heavy-duty wood to make heavy adirondack chairs, you might consider using acacia wood.
This wood is naturally weather and insect resistant and an excellent choice for outdoor furniture projects.
Acacia is more affordable than other hardwoods, such as teak wood, though it might be a bit difficult to find depending on what area you live in.
The natural oils in the wood protect it from everything from rain and humidity to pesty bugs. If you notice the wood looking a little worse for wear, grab your favorite wood oil and apply a layer over the entire chair. That’s all the maintenance it needs!
Maple is another great wood for adirondack chairs, and I’ll tell you why. Not only is it beautiful with a wide range of colors and wood grain pattern options, but it’s also a durable wood that will last for years if cared for properly.
Adirondack chairs are meant to be used outside, and if you want to use maple for your adirondack chairs, you need to make sure you are protecting the wood. Unfortunately, maple isn’t as weather and rot-resistant as other woods we’ve discussed today. Though maple may not be the most weather-resistant option in this list, it is a sturdy wood that won’t warp over time.
However, if you use a sealant and regular maintenance, you can certainly use maple for adirondack chairs. You can use all kinds of stains and paints on maple with no problem.
What to Consider When Choosing Wood for Adirondack Chairs
The budget is probably the most vital area to consider when you’re going into a new project. You should consider how much you want to spend on all the materials, not just the wood. Here is a list of potential expenses that will pop up when making adirondack chairs.
- Saw (you may need a couple of different types)
- Nails or Screws
- Wood Glue
- Hammer or Drill
- Drill bits
- Measuring Tape
In terms of price, hardwoods are going to be more expensive than softer woods – so if you opt for something like teak wood – expect to spend more.
It’s important to know where you will be placing the adirondack chairs. If they are set out in direct sunlight and wholly exposed to elements, you should choose a wood that can withstand them.
On the other hand, if you place them under an awning or on a porch, you might not need to choose one of the heavy-duty woods. Also, if you select a lightweight wood, you can move the adirondack chairs into a protected area when you are not using them.
Also, if you choose a wood that needs routine maintenance, it’s probably a good idea to plan how often you will apply a new layer of oil or sealant to your chairs.
Suppose you’re going to spend all that time building your beautiful adirondack chairs. In that case, you want to ensure you are doing everything you can to keep the durability maintained throughout the years.
The strength of the wood should play a role in your selection.
For example, if I were to make an Adirondack chair for my brother, a 6’6″ Viking man, I would probably use a different wood than if I was making one for his wife, a 5’2″ petite woman.
You also want to make sure that when you choose an Adirondack chair project plan, the structure is sound. Meaning when building your chairs, there should be plenty of support under the seat, and it should have sturdy legs. That will add to the overall strength of the chair.
Ease of Use
Nothing is more frustrating than when you go to work on a project and realize the wood you chose is challenging to work with. That could mean it splits or splinters easily, won’t take stain well, or is hard to mold into the shape you want for the Adirondack chair.
Always do your research on the wood type before you spend all your hard-earned money on it.
Wondering how to build Adirondack chairs? Check out the video below!
Aesthetics (Color and Wood Grain)
Obviously, the look of the wood will play an essential role in what wood you choose, especially if you want to see the natural wood grain pattern. You can always stain the wood a different color, but it’s hard to fake that gorgeous wood grain, right?
It is quite popular to paint adirondack chairs a bright color like white or turquoise, so if that is something you plan to do with your adirondack chair, you don’t need to consider the wood color or grain. Just make sure the wood you choose can take paint well.
FAQs About Choosing Wood for Adirondack Chairs
What Are the Best Adirondack Chairs Made Of?
I did a lot of digging, and I could find that the best wood for adirondack chairs is probably going to be pine, teak, or cedar. All three options are fantastic and make gorgeous, long-lasting adirondack chairs.
You can also purchase plastic adirondack chairs if you would rather not have wooden adirondack chairs.
How Thick Should Wood Be for Adirondack Chairs?
The thickness will vary depending on what part of the chair you are building. Using 3/4″ for the arms and side rail pieces is generally recommended. When making the back, seat, and legs, you should use thicker wood between 1″- 1 3/4″, depending on your chosen wood.
Is it Cheaper to Build or Buy Adirondack Chairs?
This is a loaded question! It is going to depend on what wood you choose. However, most of the time, it will be a bit less expensive to build your own. Raw materials will always cost less than paying someone for their time to make something.
Can I Use Pressure Treated Wood for Adirondack Chairs?
Yes. Pressure-treated pine will protect the wood from the elements and is an excellent option for adirondack chairs.
Should You Paint or Stain Wood Adirondack Chairs?
Not necessarily, unless you want to achieve a specific look, you should, however, seal or oil the natural wood to help protect the natural oils and color of the wood.
What is the Best Angle for an Adirondack Chair?
The best angle for an adirondack chair is between 100-105 degrees. This gives the perfect angle to support the user’s back and hips.
Building Adirondack chairs are a lot of fun, but it’s crucial to know the pros and cons of the wood you choose.
The best woods for adirondack chairs include cedar wood, yellow pine wood, white oak, red oak, teak wood, and a few others. These are strong wood species that are perfect to build adirondack chairs.
Choosing the right wood will not only make your chair more water resistant, but it will also looking better than many cheaper woods.
Miriam Ronne wears many hats, including but not limited to freelance writer, blogger, professional quilter, serial DIYer, and obsessed dog mom. She loves to teach beginners how to do all sorts of crafts and techniques. If she’s not writing her next blog post, she’s either sewing a new project or playing with her pup. You can find Miriam on her blog, Stitch Obsessed, or connect with her on Instagram.