Top 11 Best Wood for Adirondack Chair

Handmade Adirondack chairs are beautiful, durable, and extremely versatile. You can use them as lounge chairs, outdoor dining sets, or benches. Moreover, you can paint the chairs to match your decor.

Of course, their sophisticated appearance cannot go unnoticed. It makes Adirondack chairs the perfect solution whenever you want to relax and unwind.

So, the big question is – which wood makes the best Adirondack chairs? If your options are unlimited, which wood species should you choose for your next Adirondack chair project? Let’s find out.

What’s the Best Wood for Adirondack Chairs?

Teak is the best wood for Adirondack chairs. It is a very durable wood that withstands outdoor weather with ease. Moreover, teak’s natural oils make it resistant to insects and other pests.

Teakwood is beautiful, with a gorgeous light to dark brown color and a straight, occasionally wavy or interlocked, grain pattern.

What’s Adirondack Chair?

An Adirondack chair is an outdoor lounge chair first discovered in the Adirondack mountains in northern Upstate New York.

The backrest comprises five to seven vertical wooden boards of varying heights that form a curve at the top. Meanwhile, the seat is a large wood board that slants backward, extending behind the backrest, forming the seat’s rear legs.

The front legs connect to the front edge of the “seat,” then rise several inches above, connecting to the armrests at 90 degrees. The armrests are flat wood planks.

The chair’s design makes it the perfect choice for lounging and vacations. Indeed, today, it’s the definition of peace and simplicity.

Adirondack Chairs Pros and Cons

Adirondack chairs are special for many reasons, though they also come with many drawbacks that you want to keep in mind.

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CONS

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood for Wooden Adirondack Chairs

The best material for making Adirondack chairs is wood. Other common materials are aluminum, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) lumber, and injection-molded plastic. However, none comes close to wood.

Wooden Adirondack chairs are durable, beautiful, and highly valuable. Above all, wood is recyclable, reusable, and overall, environmentally friendly.

However, not all wood types make great Adirondack chairs. To make the best Adrindorack chairs, you need to find wood with the following qualities;

1. Durability and strength

Adirondack chairs take a lot of beating. First, owners love them a lot and therefore spend a lot of time on them. Additionally, many people love to move their Adirondack chairs from one place to the next as the seasons.

Therefore, you need extremely strong lumber that can take significant abuse.

2. Weather resistance

As outdoor furniture, Adirondack chairs must be extremely resistant to outdoor elements. Otherwise, you’ll replace it within months rather than years.

Therefore, it’s critical to find weather-resistant wood with high dimensional stability. Additionally, consider wood types with high rot resistance.

3. Insect resistance

All outdoor furniture must be insect and pest resistant to live long, which applies to Adirondack chairs. You must take steps to prevent the chairs from aphids, termites, caterpillars, wood borers, etc. Selecting naturally insect-resistant wood can help.

4. Workability

Many Adirondack chairs require curving and maneuvering. Therefore, you should consider strong but highly workable wood types that allow you to saw, cut, and carve easily. Of course, you also want wood that’s easy to nail, screw, and finish.

5. Aesthetics

It’s impossible to overlook aesthetics when shopping for wood for Adirondack chairs, given that the chairs are primarily for relaxation and leisure.

So, you must keep in mind the color of the wood, grain pattern, and how you intend to finish the chair. But, more importantly, you want an Adirondack chair that compliments your lifestyle and reinforces your decor.

6. Ease of maintenance

The best Adirondack chairs are easy to clean and maintain. For instance, you need to thoroughly clean it before bringing it in for the winter season.

Additionally, you need to periodically paint, stain, or oil it to prolong its life. So, you should choose wood that’s easy to care for and maintain.

Next read: best wood for exterior window frames

Best Wood for Adirondack Chair

The following are eleven wood types that meet most of the required qualities. Feel free to research further, though.

1. Western red cedar wood

Cedar is a beautiful pinkish or reddish-brown to chocolate-brown softwood that grows naturally on the east and west coasts of the US. It’s highly dimensionally stable lumber with a unique texture and color.

However, the western red cedar particularly stands out. It’s a very strong wood with a compressive strength of 4560 psi and a bending strength of 7500 psi.

These qualities allow it to massive amounts of weight without losing shape. What truly sets it apart, though, is its high weather resistance.

Western red cedar produces natural oils that repel moisture and liquids, making the wood highly rot and decay-resistant. Additionally, natural cedar oils make cedarwood resistant to warping and bending.

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2. Teak

Teak is another excellent wood for making Adirondack chairs. First off, unlike cedar, teak is softwood. Therefore, it’s much more durable.

The tight wood grain contributes significantly to its durability. Indeed, the wood pieces can last a lifetime with good maintenance.

Additionally, teak is highly water-resistant. It produces natural oils that repel water and moisture. As a result, teakwood doesn’t rot easily, even without pressure treatment.

The water and moisture-resistance qualities also make streak the perfect wood for outdoor furniture. It is also resistant to termites and acid.

Above all, teak is naturally beautiful and easy to maintain. It comes in the coveted rich golden-brown color that readily adds to indoor and outdoor decor. The straight grain pattern and varying textures also add to the aesthetics.

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3. Mahogany

Many people love lightweight Adridorack chairs for portability. A lightweight chair is easier to move from one place to the next as you chase the sun.

However, if you’re looking for a heavier wood type for heavy Adirondack chairs, you should consider mahogany. Mahogany is a very heavy hardwood that’s both strong and durable.

Although it’s only rated 1070 lbf on the Janka scale, it boasts exceptional bending and compressive strength. It doesn’t chip easily and can hold massive loads without cracking under pressure.

It is also highly resistant to moisture, rotting, and insects. Finally, mahogany also has a luxurious reddish-brown hue with a beautiful grain pattern, an excellent choice for epoxy table wood. Strangely, it’s highly workable and takes paint and polish exceptionally.

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4. White oak

Oak is one of the most popular hardwoods in the US. It’s durable, extremely strong, and dense, with close grains. More importantly, it’s a native wood! So, it’s more readily available than mahogany, for example.

These qualities make it the go-to choice when shopping for premium woods. Among the many oak species, white oak often stands out.

It’s a tan brown wood, with the exact colors ranging from a dark brown hue to beige, depending on where the tree grows. A dainty texture with tight growth rings in the end grain is common.

White oak is one of the best woods for Adirondack chairs because it’s hard, strong, and beautiful. Moreover, it’s an American native with high demand.

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5. Red oak

Red oak is also native to the US. It grows in the eastern and central states and southeast and south-central Canada. The main difference between red oak and white oak is the color.

Strangely, red oak is darker than white oak. Red oak is redder. However, overall white oak is darker. A red oak Adirondack chair is, therefore, naturally beautiful.

However, more importantly, the chairs are very strong as red oak is about as strong as white oak. The only significant downside of red oak is that it doesn’t have a high natural dimensional stability.

Therefore, you must treat the wood and take good care of it to prolong its life. Otherwise, it’s another excellent choice for Adrindorack chairs.

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6. Ipe

Ipe (pronounced e-pay) is a Brazilian hardwood that grows in a few other countries in South America. When cut, it has a rich, deep red color and is exceptionally strong.

Indeed, ipe is three times as strong as oak and 8x stronger than redwood. So, you can already tell that it makes exceptional Adridorack chairs.

Ipe furniture is also very durable. Many units live for 50 years without treatment and many generations with proper care. The only difference is that ipe wood fades into a beautiful silver color when left unfinished.

You may also want to know that ipe wood is naturally rot and insect-resistant. So, for instance, you never have to worry about termites feeding on your ipe furniture.

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7. Cypress

You’ve likely come across cypress chairs before. It’s one of the best woods for outdoor furniture, from patio chairs to picnic tables.

It is highly decay resistant and performs greatly even with ground contact. Moreover, old-growth cypress makes beautiful rustic furniture.

You should strongly consider cypress for your Adirondack chair project for the above reasons. Although it’s only rated 510 Janka, thus dents and chips more easily than hardwoods, it’s very strong, with high compressive strength.

The last two factors are critical when determining how much weight a piece of wood can bear without cracking. Cypress also boasts a high bending strength.

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8. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is another highly rot-resistant wood. Its high oil content repels moisture, keeping the wood from rotting. It’s also fairly durable. Most eucalyptus furniture lasts 25+ years with good maintenance.

However, the two qualities particularly stand out about eucalyptus as a candidate for making Adirondack chairs. First, like hardwood, eucalyptus stands up to outdoor elements and doesnt dent easily.

Secondly, it has an appealing reddish-brown color that darkens with age. The only downside is that eucalyptus doesn’t stand up to cold conditions very well. As a result, it swells and shrinks as the seasons change. But you can still stain eucalyptus wood for added protection.

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9. Douglas fir wood

You may have noticed by now that the best Adirondack chairs are made from expensive wood. So, what if you’re on a budget? We would suggest that you try maybe douglas fir.

Douglas fir is light brown with a hint of red or yellow. It’s also characterized by dark growth rings that give it a beautiful appearance. More importantly, it’s a softwood.

However, it’s a very strong softwood that can last many generations with good care. The biggest attraction of Douglas fir, though, is price and availability. It’s very affordable and highly available.

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10. Acacia

Acacia is a very strong hardwood with a Janka rating of 1750. So, it’s durable. Acacia furniture often lasts 30+ years. Additionally, acacia is scratch resistant and requires very little maintenance.

However, what we love most is its water and rot resistance. A combination of exceptional strength and high levels of moisture resistance makes the perfect wood for outdoor use, including Adirondack chairs.

Acacia is also very beautiful. It boasts a medium to dark brown hue with gorgeous figured grain patterns.

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11. Yellow pine

Finally, pine needs no introduction. It’s one of the finest softwoods and an in-demand woodworking material. Fortunately, pine is sustainable as the trees grow fast.

Therefore, you can pick up pine lumber from your local lumber yard anytime. It’s a very affordable wood type too. Among the pine varieties, we recommend yellow pine for three reasons.

First, yellow pine is lightweight. The low density makes it excellent for portable chairs. Secondly, pine is highly resistant to shrinking and swelling. So, it’s great for outdoor furniture and exterior wood columns porch.

Above all, Yellow pine is highly elastic and crack-resistant, making it ideal wood for floating shelves due to its lightweight and durable properties.

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How to Finish Wood Surface

Finishing Adirondack chair wood surfaces depends on the type of wood used for the project. However, generally, consider the following;

  • Waterproof to prevent water damage, here are some of the best waterproof paints you can use
  • Stain
  • Oil with natural oils

Here is a guide in case you are looking to find the best wood to make a speaker box.

FAQs

What kind of wood do you use for building Adirondack chairs?

Cedar is one of the most popular woods for making Adirondack chairs. However, almost any other wood will do if you cannot find it. Alder, aspen, maple, and white oak are great hardwood choices. Meanwhile, cypress, fir, and pine are great softwood options.

Read also: Is cypress a hardwood or softwood?

How thick should Adirondack chair be?

Most Adrindorack chairs stand between 36 and 42 inches tall, 30-34 inches wide, and 35 to 38 inches deep. The frames are typically 1 1/2-inches thick. However, if you’re asking about the slats, we recommend a 3/4-inch thickness.

What are Adirondack chairs usually made of?

Adrindorack chairs come in an assortment of materials, from wood to aluminum and plastic. However, most people prefer wooden Adirondack chairs as they are more stylish. Moreover, wood is more environmentally friendly than other materials.

Is it cheaper to buy or build Adirondack chairs?

Of course, it’s cheaper to build Adirondack chairs than to buy the same. It costs $130 to purchase all the materials you need to make a complete Adirondack chair and 20% less to buy materials for two chairs. Yet, the same chairs cost $230+ per unit on Amazon.

Is fir a good wood for Adirondack chairs?

Yes, fir is an excellent wood for outdoor furniture items, including picnic tables, ottomans, and chairs, because it’s highly weather resistant. It does not shrink or swell when the seasons change. Instead, it retains its size and shape. It’s also decay and rot-resistant, making it the perfect wood for a door on the exterior.

Is red cedar a suitable wood for making Adirondack?

Yes, red cedar is suitable for Adirondack furniture. Its durability, resistance to decay, and attractive aesthetics make it an excellent choice for outdoor use, providing comfortable and stylish seating for many years. Red cedar is also the best wood for making a bow due to its decent strength and flexibility.

Next read: what is the best wood for spoons?

Summary

Adirondack chairs are the perfect solution for relaxation and sun-basking needs. But only if you pick the right one. We recommend wooden units as they are stylish and sustainable.

Some of the best woods for Adirondack chairs are teak, mahogany, and oak if you’re interested in hardwoods and cedar, yellow pine, and cypress if you prefer softwood. Also, read our article on “Best outdoor chair for elderly” to help you choose the perfect chair for your old folks.

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