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Thread: Adirondack chairs out of PT?

  1. #1
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    Adirondack chairs out of PT?

    I have a friend who is a novice woodworker. He wants to make some Adirondack chairs for his son's wedding. The son is likely to die this year and I think making the chairs is to take his mind off it.
    I recommended white oak, but it is rather more expensive than he wants. He asked about PT. I thought PT was unsuitable, as it warps, needs to be stained, the dust is toxic, and might not be durable when cut.
    Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

    I offered to help him, or at least let him use my tools, but he wants to do it entirely on his own.

  2. #2
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    Nothing wrong with using pressure treated. It doesn't have to be stained, it will eventually turn gray. I've seen many picnic tables and benches made from pressure treated lumber.
    Lee Schierer
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  3. #3
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    Pressure treated lumber usually has a rough and splintery surface left from the treatment. It is also usually sold soaking-wet. It will shrink and warp as it dries on your deck. I would be slow to use it for any furniture, and would not use it for seating furniture. Your suggestion of white oak is a very good one -- great wood, weather resistant, and no worries about toxicity.

  4. #4
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    My adirondack chairs have been made out of fir/pine from the Home Depot, Lowes and a building supply store:

    Adirondack Chairs.jpg

    The one on the left was built in July of 2013. It has been in my yard for the last few years and is still in good shape.

    My first adirondack chair was made from wood salvaged from pallets.

    It may not be noticeable in the photo but the front legs are dovetailed into the arms for strength.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 04-27-2021 at 7:20 PM.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
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  5. #5
    I like both. The arm support for the white one makes a nice profile. I like the arms to have some slope ...even if that means you canít set a
    drink on them. I never drop them or knock them over !

  6. #6
    PT is pretty common for that in my area, actually. Sanded, of course. Like Jamie said, most of it is soaking wet when you buy it so it's going to potato-chip as it dries, etc. That's a nice thing you're doing, by the way.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  7. #7
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    I like the arms to have some slope ...even if that means you canít set a drink on them. I never drop them or knock them over !
    It would be easy to add a small shelf to hold a drink on the side of the seat.

    Some folks like to set a board across the arms for holding a dinner plate or playing solitaire.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  8. #8
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    I’m about to build a lot of them out of PT. No issue if you properly dry it first. I would paint it white if you don’t like the look of PT. Just use 150 and 220 grit to smooth out the rough grain prior to assembly.

  9. #9
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    It's possible to source KD PT lumber, although I haven't tried it. Without that, PT is going to potentially "move a lot" as it naturally dries from that high moisture content that comes from the injection of the "stuff" that makes it treated.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    It's possible to source KD PT lumber, although I haven't tried it. Without that, PT is going to potentially "move a lot" as it naturally dries from that high moisture content that comes from the injection of the "stuff" that makes it treated.
    Or it can be called KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment). Yellawood is KDAT.

  11. #11
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    I have built about 25 Adirondack chairs and another 10 benches from PT lumber from both big box store and lumber yards. Many of them are a decade old or more and are doing great. I did use my own designs to prevent warping after assembly and also find it best to cut parts to rough length straight from my trailer, then stack for good air movement. A bunch of guys have built the same from my plans and I would be happy to share with your friend. It is an easy project and the chairs are very comfortable.

    edit: I also built normís chairs using white oak years ago. Those chairs have rotted out and been repaired twice in the same time span. YMMV
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    Last edited by Bob Riefer; 04-27-2021 at 9:32 PM.
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    Collegeville PA (30 minutes west of Philly)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Feeley View Post
    Or it can be called KDAT (Kiln Dried After Treatment).
    Avoid the big box PT and ask a lumber yard for KDAT. It is dry and stable. It does come with warnings about breathing the dust and even skin contact, so warn your friend to be careful. With the current run-up in construction lumber prices, particularly for outdoor projects, he might want to price check it against white oak, cypress and other suitable outdoor woods to see if the savings are worth it.

  13. #13
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    Good advice here. The only thing I would add if the builder chooses home store PT is to keep the knots away from the ends of the project pieces, especially the feet.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    I have a friend who is a novice woodworker. He wants to make some Adirondack chairs for his son's wedding. The son is likely to die this year and I think making the chairs is to take his mind off it.
    I recommended white oak, but it is rather more expensive than he wants. He asked about PT. I thought PT was unsuitable, as it warps, needs to be stained, the dust is toxic, and might not be durable when cut.
    Any opinions on this would be appreciated.

    I offered to help him, or at least let him use my tools, but he wants to do it entirely on his own.
    PT is usually wet when it's purchased, and there are questions about what it is wet with. Skin absorption may be an issue, particularly on something like a chair. I would punt on that. Not everybody has only a year to live, or is not of reproductive age.

  15. #15
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    As much as PT costs these days, it seems like it would be about the same cost to build them out of Walnut.

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