Poly Lumber Adirondack Chairs are More Complicated than Anyone Thought, for Some Really Good Reasons


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I really should have known better.

You see, I thought Adirondack chairs were easy.

They all look about the same. Some are made out of real wood, others, poly lumber. They have occupied the southern porches and patios of North Carolina for as long as I can remember. But when my company finally began making chairs of their own, I came to realize just how complicated Adirondacks are.

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I was lucky enough to sample our first-ever poly lumber Adirondack. The simplicity of the design drew me in. Sitting down, quite honestly, shocked me. I was expecting, in typical Adirondack fashion, to be “swallowed up” by the chair. They tend to sit low, and oftentimes position hips below knees to the point that you’ll need a buddy just to stand back up.

This chair was different: I still reclined, but not excessively. I could lean forward with minimal effort, rise to my feet easily. But this time, I didn’t want to.

As always, work and the to-do list abound. But in this chair, work could wait a while. As I rested my head against the backrest, the anxiety of the weekday grind faded gently to a low hum.

It was long enough a break to wonder: What’s in a chair? And how does a great chair become “THE chair,” one with an honored place in every home, favored and fought over by every family member?

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Like so many great ideas these days, Designed for Outdoors’ Adirondack chair was first built on a computer. Every detail, down to the last nut and bolt was first rendered digitally.

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Those digital dimensions informed the direction of a powerful machine, which cut lines of poly lumber to exacting specifications.

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The parts emerge from the cutting board well-shaped and ready to be drilled. This is where our woodworkers come in. They handcrafted forms for every component, dictating the drilling of every hole; the position of each slat.

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Our robot carved delicate extrusions and cavities where poly lumber pieces join together. Once our carpenters have fine tuned these stub mortises and tenons, the pieces of poly lumber connect like toy blocks.

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It’s one of the oldest carpentry methods in human history. Simple, and yet alarmingly strong. Reinforced with a marine-grade, stainless steel screw, every joint in the chair feels genuinely rock-solid.

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Every connection is hand tested to ensure a perfect fit. There are no half-measures in the wood shop. Each chair either meets the exacting standards of quality, or it is discarded into the recycling bin.

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For all its abilities and benefits, our chair making robot can’t think beyond hard corners and exact measurements. Our carpenters provide the human touch, softening the hard edges of each part of the chair, ensuring no sharp edges protrude from any part of the design.

So far, I’ve learned that each complicated aspect of an Adirondack chair’s construction ends up making for a better chair. I’m learning more about these complications every day, and I’m appreciating these beautiful pieces of furniture more than ever.

There’s more to say, but I’ll write more about them another time. If you’d like to know more in the mean time, you can check them out here via Adirondack Chairs Only.

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