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What are Adirondack Chairs?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Adirondack chairs are traditionally used outdoors. They originate in the Northeastern portion of the United States. Adirondack chairs were originally developed by Thomas Lee in 1903 to provide outdoor seating at a summer home, and the essential design has remained much the same ever since, after some experimentation using his family members. The chair was initially designed to be cut and constructed from a single large piece of timber, and the comfortable, durable chairs can be found across much of the world. Most consumers are familiar with the shape of Adirondack chairs, since they appear in various forms in outdoor settings during all seasons.

Adirondack chairs are characterized by a straight back and seat, which are set at a slant to compensate for the steep incline of the mountains along the East coast of the United States. Some versions of the chair curve the seat slightly. The chairs tend to be simply constructed, with a few straight lines and curvy accents at the ends of the armrests and along the back. In addition, Adirondack chairs traditionally have large armrests capable of accommodating a plate of food or a beverage, a feature many chair owners take advantage of. This distinctive feature is a hallmark of Adirondack chairs.

A traditionally constructed Adirondack chair consists of 11 pieces of timber cut to maximize usable wood. Adirondack chairs are usually made from durable, insect resistant woods like cedar and redwood, although other forms of timber are acceptable. They are relatively easy to construct, and therefore often make up woodworking projects for beginning students learning the basic skills of cutting, joinery, and leveling. The chairs are immensely popular among consumers thanks to their roomy, comfortable, stylish construction.

The basic design of the Adirondack chair has been expanded to include chaise lounges, couches, and other outdoor furniture following the lines of the Adirondack chair. When using Adirondack chairs in a lawn environment, it is advisable to watch for holes in the lawn made by pests, as the weight of the chair may pull a leg into the ground, disturbing both sitter and beverage.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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