Outdoor Living: How to Build a Modern Adirondack Chaise Lounge. Part One

Modern Adirondack Chaise Lounge
Modern Adirondack Chaise Lounge

Adirondack Chaise Lounge

Outdoor living furnishings have steadily gained popularity with homeowners for the last decade or so. The common adirondack chair has been a mainstay in market for much longer. However, feedback from the outdoor furniture consumer has produced a growing need for a modern version of the classic adirondack furniture. At first glance, you'll notice the chaise lounge above doesn't exactly resemble an adirondack by any stretch. Despite the aesthetic differences, the construction basics are relatively the same. Taking a mere 6 working hours to build, this outdoor chaise lounge can bring many years of comfortable sunning. Starting with a detailed materials list, this guide will take you though the necessary steps to produce your very own modern chaise.

Step 1: Materials

Qty 2- 2x8x8 douglas fir timbers. Find the straightest possible or order will call at Home Depot

Qty 4- Premium 8ft cedar decking or 2 16ft pieces. Redwood can also be used but is cost restrictive

Qty 1- 1 pound package or unit of highest grade stainless steel fasteners available

Qty 1- 1 quart container of Cabot australian timber oil for cedar slats.

Qty 1- 1 quart container of oil based primer for rails

Qty 1- 1 quart container of premium acrylic outdoor top coating for rails

Recess on front and back of modern chaise
Recess on front and back of modern chaise

Essential carpenter tools

Aside from the power tools needed in this article, two tool staples rarely get mentioned. A real quality tape measure like the classic Stanley Powerlock is a great long term investment for accurate measuring. A speed square is also a must for time saving measurements and marking. You'll notice with use how integral a speed square is in your workshop.

Step 2. Necessary Tools to Build Chaise

Building this chaise doesn't require heavy duty power tools, but they sure do make the process a great deal easier. Alternative instructions will be given for a more "handy" construction approach.

  1. Common 10" table saw with fence
  2. Band saw or worm drive saw
  3. Jig saw
  4. Cordless drill
  5. 1/8" Pilot hole and countersink bit
  6. Miter saw
  7. Painting supplies (thinner, brushes, etc)
  8. Stain or oil wiping cloth
  9. Random orbit sander
  10. Carpenters square
  11. Measuring tape

Step 3 Chaise Rail Construction

Sometimes the slightest change from a common design can enhance both the comfort and visual appeal of a piece of outdoor furniture. The slight change in this chaise is the gentle rail slant. Trust that this makes all the difference when sunning for over an hour. The rail construction starts with a little game of connect the dots.

  1. First, lay down the 8 ft douglas fir rails onto your miter saw table. Cut off 1/2 inch or so to smooth off one of the rough ends on each rail. 
  2. Measure from the end that you just cut to 6 feet 2 inches. Repeat for both rails. 
  3. Having marked both pieces for a cross-cut at 6 feet 2 inches, cut the line for both rails. Set the rails on top of each other after the cut to ensure both rails are exactly the same length.

I really enjoy this video because it highlights how versatile a band saw can be. Now we don't need to cut a piece of firewood in this project, but we will be sending large pieces of 2x8 lumber.

Connecting the Dots

Now that we have two rails cut at 6 feet 2 inches, we'll begin the process of making the rail profile. Like I stated earlier, a power tool like a band saw will make this cutting process much easier and probably a bit more safe as well.

  1. As you look down at one of the rails, measure from the left end and make a mark at 37" from the left side
  2. From the bottom of the rail, measure 4" up from your mark at 37" and make a dot.
  3. Now, from the right side of the rail, measure in 29" from the right just like you did from the left side
  4. At the 29" mark from the right end of the chaise rail, measure up 6" and make a dot.
  5. At this point, you'll have two floating dots in the middle of your rails at different heights. The next two dots will be at the very ends of the rails
  6. On the left side of the rail, measure up 7 1/4", and on the right side, 2"
  7. Connect the dots

Cutting the Chaise Rails

Using a band saw, cut all the material above the lines you connected from the prior step. As always, use proper safety equipment when operating any power tool. After making the cuts, you may notice slight variances in the depth or accuracy of the cuts you made when you stand the rails up against each other. In order to close an gaps and smooth the top surface of the chaise rails, clamp the two rails together and sand the top surface with a random orbit sander equipped with 80 or 120 grit sandpaper. Sand as necessary to level the two surfaces and while removing any sharp surface. 

Onto Part Two

Now that we have our rails milled to the proper dimensions, it's time to move onto part two of the tutorial as we mill and shape the cedar slats. See part two here...

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