Adirondack refers to the style of wood furniture made of red cedar slats, with high backs, sloping seats and wide armrests. Adirondack chairs have been gracing the decks and gardens of cottages and resorts since the early 1900s. They received their name from tubercular patients who spent time lounging in them while recovering in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
Adirondack chairs are the original invention, but many Adirondack chair manufacturers also make benches, tables, loveseats, swing sets and gliders, ottomans and lounge chairs. Chairs will start at under $100, and other furniture will range in price from about $150 for a lounger or loveseat bench to about $200 for an Adirondack swing set.
Adirondack furniture almost always comes in a kit with assembly required, and a choice of finished or unfinished wood. Many manufacturers assure you that each piece of furniture has been assembled and then de-assembled prior to shipping to ensure proper fit and easy assembly, and they will include detailed instructions and diagrams. Many people enjoy this project, and the end result is a piece of beautiful garden, patio or porch furniture that is very comfortable and will last for years with minimal care.
Western red cedar is probably the leading wood used in Adirondack furniture construction, although you'll also find this style of patio furniture in teak, mahogany, and other weather resistant timbers. A natural oil preservative makes red cedar highly resistant to rot, decay and insect infestations. It also ages very well to a silvery grey when left unfinished, and takes on a beautiful sheen and grain definition when a finish is applied. At a minimum, it's recommended that you apply a water sealant, especially before putting Adirondack chairs away in a garden shed or other outdoor structure for storage during the winter.
If you are conscientious about environmental issues around de-forestation, you will find manufacturers' assurances that the wood is harvested only from renewable, managed sources.