How an Adirondack Chair Is Made
The Adirondack chair is one of those outdoor furniture pieces you will find in private residences, cafes, bars, and other outdoor settings. Some counties even have them in their public parks and other recreational spaces.
This beloved chair has many appearances because of its advantages, thanks to its practical design. For starters, the ample width of the armrests makes them ideal for holding food, drinks, and other items.
Secondly, they are wide and roomy, offering more space to sit comfortably. They are also lower to the ground facilitating easy sitting and standing from the chair. Additionally, the contoured design supports the back of your knees, preventing your legs from falling asleep.
The Adirondack chair also comes in multiple colors, stains, and patterns, depending on the material. This facilitates easy theme creation.
So, where did this stylish chair originate from? The Adirondack chair has come a long way, with an interesting history.
The Adirondack Chair Evolution
This classy chair dates back to the early 1900s when Thomas Lee invented it to solve a comfort and practicality problem. He originally designed it from wood, and manufacturers retained this until recently.
The late 90s saw the manufacture of plastic lumber from recycled plastic bottles, coffee cups, and other plastics to make furniture and other products. It was thanks to the efforts of Thomas Nosker.
It made sense to create outdoor furniture from recycled plastic. First, it helps with reducing plastic waste that ends up in landfills. It reduces the need for landfill space since plastic takes a long time before it degrades completely.
Additionally, less plastic in landfills means less leaching into soil and water sources. Plastic leaches harmful chemicals as it degrades. It leads to soil poisoning. And when it rains, the chemicals travel to water sources.
Recycling plastic to make furniture also reduces the need for more plastic manufacturing. Plus, recycling plastic is less harmful to the environment than manufacturing new plastic.
Now, the Adirondack chair and other outdoor furniture are made from recycled plastic. Thanks to technological advancements, a collection of milk jugs can transform into a comfortable and stylish Adirondack chair. And just how does it happen? Keep scrolling to learn
How A Shampoo Bottle Becomes An Adirondack Chair.
Every year, milk jugs, shampoo bottles, egg trays, recycle bins, and chemical containers get thrown out by the tons. Have you ever wondered what happens to these plastics? Some end up in landfills, some in oceans, and others become various plastic products.
Manufacturers who realize the importance of recycling turn to recycled plastic to make new plastic products, including furniture pieces such as the Adirondack chair.
The manufacture of this chair involves three crucial stages; recycling, poly lumber manufacturer, and finally, chair assembly. Below, you will find in-depth information on each of these processes.
Stage 1: Recycling
The first stage of turning a bottle into an Adirondack chair is recycling. Different plastics have various recycling processes, including traditional recycling, advanced recycling, and chemical recycling.
Adirondack chairs and other outdoor furniture are made from recycled HDPE or High-Density Polyethylene. It is a type of plastic, and it is the easiest polymer to recycle. This plastic has a number ‘2’ symbol on its products: milk jugs, shampoo bottles, detergent containers, chemical bottles, bins, etc.
HDPE is sturdy, resistant to chemical corrosion, and easily moldable. These and other positive properties make it favorable to manufacturers for reuse.
Recycling HDPE involves the following processes:
Collecting raw materials
The first stage is collecting raw materials. Recycling plants have workers to do this. They can also receive help from volunteers and businesses if they sort their waste well.
Finding raw materials is tedious because it depends on consumers and business practices. That is, how well people dispose of their plastics. Employees and volunteers visit residential dumpsters, businesses, and public spaces to collect the plastic and then take it to the designated recycling plant.
After the plastic reaches the facility, it undergoes sorting. Sorting is vital to determine how the plastic undergoes recycling. Some facilities only recycle one type of plastic and then send the rest to other facilities. In this case, the facility will take HDPE plastics to continue the process.
Cleaning is the next step, and it is a crucial part because it removes impurities from the plastics. Remember that these bottles and containers have adhesive labels, traces of products, and dirt. Some may even have organic elements in them.
These elements are impurities that will affect the recycling process. And even if they go through, they will affect the quality of lumber and the end product. So the plastic undergoes thorough cleaning to remove these elements.
Once the plastic is clean, the employees put the containers into industrial shredders, where they undergo resizing. Shredding is necessary to make the plastic workable. It becomes easier to process and mold the plastic when the pieces are smaller.
Most recycling plants also use this stage to identify any impurities that may have passed through the previous step. They will look for labels, metal components, and organic contaminants.
Separation is the second categorizing stage. It is more chemical than the sorting stage since the plant will put the plastic through various tests to determine its class and quality.
The recyclers will test density, thickness, melting point, and colors. It helps to create lumber of varying thickness, quality, and color.
Lastly, the plastic undergoes compounding. The recycling plant melts and cools the shredded and sorted plastic into small pellets or plastic beads. This process demands time and energy, so some recycling plants send their plastic to other facilities for this stage.
Manufacturers who make products from recycled plastic get their plastic in this form (if they don’t recycle their own plastic). They receive large shipments of plastic beads or pellets, categorized into different classes, colors, and thicknesses.
The recycled HDPE is ready to turn into an Adirondack chair; almost there!
Stage 2: Making Poly Lumber
Once the plastic pellets arrive at the manufacturing plant, they can turn into plastic lumber through a four-stage process.
It is the first stage of forming poly lumber. Manufacturers pull the plastic pellets from storage and run them through the extrusion line. These lines mix up the pellets, adding U stabilizers, colorants, foaming agents, and other elements. This process first makes the poly lumber more resistant and chemically stable. Additionally, it helps produce different colors and their hues or shade. It is equally helpful for custom color patterns or if the desired color is not in stock.
Molding is the second stage where the plastic will pass through heaters. The heaters melt the plastic, making it easier to mold into various shapes. Most manufacturers have died of multiple sizes. They pass the molten plastic into these dies to produce a single piece of long lumber. It results in long pieces of lumber of various thicknesses and sizes.
The long lumber pieces then travel to a series of cooling tanks. The lumber undergoes cooling in various stages to make it more solid since it leaves the cooling stage slightly unstable. Once it is stable, it can move to the final step.
Long lumber pieces are not practical for crafting. Therefore, they go through a pulling machine into an automatic saw that cuts the lumber into workable parts. They look similar to wooden lumber used in construction.
Stage 3: Producing The Chair
The last stage is making the Adirondack chair. The assembly team of the manufacturing plant takes care of this part. Manufacturing plants have CNC machines that cut the poly lumber into various pieces that form the Adirondack chair.
The CNC machine follows the programmed instructions to cut the lumber into the required pieces to assemble the chair. Most manufacturing plants take the scraps back into the production process, ensuring that no plastic goes to waste.
The production team then assembles the non-moving parts. They drill holes for metal fastenings and often pre-assemble the seat and backrest. The assembly team will polish the parts before packaging them into custom boxes, with assembly instructions, ready for shipping.
When retailers or end consumers receive the package, they assemble the chair, making it ready for use. And just like that, discarded containers receive new life as a comfortable Adirondack chair!
What About New And Custom Designs?
The Adirondack chair has received multiple design variations. This chair has many styling options and designs. Some even have added features, all to make them more comfortable. And it seems like they will keep coming as more people develop a desire for uniqueness.
Manufacturing plants often have design teams that handle custom and new Adirondack chair designs. This team works with engineers and other relevant employees to make high-quality and practical designs.
When a request or idea comes in for a new design, they use the same poly lumber to make prototypes. The prototypes will then undergo testing in controlled and mimicked environments for a few days. Testing is necessary to ensure that the product will hold its own against various threats.
The team will often test the new designs for:
The team needs to ensure that the new chair design is equally resistant to the elements, if not more. They put the chair through various conditions mimicking sun exposure, rainfall, hail, and other elements to ensure it can remain durable and usable.
The team will also test the chair’s weight capacity to ensure it can hold weight comfortably without coming loose, breaking, or cracking. This can go on for a while to test tensile strength and resistance.
The team will also pass the chair through UV-resistant tests to ensure it does not lose its luster or break because of consistent exposure.
Once the chair passes all tests satisfactorily, the design team green lights the manufacture and assembly of the chair. The CNC machine receives programming for cutting the pieces, and the assembly team takes it from there.
How To Care For An Adirondack Chair
If you are a retailer with a collection of Adirondack chairs ready to sell, you have to care for them to extend their use and retain their luster. The same goes for end consumers. Here are a few helpful tips on caring for Adirondack chairs.
Clean at least once a month
One of the most convenient things about HDPE Adirondack chairs is that they do not require demanding maintenance. You just need to clean them at least once a month. And, you won’t need expensive chemicals and detergents.
You can clean Adirondack chairs with mild detergent and water. Liquid soap is best. Just mix a few drops of liquid soap with warm water. Then use a cloth or sponge to clean the surfaces of the furniture. Then, rinse with water, and set the chair to dry.
You can clean the legs of the furniture using the same mixture but with a soft bristle brush. It helps to remove dirt and mud from the legs. You can also use this method to remove caked dirt and signs of staining.
Avoid using harsh detergents
Even if you have white Adirondack chairs, resist the urge to use harsh cleaning solutions. Bleach and other powerful cleaning supplies are great for removing stains and keeping various materials clean. However, they will not be necessary for this situation.
The harsh chemicals can stain or discolor your HDPE Adirondack chairs. If not, they can affect their structural integrity. Don’t risk it; stick to soap and mild liquid soap. This combination will be enough to clean and remove stains.
Spray paint to cover the scratches
If you notice any scratches on your Adirondack chair, don’t throw it out. You just need to get spray paint that bonds to plastic to cover the scratches. Ensure you get spray paint in the same color. Test it on a similar surface to test color and bonding. Then, apply it lightly onto the areas with starches.
Store the chairs well
If you will leave your Adirondack chairs outside, ensure that you store them well. Shaded areas are best, but if you want to keep them under the sky, lean them against something.
It prevents water from pooling on the chairs in case of rain, dew, or snow. Consistent water pooling will form water stains. Therefore, ensure you store the chairs well.