Adirondack Style Outdoor Chair with Jimmy DiResta | Build It | Ask This Old House

14April 2019

Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor returns to upstate New York to build an Adirondack-style outdoor chair with maker Jimmy DiResta
SUBSCRIBE to This Old House:

Time: 5-6 hours

Cost: $200

Skill Level: Moderate

Tools List for Building an Adirondack Chair:
Angle grinder
Speed square
Safety glasses
Hearing protection
MIG welder
Welding mask
Miter saw
Drill driver
Metal-rated drill bit
Palm sander
Paint brush
Rubber mallet

Shopping List:
2x2” steel tubing
2x4” steel tubing
1x6” rough cut oak
_” flat steel stock
Stainless steel screws
100 grit sandpaper
Boat varnish
High gloss black paint
All-Purpose Glue

1. Start by measuring and cutting the steel tubing for the frame of the chair. A speed square and a piece of chalk will help to mark the steel. The cuts can be made using an angle grinder, a miter saw with a metal cutting blade, or a bandsaw.
2. Notch the front legs to allow for a lap joint when assembling the frame.
3. To get the correct angle for the backrest, eyeball a comfortable angle and then mark the angle using the chalk. It doesn’t need to be a drastic angle to be a comfortable chair. Jimmy’s chair only had a 5 degree pitch.
4. Cut the angle for the backrest.
5. Weld the frame of the chair together. To keep everything in place, it helps to tack the steel in place using small beads of weld and then going back after with a full weld.
6. Smooth over the welds with the angle grinder.
7. Cut the arms for the chair using 2x4” steel tubing.
8. Weld the arms to the frame of the chair. Hold the legs level to the ground and not parallel to the frame. This will make the arm rest more comfortable.
9. Cut the oak boards to fit in the back and seat of the chair using the miter saw and give them a good sanding.
10. Cut the _” stock to fit inside the frame of the chair.
11. Drill a few holes in the _” stock to accept screws between the stock and the oak boards.
12. Weld the _” stock to the inside of the frame. It will act as a slot to hold the oak boards in place.
13. Apply an outdoor boat varnish to the oak using a paintbrush.
14. Clean up the metal frame using acetone and a rag. Then, apply a layer of high gloss black paint to the frame using a paintbrush.
15. Fasten the oak boards to the frame through the steel slots using stainless steel screws.
16. Using the leftover oak boards, cut two blocks that are slightly smaller than 2x4” to act as plugs in the armrests for the chair. Finish them with the boat varnish.
17. Add a bead of all-purpose glue to the inside of the 2x4” steel tubing to keep the block from sliding in the armrest.
18. Gently hammer the blocks into the arms using a rubber mallet.

To weld the frame together, Jimmy used a MIG welder, which is manufactured by Lincoln Electric ( The light generated from welding is harmful, so be sure to wear protective clothing and a welding mask. Never look directly at the light from welding.

For the back of the chair, Jimmy used rough cut white oak, which he got from a local saw mill. A quick Google search should help you identify a nearby saw mill in your area. The finish Jimmy applied to the oak is Gleam 2.0 Marine Spar Varnish in a satin finish, which is manufactured by TotalBoat (

About Build It:
This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, and special guests including Jimmy DiResta, take you through step-by-step DIY projects in this popular video series. From end-tables to cutting boards to wine racks to chicken coops and more, learn how to build from the best pros in the game. Segments include mention of all tools and materials needed to get the job done.

About Ask This Old House TV:
Homeowners have a virtual truckload of questions for us on smaller projects, and we're ready to answer. Ask This Old House solves the steady stream of home improvement problems faced by our viewers—and we make house calls! Ask This Old House features some familiar faces from This Old House, including Kevin O'Connor, general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, and landscape contractor Roger Cook.

Follow This Old House and Ask This Old House:

For more on This Old House and Ask This Old House, visit us at:

Adirondack Style Outdoor Chair with Jimmy DiResta | Build It | Ask This Old House

See Your Business Here!

For more information on our listings, advertising, coupons, and mailers, please contact us today!