April Wilkerson Shows us How to Build a Porch Classic Using Pressure Treated  Southern Yellow Pine

The only outdoor seating solution better than an Adirondack chair is a rocking Adirondack chair. So, if you’re looking for a slightly advanced DIY project, April Wilkerson has a design for you. She’s perfected this build in her Central Texas woodworking shop, where the home improvement star films her popular how-to videos. 

The most time-consuming aspect of this build is cutting out all the parts. But you can speed this process up by using templates. Once the wood is prepped, assembly only takes about two hours per chair. 

For this project, she’s using Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) because she knows that it’s a strong and stable wood, so her chair is going to last a long time. SYP is also easy to work with because it holds nails and fasteners particularly well. It’s also a green choice. In fact, using wood instead of man-made materials benefits the environment in a number of positive ways. 

How to Build a Rocking Adirondack Chair in Six Easy Steps 

1. Prep Wood

The first step to building a rocking Adirondack chair is cutting all the wood down to size. And since this design has a lot of curves, we suggest using templates to ensure exact measurements for a smooth, bump-free rock. 

2. Build Seat 

Start with the frame pieces by standing the bottom supports up on end and attach by screwing the front-most slat. For this, April recommends pre-drilling first and using a wood glue specially formulated for exterior applications. Then you can skip to the back-most slat, attach it, and install the remaining seating slats in between using a spacer to ensure they’re eveningly spaced. 

3. Assemble Backrest 

Stand the lower back support upright and start by attaching the centermost back slat and then working out to either side using glue, and pre-drilling and fastening screws on every connection. Next, attach the back to the seat by screwing the backrest support right through to the seat frame. Once completed, set this component aside. 

4. Build Rockers 

For this section, April made two layers of ¾” material instead of cutting a recess in thicker material. All the components are intertwined to create strength but it’s easier to assemble and the finished product has a more polished appearance. To see how each piece fits together, refer to her building plans. After you’ve completed one leg, build a mirrored part. 

5. Attach Rockers 

Place the chair on its side on a flat work surface. Place one leg on top, fit the chair into the leg recess, making sure the bottom surface is perfectly flush. Then temporarily hold it in place with a few brad nails. Instead of turning the entire structure 180°, slide the other leg underneath and repeat. Flip the chair on its legs and attach legs permanently with carriage bolts.

6. Build Arms 

Place the two arms and an upper backrest cross piece on your workbench and use a speed square to make sure both armrests are square to the cross piece. Then attach the three components together using glue and two screws per connection. Attach the 3-piece assembly to the front legs and then screw the cross piece to each outer back slat.

To get started on this Southern Yellow Pine project, visit a local lumber retail yard near you.