How To Make An Adirondack Chair From A Pallet?


Pallets are a great material to make an Adirondack chair out of. They are cheap and some stores even offer them for free. With minimal tools you can make a beautiful rustic Adirondack chair. Top it with a weatherproof clear coat or paint to ensure durability.

Ready to get started? Here’s a guide on how to make an Adirondack chair from a pallet.

Are Pallets Good For Outdoor Furniture?

Are Pallets Good For Outdoor Furniture

Pallet furniture can tolerate exposure to the elements for some time. But they’ll deteriorate quickly, both in appearance and stability.

Eventually, exposure to extreme temperatures and moisture will lead to problems like cracking and rotting.

Like any other wooden furniture, pallet furniture needs to be protected from the weather if you want it to last a long time outdoors.

Once you’ve built the pallet Adirondack chair, add a protective polyurethane clear coat on top to keep out moisture and UV.

You can also paint the chair with a weatherproof paint, though most people prefer retaining the wood look by applying a stain and a top coat.

Are Pallets Safe To Reuse?

Most wood pallets nowadays are safe to reuse.

Years ago, companies used to treat pallets with methyl bromide, a toxic chemical. But this practice has largely ended.

Now, pallets are just heat treated.

To be sure that the pallets you are using are safe, first look for the IPCC logo. This logo, which stands for International Plant Protection Convention, indicates the pallets conform to specific safety and quality criteria.

Next, check if there is an MB mark stamped on the pallet. If there is, stay away from it as the mark indicates the pallet was treated with methyl bromide.

If there’s no MB, the pallet is safe. Other marks like HT (heat treated) or KD (kiln treated) are okay.

If the pallet lacks the IPCC logo, just avoid it to be safe since you can’t be sure how it’s been treated.

Even if the pallet has the right markings, be careful if it has strange spills or stains on it. These could be hazardous.

How Many Pallets Do You Need To Make An Adirondack Chair?

The number of pallets you need to make an Adirondack chair depends on the size of the pallet, the size of your chair, and the number of chairs you plan to make.

If you are using standard size 48″ X 40″ pallets, we’d recommend getting at least two of them for each Adirondack chair.

Some of the wood pieces from the pallet may be unsuitable for use or they can break when you are taking the pallet apart. So you need to have spare pieces around.

How To Make An Adirondack Chair From A Pallet

Here are the general steps for making an Adirondack chair from a pallet.

  • Draw or get a plan for your Adirondack chair. You can search for pallet Adirondack plans online or make your own. Identify every piece of wood that you’ll need and its measurement. Also mark any angles or notches you need to make.
  • Assemble your tools. You can build the chair with basic tools: a hammer, drill, drill bits, screws, wood glue, orbital sander, and a circular saw (you can also use a jigsaw or handheld saw).
  • Disassemble the pallets. Use a pry bar or the crowbar end of a hammer to pry pieces apart where they are nailed. Be gentle to avoid breaking or splintering the wood.
  • Once the pieces come off, use the hammer to tap the nails out.
  • Cut all the pieces you need for the chair. This is where the chair plan will be handy.
  • Join all the pieces as per the plan using screws and wood glue.
  • Run an orbital sander over the chair to smooth out roughness and imperfections (you can also sand individual pieces before joining them).
  • Apply your preferred stain on the chair and a protective weather coat on top of the stain. You can also just apply a protective coat if you want to retain the original look of the pallet wood.

For a more detailed step-by-step guide, here’s a build from Instructables complete with pictures. Here’s another easy one, also from Instructables.

You can also follow the video below.

Once you build your first couple of pallet chairs and get good at it, feel free to come up with your own designs.

You can add a footstool, make a folding Adirondack chair, or create a curved backrest that hugs your back.

Can You Paint Pallet Wood?

Yes, you can paint pallet wood. If you want to style up your pallet Adirondack chair, go ahead and paint it.

Spray paints are the easiest to use. You can get a nice even coat with minimal effort.

Make sure you sand down the entire chair before painting. It’ll help with adhesion. You can then spray the primer followed by one or two coats of outdoor paint.

Even easier, get one of those paint + primer spray paints. Rust-Oleum has plenty of options to choose from.

They save you the trouble of priming the wood. Just sand it then apply a coat or two of the paint.

For added durability, consider sealing the paint with a polyurethane top coat. It’ll reduce fading, moisture penetration, and friction wear.