Handcrafted Western red cedar Adirondack chairs, tables, benches, and more!


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The Advantages of Cedar for Outdoor Furniture

While other wood species are available, cedar is our wood of choice.  5/4 cedar is the minimum thickness material we use for any of our cedar furniture.  5/4 cedar is a full 1 inch thick when finish sanded.  This is considerably heavier (33%) than most of the furniture you will find on the market. Cedar affords the best value to our customers by providing lower cost, lighter weight and excellent weather and rot resistance:

  • Cedar is a lightweight and dimensionally stable wood that lies flat and stays straight. Which means it resists the natural tendency to crack and check, as you might find in many other wood species.

  • Western Red Cedar has an incredible thermal co-efficient, meaning even on hot days, it is cool to sit in.

  • Western Red Cedar fibers contain oils that act as natural preservatives to help the wood resist rot and decay, making it excellent furniture material for moist or humid climates. These properties also make Cedar a very popular material for hot tub and sauna areas.

  • Among other things, these naturally occurring oils give off that distinct cedar aroma that makes the wood highly unattractive to insects, moths and other pests.

  • Its bacterial and fungal resistance coupled with the fact that Cedar is 80% the strength of Oak, makes it the most desirable wood to use for building Outdoor furniture.

  • We buy high-quality lumber, which we offer 3 ways:  Rough Cut, Ready to Assemble and Fine Finish Sanded.

  • Cedar, left unfinished, weathers to a silver-gray, a no-maintenance look preferred by many.

  • Cedar readily takes most exterior grade finishes, including paint, stains, spar varnish and oil finishes

Levels of Finish Available from Cedar Chair Guys

  • Rough Cut:  We layout and cut out all of the parts.  The edges are planered or saw cut, but unsanded, and unrouted, allowing you to use the edge profile of your choice.  The back slats are all cut to the same length, and are not cut to a curve, allowing you to cut them to whatever curve you like, leave them square, cut them to match your fence pickets, or whatever you want.  The faces are planered, but not sanded, and most of the screw and bolt holes are undrilled, so that you can assemble the furniture as you wish, whether using nails or counter-sinking and plugging the screw holes.  If you have the tools and the inclination, this is a great option to create a unique piece of furniture for yourself, or to sell or give as a gift.  Because the Rough Cut furniture is sold at little over cost, we only sell these items in quantity.

  • Ready to Assemble: We layout and cut out all of the parts, sand the edges, round over the edges, drill all of the screw and bolt holes, and sand the faces to remove mill marks, etc.  The furniture is as ready to put together and use, or to apply a coat of paint.  The furniture is at least as ready to accept a finish as typical milled house siding or wood decking.  This is an excellent option if you plan to either let the furniture weather, or if you are going to apply a brushed on paint or stain.   

  • Fine Finish Sanded: We layout and cut out all of the parts, sand the edges, round over the edges, drill all of the screw and bolt holes, finish  sand all of the faces and hand sand all of the surfaces and rounded edges of all parts.  The furniture is as ready to put together and use, or to apply a coat of paint, stain or varnish of your choice.  This is an excellent option if you plan to apply a sprayed on paint or stain finish, or a clear varnish.


Finishing Cedar

  • Should you desire a different look, cedar readily accepts most stains, outdoor paints and wood preservatives.

  • A marine grade spar varnish will work well, and provide a durable weather resistant finish. Spar varnish can also deteriorate with prolonged exposure to sunlight. We have had this finish last for up to 10 years, but refinishing requires the old finish to be stripped or sanded off. 

  • Clear oil finishes, such as linseed oil, or teak oil work well, as does a deck sealer such as Thompson's. These types of finishes will have to be reapplied every year or two by wiping on another coat. Removing the old finish is not usually necessary with this type of finish. 

  • A deck sealer will protect the wood from the elements, but unless you use a sealer with UV blockers, will not prevent the wood from turning grey from exposure to the sun**. Be sure to read the can carefully to make sure you will get the look you want. If you desire an "old" look for your furniture, but still want to ensure a good long life, a deck sealer without UV protection is a very good choice. Deck sealer will need to be reapplied every couple of years, sometimes more, depending on the amount of wear on the seats and arms of your furniture

  • Cedar will also readily accept most outdoor wood stains and exterior paints.  Keep in mind that painted wood furniture, much like a wood fence or wood house siding, will need to be repainted every few years.

  • **If the grayed wood is a look you want, you have three options:

    1.) Allow the wood to weather for a season, until it has achieved the color you want. Keep in mind that if you leave it out where it will be rained on, as well, you will have to contend with raised grain and a certain amount of warpage.

    2.) Use a gray semi-transparent deck or house stain. This will allow you to have that look right away, though it will not look as natural as actual sun bleached wood.

    3.) Use a clear deck sealer, such as Olympic brand Wood Protector. Clear sealers limit the wood's ability to absorb moisture, and they allow the wood to gray naturally from sunlight. We cannot strongly recommend this product because it is not as durable as other finish options, and the manufacturer only offers a two year warranty on the finish.

    Here are several articles about exterior wood finishes if you would like to do further research:








Always be sure to follow the recommendations of the finish manufacturer.



Choosing What Wood to Use for Outdoor or Patio Furniture

There are a number of options available when selecting what wood to use for outdoor furniture, and each will lend its own unique color and properties to your project. What choice is best for you will partly depend on what type of furniture you are building, what your budget is, and where you are located.

For example, the wood you choose to build an Adirondack chair will probably be different than what you would use to build a steamer chair, or a spindle backed front porch rocker. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, Western red cedar will be commonly available, while other species, such as cypress will be more readily available in the Southeastern United States.

I will outline below several of the more common wood choices for outdoor furniture use, as well as some of their advantages and disadvantages.

You must make special consideration when building outdoor wood furniture. Unprotected wood, regardless of the species used, will eventually deteriorate when exposed to rain, wind and sun.  Some species are more durable than others, but they should all be protected in some way to ensure their maximum useful life.


In many people's minds teak is the premium choice for outdoor furniture.  Teak is exceptionally strong and lends itself well to the slender parts of a steamer chair for example.

Teak is very oily, which makes it resistant to moisture, insects and fungus, but also makes it unsuitable for painted or stained finishes. Teak will weather to a silvery gray if left unfinished. Teak, being a tropical hardwood, however, is increasingly rare, very expensive, and will probably not be stocked at your local lumber yard.

Due to the high levels if silica found in teak, it is very hard on cutting tools.  In fact, carbide or diamond cutting tools are a necessity. Due to the hardness of the wood, all screw or nail holes will have to be pre-drilled. The oils in the teak also make gluing somewhat more complicated. The surfaces to be glued will have to be wiped down with solvent, such as acetone, to remove the oils, in order for the glue to bond to the wood properly.

While teak is a very beautiful wood, and exceptionally well suited for outdoor furniture, its cost may make it impractical for your project, and the difficulty of working with it has to be considered, especially by the less experienced or novice woodworker.


Shorea is a newcomer to the American market. With the influx of furniture imported from Indonesia in the last decade or so, it is becoming increasingly more common.  Shorea is a good alternative to teak, having many of the same properties. While imported shorea furniture can be purchased fairly inexpensively, purchasing shorea lumber will probably prove to be more difficult, as it is only available through specialty hardwood companies.


Mahogany, like teak, has long been the choice material for boat builders due to its excellent weather resistant properties.  This is true of the dark red heart wood, not the lighter sap wood.

Three species of mahogany are commonly available - Honduras, African and Philippine. Honduran and African mahogany are primarily used for furniture and other outdoor applications, while Philippine mahogany, with its coarse open grain, is mainly used for interior doors and trim. 

Mahogany is an excellent choice for outdoor furniture, and usually much less expensive than teak. Mahogany can be glued with standard wood glues, holds fasteners well, and machines and finishes very easily. Mahogany is well suited for paint, stain, varnish and oil finishes.  Left unfinished, mahogany will also weather to a silvery gray color.


Cedar is softwood with very desirable decay resistant properties. The two most common species available are Western red cedar and Eastern white cedar.  Both species are easy to work with, hold fasteners well, and are sufficiently strong for most outdoor furniture applications. 

Cedar contains natural oils that resist decay and insects, as well as provide that pleasant cedar aroma.  Cedar is the wood of choice in much of the country for many outdoor applications, such as decks, furniture, fences, shingles and siding.

Of the two species, Western red cedar exhibits better weather resistant properties if left unfinished. Both species, however, take paint and stain well.  Because cedar is a softer wood, it is more susceptible to dents and dings, and is less suitable for a clear finish such as spar varnish. If you want a clear finish on your cedar furniture, an oil finish is recommended. 

Cedar is usually less expensive than many of the other options available, and because of this, is an excellent choice for a project.


Cypress is in the same family as cedar, and is more common in the southern Gulf States where cypress grows in wet and swampy areas.  Cypress is lighter in color than Western red cedar, and exhibits similar weather resistant properties.

Cypress machines and finishes well, and is a good choice for outdoor furniture if it is available in your area


Three decades ago, redwood was readily available and fairly inexpensive. It was one of the choice woods for many outdoor applications, such as furniture and house siding. 

Today, however, the government protects the western coastal redwood forests, and production is strictly controlled. It tends to be expensive and hard to get in the Eastern United States. On the west coast redwood is more readily available, and less expensive.   Regardless, redwood makes an excellent choice for your outdoor furniture project

Redwood heartwood has a beautiful red color, while the sap wood tends to be light brown or tan. The heartwood is the most desirable for furniture construction. As far as weather resistance and ease to work with, redwood is similar to Western red cedar.

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is primarily suited to outdoor structural applications, such as posts and joists for decks. While pressure-treated wood provides excellent weather resistance, it is not recommended for applications such as picnic tables where it might come into contact with food.

Spruce, pine and fir are commonly used for pressure treated lumber. The wood is dried under a vacuum, and impregnated with chemicals, preserving the wood fibers. The most common chemical used is chromated copper arsenate, meaning that the wood can leach copper and arsenic, which is why it is no longer legal to use pressure treated lumber to construct docks in direct contact with lake or river water. 

Pressure treated wood can be cut and fastened like any other wood, but special precaution must be taken to ensure that you do not inhale the dust due to the chemicals present in the wood.  

Pine or Common White Wood

White softwoods such as pine, fir, spruce, and hemlock are commonly used for construction grade lumber, and due to their relatively low cost, are an attractive choice for many beginning wood workers.

Pine in particular has seen resurgence in the interior furniture market over the past couple of decades, primarily in the low to mid priced shaker and colonial furniture markets, as well as the rustic furniture market. 

With a properly applied finish, these woods can be an acceptable choice for an exterior project, though these woods do not lend any particular weather resistant properties, and are more prone to warping and checking (cracking) than the other choices listed above. 

If you choose to use pine or a similar soft wood for your project, you must apply an appropriate exterior grade finish to ensure even a reasonable life span for your furniture.



Cedar Adirondack Chair       
Adirondack Chair
Adirondack Cedar patio dining table
Garden Table
Adirondack garden chair, dining chair
Garden Chair
Adirondack side table, end table
Adirondack End Table

Kids' Garden Bench

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The Cedar Chair Guys
Western Red Cedar Adirondack Chairs
Spokane, WA 99207