While pallets are easily available in different kinds, the wooden variety has a classic and timeless appeal to it. Here’s a detailed step-by-step on how you can make your own DIY pallet Adirondack chair.
Weekend Project | DIY Pallet Adirondack Chair Perfect for Your Backyard
DIY Pallet Adirondack Chair Tools
- Prybar / crowbar
- 3/8″ spade
- Hand saw
DIY Pallet Adirondack Chair Materials
- Four pallets in good condition
- Wood putty
- Wood glue
Step 1: Disassemble Your Pallet
If you’re a DIYer, pallets are one of the best sources of wood out there. To start this project, tear a few pallets down.
Make sure to choose pallets that are clean. Lightly-used pallets or those used in transporting dry goods are often the easiest and best for DIY projects. As much as possible, try to stay away from old pallets that were used for transporting chemicals and food.
Once taken apart, most pallets will give you some slat boards and some 2x4s. Bigger pallets should yield enough wood for you to make a side table as well.
Using a reciprocating saw, a pry bar, and a hammer, you can start taking your pallets apart. Make sure to put on a pair of gloves, dust mask, and eye protection as these are essential to your safety.
You might ruin a few boards while disassembling your pallets but save them anyway as they can be used for firewood. Set aside any leftover nails as well.
When you’re done taking your pallet apart, sand it thoroughly.
Step 2: Lay All the Parts Out
Now that you’re done taking your pallet apart, you’ll want to lay all the pieces out. Order your boards depending on their imperfections and warps so you can easily decide which ones to use later on.
Some boards may be splintered or not as nice as others. With these boards spread out, you can see which ones can still be salvaged.
Remember that even boards that may seem ruined can still come in handy if you just cut the bad parts out.
Step 3: Measure and Mark Your Brackets, Legs, and Armrests
Start by measuring and marking the rear legs or seat stringers of your DIY pallet Adirondack chair. Using a 35″ 1×6 wood, draw a grid made up of 1″ blocks. Keep in mind that the width of your wood is just 5.5″.
This should result in a series of 1/2″ blocks at the top. Follow these blocks to create the pattern one at a time. Use the first to trace the second.
To even things out, remember to cut out the part of the board that looks less appealing. Your stringers should mirror each other.
Now, for the armrests, just repeat the process but this time use a 32″ 1×6 wood.
For your bottom backrest rail, grab a 21.5″ 1×4 and again, draw 1″ blocks. Remember that the width of the lumber is only 3.5″ so you should end up with a series of 1/2″ blocks at the top.
Next, use a 22″ 1×4 and do the same for your top backrest rail.
Step 4: Start Cutting the Brackets, Legs, And Armrests
Now, begin cutting out the parts of your DIY pallet Adirondack chair.
Start by grabbing the wood you measured and marked for your armrests. Cut out two armrest brackets with a measurement of 7.75″ x 2.5″.
Now, with either a bandsaw or a jigsaw, start cutting out the rest of the pieces. Make sure to clamp each piece down firmly before you cut.
Keep in mind that you will need two each of the armrests and rear stringers. After cutting the first one, use it to trace the second one out and you won’t need to draw a set of grids again.
Step 5: Prepare Your Front Crosspiece, Front Legs, and Front Seat Slat
To make a front crosspiece, a front seat slat, and two front legs, you’ll need to grab two pairs of 20″x3.5″ boards. You can cut these out using either a circular saw, a handsaw, or a table saw.
Make sure to label each piece with a chalk or pencil and to keep your markings unobtrusive and small.
Step 6: Cut the Rear Crosspiece and Rear back Support Out
For the crosspiece, simply cut an 18.5″x3.5″.
Your DIY pallet Adirondack chair will also need two rear back supports. Cut this out by grabbing a 1×4 and measuring 23″ on one side and 26″ on the other. Draw a line between the two sides before cutting.
Step 7: Cut Your Seat and Back Slats
You’ll be needing nine 1.75″ seat slats for your pallet Adirondack chair. You can get these by simply splitting a 3.5″ board down at its center and cutting its length down to only 20″.
Afterward, you can start drilling pilot holes and countersinking them at about 3/4″ from the end of your piece. Try to get as close to its edge as possible, but make sure not to let your countersinking ruin the wood.
You’ll also be needing seven back slats. This is a great opportunity to use some of those less perfect boards. Just choose ones that are approximately 34″-36″ long.
Step 8: Cut the Fan Tail
To cut your fan tail, lay your back slats down on the floor together in the shape of a fan. Press them down against a board on their bottom edge to make sure they’re aligned.
Now, using a pencil, etch arcs into the top edges of the boards. Make sure to number your boards so you know the order they go into later.
Finally, grab a jigsaw and trim the edges of the boards following the etches you made.
Step 9: Start Assembling the Front Legs, Seat Stringers, and Rear Back Support
After all the measuring, trimming, and cutting, you’re finally ready to start assembling your DIY pallet Adirondack chair.
Begin the process by arranging the front leg, rear back support, and seat stringer in such a way that the leg goes under the stringer while the back support goes over it. Using the edge of a table or a straight board should help line up its bottom pieces.
Make sure to measure as well the distance separating the back support and the front leg both at the top and bottom sides to check if it’s straight. Later on, you might need to make small adjustments for those little warps in the materials.
Once everything is aligned, you can start drilling two staggered pilot holes halfway through the lower board and through the top board. Apply glue between the pieces and attach them using 1″ wood screws.
Do the same for the rear back support before placing your finished front leg/seat stringer/backrest support on the workspace and using it to assemble the opposing mirror image assembly.
Step 10: Connect Your Rear Crosspiece and Front Crosspiece
Connect your rear crosspiece by taking your 18.5″ x 3.5″ board and attaching it to the support you made earlier. Leave approximately an inch of space from the stringer’s top.
Again, drill, countersink, then add glue. Additionally, you might also want to mark the areas where you want to put your screw holes.
Do the same for the other front leg to attach your rear crosspiece. Make sure to connect it at exactly the same locations as on the opposite side before applying glue.
Now, finish the step by connecting your chair’s front crosspiece. Do this by marking and measuring the center of the front legs and holding the crosspiece up to prevent it from touching the seat stringers.
Afterward, just attach using some screws and glue.
Step 11: Attach the Bottom and Top Backrest Rails
Take your squared backrest rail and place it over the two grooves that are cut into your chair’s stringers. With four 1″ wood screws, drill your pilot holes before countersinking and applying glue. This will serve as your bottom backrest rail.
For the top backrest rail, you’ll be needing the rounded one this time. Make a small marking at 2.5″ from both sides, drill, and finally, countersink two holes on every marked side.
Place them over the rear back support before screwing them together and applying glue.
Step 12: Assemble the Armrest Brackets and the Front Seat Board.
Go to the top of your DIY pallet Adirondack chair and mark its centerline. Afterward, drill pilot holes into it before countersinking and attaching your armrest brackets, keeping in mind to level the bracket’s to pledge with that of the front leg’s.
Repeat the process for the other side.
When you’re done, grab your 20″ front seat board, drill pilot holes, countersink, and again, screw it in place. You can also secure it better by applying glue.
Step 13: Attach the Center Backrest Board and the Back Slats
Begin the process by marking the center of the bottom and top backrest rails. When you’ve marked it, drill a hole and countersink on the bottom side of that slat.
Attach this to your chair’s bottom backrest rail, line the top piece up, drill, then countersink before attaching. As much as possible, avoid using glue on your back slats since you might want to make some adjustments later on.
For the edge back pieces, start by attaching the seventh and first back slats to your bottom back rail. Try to dry-fit the two armrests before attaching the back slats just so you’re sure to leave enough space for them later.
After connecting the bottom of all the slats, attach their top pieces. Do the same for the rest of the remaining slats and be sure to space them evenly.
Step 14: Assemble the Seat Boards
Dry fit all of your nine-seat boards first before assembling them. This should allow you to approximate how you’ll want them spaced.
Be careful when drilling pilot holes into the stringers and make sure not to ruin the pieces as you attach them.
Step 15: Attach the Armrests
Start by routing the armrests’ edges before you move on to attaching them. When smooth, you can begin by making a small marking about 20″ from the rear back support’s bottom. This should line up with the armrest’s bottom edge.
Move the armrest into position before using a screw or a clamp to tack the armrest in place. Afterward, drill three pilot holes through your pallet Adirondack chair’s armrest, into its front leg and armrest bracket. Finally, countersink your pilot holes and secure it firmly with screws.
To attach the armrests’ rear part, use two 1.25″ screws, drill two pilot holes into it and countersink. If possible, you can also incorporate a washer, nut, and carriage bolt as these are actually stronger to use.
Step 16: Apply Finishing Touches
At this point, your pallet Adirondack chair should already be about 99% complete. It will just need a few more finishing touches.
Start by using wood putty to fill in all the manageable holes. Wipe any leftover putty off using some wet cloth before it dries.
Now, sand the chair down carefully and make sure you don’t ruin it as you go. When you’re done, you can also apply some wood stain. For recycled pallet wood, dark stains should help you hide those small imperfections.
Aside from that pallet Adirondack chair, you can also make some more outdoor furniture with this DIY pallet outdoor chair tutorial courtesy of Ollari’s:
If you’re looking to buy a chair that’s great for relaxing on in your backyard, this DIY pallet Adirondack chair guide is a great alternative for you. Not only is it a great way to reuse some old pallets, but also serves as a fun DIY project that’ll keep you occupied for an entire weekend.
Do you have ideas about how you can make this DIY pallet Adirondack chair even better? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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