Hairpin legs were invented by Henry P. Glass in 1941, and were a true World War II-time invention. (Remember this was the era of slogans like, "Make do and mend," and "Do with less so they'll have enough.") The design of the hairpin leg limited the amount of material needed while keeping the strength of traditional legs. When we saw this hairpin leg table on A Beautiful Mess, we knew it'd be a great project for Dunn DIY.
Step 1: Decide on your Design
Decide on the size of your table. Our inspiration for this project came from a dining room table, so you can certainly customize according to your space and needs. Because we have a sectional sofa, we wanted a rectangular coffee table. After a little research, we decided on a table with these dimensions: 49.5W x 27.5D x 18H in. We ordered our legs through Hairpin Legs For Less. They offer a wide variety, not only in size and coating, but also in color! Be sure to check out their collection. We brought our measurements to Dunn Lumber, and they cut the wood for us.
Step 2: Sand
First, we sanded the edges of the 1x10s to protect ourselves from splinters. We also sanded the top side of the table, and depending on how much of a finished look you're going for you can sand a lot, or not at all.
Step 3: Assemble your Table
We assembled the table upside down. First we lined up the 1x10s so they were flush. We also decided to place a large piece of plywood under the 1x10s as an extra precaution to protect the floor. Then we created a frame with the 1x2s around the edges of the table top.
Step 4: Secure 1x2s in Place
Next you're going to secure the 1x2s to the tabletop. We did this by lining up all the 1x2s and then starting with the shorter sides. First pre-drill with a 3/32" drill bit, then screw in place starting at one end and then adjusting before screwing in the other end. We put in six screws, with two going into each of the 1x10s. Predrill and screw down the longer framing pieces in the same manner with six or so inches in between each screw.
Step 5: Secure 1x6s in Place
Place the 1x6s inside the secured frame: one at either end and one in the middle. For the middle piece pre-drill four holes in the center board and two in each of the side boards. Put in the screws. On each end pre-drill four holes through the 1x6 and into the middle board, then set up the hairpin legs in the corner of the 1x6 and mark and pre-drill the holes. Repeat with remaining legs. Screw down 1x6s and legs. The legs we purchased from hairpinlegsforless.com didn't come with hardware, so make sure you have screws that will fit the holes. The star headed screws worked great because they have a wide head, and they're long enough to attach the leg to the 1x6 and attach the 1x6 to the tabletop.
Step 6: Stain
Turn your table over. Do another quick once-over with the sandpaper to sand down any marks or smudges on the wood. Wipe the sawdust off the table. In a well-ventilated area, lay down a drop cloth underneath your table. Then, following the instructions on the can, begin staining. We applied two coats, and wiped each with a clean, dry cloth after about 15 minutes.
Step 7: Seal with Polyurethane
After staining we sealed our table with a polyurethane. This gives the finish an extra coat of protection and makes it a little easier to clean/wipe down after meal times. You do need to allow the stain to dry 24 hours before applying the polyurethane. Be sure to follow the directions on the can. The brush on, versus the spray on, is easier to get smooth over a large surface area.