OK, they’re done. Total materials cost (2 chairs): $107.
For me, building the Adirondack chairs was a nice 2-month journey through several new skills and a larger knowledge base. I feel ready to tackle some more difficult furniture projects this summer. But as I worked through the plans, it occurred to me that we haven’t offered a tool list for the project that could serve as an alternative to Norm Abrams’ “full-power” list. Here you go!
Hybrid Tool List for the Adirondack Chair Project
For preparing the rough-sawn cedar:
- Tape measure and pencils
- Inexpensive hand saw for rough crosscutting
- Winding sticks for examining boards
- Some type of sturdy work surface, with work-holding ability, for face planing
- Wood-bodied scrub or jack plane for straightening boards
- 12-inch power thickness planer (“lunchbox” planer) for surfacing
- Well-tuned metal-bodied handplane (Stanley #4 or similar) for edge jointing
- Try square
- Combination square
- Japanese double-sided pull saw for ripping and accurate crosscutting
For final shaping of boards:
- Shooting board for squaring ends
- Good-quality compass for marking curves
- Power jigsaw for rough-cutting curves
- Spokeshave for smoothing and finishing the curves
- A sharp chisel or two, to help in tight or knotty spots
- Several clamps, large and small, to help with work holding
- A drill or two, and the appropriate bits (including a good countersink bit)
- Pneumatic brad nailer (totally optional – I find these handy for squaring my work)
- Hammer and socket wrench for the carriage bolts
- Block plane
- Plug cutter, for making your own screw plugs
One thing I really like about this tool list – and hand tools in general – is that it will be more portable than, say, a power jointer, bandsaw and table saw. When I become a homeowner, I’ll almost certainly invest in those machines, but for now it’s a good idea to keep my tool list smaller and lighter.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out our “Viking Tool Chest” preview for another example of small and light. Historically, this is how woodworkers worked. Nobody did it better than the Vikings! After watching Don Weber’s preview, you may even want to buy yourself a copy of the project.
Are you building the Adirondack chairs? Tell us your tool list questions in the comments section, and we’ll get right back to you.