First Time Build for Full-Time Ranch Wife & Mom


Welcome to my first build, a set of adirondack chairs.

It doesn’t take long living on a ranch to realize a hard fact:  Ranchers buy new (or new to us) equipment, breeding animals and upgrade facilities (new barn and pipe corrals) but never, ever do they buy new furniture. This ranch wife and mom covets beautiful, rustic style furniture. It’s no surprise that to fill the ranch house with new furniture……I’m going to have to figure out a way to build it myself.

This realization led me to discover and become obsessed with Ana White and her amazing website chock full of plans designed for the novice woodworker.

That’s me, the very definition of novice woodworker. The extent of my experience is a high school wood shop class a million years ago. Be gentle….this is a learn by doing process.

After countless hours of contemplation, I chose Ana’s Home Depot DIH Workshop Adirondack Chair as my very first build.

I figured that should the end result be less than stellar, outdoor furniture would be more forgiving. Or at least I won’t have to stare at a wobbly, not square coffee table everyday for the rest of my life LOL!


Here’s how we roll…………..

Two adirondack chairs worth of redwood hauled from the shop to front lawn in our trusty red wagon. The shop is way to far away from sleeping babies to get any work done.

I had high hopes of photographing each and every cut with the miter saw. It didn’t take long to learn that saws produce way to much dust for a camera to handle.

Wouldn’t it be nice to roll the miter saw outside to work in fresh air.

Tool Wish List #1: Rolling Miter Saw stand


The cast of characters all stored in my handy pink rolling tool bag.

Look closely and you can see that tools are labeled, “Borrow me and return me to the house”.

Hmmmmmm……wonder why that is necessary 😛


Here we go! Pre-drilling holes with my recent birthday present an 18v Impact Driver.

Love, love, love it (thank you honey)!

It’s small, fits my hand, light weight and easy to change out bits and driver. What more could a girl ask for?

It has also become the favorite tool to borrow around the ranch. Remember….this baby belongs in a pink tool bag in the house!


Glueing, clamping and sinking screws into chair backs.


Self-tapping, outdoor screws definitely worth the extra cost.

Yes, I know……rookie mistake…….the driver bits go into the extender doohickey not directly into the driver. No wonder they wouldn’t tighten and kept falling out LOL!


Finishing up a chair back. You can see how sidewalk chalk kept the Ranch Princess busy while Mommy worked on chairs.


Lesson learned: When the plans say use 1 1/4″ screws there is a reason.

Oops! The 1 1/2 inchers poked thru the back.


But, hey, that’s why wood filler comes in handy.


Lots of holes to fill.


Not a fast process.

I may leave the screws au-naturale next time around. In the end, I chose a clear coat to protect chairs. No color to grab wood filler so you can see holes anyway.

I also chose to leave the chair backs straight as opposed to the traditional adirondack curved back.

Tool Wish List #2: Jigsaw to cut a curve.


On a high note, another favorite new tool is the cordless Corner Cat. Made the tedious process of sanding much, much easier.

Tool Wish List #3: A spare 18v battery for this bad boy.


Sand, sand and sand some more.

Then of course this is Montana and chairs got rained on before I got them sealed.

We had a birthday party and they got used before I got them sealed.

Then they got rained on again…..before I got them sealed.

Did I mention sand, sand and sand once again?

Tool Wish List #4: Shop Vac to clean up this mess.


By far the most intimidating part of the process for me is the finish work (you’d think it would be using the saw).

I am overwhelmed by choices of stain, sealing products and how to apply.

Not to mention the hazard warnings on some stain products. Caution: used rags can spontaneously combust…..what, are you kidding me?

I knew I was in the market for a water-based product. Easy soap and water clean-up with reduced toxicity.

I found it in Seal-Once on the Montana Timber Products website.

It’s non-toxic, non-flammable, water-based for easy clean-up, environmentally friendly and get this……protects wood for up to 10 years. WOW!

Better yet, Seal-Once is made in the USA.

I’m trying out Seal-Once in natural clear for the redwood chairs. You can actually buy it with stain already added…..handy!


Had the consistency of skim milk.


Easy to apply. Very little hassle with drips. Second coat applied to damp first coat so entire process was fast.

With two small children underfoot, fast is good. Very, very good!

Not sure I used the right type of brush????


Redwood soaked it right up. Dry to use in a couple of hours which was about the time chairs got rained on once again.

No surprise there, it’s September in Montana.

Beautiful and so happy with results!




This entry was posted in Ranch House & Garden. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.


  1. Posted September 8, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Fantastic!!! Good for you! I just got brave with a little jig saw to cut some trim boards for my kitchen – you are way ahead of that 😉

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Posted February 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    That is a heck of a challenge to take on for the first project! Kudos!

    • Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Kasey! The challenge now is not my ambition to build but finding the time with young kiddos who cannot be around a miter saw. I’ve got unfinished projects galore! =Susie

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


ranch wife, mom, educator, entrepreneur

A big hello from the banks of the Yellowstone River in Montana! My Montana Rancher  and I raise cattle, kids and crops here in big sky country. Welcome to our ranch!

Join the Ranch Crew!

Stay in the the loop with life on the ranch!

Get social with me!

Search Mrs Montana Rancher