Friday, August 24, 2012

Deck Chairs!

Cane & Rita over at This Sorta Old Life posted a DIY on Adirondack styled chairs back in July. If you're not inclined toward woodworking, then this is the DIY to start with. Cane lays it out step-by-step with very helpful pictures and explanations of why and how when necessary. They were able to do one chair in about 2 hours for around $10. We came out double to those figures but still saved a TON compared to buying one AND have the pride of having made it ourselves! This was literally my first ever build-project and I'm pretty pleased with myself for pushing through.

Cane & Rita were able to find cedar fence planks at their Home Depot for $1.28 each but we weren't so lucky. We tried to hold out for some freebie used fencing on Craigslist but got impatient when we got some unexpected cash gifts. The cheapest we found was also at Home Depot. The 6ft by 6" boards were $2.35 and the 4ft by 3" boards were $1.08. We don't have a table saw and really liked the look of the narrower slats so we bought the 3" boards for the seat/back and the 6" boards for the frame/legs/arms.

Our spending breakdown for 2 chairs:
9 six-foot by 6" cedar picket boards: $21.15
14 four-foot by 3" cedar picket boards: $15.12
1-pound box of 1" exterior screws: $3.39

Total: $39.66

We also had to buy a drill bit and a jigsaw blade but that's our own fault (*heh*)

Or maybe it's *my* fault. Snapped right off!

Sweetie had sanded all of the boards so they would be nice and smooth (or as smooth as cedar can be, lol).

I started measuring and cutting all the boards around 5pm on a Sunday. I had just taken a 20 minute nap and felt refreshed, but was still pretty exhausted and tired. (Sundays are my running on empty days because of how job hours work out.)

Somewhere around 6pm or so, I was ready to start assembling. I brought the boards needed for one chair outside and laid them in piles according to which step they'd be used in. I quickly realized that it was going to be a longer process than I expected. Every piece is held to another by 3 screws. Each screw hole needs to be pre-drilled to prevent the wood from splitting. The pieces need wood glue between them before the screws are fastened. We don't own clamps. The first attempt, I smeared the glue on and held the pieces together to pre-drill. Then as I changed the bit to fasten the screws, the pieces moved ever so slightly so I couldn't be certain the holes were lined up anymore. So for each attachment, the process was:
  • Drill one hole
  • Change bit
  • Lay glue
  • Screw till just poking through on one board
  • Lay the poke into the hole of the other board and finish screwing in
  • Change bit
  • Drill the other 2 holes
  • Change bit
  • Fasten the other 2 screws
The sunset finished around 8 and the twilight lasted about 20 minutes after that. I only had one step left at that point - putting the back slats on - and couldn't see the screws or pencil marks anymore so I had to call it a night and finish some other time. 

Fast-forward to Thursday. Finally, I had time AND motivation to go out and finish attaching the back slats. The chair was finished in about 30 minutes! I sat in it and felt proud. 

Then I got up to tackle the second chair. I had about 2 hours before sunset but I felt confident that I could finish it closer to the 2 hour estimate since I had all the trial and error stuff worked on on the first one. Sweetie wanted the arms of the second chair to be curved so I grabbed the jigsaw and cut those first. Then I decided to pre-drill all holes, lay the glue, then poke all the screws through one board and shift it around until all the screws landed in their holes. Then fastened them all down. That saved a bit of time! 

There was a swarm of gnat-like bugs congregating on the finished chair, and moving onto me when I used the chair as a brace to hold the boards. The humidity was up and so the mosquitoes were out in numbers. I was being attacked and was getting highly irritated. I finished step 2 and threw in the towel until Friday.

Friday I took my chances with the bugs and started as soon as I got home from work at 5:30, hoping to get done in time to shower and eat dinner before leaving for the night job at 8:20. The sky was threatening rain every second of it - and I even had some light sprinkling for a bit - but I had the grill cover ready to drape over the chair if it actually opened up. We've had too many "chance of thunderstorms" with not a speck of rain for me to hold off on this project any longer.

I finished just after 7pm! The front horizontal brace of the second chair is just a titch slanted. I'm not sure how that happened because I used a level on ever step of the second chair. I eyeballed the first chair and had no noticeable issues. *sigh*

All told, we are very satisfied with our new chairs! Sweetie is doing some research on sealant options. Until then, we will keep moving them into the shed when there's rain.

So big and comfy!

1 comment:

  1. loved it, laughed; you're a good writer