Hairpin Leg Helpfuls
You can craft elegant, sophisticated and sculptural furniture masterpieces with hairpin legs. Paradoxically, they are so easy to attach that almost anything flat can be a tabletop. Have an old wood door? You can hairpin that. How about a rough plank in the basement? Instant coffee table. The easiest way to make a table is to make one with hairpin legs!
Better metal for better legs
Our hairpin legs are made from cold-rolled steel. The metal is drawn between the forming rollers cold, not hot. Metal legs ordered from us are much cleaner and smoother than legs made from hot-rolled steel. They do not have the scale and crust on them that hot-rolled legs have, so they have a more uniform finish. We use low carbon steel in our hairpin legs because it makes a stronger leg. Using high carbon steel makes for brittle welds, which can break. Legs made from low carbon steel resist weld failure much better than legs made from regular steel.
This is Chuck. Chuck has almost fifty years of metal working experience. Since 7th grade, his nickname has been “Mr. Shop.”
Obviously height is a key driver of hairpin leg selection. For a bench, or a coffee table, you will use the 16" high hairpin leg. For an end stand, use the 24". Dining tables and desks get 28" legs.
Two-rods or three?
For small dining tables and desks, the two rod 28" hairpin looks and works great. For bigger tables and thicker tops, you will want to consider the three-rod hairpin. The third rod stiffens the leg and takes out any ‘wobble.’ It also looks great with thicker tops!
Two rod hairpin legs, left, work well for small projects. Bigger tables and thicker tops work well with the three rod leg, shown right.
Hairpin legs are made from steel, which rusts and can stain clothes and carpets. That's why our hairpin legs are sold with practical powder-coat finishes, and even in a luxe plated finish. They are much more rust-resistant than uncoated steel legs.
Conventional tables use perimeter apron boards to connect the legs and form a base to keep the top from sagging. Hairpin tables, however, have no aprons. Instead, hairpin legs attach directly to the underside of the table top. You can design your own table top here. Because there are no aprons, and to keep the tabletop flat and supported, think about adding wood cleats just inside the hairpin legs.
View beneath the tabletop. Cleats keep the top flat. If you plan to get a table top from us, and you want cleats, we’ll install them for you for no extra labor charge.
Locating the legs underneath your table top
Hairpin legs are easy to install. Mounting screws made for tops at least ¾" thick come with the legs. If your top is at least ¾" thick, the screws we send you will not poke out above the finished tabletop surface. The screws are square drive screws for positive grip with a bit. If you don’t have a square drive bit, we can sell you one. The screws are self-tapping, so you don’t need to predrill a pilot hole if you are using a power driver. If you are using a hand screwdriver you will need to drill a pilot hole first. If your top is ¾" thick or less, you will need to get some shorter screws.
Mounting the legs
Hairpin legs are easy to mount and demount. This is done with your tabletop upside down. Simply position one leg at a time in the corners of the tabletop, about 2 ½" in from the edges of the tabletop. Attach temporarily with 2 screws. Do the same for the other three legs. Flip the table over, and evaluate. Use your own aesthetic judgment to reposition the legs as you see fit. When you achieve the look that is right for you, finish attaching the legs with the remaining screws.
A final word
Hairpin legs are a fantastic way to make a strong style statement. They come in lots of finishes to complement your décor. They mount simply, beneath almost any flat wood surface. Adding a cleat system strengthens the table. Supply your own table top, or design your own with us. Either way, hairpin legs are fast, easy and fun!