2x4 Modern Adirondack Chair

Submitted by Ana White on Sun, 04/26/2020 - 12:09
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For about $30 you can build your own modern Adirondack chairs!  This is an easy build that shouldn't take too long, and the chair is super comfortable and sturdy!  Free plans by Ana-White.com

2x4 modern adirondack chair plans

Why I Built These Chairs

I've been wanting to add some comfortable outdoor seating to our yard in uncovered areas, but it gets to be alot to manage cushions and pillows, trying to keep everything dry, bringing the cushions in when it snows, finding somewhere to store it all ... 

I didn't want to go with plastic chairs, as they blow away in the wind, and I'm forever chasing them down and eventually, picking up pieces of plastic and throwing them away.

So I thought, what if I could build the most comfortable Adirondack chairs ever, that don't need a cushion, that are too heavy to blow away in the wind?  

2x4 modern adirondack chair

2x4 Modern Adirondack Chair Features

  • 2x4 frame is sturdy and solid
  • Building plans are easy to follow and assemble (about an hour a chair)
  • About $30 in lumber per chair
  • Very comfortable without a cushion or pillow
  • Modern styling still has the "Adirondack" look and feel, but with clean lines
  • Can be painted or stained any color

How I Built My Chairs

In this video I go through all the steps to build my 2x4 Modern Adirondack Chairs

Free Adirondack Chair Plans

The free plans for this chair follow.  Please share a photo when you are done so we can see how your project turned out!

Adirondack chair dimensions
Dimensions shown in diagram for modern Adirondack chair


Shopping List

3 - 2x4 @ 104-5/8" long (OR 4 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long or 92-5/9" long)

1 - 1x10 @ 10 feet long*

4 - 2-1/2" Kreg Pocket Hole Screws

24 - 2-1/2" long self tapping exterior screws (look for the screws with the star bit heads, can be up to 3" long)

30 - 1-1/2" long self tapping exterior screws (same type as the longer screws, can be slightly shorter or longer (up to 2"), these screws are just used to attach the seat boards to the frame)

*If building more than one chair, you only need 9 feet of 1x10 boards per chair.  So for two chairs, you could purchase one 8' long 1x10 and one 10' long 1x10.

Cut List

5 - 2x4 @ 19-1/2" - legs and horizontal supports

2 - 2x4 @ 31-3/4" - arms

2 - 2x4 @ 33-1/4" - both ends cut at 20 degrees off square, ends ARE parallel, long point to short point measurement

2 - 2x4 @ 32-3/4" - back supports

2 - 1x10 @ 22-1/2" - seat

3 - 1x10 @ 19-1/2" - back 

Cutting Instructions

It may be easier to pre-finish your boards before cutting.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a flat level surface.


Step 1

As shown in the video, cut the chair stringers at a 90 degree angle at the foot of the stringer with a circular saw.

Build the arms with the 2-1/2" long screws and exterior wood glue.

Make sure the two arms are built the same but in mirror as shown in the diagram.

Step 2

Drill two 1-1/2" pocket holes on both ends of two of the 19-1/2" long 2x4s.  Attach with 2-1/2" screws to the Adirondack chair frame.

Step 3

Lay the seat boards on the 2x4 frame and attach with three 1-1/2" long screws per end of each 1x10 to the seat frame.  Leave about 1/4" gap in between the seat frame for water drainage.

Step 4

Place the remaining 2x4 @ 19-1/2" long under the back of the chair as shown in the diagram.  

Place one seat support in the chair and hold flush to the bottom of the stringer.

Attach with screws to the stringer and to the back support.

Move to the other side of the chair and repeat with the second back support.

Remove the 2x4 @ 19-1/2" long.

Step 5

Attach the 2x4 @ 19-1/2" to the base of the chair with screws.

Step 6

Starting at the top and working downward, attach the seat back boards to the back of the chair.  Make sure you leave a gap at the base of the back to allow for good water drainage.  Evenly split the gaps for best visual presentation.

Finishing Instructions
Finish Used
Use an exterior appropriate finish.



Tue, 06/16/2020 - 15:17

Ok, i knowwwwwww this is horrible, never comment on your own posts EVER, but, saying that, here goes.
Just a bit of info if you are going to Shou-sugi-ban your wood, it is a form of wood preservation that come from Japan, it's usually performed on cedar but has the same basic effect on any wood. So, what I'm basically saying here is if you choose this method you are also elongating the life of your wood. I'm going to experiment with burning just the one side of the wood and both and seeing which fairs better, the issue is we'll all be well away from caring once the results are in.
You can use a basic propane torch for this job, it will take a bit but you'll get er' done.


Tue, 06/16/2020 - 15:41

Ack, I never like to be this guy but I just noticed there are filters applied to the first pic on here, look to the second pic for a true representation of the stain colour and hue. But trust me on this, evenly run a propane torch over your wood, sand until happy and then clear coat and you'll be happy.


Tue, 06/16/2020 - 15:51

I'm truly overstepping my bounds here but if you will give me this one last input I'd truly appreciate it. Unless you are running a bump stop mitre saw your 1x10's will all be fractions off perfect. This being said, choose the most interesting wood grain for the top seat facia, taking into account how everything lines up vertically. Our line of sight and our years of indoctrination have taught our brains to see top to bottom, left to right, so put the most interesting board on top, with a caveat of lining up over all. That's all, sorry for intruding.

Wendy KT

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 12:16

Help! How do I stop the sap from bleeding out of the pine? I made 2 of these chairs and we love them. I used 2 coats of Minwax Classic Gray stain and then I applied 2 coats of wipe-on poly. But as of this morning there are little white sticky sap dots all over the boards. How are the rest of you keeping that from happening?


Sat, 07/04/2020 - 16:10

I used pressure treated pine to build this chair , wasn’t to hard for me, a beginner . Did you use regular pine ? Seems to cost more then what you said . I couldn’t find 1x10s so used 1x4s. , going to try to build another but make the back a bit longer , would like something to rest my head on. Thx for sharing T.


Mon, 07/13/2020 - 19:00

I built these using 1x6s for the seat and back because that's all the lumberyard had in cedar. The seat ends up being 1 inch shorter so the angle on the back is just a little shallower but they still work and look great. And because I used cedar mine cost a little more than double Ana's estimate, but it was worth it. They're beautiful and comfortable and way more solid than I expected. Thanks for a great plan, Ana!


Thu, 07/16/2020 - 07:56

So i built these and they are awesome. The only problem i have is that the arms are not staying stable as you sit on it and rest your arms and lean back the back support slides. Any thoughts on shoring up that back support piece?