How to Build a DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair in 10 Easy Steps [+ Bonus Tip]

DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair: An easy way to build your own!

Looking to build a simple DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to make your porch more inviting? Follow along with me as I show you how to build a simple DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair in less than a day! The DIY templates I use to build this Adirondack Rocking Chair allowed me to build this entire chair in just an afternoon, totally stress free!

DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair
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This article will teach you how to follow along with April Wilkerson as she teaches you how to build a DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair in just one day!

Following along?
If you want to follow along with me then take a look at getting the templates I used to make this DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair! The templates make the build super easy to follow and completely eliminates the guess work.

Materials for the DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

To Build the DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair, you are going to need a few things from either The Home Depot or your local home improvement store. These Include the following:

  1. Pressure treated 1x lumber
  2. Exterior wood glue (Titebond 3 works best)
  3. Optional Finish (Stain, Paint or Top Coat)
  4. And of Course – Digital Plans and Templates!
  5. Fasteners

Trace out your templates onto your stock pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair
Tracing the templates here on my piece of treated 1x so that way I can cut it out on the bandsaw and then use a template (flush cut) bit to get it perfect later.

Step 1: Trace out your templates onto your stock pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

The first step in creating your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair is to trace out your templates onto your 1x lumber. You may be using 1x4s 1x6s ect. so it is best to trace out as many pieces onto one piece of lumber as you can. The goal here is to map out exactly what we need to cut out in order to assemble it all later.

Trace out your templates onto your stock pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Step 2: Cutting out your pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Once you have completed tracing out all your pieces using your templates it comes time to cut out your parts.

We are first going to cut the pieces to length on the Miter Saw so that way they are more manageable on the Band saw. I use my miter saw on the DIY Miter Saw Stand I built here in my shop.

Cut your tracing just out side the line and make an organized pile of your pieces to the side. If you don’t own a miter saw, then you can always use a circular saw too.

Cutting out your pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking  Chair

Next you are going to want to cut your templates out on your band saw. If you don’t have a band saw then no worries at all, you can use a jig saw for this portion.

Be sure to stay about 1/8″ – 1/4″ outside the line when cutting out your pieces. (Unless you are utilizing the paper templates or plastic templates – then cut right on the line and go slow!)

Cutting out your pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking  Chair

The reason we are cutting outside the line is because we are then going to use the MDF Template as a guide to flush cut the piece perfectly to size on the router table.

Cutting out your pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking  Chair

We cut away all the material we do not need with the band saw because the router is only able to take off so much material safely. If you were to try to skip the band saw step and move right over to the router table you would increase your risk of major injury, and completely dull out your router bit.

Step 3: Flush Trimming the Pieces of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now it is time to flush trim the stock pieces with a flush trim up-cut bit. The benefit to using an MDF Template is that you can tape the template to your stock piece with double sided sticky tape and then run the template against the bearing of the flush trim bit in your router table.

The bearing will block the bit from cutting any deeper than what the bearing is placed against. So in our case the bearing is placed against the MDF Template and will allow us to trim the stock piece to the EXACT form of the MDF Template.

Flush Trimming the Pieces of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

If you do not have a router table, then don’t worry, a hand held router will work just as well. Just go slo and be sure to clamp your stock piece & MDF firmly to a work station so it does not spin out of control.
If you are using a hand held router, then you can use either a bottom bearing or a top bearing flush trim bit and just orient your template and stock accordingly.

Go ahead and trim all your stock pieces now.

Step 3: (Paper and Plastic Templates) Cutting Out your Pieces.

If you are not using the MDF Templates, but are using the Printable Paper Templates or Plastic Templates then this Version of Step 3 is for you!

Once you carefully cut out the stock pieces from your trace lines, you will then want to clean up the edges with a sander. Make sure to remove all the blade marks that were left from your Jig saw or bandsaw. Once you get all those blade marks up, make sure each piece aligns the best it can with the original template.

Step 4: Round over your stock pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Round over your stock pieces for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Before assembly, I be sure to round-over all my pieces over at the router table. I went ahead and added a round over bit in my router and just went to town. This round over profile will ensure that there are no sharp corners that could catch on clothing, or give you a splinter later on. It also adds to the overall aesthetic of the Adirondack rocking chair.

Again, if you do not own a router table, a hand held router will do just fine here.

Step 5: Assembling the Seat for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now it comes time for assembly! Assembly is always the best part of any build as you finally get to see your piece come together.

I first laid out the two bottom supports and glued and screwed the front most slats! I recommend pre-drilling your holes here to prevent splitting. Pre-drilling is just drilling out a small (usually 1/8″) hole into the pieces you are screwing together. This allows the screw to spin into place without the wood splitting or cracking around it.

Assembling the Seat for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Next I went ahead and added the back most slat and made sure it was square using a speed square. This provides the seat with a little more structure for me to glue and screw in the rest of the slats.

Assembling the Seat for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Next, I fill in the space with all the slats in between. You can use a spacer between each slat to make sure that the space between the slats is even, or you could just eyeball it like me.

The back spacer allows us to make sure the entire piece is square, so we don’t have to worry about checking for square as we attach each slat.

Assembling the Seat for your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Step 6: Assembling the back of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now let’s move onto the assembling the back of the chair for your Adirondack Rocking Chair. Start by grabbing your lower and upper supports and lay them on edge.

Assembling the back of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Find the center of both of your supports and mark it with a pencil. I find it easier to start in the middle and then work out from there. You’ll want to layout your center most slat and then glue and screw it into the bottom support.

Assembling the back of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Make sure your supports are in line with one another. You can do this by using a loose slat and a speed square to ensure they are square and in line. Then you can attach your center slat to your top support.

Assembling the back of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now just work your way out, spacing each slat equidistant from the previous slat. Glueing and screwing as you go. Make sure you pre-drill your holes for your screws again to reduce the chance of splitting the wood.

Congratulations! You now have a back to your chair.

Step 7: Attach the Back to the Seat of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

It is now time to attach the back of your Adirondack Rocking chair to the seat. First let’s make sure the back fits into place.

Attach the Back to the Seat of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Perfect fit! Then we are going to permanently attach it with glue and screws right into that seat support. This will be a perfect fit if you are following along with the plans and templates that I provide in my store.

Attach the Back to the Seat of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now let’s let the seat and back assembly hang out on our workbench while we start to assemble the rocker assembly.

Step 8: Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

I am putting together the rocker assembly with one of my favorite methods: using a half lap. A half-lap is putting together two layers of 1x material instead of cutting a recess in 2x material. Everything is intertwined to create strength, but it is very simple and quick to assemble.

Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

I always first lay out my parts to make sure everything fits together, but then after that it is as simple as gluing and nailing it all together. If you do not have a brad nailer then you can always screw these pieces together as well.

Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

It is important here to make sure that the bottom rocker is really flat and smooth to ensure that you end up with a clean rock in the finished product. If you are using paper or plastic templates, the you can always come back and sand away any discrepancies.

Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Your rocker assembly should look like this. Then all you have to do is rinse and repeat for the second side, making sure you assemble the pieces in the inverse of your first side.

Assembling the Rocker assembly for you DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Make sure that you mirror the second side so it can be attached to the seat and back correctly.

Step 9: Attaching the main body of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to the Rockers

Now bring in your main body from your workbench and place it roughly in position of your rockers so you can see how it is going to be assembled.

Attaching the main body of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to the Rockers

I then put the body on its side and temporarily held it in place by throwing in a few brad nails

Attaching the main body of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to the Rockers

Again if you do not have a brad nailer you can always screw this in place.

Instead of trying to flip the whole unit 180 degrees to attach the other side, all you have to is slide it over on top of the second rocker assembly.

Attaching the main body of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to the Rockers

Now it’s time to flip the rocker up right and put in some carriage bolts. I put in a 1/4″ drill bit and drilled through from the outside of the leg through the seat stretcher. I drilled two holes to ensure it is secure. I then slid in the carriage bolts and bolted them in place. Then just rinse and repeat on the other side of the rocker.

Attaching the main body of your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair to the Rockers

Step 10: Attaching the arms to your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Now if you are following along in the plans you’ll notice that the plans are different from the video. Originally I had a more complex way of attaching the arms, but I decided to make it simpler rather than over complicate things. These changes are reflected in the plans.

So if you’re following along with the video, I ended up detaching the chair back upper support and gluing and screwing the arms square to the support.

Attaching the arms to your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

After I glued and screwed the arms in place I move the arm assembly back over to the chair and body to securely attach it to the rest of the chair.

Attaching the arms to your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

It is as simple as screwing in the arms to the legs and the support back into the slats. Now, your chair is finally starting to come together!

Attaching the arms to your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

And with that we are done! You can now move on to testing out and enjoying the fruits of your labor!

If you would like to make this project a breeze then it would certainly be worth checking out the plans I have available by clicking here!

DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

Congratulations! You are finally done.

Bonus Tip

Now that your DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair is complete, you can do whatever you’d like to finish it. However, if you did build your chair with treated lumber or even cedar, then it will hold up well outside and resist rot.

But if you’d like you are welcome to paint your chair your favorite color or even finish it with a stain to make it match your home.

More Projects Like This DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair

If you are just getting started with building then you are obviously going to need a workbench!

Check out my DIY Workbench for your Garage

Other DIY Projects you may be interested in

Things I Used In This DIY Adirondack Rocking Chair Project

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